How to be a better Dungeon Master

Since a few months (year?) we have now Roleplay Sessions going on within our boardgaming group. They organize themselves and live their lives aside of our regular boardgaming sessions …


From time to time, I have a new member (recently joined our Meetup Group) who is asking if he/she can host a RPG campaign. I’m always open for this type of initiatives, which keeps our group alive, but admittedly, often it “can go South” without a good preparation. While there Internet is overflowing with advice on how to be a good DM, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But it never hurts to learn more, so if you’re after some great places to start, here are some of Tim Colwill (one of the co-founders of Ten Copper – a website about roleplaying games, boardgames, tabletop etc.) favourites readings:

  • Roleplaying Tips: This is a weekly newsletter, partially crowdsourced and partially curated, where DMs ask each other questions and exchange tips. There’s loads of randomly generated tables being thrown about, new and wacky ideas for handling basic mechanics, and advice on world building, table setups, and more. You can look at it here and browse the back issues here.
  • The Dungeon Bastard: Bill “The Dungeon Bastard” Cavalier is a great read if you’re into the “I attack the darkness” school of DMing, with a real focus on old-school flavour, monsters that spray gold out of them when they die, and, of course, dungeon crawling.
  • Gnome Stew: This blog is written by a team of Game Masters and it’s all about Game Mastering (unsurprisingly). Look through this blog for really solid advice on a range of topics — not all of which may be relevant to you, but it’s a great resource nevertheless.
  • D&D With Porn Stars: This is exactly what it says on the tin, so don’t browse it at work. Run by Zak S (a porn star), he shares his anecdotes and DMing advice about games that he plays with his group (who are, you guessed it, porn stars). It’s not actually about porn (in any way), but what it is about is great advice for dungeon masters who enjoy randomly-generated tables, completely insane storylines and who don’t care about the rules at all. I find Zak and the team a very refreshing read after watching people arguing about rule interpretations on Reddit for 600 pages.
  • Play Dirty: This book, written by John Wick, is one of my favourite resources on DMing. I wouldn’t recommend that first-time Dungeon Masters jump into this book and apply all the advice straight away, but once you’ve found your feet, this book will show you how to kick your players’ out from under them. It’s a brutal read.


Source: Full article available here.


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