Long time dm here: 12+ years of experience. Here's some tips:
Relax. You got this.
It isn't all on you. DnD is cooperative before anything else. I like to think of my role as being like a video game console: I'm there to provide a physics engine and lay down a scenario, but that doesn't work unless my players help out by buying into the scenario and accepting the way I run those physics. If anyone at the table is throwing off the vibe, your job is to remind them that they need to cooperate or it won't be fun.
On that note, communicate with your players. Communicate frequently and make sure you talk over any problems anyone has, and also call out when people are being awesome.
Your favorite home brewed item, mechanic, or monster is going to break the game. No, not that one that you've suspected of wrongdoing for months. That one is going to be comically underpowered. I'm talking about the clever mythology reference that neatly explains why your favorite region is as cool as it is. Yeah, that. It'll let a level 3 barbarian become immortal or something. When this happens, calmly inform your players that this was a mistake and the game will be much better if Gregnagax The Oaken-Thewed can't suplex the tarrasque.
Seriously, you will need the phrase "that effect is unbalanced, so we won't be using it."
You will need the table of damage by severity and level. It's on page 249 of the DMG. It is absurdly useful. Anytime you need to improvise damage, this chart is useful.
Print out your monster and npc Stat blocks. Flipping through the books in combat sucks.
Your campaign will go off the rails. Your plans will be destroyed so badly you don't even recognize them. This is normal. After the damage is done, consider how the people in your world will react to what just happened. Congratulations, that is the plot of your next session.
Remember to keep play fresh. Spice up combat heavy areas with cool lore moments, throw social encounters into clue gathering, make the mayor a very silly person, let the stablehand whistle all the damn time. This is especially helpful if you're including mysteries or politics, since vibrant worlds can make allegiances and deceptions less obvious.
You are not Matt Mercer. Matt Mercer has a whole production team behind him, years of experience, and a party of professional actors. I love the DnD Renaissance, but it can make a dm feel really inadequate. This is a game of basements, rickety chairs, old dining room tables, and improvised miniatures. I promise that you will feel silly for your first couple of sessions. That's okay. You'll hit your groove, and it'll be fun tabletop evenings, not professional quality polished narrative and character arcs. Those silly low-budget moments are the best sign that you're doing it right.
Most campaigns are confined to one or two tiers of play. Levels 3-to-10 is common. Campaigns to level 20 take years, and I've never been in one or run one that got all the way there. You'll spend a lot of time doing shorter campaigns, one shots and the like. If you manage to play to level 20, great, but be ready to accept that you might not. Campaigns fall apart because people have busy lives, and that's okay.
And finally: relax. You got this.
i shaking this is extremely helpful thank you?? /gen
i never realized it before but the game console analogy is very helpful and also very true!! all the (good) dms i've had have always been very good at painting pictures of what's going on/explaining how the world works and if anything, i want my world to be really colorful! and i want my players to enjoy playing in it
thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!!! very much appreciated by this babey dm <:)
How do we always end up like this?
Eddie Munson x cheerleader!reader
Y/n is a cheerleader and is dating one of the basketball players in Hawkins High, but everything she built starts to fall apart when she's paired to do a project with the freak Eddie Munson.
warnings: menstions of sex and little bit of smut (not that much though), cursing, cheating, my English.
a/n: I can't stop thinking about Eddie and I can't stop talking about Eddie dating a cheerleader and making everyone mad, so here you have another one of Eddie x cheerleader because there are never too many of these.
“With that freak?!” Jason asked with a horrified look on his face.
Y/n was having lunch with her friends, and her boyfriend Tom. They were all cheerleaders or players in the basketball team.
She started to hang out with all of them when she became a cheerleader, otherwise they wouldn’t even look at her. But it wasn’t all that bad now, Tom was pretty hot and some of the girls were actually really nice, like Chrissy. She was Jason’s girlfriend.
“Yeah, can you believe it?” her boyfriend answered him. They were just talking about a project she had to do for history class, the professor had assigned the partners for said project, and she was paired up with Eddie Munson. That’s why Jason screamed and why her boyfriend was complaining.
“I pity you Y/n, and if he does or says something weird to you, we’ll take care of it” Jason said.
“I’m sure I’ll be just fine, but thanks anyway” she said. She didn’t really believed he was a demoniac freak like her friends did.
After school she went to her house with Eddie, her parents were working late today so she seized the opportunity to start on the project with him. And they were doing a good job, better than she thought they would. He loses interest often but she knew how to bring his attention back to the topic.
“Alright, I think we’re good for today” she said.
“Yes please, I need a break”
“Oh c’mon, I wasn’t that hard on you, was I?”
“If I answer wrongly will you punish me?” he joked.
“Oh shut up” she laughed.
“It wasn’t you, it’s just that I hardly ever study so it’s all too much at once”
“Yeah I forgot you are the bad boy who gets bad grades, I’ll go easy on you next time”
“It’s fine, I came prepared for a difficult afternoon but you’re not that bad Y/n”
“Why?! What do you think I am?” she said surprised.
“Nah, that’s the thing, you’re not like I’d thought you’d be like” he said looking at her like he was studying her.
“How did you think I’d be like?” she asked looking at him like he was.
“Just… mean and bitchy like all of your other friends are” he responded mockingly, not to her, but to the people she hung out with.
“You know… You’re not like I had thought you’d be like either. You’re not like they say you are”
“A leader of a cult and a freak?”
“I just thought you’d be tougher and –I don’t know, not half as funny and cute like you actually are” she said and immediately after she realised what she called him.
Cute?! It really just slipped from her. She wasn’t wrong obviously and she didn’t take it back but she couldn’t be flirting with another boy when she had a boyfriend.
Eddie must have realised she didn’t think that sentence through and instead she just talked, must have been for the look on her face after she said it or the way she blushed and closed her mouth before saying something else. It was very amusing, he thought.
“So you think I’m cute?” he teased “I’d prefer hot or handsome, but if you say so sweetheart, I’ll believe you”
The grin he had on his face at that moment made her very frustrated. That fucking grin.
“Ok back to the project” she sat straight again looking at the book in front of her, looking at anything else but him. “We don’t have much left so I think in two or three days we can finish it”
“Don’t try to change the subject now” he sat closer to her, “and don’t get all shy on me, no need to be”
He was so close to her and she didn’t want to push him away, she looked into eyes and the rest of his face, he really was hot and handsome too. She couldn’t bring herself to move away, to stop staring at him. If anything she wanted him closer, she wanted to touch his hair, his cheeks. She wondered how his lips would feel against hers. And part of her knew she shouldn’t, but the other part won.
She leaned into him quickly and kissed him. His lips felt soft and warm against hers, and she loved it. She put her hands on his long and messy hair, she loved that too. He put his hands on her waist bringing her even closer, and they kept kissing. She had never felt like that when she kissed Tom, or anyone else for that matter. Oh no, Tom.
She broke the kiss suddenly, she thought about what she just did and she thought about Tom, she started to feel very guilty.
Eddie realised this when he opened his eyes again. He knew she had a boyfriend but he also knew Tom was an idiot who didn’t treat her right, so he didn’t feel very guilty, but he did worry about her, how she would react to this.
She stood up and avoided his gaze.
“I –um, we’re finished here… and I have things to do so” she said.
“Y/n—“ he started but she interrupted him.
“Please?” she whispered, not even looking at him, not even saying his name, she couldn’t.
“Yeah, sure” he sighed.
After he left she thought she would feel better but she didn’t, she actually didn’t know how to feel. She had a boyfriend but that kiss –him—it just made her so confused because she didn’t want to stop it, she wanted to kiss him again. But she and Tom were so good together, they just made sense, the cheerleader with the basketball player, just how it should be.
A week had passed after their kiss, Y/n kept ignoring Eddie and she kept dating Tom, she obviously didn’t say anything to him, that would just make him want to beat up Eddie, more than he naturally wanted, but he would have an excuse now.
Eddie on the other hand, kept staring at her during lunch and the classes they had together, only wanting her to look at him for more than just a second. He had a plan though, they had to finish their project at some point, right?
So he came up to her when she was leaving cheerleading practise, it was getting dark outside and he had also just finished playing D&D with the hellfire club.
“My dear dear Y/n, how are you?” he asked.
“Hi Eddie” she sighed and turned to him. It had been a week, she had to talk to him again at some point.
“Oh, how lovely to hear your voice again. It’s getting dark and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to walk back home with all the stranger things that happen here in Hawkins, so I thought that I should be a gentlemen and drive you home, maybe finish our project even”
She thought about it for a minute. It was getting dark and she was tired and sweaty for her practise, and he was right, they still had their project to finish.
“My parents are home today so I don’t think it would be the quietest place to work in” she answered.
“We can go to my place then” he wasn’t going to take a no for an answer.
“I still have to shower—“
“I have a shower” he interrupted her.
“I don’t have clothes at your—“
“I have clothes and I can be a very good friend and give you some”
“I can’t say no, can I?”
“I’d prefer that you wouldn’t”
“Alright fine” she finally said.
They drove all the way to his trailer and she got into the shower while he started to look for some clean clothes to give her. He found another hellfire shirt, he thought she would look adorable in one and he picked out some sweatpants for her too.
When she came out of the shower she got dressed with the shirt Eddie gave her but she kept her shorts, they weren’t covered with sweat so she went with those.
“I’d give you one of my boxers so you wouldn’t have to wear the same panties but I don’t think you’ll take them” he joked.
“It’s fine, don’t worry” she didn’t want to think about his boxers and how they would look on him and neither did she want him to think about her in her panties. “We still have work to do, so let’s get started”
They were nearly finished with it after a few hours, but they decided to leave it for another day, they were starting to get hungry and very tired.
They ordered some pizza, Y/n actually thought about leaving and going home but she was having fun with Eddie, he made laugh so much and made her forget about her problems, actually he made her forget about everything else, even having a boyfriend.
“I never played your game, I don’t even know how it works” she responded to one of his questions, they were sitting on his couch –almost laying down on it—and eating.
“I could teach you how to play if you teach me how to use your pompoms and do your dances” he teased her.
“Why would you want to use my pompoms?” she laughed.
“It seems kind of fun” he got up and stoop in front, “you could teach me how to do the…” he finished that sentence moving his arms like he was holding the pompoms and moving them like a cheerleader. “And you could also teach me how to do all the jumping and shit”
She couldn’t stop laughing.
“It’s called a routine, not a dance or jumps and shit” she corrected him.
“Yeah that” he was grinning because she was still laughing, and he was right, she did look adorable with his shirt on. He laid on the couch next to her, very close and facing her. She turned to face him too.
“And you would teach me how to play your game?” she asked.
“I’d be honoured but isn’t it a demonic game to you?”
“Says who?” she asks.
“Your boyfriend and his friends” he answers.
“For what it’s worth, I never thought it was” she said starting to play with the shirt he had on, just moving the end around her finger. “Neither did I think you were a freak or that you were in a cult”
“You didn’t?” he asked looking right at her.
“And I also don’t care about what my boyfriend and his friends say”
“Oh really?” he asked leaning his face closer to hers.
How did they always end up like this?
She nodded slowly, looking at him too.
“You look beautiful with my shirt on” he says.
“Kiss me” she breathes.
And he does.
He grabs her face with one hand and the other is on her waist. She moves hers form his chest to his neck.
They kiss passionately, they stop thinking about her boyfriend, or their project, they just think about each other, and how good they feel together.
He moves on top of her and she puts her legs around his waist. They keep kissing with her hands on his hair and his on her waist and hip, stroking her skin.
They let moans and groans out into their kiss. He kisses her neck and she puts her hands under his shirt touching his torso.
They keep kissing, touching and rubbing against each other for a long time until she falls back to reality.
She’s at Eddie Munson’s house with his shirt on and him on top of her kissing and touching her.
And Eddie is not her boyfriend. Her boyfriend is at his house doing whatever. And the worst part is, she couldn’t care less about what he was doing.
“Wait, stop” she says slowly and quietly. But he hears her.
He sits up and looks at her, scared of what’s coming next.
“It’s late I should go back home” she says a little scared he is going to be mad at her.
“Oh, yeah sure” he responds, “but um, are we going to be ok after this?”
“I know you have a boyfriend Y/n, but I don’t think you like him that much, I mean you wouln’t kiss me if you liked him” he interrupts her.
“No, I know—“
“But what worries me the most is if you’re going back to ignoring me for another week until we finish the project and never speak to me again. Because I’ve liked you for so long now, and you’re making me crazy in a good and a bad way, both” he interrupts her again.
“Eddie would you let me talk?” she asks and he nods “I’m not going to ignore you again, I’m sorry I did but it was all too much, I was cheating on my boyfriend, I still am, and I never thought I’d do something like that. But you, you make so crazy too, I can’t think straight when I’m with you and I love that feeling. I love how you make me feel” she confesses, “I just need a little time so I can figure out what to do”
“I understand, but does that mean that we’ll stop whatever it is that we are doing? Because I really don’t think I can now” he says and starts kissing her cheek and down to her neck again.
“I don’t think I can either, and honestly, I don’t think I want to” she tells him “there’re a lot of other things I want to do to you and a lot of other things I want you to do to me”
She smiles and kisses him. He groans into the kiss just thinking about what she said.
“But for now can you take me home before my parents think I went missing?” she asks him.
“What if I just kidnap you?” he says and goes back to kissing her.
“You’d confirm everyone that you are in fact a freak and a psychopath” she joked.
“I don’t care”
“Take me home please?”