Advice for Dungeon Masters


I kind of feel like fudging rules/rolls is kind of a more advanced GM technique. Like, breaking the rules to chase a storyline can be totally OK. In some systems, it may make the game much less interesting (like I play older D&D, and half the game revolves around both avoiding risky rolls by trying to talk or scam your way through something or else dealing with the fallout of a bad roll in as clever a way as possible). So like, figure out the system, first, would be my suggestion?

And like this is a reply to Wazanator too and I want to add that I don’t think this is bad advice or anything like that, I just think that sometimes for new people the inclination can be to fudge things so no one (maybe) dies or doesn’t get a storyline go their way or whatever and then accidentally you’ve removed part of the guts of the game.


An alternative to this is to grab pictures of celebrities, screengrabs from movies. Doesn’t need to be perfect. You can go, here is the king or here is the king and that costs you almost nothing, but is extremely efficient and expressive.

You can do the same with maps too (take any old map, cut out pictures/print them out and glue them to their location on the map. Way more efficient than drawing, unless you’re lucky enough to be good at drawing things really quickly and clearly.


Find the game you ACTUALLY want to play; I think a lot of people go into RPGs deciding they want to play system X, but they create a game that totally isn’t equipped to handle the game they’re actually playing. Like, no, you really shouldn’t use 3.x d20 to play a game that isn’t about fantasy combat.

Be willing to be flexible about how many are at your table; I think the biggest thing I found is that sometimes, you just don’t have a good month for playing. School, work, life, before you know it, two people have to miss some sessions. One thing I would do is make sure you got a plan for these situations; either be willing to run short (and a little flexible with the on-going narrative so people can get back into it), or have a back up game/activity. I think it’s important to make a habit of getting around a table to game, even if it’s just some board games this week because a test is coming up.


These are all super useful! I’m DMing a game of Dungeon World for the first time tonight and I’m definitely going to use some of these.


I agree 100% that you should find the game you want to play. I’m not so hot on the idea that someone “really shouldn’t use 3.x d20 to play a game that isn’t about fantasy combat.” People have made d20 work for non-fantasy combat (or just plain old non-combat games) to great effect for a long, long time (and it’s definitely not worked for plenty of others!). If we could, I’d like to try to avoid re-litigating “system matters/system sometimes matters/system doesn’t matter” and anything that sort of leads down that path in these suggestions.


So I haven’t posted here before, but I just wanted to say that I been going through a lot of stuff posted here slowly, and I just DMd for the first time and it went really really well. So huge shout outs and thanks to yall for providing good resources


Excellent, glad we might be able to help!