#dungeon master tips
nixotinix · 2 months ago
So, you enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons, yes? I'm sure we've all seen those YouTubers or podcast campaigns with elaborate setups, a shelf full of sourcebooks, hand-painted minis in fancy glass cases, and a designated table just for DnD with a screen inlaid. But what if you can't afford all that? What if you don't have a steady flow of income, or you can't drop 50 bucks on a sourcebook? Well, you're in luck. This is:
Dungeons and Dragons (on a budget)
For context, I'm a minor. I'm unemployed, since I live in a small town and am not old enough to get a job, and the most money I get per year is from birthdays and holidays. You might be in a similar situation, or you have rent, food, and gas to pay for and not enough money to spend on expensive amenities. Trust me, you don't need all those fancy doohickeys to enjoy a nice round of DnD. So let's rifle through my kit. To start,
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My DM screen. This is the screen that came in the DnD Essentials Kit. Trust me, the Starters and Essentials Kits are worth their weight in gold. They're often cheaper than the sourcebooks and come with an incredible amount of information, and even an adventure for your party to play through. These are definitely a worthwhile investment.
Next up,
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Dice! I have a total of 11 sets, with a handful of individual dice. You do NOT need this many. Just one set for you, and maybe some for your players if they don't have them, that's enough. You can buy them in groups of 5 or so sets on Amazon.
Now, for the most important thing.
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Notebooks! If you don't have sourcebooks, these are your next best bet. The two I use most often are those on top. In the black one is information you need to make a character or NPC, as well as a standard inventory. The History of Magic book has a summary of every spell from the sourcebooks from Cantrips to 9th level. A lot of this information can be found on the internet for free. This takes a long, long time. But if you have more time than money, these will be worth your while. The other notebooks can be used for organizing campaigns, taking notes, keeping track of combat, etc.
Now for the fun part.
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Making things! The spellcards I made for my cleric, so he knows what his spells do. And those towers in the back are dice towers made of paper, tape, and cardboard. We use copy paper to track maps and initiative, we play on our grandma's kitchen table, the players' character sheets came from the essentials kit, I make smaller character sheets for prominent NPCs, and I draw pictures of NPCs and regions to help my players understand everything better. So get creative!
If you can afford sourcebooks and still have enough to survive and pay to take care of yourself and those who depend on you, they are a worthwhile investment. I'd definitely pick up the Player's Handbook to start. Xanathar's and Tasha's Cauldron are also great sourcebooks. These are all of the sourcebooks I own.
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I hope you enjoyed this look through how I run my homebrew campaign, and I hope you got some useful tips! Remember, your survival and well-being is top priority. Don't buy an expensive sourcebook if you can't afford to eat without that extra 50 dollars. Survival first, comfort second, DnD third. And you don't need to buy expensive things to play. You can have just as much fun with a piece of paper and cardboard miniatures as your map.
Happy pillaging, and stay safe!
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baelpenrose · 4 months ago
"Yes And" is always better for DMing than "No." It will always create better player interaction, engagement, plans, and roleplay as they begin to think of your patterns as a DM and realize that maybe they shouldn't start doing physics hacks. Let me give you an example that's gotten rather memetic. The Peasant Railgun. What it is: Someone realize that because of nonsense physics of DND if you line up 100 peasants, have them all ready an action and have them pass a rock along, because of how big spaces are, how long a turn is and what that means, the rock will be thrown at roughly mach 2. What a boring DM will do: "No, that's fucking ridiculous." This is fine and avoids a cheesy strategy, but that's all it does. If you say "Sure, you can do this, BUT you've now discovered something very important. (Let them do some ridiculous damage before the peasants run away.) "The downside is that your successful use of this mad technique has revealed the wonky physics the gods imparted on the world. Tyrants around the world now take note, and..." (basically, every enemy they have who has the resources for an army will now field peasant railguns of their own. They can do something ridiculous, but any discovery of physics that lets them 'Hack" dnd should come with the question "can anyone else do this" and "can someone else do this more easily than you can, and if so, do you really want to let that genie out of the bottle." Do that once. Make them replace character sheets ONCE with something like that and they will EITHER never use ridiculous hacks OR think them all through very very carefully and begin actually thinking through all possible consequences first - which will mean that you get better RP and better patterns of interaction and thought than you will out of a flat "no." Either way. Better.
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of-dice-and-disasters · 5 months ago
dungeon master tip #1
this is something that popped up in a conversation between me and @all-made-of-stardust​ since i was dishing out some DM advice. and this is pretty much a term that popped up in the convo - and how this is an essential DM tool to use when running any campaign. 
a thing that a lot of new DMs are at risk of (hell, even well-seasoned dungeon masters), would be the ill-famed railroading. this is a table top term coined for the action of forcing your players to go down a specific path that you envisioned - essentially, taking away their agency. player agency is such a sacred thing, because it’s the heart of the game. it’s what makes things fun, and ultimately, what keeps people coming back to play. 
it’s really important to avoid something like railroading, in order to create a much more wholesome and satisfying table top experience. i suppose your question would be, “but if i can’t control my players, how will things go according to my plans?” well, fellow dungeon master, i have the answer for you, and it’s called - 
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what is this, you ask? well, it’s an extremely useful DM tool and skill to master. let’s say for example, you planned this important social encounter between the party and some noble NPC, which was set to happen in the town square. but, instead of heading there, the party decides to fuck off to the tavern.
on first glance, maybe your knee jerk instinct is to push the party towards the town square event as much as possible. after all, if they don’t end up there, then they’re slowing down the plot! the campaign! but here’s a simple solution: sometimes, you can’t follow the script beat by beat. sometimes, you gotta change it up - like in this example, make the Super Duper Important NPC appear in the tavern instead of the town square.
essentially, if your players are dead set doing something else than what you initially planned - let them do it! the foundation for their motivation to accomplish something is already there. if you planned some important plot point, social event, or combat encounter to occur at a specific time and place - and the players avoid this in favor of chasing something else down - just move the essential plot point to the new location. 
that way, your sessions can run at a smoother pace, your players feel like they have control over the story and their actions in your world, and everyone has a more well rounded experience!
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aprilthoughts-gov · 3 months ago
DMing tip: If one of your players wants to have a character design, trait, backstory, etc that doesn't fit with the established canon, don't say "That can't happen," ask, "Why would that happen?"
It always opens up incredibly interesting and fun story paths that you would not have thought of before!
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tabletoptier · a year ago
Quick DM Tip #7 -
Players will challenge you on the rules, it's bound to happen. When it does just stay calm and explain your reasoning. Every single situation cannot be held down by the simple game mechanics. Sometimes you need to intervene in order for it to make sense story wise.
Write your own rules. Follow the general path best you can.
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legionofmyth · 4 months ago
[53-2] - What makes someone a TTRPG 'expert?' & The DnD (TTRPG) evolution problem
🙋‍♂️Who the eff appointed YOU the #TTRPG ‘expert?’ 😕 What makes someone an expert in #DnD #OSR or other #tabletopRPG genre? - also - 🎲 The hobby has evolved, and will continue to do so. (And water is wet.)
🐲 RPG Die Gest 🐉 Segment 2️⃣ (from the 5 September 2021 livestream). 👍 Please take a moment to like, subscribe & share, share, share, it really helps us out. Thank you. 🕚 The full RPG DIE GEST livestream is only available to YouTube Members, Twitch Subscribers, and Locals Backers. LEGION OF MYTH LINKS • Discord: https://discord.gg/xkp9MAJGGa • Locals: https://legionofmyth.locals.com • Minds:…
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jpkyleliteraryservices · 12 months ago
Bored Players? The Trick to Timing your Games - GM Tips
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dope-dm · a year ago
10 quick adventure ideas #3
Someone has stolen farmer Martin's prize pig, and the tracks lead into the woods
A ghost has been haunting the local tavern for the past few weeks, and it's bad for business.
A giant has laid claim to the town, saying it is within his domain, and requires everyone to swear loyalty.
The nearby lake has had reports of strange monsters lurking in the shore at night, scaring away the local fisherman.
A man calling himself the King of Bees has been attacking citizens with his swarms of insects. (Bonus points if he steals honey)
Deep in the snowy mountains, a ruined city has just been discovered and is rumored to be ripe with treasure.
The town's folk are holding a lunar festival, but during the ceremony the moon vanishes.
A knight in black armor blocks a small bridge nearby, and refuses to let anyone pass.
Everyone in a small village have started turning into anthropomorphic animals, usually in their sleep.
A wizard has accidentally turned himself invisible indefinitely, and needs specific ingredients to reverse the effects.
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thatonenewdungeonmaster · a year ago
As a DM, I struggle with quick building NPCs. This video I found is actually super helpful not only for DMing but for writing. Enjoy!
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hey y'all any tips for a beginner dnd dm bc that's me and ngl kinda nervous
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2ualiity · a year ago
To DMs who have DMed large parties, do you have any tips?
I’m a first time DM with a party of 8 people and, I won’t lie, it’s a bit intimidating...
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master-mechanic-squeaker · 2 years ago
What to do when a player misses a session
While players of different ages make the games more interesting, there's the problem that they may have conflicting schedules every so often. But missing a player is okay, there's a few things you can do. Here's what I recommend doing in those situations.
If they are not the main focus in the arc:
Don't be afraid to knock 'em out.
If they have a spouse/lover there's always that option as well.
If you can arrange a separate session for them you are welcome to do so.
If they are important to the arc:
Mini-quests, side-quests, searches, and explorations are always good options.
Don't fear, as long as these don't comprise most of the journey my players have had a lot of fun with these.
If you have a "safe-area" set up, knock the character out and leave them there.
If you have no "safe-area" your players have to drag the body around.
If more than half of the party is missing, it's best to reschedule if you can.
If the player will be late:
Sure, you can always wait to start the game until they arrive.
~OR~ start the game and have the other players go through an ordeal: meeting a new NPC, a short battle, review the last session and interact with NPCs, plan their next action, replenish supplies, or go on an ultra-miniquest.
Or you could knock them out again and just introduce them back into the game when they show up.
Don't forget to always review the last session, players have busy lives and can't always remember everything.
And don't be afraid to have fun with your players. Inside jokes may arise from Mini-quests because they tend to be entertaining, things don't always have to be serious.
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creativerogues · 2 years ago
My Strange Mini-Rules For Prices & Treasure...
Prices For Spell Scrolls
Cantrip: 10 gp - 60 gp
1st Level: 60 gp - 120 gp
2nd Level: 120 gp - 240 gp
3rd Level: 240 gp - 400 gp
4th Level: 400 gp - 640 gp
5th Level: 640 gp - 1,280 gp
6th Level: 1,280 gp - 2,560 gp
7th Level: 2,560 gp - 5,120 gp
8th Level: 5,120 gp - 10,300 gp
9th Level: 10,300 gp - 20,500 gp
Exceptions to the Rule...
Scroll of True Resurrection: 113,000 gp Scroll of Wish: 318,000 gp
Prices For Potions of Healing
Potion of Regular Healing: 50 gp
Potion of Greater Healing: 150 gp
Potion of Superior Healing: 450 gp
Potion of Supreme Healing: 1,350 gp
What Should You Find In A Treasure Hoard?
CR 0-4 125 gp - 300 gp in Total Treasure
CR 5-10 3,250 gp - 5,000 gp in Total Treasure
CR 11-16 20,000 gp - 45,000 gp in Total Treasure
CR 17+ 195,000 gp - 415,000 gp in Total Treasure
"Total Treasure" meaning the worth (in Gold Pieces) of everything the Party loots, including the Price of Magical Items, Potions, Spell Scrolls, Trinkets, Adventuring Gear, Weapons, Armor, Books & Tomes and Spell Components.
For Example, a Party loots a Adult Dragon's Hoard and finds the following: 26,000 Gold Pieces, 9 Blue Sapphires each worth 1,000 Gold Pieces, a Bag of Gold Dust worth 25 Gold Pieces and finally a bejeweled drinking horn worth 100 Gold Pieces.
That comes to a Total of 35,125 Gold Pieces, putting it almost square in the middle range for a Treasure Hoard of a Creature of that CR.
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dwarfstarscast · 3 years ago
i’m curious about this reward-based system you have with your players. what is it exactly? it sounds interesting, and i’d like to use it with my new players, as they aren’t as motivated to creat a good character backstory.
A lot of the credit will have to go to a DM and friend of mine, Ashley! When I played a campaign with her, she implemented this idea and I loved it so much I took it and edited it for my own personal use in this campaign.
The essential idea for me is that… well, I think it’s a bit silly for player characters to start on a completely blank slate. Surely some of them have been on some adventures before, or at least given a family heirloom or something, right? And this is a way to give them that chance - but they must pay the price of writing some juicy backstory details for you! I find it especially helps players who don’t know what their backstory is or many details about it. More importantly it rewards them for doing so!
For DS&D, I wrote up a “character creator” document. This had setting information, deities, and other notes, including a section I entitled “Assembling your Character.” This section was broken into subsections to be answered or tasks to be completed:
Basics/Personality (mandatory)
Writing a short story from the characters’ point of view as if it were a novel
Creating a collage of images relating to your character (10+ pictures, with an example later)
Assembling a playlist of 8+ songs that your character might like or relate
Each subsection answered or task completed and sent back to me earned the player 1 point, for a total of 7 points (to note, all of my players earned 6 or 7 points out of 7! I love them all so much). Each point earned them a tiered, non-stacked reward, as follows:
Nothing! Wah wah wah…
An extra 50 gold
An extra 100 gold
1 potion of healing
+5 hit points
+1 to any ability score of your choice
One free feat or a low-grade magical item at my discretion*
*This magical weapon could either be selected from a list I provided or a custom-made magical item that catered to their character. Three people earned 7 points - Corbin (who asked for a specific magical item, which I approved), Shannon, and Travis (who asked for customized magic items).
More detail on each of subsections under the cut!
So let me go back a second and and talk about the questions in each subsection. Each section’s questions took up one-half to three-quarters of a page (mostly of blank space), and almost everyone gave me back each subsection as a full page of detail.
The Basics/Personality subsection included… well, the basics, so I made this section required! It asked race, class, pronouns/gender identity, sexuality, height, weight, skin colour, home world, hobbies, if they had any tattoos (and of what), and such. I also required they give some simple personality qualities: four positive traits (ex., generous with money, selfless, honest) and two negative traits (ex., stubborn, argumentative).
The Backstory subsection included questions like, “What were/are your character’s parents like? What did/do they do for a living?” “How many siblings does your character have? Do they get along?” “Describe in brief one life-changing event.” “How did your character earn the skillset of their class?”
The Interaction subsection focuses on how the character interacts with the world around them. “How does your character treat strangers? How do they treat friends?” “What does your character look for in friends? In significant others?” “How does your character handle stress? What are their fears?” “How does your character handle issues of morality?”
The Self-Reflection is about how the character views themselves. “What is your character’s opinion of themselves?” “Does your character have a motto or code of morality or philosophy?” “What does your character hope to gain in this campaign?” “What would your character say are their strengths? Their weaknesses?”
As far as the shorty story was concerned, most people sent me an in-character view of a significant event in their life. Shannon, for example, wrote me a lovely piece about the last ceremony Reydira attended before leaving her commune to join SEO - a goodbye ceremony from her fellow commune members. She described the nervousness and excitement that Reydira - a woman who had never left the commune before, a commune people rarely left in general - felt as she got up on stage to say goodbye. I didn’t add a word limit, and only asked them to write what they felt comfortable to write about.
For the playlist, some of my players made me a spotify playlist to subscribe them, while others wrote a list and sent it to me, while others sent me the occasional youtube video like, “Oh, this is SO my character!”
The collage one got a bit more questions from my players, mostly about what I meant or what I wanted. I used this as an example:
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I did this one for my DM Ashley of my 3.5e binder, Amysthea (who became the basis for the goddess Setyri, a member of the pantheon of the Five Stars)!
As far as I was concerned, my players were free to make their own art or pillage it from the internet. Some of my players ended up putting together collages like this, while others hopped on pinterest and made entire pinterest boards for their character. 
Just so you know, my players had, like… 2 months to answer all this stuff! Most people turned it in within a week or two, though, haha.
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tabletoptier · a year ago
Quick DM Tip #12 -
Add some flare and dramatic scenes to the campaign if you're playing a more lore based setting. Scenes of drama, possibly a slowed down fight scene, or a detailed description of an atmosphere. Make it your own and pull them in, then leave them wondering what the future may become for your travelers.....
Live free. Die dramatic.
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legionofmyth · 11 months ago
[38-2.3] - The OG GM | How to apply Adventure Advocacy
The OG GM explains what #Adventure Advocacy is and how to apply it to your #TTRPG game. #gamemaster #dungeonmaster #dnd #tabletopRPG #DnD
ℹ️ The OG GM’s segment from the 21 Feb 2021 RPG DIE GEST livestream. 🙏 Thank you VERY much to our guests GRIM, Aaron the Pedantic, GM Dave, and The OG GM. 👍 Please take a moment to like, subscribe & share, share, share, it really helps us out. Thank you. 🕚 The full RPG DIE GEST livestream is only available to YouTube Members, Twitch Subscribers, and SubscribeStar Backers. GUEST LINKS Grim Jim…
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jpkyleliteraryservices · a year ago
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting as a GM
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dungeonmasterdude · 2 years ago
Choosing a campaign for new players.
Later today I will be meeting with some new players and I want to try something new. I want to go into it with no particular adventure in mind. Since they are new players I want to try and figure out what they want to play before making a selection. I have plenty of past campaigns I wouldn't mind returning too as well as access to some published adventures. Writing something new isn't out of the question either.
What sorts of questions would you ask new players with no experience in order to gauge what style of campaign to run? So far I plan to ask what aspect of D&D is appealing to them and describe some of the adventures I already have.
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dnd-homebrew5e · 3 years ago
I’m actually running a campaign where the players started out as members of a sort of knights of the round table thing, except all of the members are assigned a card from the Major Arcana and get a power associated with it! They all came up with characters and then I gave them their titles based on their personalities and classes and stuff. It’s super fun and I highly recommend. Lots of chances for intrigue and the like.
Sounds like fun. Big fan of extra special abilities given by the DM instead of strictly by magical items you own and racial/class features. 
In my homebrew game our DM gave us blessings from the spirit of an ancient golden dragon. It was very exciting and I will recommend every DM to do this for their players at some point. 
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nipplebrains · 2 years ago
Anyone wanna have a read of my one shot for D&D and tell me what I need to work and what is missing? It’s my first try at a campaign and my usual DM is playing so I don’t wanna ruin the game for her! 
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