We've all seen a hundred threads about the best advice for new DMs. But what's the worst advice for a new DM?

We've all seen a hundred threads about the best advice for new DMs. But what's the worst advice for a new DM?


DMs are basically a Monkey’s Paw. Any idea the players have, no matter how creative, you must find a way for it to blow up in their stupid faces.


A moment appreciation for the emphasis on "stupid" you chose to add there. I felt the emotion resonating within me. Well done!


One of my players recently picked up a monkey's paw so I have do to this unironically


My god I feel this so hard. Several GMs of this nature and it is damned exhausting.


The PCs are in YOUR story, and their agency is second to your narrative.


Lmao imagine giving your players agency


The players are the audience to our masterfully woven tales.


Captivated *and captive*.


By the gods I hate this one. Railroad campaign where you just wake up places and figure out what your supposed to and if you don’t your screwing up the DM’s plans.


DM: you wake up in a strange cavern Players: Don't you mean Tavern? DM: No Players: How? DM: Shut up and play


If this is the first session, actually great. If random, I would be so mad


isn’t that kinda like Out of the Abyss lol?


Yep but you wake in a prison.


Hey you, you're finally awake!


The prison start is such a good idea, I don't know why more people don't use it. It's been the default start in every Elder Scrolls game since Morrowind for a reason. You can be anyone, from anywhere, with any backstory, so long as at some point you were captured and thrown in prison. Why were you imprisoned? Up to you! Maybe it was justified, maybe you were falsely accused, or set up by a rival. Whatever the circumstances that led you to your cell, you start the game with a clear goal, escape. It's a simple, relatable goal, with plenty of room for clever problem solving, combat, or stealth.


Remember: **the players are your enemies.**


Oh God, I feel seen. This is one I did in my first campaign. No one told me it or anything, I was just...afraid of my PCs, I guess? They asked to start at level 10, and I foolishly let them. I was NOT ready for that, so all of a sudden every enemy could see invisible enemies and had +10 bonuses to hit and 109 hp. It was a nightmare. Thankfully, after that campaign disintegrated, my players gave me another chance and we've had great experiences ever since.


at level 10 enemies should have at least +10 to hit, have way more than 100 HP and have some way to perceive invisible creatures (although that is debatable and depends on their intelligence) if you want to reasonably challenge your players. Higher level D&D is nuts.


Yea but it was just like...npc guards and shit.


Once the players get to Level 11 or so, they're essentially superheroes. You'd be recognized anywhere if you were in your gear. If you've got rare races in your party, it would be *impossible* to hide. Hired henchmen guarding a place would start to wonder if they were on the correct side if they saw you approaching. If you managed to be quiet, you'd hear random bards singing and talking about you in taverns and inns all over the coast. Kids would be running around holding sticks, saying "I am Sir Loinsteak the Brave, have at thee!" When you walk into a small town, it would go quiet and people would start to hide. Why are you there? What shit is going to go down? If they could be brave enough to ask you, they know that by your whim, anything that goes bump in the night, generations of stories that frightened their grandparents, those terrors would simply *stop existing because you would fuck it up.*


Reading this really made me want to play that way. And it really makes me think of Exalted, with a slightly less antagonistic setting.


A level 11 Open Hand monk is basically close to untouchable with that Tranquility feature. Yeah, this feels about right. I'm gonna use this approach for NPCs' reactions to the party way more now.


I'm in two campaigns right now, both tier 3. One is like you described and it's a blast. We're big names and we get recognized. We're also often working on town-sized threats at a minimum, so not everyone is happy to see us. It's also been neat to see how the combat focus switched from saving ourselves to saving as many other people as possible.


Aaaand saved


Hot damn, that's a hell of a write up.


If they're not crying, you've failed as a DM!


What’s wrong, *Caleb*? Did the character who you created who shares a very personal element of your life that you’re often judged for so you could experience just an inkling of what life would be like if you were just accepted for who you are **died**? Well, if you don’t want that, maybe **pass your damn save next time!** It’s not my fault you only rolled a 16 on the die.


I definitely was worried this would go a different way Like poor Caleb made a character that also shares some disability/stigmatized trait with him so that he could feel like a hero and improve his own real life self confidence, only to have every NPC mock him and struggle to do basic adventuring tasks


I mean, this is advice for *new* DMs. I think you should have a failed campaign or two under your belt before you get personal.


I like this one because getting the players to cry can also be a very good DM.


And the reverse: the player is always right! I know you don't want five headed mongoose people with +5 CON as a racial trait in your campaign world and the class they showed you from dandwiki that gets unlimited 5d12 ranged attacks at level three feels overpowered. But they threw a little fit when you pushed back so best to just let them have it.


“And your character is…” - shuffles papers - “Literally just God. Well, I don’t see a problem with this. Have fun!”


Give ‘em the old Bruce Almighty treatment and hit them with millions of prayers every second.


Yeah I've learned a lot of DMing involves saying, "well I don't think it's going to be *that* easy but you can try" and then figuring out how to make the result interesting.


> Remember: **the players are your enemies.** Specifically the players, not their characters.


You need to make sure you plan for everything you party might do. If you party ever takes you by surprise and do something you had not planned for, you failed DnD


The trick is to not let them do anything you haven't planned for. If they insist, drop rocks on them.


- You come to a crossing, there a path on your left and one on your right. - Okay, I guess we're going to go right. - No you fucking don't. Rock fall. You die.


Both choices lead to the same place.


"After walking for 15 metres, the path loops around and connects with the one heading left."


I know we're joking, but one of my friend genuinely had an experience like that where the DM told the party they had to go the other way because that's what they had planned. Yikes.


My DM just had an "eerie mist" that was along only one of the two paths. A PC tried to walk through the mist and started taking acid damage, so we went the other way, lmao


"do you want to go over the mountains or through the Mines of Moria?" "Over" "...". "halfway over the mountains, there's a blizzard, it's impassable now"


Tolkien OG railroader


> ["Bro, you made no provision for mountain climbing. You spent six weeks in Rivendell, you had a map, you knew you had find a way over, under, or around these mountains, and in spite of that, you did literally no preparation. You just tried to walk over a mountain range in your normal outfits. You brought no climbing gear, or cold weather gear, and then you rolled really badly. You think this is me trying to tell you this is a bad idea, but in fact, you just suck at mountain climbing, Aragorn. That is not my fault."](https://youtu.be/KqIZytzzFKU?t=412)


Aragorn really was a ranger, he didn't have the right favored terrain(s)


Reminds me of Ravenloft.


Use pokemon logic! The road is under construction. It will be done after your next quest. There's an npc standing next to the road saying "You can't go there! There's tall grass there! There could be monsters!" They'll let you pass when you've leveled up. There's a rock in the way that you can't pass until your wizard has learned Move Earth.


Self-induced TPK in defiance!


Once my DM did something similar, just that my party powered through with a lot of heals and resistance potions. We found an abandoned shack with a boss battle and some nice loot. The rogue got an amulet that recreated the mist playing into his fantasy of "disappearing into the mist and striking from behind litteraly" but now he also dealt poison damage. Overall pretty cool sidegig.


Really that would make.me push on more I would probably die to acid damage to find out (or camp the night and get druid to blow the mist away next mornimg)


That's a mystery to explore and knowing the answer would probably help later on.(thinking why I would still pick path)


Lols. Then why make a split in the first place? It boggles me. It could be a winding narrow path. Almost like a railroad.


I kind of want to do this to teach my players to not stress about choices.


Occasionally I put empty rooms in dungeons and after about a half hour of making Perception checks and all kinds of Detect spells I just have them find a note that's like "this room was recently constructed and still empty; it's probably a good place to rest"


No that's too much work


This is fine if you’re subtle enough to let your shenanigans go unnoticed


I'd be sad if they didn't backtrack and notice the shenanigans. How else will they realise they are pawns in some twisted game getting played by the gods?


Unironically, that basically how a group of high schooler introduced me to D&D. They just looked at an excuse to not make me play the game. So i never got into D&D until i was much much older.


i forgot what the thread was about and got mad for a second so i guess this is good bad advice


I did this when I first started DMing, it was like a massive choose your own adventure thing. Like "if players do X go to pages Y and do section Z" it was exhausting.


I think everyone started like that to some extent. Especially DM who had not play before.


Oh god, I had a DM who exemplified this in the worst possible way. He would get noticeably annoyed and snarky with us whenever we did something he hadn't planned for. Every time we went off the beaten path, he would try to speed through it while not so subtly nudging us back onto the railroad tracks he had oh so kindly laid out for us. Really frustrating and inflexible guy to play with.


*Breaking news, Freddie, it looks like burn-out numbers for Table-Top players have gone up by a staggering rate of TWO THOUSAND percent in the last 24 hours. Yes, you heard that right, Freddie, TWO THOUSAND PERCENT. We're here live with the person said to be at the root of it all, /u/EddytorJesus, what do you have to say for yourself?*


"Don't hate me for spitting facts"


Whoops, still do this one a few years in


DND is a competition between the players and the DM. You win by killing the players. They win every time they have fun. Play to win.


um...by, um, by killing the... the players? Not the characters?


Now you're getting it!


You heard me.


So anyways, I started blasting…


Whoa there, Anakin.


Oh man...i just realised what I have been doing wrong.


Play. To. Win.


Play for keeps.


Or better yet: Pay to win.




Oooooohhhh now that’s just messed up.


"Coming up next: DOOOOOOM!"


This session is called “The Mystery of Death Saves with Disadvantage”


You give your players death saves?


I find agony bland when not seasoned by hope.


This is my favorite quote.


Everyone you play D&D with is judging you harshly, if it doesn’t go perfectly your friends will abandon you forever.


I actually had this happen to me. Met a guy through a friend. We played some one shots together, non D&D TTRPGs, and then I started a campaign and he joined as well. Seemed to be going really well and then one day he was like "Aight I'm out. I'm done. I'm not having fun." He left the group and he hasn't talked to me since, with the exception that when I removed his character from the group in DNDBeyond he messaged me to ask if I'd removed all of his access. tl;dr: the rest is the story of how he probably just pretended to be friendly to get access to resources to run his own game for my other friends. I think what happened was that our mutual friends told him we had literally everything on D&D Beyond, and he asked to join the campaign so he could get access to all the material, and then started running his own campaign through DNDBeyond for our mutual friends. When he'd finally decided to quit, he asked me to keep him on and bring him back as a bad guy sometime. I said sure, but proceeded to bench the character in the app which preserves their character but takes away the player's access to the DM's resources (which I didn't know). He then proceeded to message me about it. Not too long after that both our mutual friends quit my campaign, and I didn't find out that they had joined his until they got drunk and let it slip at DragonCon. It's been almost a year since it happened but it still stings. The funny thing is that if he'd at any point just said "Hey I'm interested in DMing a home game through DNDBeyond but never used it before, could I piggyback onto yours with a fake character to get access to everything and see how it goes" I'd have probably let him have access for the whole of his campaign if he wanted. It's that he thought he could successfully manipulate me like I'm some sort of sucker instead of a friend and that my other friends didn't have the balls to say they chose his home game over my roll20 one because it just hits different and instead just lied about it and kept it a secret for so long. Anyway rant over I just saw that line and it just kind of reflected my current life enough that I felt the need to get that off my chest.


Nice ex friends you got there!


I'm sorry that happened to you! That sucks. If it helps, there's lots of friendly strangers on /r/lfg desperate to find a DM. Throw a Google form together as an 'application', describe the game you want to run in a post there, and you're off! Also, on an unrelated note: check out owlbear.rodeo. It's the simplest virtual tabletop I've found, and I love using it in conjunction with discord. Really simplifies things for anyone that's ever fussed over the complexity or learning curve of roll20.


No worries, and thanks for the resources. I did have other friends fill the gap almost immediately, and honestly the game just got so much better after they left it was an overall positive thing for my sanity.


this one is too easy to overlook. We're all there to have fun. Worst DM I ever had was still all about the story and not at all about !them!


>Everyone ~~you play D&D with~~ is judging you harshly, if ~~it~~ **everything you say and do** doesn’t go perfectly your friends will abandon you forever. You've summarized my entire worldview!


Anxiety high five! Unless you don't want to. It's fine if you don't want to. Haha sorry for being stupid.


Yikes, I feel that one…


conversely, "when you're playing as the DM, just do whatever you want all the time. Its your game after all so if they don't like it they can leave."


You can't run a campaign unless you have all the details filled in. Bollocks.


I have my homebrew game set up the other way. I gave it a solid framework then asked my players to write its history. I have one player whos character *is* a historian, so we get super fun cool tidbits that the players want in this world. The second part of this is that any lore about the world that's ad-libbed/improvised during a session is automatically made canonical so long as there's no massive conflict with the pre-written frame work. I love having it set up this way because no matter what, when someone has a cool idea about part of a homebrew world, it gets piled on to this world that can be re used in new campaigns for years and still stay fresh and fun.


It's how I run some of my games, but to be fair, they're Dungeon World games -- the system doesn't mesh with established settings in 5e, especially not the Forgotten Realms. (DW campaigns are the bomb, though. I love that system.)


Put in all your fetishes and kinks. The world is your proverbial oyster.


NO! Your HAVE to flirt with my furry NPC if you want to get the information and progress, it's really not that big of a deal guys. Just because he's half naked, wearing a leash, and keeps calling you daddy. It's not creepy it's my world now do it! Also don't forget to lube up his d\*ldo.




The gnome cobbler approaches the party and offers to fix their shoes. (The party gets to travel 2 extra hours in the next 3 days without incurring exhaustion.) *starts making moaning noises as each character takes off their shoes*


Do you have a fEmAlE in your group? Make her the *target* of your fetishes and kinks. She'll appreciate the attention!


I was in a group run by a female dm and she was one freak, she made this moral dillema succubus dungeon that we had to solve, eventually we ended up buying some of the slaves and setting them free. The whole thing was kinky af lmao


[Dare you enter my magical realm?](https://gunshowcomic.com/471)


>"Only bad DMs cannot handle exotic races. I make humans and elves slaves so playing them is automatically a down side." ^ Bonus points for a direct quote?


Oh man, the slaves reference triggered an old (pretty unrelated) memory. This is a little bit of a story, so bear with me if you like. I used to play pretty regularly in our local Adventurers League. There were a lot of familiar faces, and a few random pepple each week. Usual stuff, mostly good people. After a session, a woman at the table I was playing with that night came to a few of us and said she was planning on DMing a campaign, and asked if we would be interested playing. She found a party of four, we worked out scheduling, and set a date for a session zero. We all showed up (proverbially speaking, it was an online game) excited to discuss the campaign and make some characters. The DM starts running us through the basics. It was her first time DMing and she was going to run LMoP. Standard stuff. She explains some ground rules, nothing crazy. She wanted a mosty "good" party (not necessarily by alignment, just generally heroic and not evil murderhobos), no graphic depictions of sex, no PvP. Then the big one. "Theres no racism or slavery in my world." Now I should mention that the DM is a younger black woman. Purely for context. As soon as she says that, one of the players chimes in. "Racism and slavery don't exist? That doesn't seem right. I mean, every culture has had slavery at some point..." And then he proceeds to go on a several minute speech about how slavery should exist and even be permissible in some situations. At one point the DM cuts in with "This is a fantasy world, and I'm not comfortable with those topics in my game, etc." She might as well have said nothing, because it did not even phase the player. Eventually we, as the other players, suggested he drop it because the DM was clearly getting frustrated. It only seemed to steel his resolve. Apparently slavery was a very necessary part of his D&D experience, because he would not give it up. During this little tirade, he also mentions that he's planning on playing a chaotic evil character but "Don't worry, it'll be fun, you'll see." Eventually the DM just left the call and posted a message in the Discord basically saying she didn't think the group would work. So yeah, that's how that party never made it to first session! A shame too, because I played in AL a fair bit with that DM and she was a great player. Probably would have made a great DM.


When I saw this thread, the bad DM advice that came to me was: "Ignore your players' sensitivities. Anyone who's bothered by events in a fantasy game is a pathetic millennial snowflake who wants a participation trophy for getting out of bed in the morning." As an old guy who started with OD&D in the 70s, I'm really happy to see the growing awareness of the importance of lines and veils in a group storytelling situation.


That's a weird thing to get hung up on as a player. It's a fantasy world. If you don't like your DM's setting from session 0, just leave. Personally, I love running settings full of prejudice and moral ambiguity with multiple factions. It is conducive to the sort of storytelling that interests me. Racism never comes up, but speciesism sure does. It's very *Discworld*-meets-Eberron. I probably wouldn't be interested in DMing the game that you just described... but I'd sure as heck love to play in it!


I’m like 97% sure he wanted to gather a slave army of some sort


I'd say more likely he just took issue with someone telling him what to do. There's a certain percent of the population you could kill by putting out a PSA saying remember to breathe air and drink water.


Bad advice that shows up in every thread: instead of talking to players about out of game and meta problems, just hit them with in game punishments.


Minor problem player? "That what a tarasque is for!"


If their character concept doesn't work, let them make it anyway, then kill them.


Are the rocks gonna fall on them? The rocks are gonna fall on them.


They're playing a certain way. You didn't talk to them about it, will not talk to them and want them to stop. How can I set up ingame punishments to stop them doing it?


If your party isn't strong enough, give them a DMPC with a homebrew cool ability so you can throw more epic fights at them.


The dmpc should be the main charecter in the story like a Westley or Luke sky walker. The rest of the party are there to support.them in their quest for their birthright.


If you have any kind of linear or pre-planned plot points, you’re railroading your players and not playing “real” DnD. On the flip side, you have to know the “end” of your campaign before you even start playing. If your players direct play, it’s also not “really” DnD. (Apparently people have strong feelings about what is or is not DnD.) A weird one I saw on here not long ago - if you allow context to shape how you set DCs, you’re not following DnD mechanics/you’re being arbitrary. Also: you must follow how everything is in the PHB and DMG.


"Just let you're player run whatever homebrew class they want"


In fact, ban official classes. They're boring anyways!


Ngl I'd totally do a comedy one-shot of "The adventure that old liar told you." Where it's an old man telling a made up story to the party that he claims to be "real" the story he tells is literally the session itself. Now how would this one-shot work? All books are banned, any homebrew is allowed and completely unmanaged and the DM needs to use homebrew as well for the monsters regardless of how broken it is. Once the sessions over you can cut back to the session you WERE running for the party to do whatever from or say whatever to the a NPC. But yeah, this one-shot would be a great way to have a break from the main session. Idk, I think it'd be funny to see what kind of chaos would happen in such a session if you've got cooperative players and a good table lol.


Ah, the Varric method.


Playing Favorites is a great idea!


You really want some irl tension between your players. It enhances roleplay.


Totally. Competition is healthy, and it's beneficial for the party to have infighting, because it adds to the realism.




You are definitely going to want your significant other to play, even if they are not particularly interested in the game. Then, you are going to want to alternate between showering them with gifts and help to make them feel special, and angrily chastising them for not understanding the game they don't care about.


Too specific it hurts


And don't forget that inspiration is made to make sure everyone at the table knows who the favourite is!


If you don't homebrew everything, from races to items you are a bad DM. You are also a bad DM if you run a prewritten adventure because adding quests based on characters backstories is impossible. About characters backstories don't forget to ask the players for mandatory long backgrounds, doesn't matter if they are self ending novels incompatible with a game


On the contrary I was mocked for my 100% home brew first campaign by a veteran DM


I wouldn’t mock, but I would strongly advise against it.


> About characters backstories don't forget to ask the players for mandatory long backgrounds, doesn't matter if they are self ending novels incompatible with a game Don't just ask for them, demand them!


You should be just like Matt Mercer or Matt Colville.


Nah, I'm just gonna be Chris Perkins. He makes it look easy, so it must be, right?


That said another bad advice on here constantly is "if a player mentions Matt mercer chuck em out the game as critical role is not " real" dnd and the player is a problem" Instead real advice would be talk to player about what aspects they like. Critical role is one way to play dnd and still has many of the core aspects so shitting on anyone wantin aspects of it is poor (I know you weren't but others do, you are right noone should be just like MM)


Step 1: change your name to Matt Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit... errr i mean great DnD campaigns


I'll be them as soon as my players become their players.


I love that when players act like the DM should be just like them the common responses to say that the player should be like the actors in the show. You want top tier DM'ing? Then I want top tier roleplay and acting.


Your players spend just as much time thinking about your campaign setting and their characters as you do, so if they forget any details about the game or the rules, it means they’re either idiots or jerks. Take this personally and make them feel guilty.


Always be flexible and say yes to everything if you want no confrontation. *rolls eyes* (wished I knew better)


Players only have fun if they're never challenged.


Players are always right. If they ask for your credit card info, you should give it to them.


Go ahead.... spend months building that expansive world full of lore. And make sure you keep it secret from your players so they'll be in for a surprise.


Better yet, make it all available and be heartbroken when they haven't read it all and committed it to memory.


I'm in this picture and I don't like it


Uggghh years ago I built an entire economy for a town. I filled on the gaps all the way. The fishermen sell to the fish market and the logging camp sells to so and so mercantile and tried to make an actual functioning town. I spent 3 or 4 days trying to make an actual functional economy. So on game day….. they spent one night in a tavern and spoke to maybe 5 npcs and split :(


Never waste time on towns that aren't central to an adventure, and (something I barely figured out the easy way) don't waste time on hard economics.


Being serious: trying too hard. Being a good DM is a craft that requires many skill sets and takes years to master. I see so many times people on here taking their first time way too seriously and putting far too much pressure on themselves. Start out ridiculously simple - and build from there.


Hey, get that *really good advice that people should take* out of here! This thread is for bad advice!


Oops! I failed my reading comprehension check. Replace with: the DM seriously needs to try and kill the characters and should use every opportunity to do so 😂


I think you mean you should spend 8 months world building and every time your players ask If they can play next week tell them not yet, not yet but soon. Because world building is more Important than actually playing


Go ahead and spontaneously take away player earned abilities instantly next session. No more magical flying ship you've spent three ingame sessions rolling for.


I accidentally did this once. They begged to keep an airship they'd been chartering for a mission when they finished and I said ok, but your next 15 sessions are in the underdark, so... I feel bad because one of them got all into the different kinds of improvements that could be made to the ship and everything. They'll be back on it as soon as the mission is done but I felt like SUCH a dick. I did give them the option not to take the underdark mission, but it was a huge plot point and a time sensitive part of one of their backstories, so while they could have abandoned it as players they really *couldn't*/*wouldn't* have been able to and stay in character and keep the plot.


Your job is to kill the players.


Bad D&D is better than no D&D


"Oh... Your running Dragon Heist! You should run the Alexandrian Remix.. "


Can I be lazy and ask why this is bad advice. I've been a player in dragon heist before and the remix sounds interesting but idk if it's like secretly toxic or something.


It's just a lot of extra moving parts as a first time DM. I read DH, then read the Remix, went "that's badass", ran all the villains and the extra story bits, forgot a lot of the module, got overwhelmed, cut out >!Jaraxle, Manshoon and the cassalanters!< and went back to >!Xanathar!< as a BBEG, and now I'm kinda floundering in the aftermath of my overzealous nature and panic - luckily my players are all having fun so they don't know how stressed I am trying to make a good story.


I've found "the Alexandrian" to cater to a _very_ specific playstyle, whilst his blog posts are 0% self-aware. An Alexandrian remix post could spend 2 A4 pages on fixing the timeline which priest of which specific god turned up at what rather arbitrary point in the timeline of the campaign because the source book mistook god A for God B, whilst simultaneously missing the point that you _dont need 3 different gods of evil in a single campaign_ and thus could've fixed the whole thing by just cutting 2 of the 3. Basically, although I admire his ability to write self-consistent lore, his remixes tend to be unplayable because they're so bloated, imo.


The inverse of this is: if you're a new DM, don't run WOTC published adventures that span more than 3 levels (exceptions: LMOP, DOIP)


The amount of people who recommend the Alexandrian remix to new DMs…


I've never heard of that. What's wrong with it?


There's nothing wrong with it, it's just not an easy place to start - you're having to run multiple factions with different agendas, deal with pacing issues and making sure you're dropping enough clues. If you are a first time DM, literally just get a PHB and the starter set and let rip. I've played through the first chapter a dozen times with different groups and like 10/12 had a great time. Edit: Wait, this is supposed to be bad advice for new DMs. Here we go: 'Make sure you understand everything in the PHB and DMG completely before you even start playing. If you are confused about a rule, STOP THE GAME IN ITS TRACKS to look it up. It is more important to get every rule exactly right than anything else.'


If a player says they do something without knowing it will hurt another player, don't question them and force them to hurt a friend after they realize it, especially if they're new. Nothing's funnier than a PC accidentally killing another PC cause they thought the diameter of Fireball was 20ft, not the radius.


Your friends are all assholes. Be sure to play with total strangers, and they will definitely love it if you incorporate your Mary Sue character to have sex with their character. Always play out the sex with rolls for various skills and magics. Include loud vigorous noises. Great idea, put on some hardcore porn that accurately simulates the ravaging going on in game.


***Only official content is "real" DnD.*** Lol. Bite me. ***Running homebrew is a far more legitimate DMing experience. Modules do all the work for you***. Again, LOL. Bite me. Modules are a different kind of work but they are still work. And I'm still working my butt off being a friggin' DM both in prep and at the table. Plus, if you are doing your job as the DM, nothing, not your homebrew or your module or 3rd party content will end up being run exactly as written on the page. We aren't writing a novel to be sent to the publisher and we aren't writing a play for the players to act out. We present a framework and possibilities and the actions, reactions, interactions and die rolls from the players and ourselves will create the story, regardless of the source material. So yeah, it was crap advice on both counts (from different DMs).


Having had equal amounts of experience DMing homebrew and modules, they're both great. Personally I love challenging myself to be flexible enough to do both of them, I find it a lot less limiting that way. I really enjoy doing homebrew and building a world, but there's some really great adventures to be had with modules too.


Make sure to track your win/loss ratio with your players. Good book-keeping helps to foster a healthy competitive environment at your table.


You're not really playing D&D unless you're streaming it.


If you have any kind of linear or pre-planned plot points, you’re railroading your players and not playing “real” DnD. On the flip side, you have to know the “end” of your campaign before you even start playing. If your players direct play, it’s also not “really” DnD. (Apparently people have strong feelings about what is or is not DnD.) A weird one I saw on here not long ago - if you allow context to shape how you set DCs, you’re not following DnD mechanics/you’re being arbitrary. Also: you must follow how everything (and I mean everything) is laid out/adjudicated in the PHB and DMG.


Immersion is important, so anytime a player takes damage stab them.


Real DMs treat D&D like a second job. If your players don’t thank you for your work or have to cancel because they’re going to their parents’ anniversary or whatever it means they’re bad players who don’t appreciate you.


Map everything.


You need to keep your players on task the whole time. Example: A new DM once created castle, and told us there was a flight of stairs leading up and a flight leading down. We elected to go up. He told us that we had a string desire to go down. We went up anyway. The upstairs magically transported us downstairs. Problem solved! Corollary: Players like treasure. Lots of it. Just give all the treasure you can. Example: Shortly after I quit the above campaign, I walked by the table while others were still playing. They had loads of ships, near infinite gold, and every magic item in the game. Still at level 1. I instantly regretted quitting and resolved to rejoin the campaign. Shockingly, though, that was the DM’s last session.


"actions have consequences". 99 out of 100 times, people use this to be a passive-aggressive dick DM. If a player does something you don't like, talk to the _player_. Don't take it out on the player's _character_. Second worst advise would be "watch critical role" Third'd probably be "DnD is a roleplaying experience". DnD is a roleplaying _game_ (for many), it's perfectly ok and often _necessary_ to sacrifice the roleplaying/narrative consistency just to keep the _game_ fun.


When you homebrew monsters, just throw *whatever* in the stat blocks.


In fact, don't just home brew monsters. Build PC character sheets for home brew monsters! Every enemy should have class levels!


Whatever: At the start of each round Each Player makes a DC charisma 15 check, if anyone fails, the DM gets to add one random ability from a table of his creation, this ability lasts for the rest of combat for this respective creature.


Oh, I meant any bonuses to hit, damage, saves, etc. Your idea might be good for an eldritch beast, where it only gains stats as the players find out about more about it.


Just starting out and you don’t like a rule? Go ahead and change that, what’s the worst thing that could happen? It’s never to early to start homebrewin’! After all, the point of the game is to make it as realistic as it can be! Also, you should remove the sneak attack feature from rogues. It’s too OP.


We shouldn’t allow married or sibling PCs at the table because they could become too attached to each other.


First you need to create the best cheese character with an epic cliche backstory. Next you need to move aside those pesky things, players I think they're called, and place your man front in center. Now run around the map with your servants defeating the strawman you put up and if anyone complains, power word kill their ass into oblivion. Extra points if you insert yourself into your servant's backstories, those things are so dumb anyway, honestly, they need you in there.


* Don't ever take anything away from players. If someone's too powerful and overshadowing the rest of the group, just buff everyone else. * If you have an experienced player who likes to optimize their characters, let them optimize everyone else's characters too. * Don't let PCs die.


Received from a player of mine: You can't have fun if people aren't constantly at the brink of dying.


- When running a horror-based campaign make sure to talk with your players about what is, and isn't okay. When they tell you what they're not comfortable with, make sure to include that. How else are you going to make the party member scared unless you make them relive a traumatic event? - Your campaign must run to Level 20. If your players aren't fighting literal gods in the end, it's simply no fun. - You must DM exactly like Matt Mercer. Anything else ruins the experience for the players. - If it ain't an entirely homebrew campaign, with entirely homebrew races, classes, weapons, and locations, it simply ain't worth running. - You must use a tabletop battlemap. How can Roll20 have any advantages? Just want to say, I actually prefer Roll20, even for sessions in-person. Dynamic Lighting is pretty cool, not going to lie. However, I understand the draw of physical battlemaps, I just prefer Roll20. It's honestly personal preference, use whatever the group is comfortable with.


You don't need to learn the rules. remember- the DM is always right. Just do whatever you want. remind the players of this.


The first thing to do if you want to run D&D is make your own world. It needs a novel pantheon, world map with a variety of nations and cultures that are not parallels of anything in history, several systems of currency, weather and political systems all simulated realistically. Write a few languages, describe a few hundred major cities etc. Then you will need to create a storyline. Write a plot that will take players from level 1 to 20. It should be a propulsive, original narrative with three dimensional characters and also a completely open experience where players can do anything they want at any moment. That done, you will want to look for some players and try to schedule your first game. The worst thing about the old school DMG some of us grew up with is that it gave the feeling one was supposed to be Tolkien, but again, but completely original. All so that you and your teenage friends could kill some monsters for a few hours.


Honest worst advice: it's about player fun, with the implicit idea that it's not about you, the DM, having fun. The table is for everyone to have a good time, this includes the DM. (I would say especially the DM, because provide they aren't jerks, a DM having fun will generally help the rest of the players have fun, too)


If you run a prebuilt, it’s going to be absolutely no fun. The only way, and the proper way, is homebrew


"Always say yes"


NPCs should be antagonistic by default. Everyone n your world should be against these wannabe “heroes”. If it’s not a shopkeeper hiking up prices to waste any reward the players were lucky enough to receive, then it should be the guards arresting them and possible execution. Remember, all players are evil murderhobos out to ruin YOUR fun.


Make up lots of house rules so that the game is really complicated for everyone to understand. Bonus points for nerfing certain classes that already are bad (like rogues, monks and rangers)


The "Gotcha" mentality. The Irony of a "Gotcha" DM is it fundamentally goes against what the DM is trying to achieve. The point of the "Gotcha" mentality is you are trying to reward your players for being smart, but by either manipulating or using their words against them, or not giving them the information they need. As there is a Huge difference between minimal information, and no information. For example, in a game that I was apart of we were going through the 1st level dungeon. My character, a rogue, decided to check for traps. Our DM said "roll it." and I got a 26. The DM said "There are no traps in this room." Literally one step later he says "You step on a pressure plate and a dart hits you in the neck, take 1 point of damage." I was like "WTF? I rolled a 26 you said there were no traps." To which he replied with "Yeah, there are no traps where you were standing, when you say you search traps you gotta be on your hands and knees." What the DM doesn't understand, is a 26 would imply a thorough search, and would supersede any arbitrary malarkey he set up. Had he also used a different phrasing, it would have given me the information I need. In another example, our party was inside of a small temple that we found in some mines. It was this large room, with six stone pillars holding the room aloft, with stained glass murals along the walls. One of the Dwarves origins, one of the dragons, and one of some sort of darkness and or fungal deity (I cannot remember). This was more or less an exploratory puzzle of lore we were trying to solve, but what our DM didn't tell us about that was critical to solution was the bits of broken glass on the floor that would have taken all but 10 seconds to describe. The thing is, a player, and by extension the character cannot reasonably assume there's more to a room if you don't describe it to them. If the DM said "Entering the room you see the three stained glass murals panning across the wall, six stone pillars with a snake twisting around them, and some broken glass on the floor." that gives us the minimal information a player needs to draw a conclusion. Broken glass implies that one of the murals is damaged. Looking at the three we immediately see, none of them appear to be broken which means that if it's on the ground and not spiderwebbed along the others it must be on the ceiling which is where the last mural that gives us the information we need to understand our quest much much easier.


If a player is being a wangrod, the best solution is to punish them in-game. Have them be killed by an invincible enemy, that will teach them a lesson.


Bad advice, "don't do a homebrew for your first campaign, do a module from the book." A dm told me that and I was like "tf you mean" and I did it anyways. My players love it and we're 40 sessions deep and my players aside from my brother didn't know I was a new DM cause of how I learned from my time as a player.


So…I wanna run homebrew. My girlfriend thinks I should run an established module. What should I know to make a kickass homebrew cowboy campaign?


Watch some "Dungeon World starting a campaign". Building out as needed is waaay better than building inwards, meaning build a town they start in, don't build a country and place them in it.


World build prior to playing so you have stuff established to flesh it out and the players have places to go and checkout. As for a homebrew campaign you just gotta come up with an idea you like and make it interesting for the players to investigate. I can't really tell you how to make it good, its all about execution and how well you DM. I was a natural DM that's what makes mine work. She wants you to run a module to get experience. I was using my homebrew to get experience and I made my world alive. The RP moments in my world are overall better than the combat moments so far.


I find running modules *significantly* more difficult than homebrew games. This is mostly due to WoTC's stubbornly counter-intuitive layout strategy, which regularly hides crucial (and useful) campaign information deep in the back chapters. Homebrew always feels more flexible and adaptive. You don't need much to get started, and there is less of a script to stick to. That being said, I am *so excited* to run ToA with my new group.


Make sure, as a newbie DM to watch every video about how to DM. Read all the articles about the different types of fun, how to have good pacing, and advanced tips and tricks behind game design. Watch exclusively Critical Role and other streaming D&D players. So that you can run an absolutely mechanically and structurally perfect campaign. Do not focus on creating a good vibe at the table, having fun, and goofing off with your friends for your first year or so. ​ (*My advice to newbie DM's is the opposite above. Read the rule book and skim the DM's guide. Watch one or two videos to get started and just play. Let mistakes happen and shenanigans' reign. Focus on creating a fun, welcoming table to play at and the skill at DMing will come all on it's own.)*