Well, the second episode of my first ever online D&D campaign was completed last week. It has been ages since I have created a campaign and I must admit it is very nice to have that creative outlet again as I think of encounters which interact with numerous plot lines. I’m determined to keep the episodes recorded and available, although I must admit to having done some editing this week since the intro didn’t have its sound on the LIVE session plus, there were times at the beginning when there was a lot of waiting around for people to arrive. I must also say that I even started to edit together a video of the strange activities and comments which occur but this is taking a little longer than what I initially expected. Anyway – without further ado! Here is episode two of the campaign – Brigadoon…
Well done if you have found this little section. I wanted to waffle about my experiences of being a DM (Dungeon Master) but not make it the main focus of the waffle.
Creating Encounters – Whenever you create a campaign or a series of adventures I think that you quite foolishly, have a ‘vision’ of how it is going to play out. This is important I think in order to identify the possible actions and outcomes of the encounter. However, I think it is often the case that the players think of completely different aspects or actions to interact with which can, as a starting DM, make things a little bit difficult. Coupled with this is the challenge aspect of the encounters. Although I have read how to create challenges within the DM Guide, I still find it difficult to gauge how easy or hard the players are going to find things. I’m currently keeping my dice rolls off the stream so I can be ‘creative’ with them if needed – I’m not planning on killing all the characters with one rampaging goblin!
Rules and role play – Everyone has their own playing style and I think it is important that people adapt to how the campaign and other players play. For me, the rules are there to allow things to happen within the campaign rather than the rules being there to allow the players to manipulate the story line. For example – I much prefer players to tell me what they want to do and then for me to say which skills they will use and what dice to roll, rather than people stating which skills they want to use – it is the difference between this – which I prefer – I want to grab the goblin from behind and try to slip my dagger into its back cupping its mouth to silent it – and this – I will use stealth to creep up on the goblin, remember I have advantage, and then I’ve rolled my to hit and it was a natural 20 so I have probably killed it with one shot and it probably didn’t make a sound. There was an incidence within this episode when a player asks to make a nature roll to ascertain how many hit points the mob still had left. For me, I would always concentrate on the actual campaign and encounter rather than using the rules and game mechanics. As a new DM I guess I sometimes just have to say – no. I’m lucky that my memory, despite my age, is still quite good and so after every adventure I am identifying areas which I need to investigate further and then ensuring that I have considered the existing rules, made my own decision about these and then informed my players. I was listening to a dungeon masters’ workshop on EncounterRolePlay and found it really helpful – especially when they were discussing the relationship between the DM and the players. I definitely want to be a DM who facilitates the players journey through the campaign rather than creating a ‘me against you’ environment.
And finally for this DM waffle –
New players – I’ve started to get people asking to join the campaign and although this is quite exciting it is also quite scary. Group dynamics are very important to me and I always think that it is important that new players understand how the other players play and how I DM. New people can join – that’s exciting! but only if their playing style fits into the existing group’s and campaign. I don’t want them to change in order to play but, at the same time, the campaign will not change for them. As someone in my Twitch chat said last week – sometimes the DM is required to stand his ground and, after encouraging a certain playing style, engage those acts of divine intervention which promotes conforming. Lightning bolts at the ready!
It’s really good to reflect on adventures and sessions and I must admit, writing this has definitely helped me to put my thoughts in order. If you have actually found this and listen/read it and know of any helpful hints, webpages or resources then please let me know in the comments below.