How to DM

“Phat Enough to Try” –

I’m still out reading blogs regularly although my posting has fallen off. Currently I’m sitting at the Geek Fan Expo in Dearborn, MI, and noticed a panel on How to become a DM. It made me think of the post linked above.

I am of the opinion that DM’s are made over time, and it takes particular circumstances to make a good one. Once you’re an adult, it might be too late. It’s hard to learn how to be spontaneous in front of your peers without worrying about being judged. Things happen. What resonates with me is about writing stories as a kid, and how they’re probably awful. I did a lot of writing through high school, and it was certainly awful, but the friends I showed it to loved it. They were a part of it, it was about them, it was their D&D campaign I wrote stories about.

Being able to pull people into a story like that, even a bad one written by a kid, is the secret to running a game. Mechanics help, planning helps, but developing a talent that draws people in like a moth to a flame takes years of practice to develop.

3 thoughts on “How to DM

  1. I think there are people born with the talent and desire to be DMs. There are even the rare unicorns who enjoy running more than playing, but for most it’s an acquired taste. A person has to discover where the enjoyment is buried in the role and responsibilities. Like a person learning to play a musical instrument, it’s work until you learn how to use the skills, the instrument, for your own pleasure and the pleasure of others.


  2. Anything that can be known, can be taught. I began running 35 years ago and I promise you, I’ve learned more about how to be a DM than I can shake a stick at – and I get better all the time. It only seems that DMs are ‘born’ and not ‘made’ because there’s never been a decent concerted effort to make one.

    I did very well with this book at the FanExpo in Toronto in August. It’s an advanced guide for people who already know how to run, who already know the basics. It’s non-genre specific, non-edition specific. Have a look at it.


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