I'm a new DM and can some one help me out
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 I'm a new DM and can some one help me out
Hello I just started DMing and I would like some advice. Its just me and my friends but I don't know
if its any fun for them. How do i make the campaign fun and interesting? All my friends have very
different personality's and playing styles so i'm not sure how i make it fun for all of them. Also I
find it hard to find times when we can all play. My friends also get distracted very easy and I
don't know how to make them pay attention. My brother just joined the group and he has never played
before. I'm not really sure what they want to do in the campaign. So far they have only been
following my linear story line that has some repetition in it. I just want them do decide what to do
instead of me telling them what to do. Also most of there characters don't have much of a background.
I think they enjoy me being the DM but I think they could have more fun if they made more decisions
and didn't get side tracked so easy.
 Marasmusine 02:37, 1 May 2012 (MDT)
Hi Cheesecake, first of all some links:
- Sly Flourish - Mike Shea's great DM advice blog.
- Critical Hit podcast - Go through the archive and listen to the Mailbag episodes, because the hosts answer your kind of question frequently.
- If all else fails put on a silly voice
So I think there's two things to look at here: How to keep your players invested in the long run, and how to keep them focused at the game.
For the long term, you have identified one particular style of gaming in which it's the players who drive the story, and the DM is just there to facilitate it. Like being an umpire at a tennis match, overseeing the players volleying the ball. The golden rule to this style is "Just Say Yes" but it requires the players to have at least an initial investment in the story. Have a session in which each player asks each of the other players a question about their character ("Where did you train to be a paladin?", "What is your father doing now"?), note down the answers, and let this be fuel for the story. If a mad sorcerer killed the paladin's father then you know who to make the surprise villain. Encourage moral quandries, so a player might need to choose between avenging a death and his duty as a paladin.
You need to ask what kind of adventure the players want - a dungeon hack, political intrigue, exploring new continents... - and make it clear from the outset what the theme is going to be. The Dungeon Master's Guide has advice about appeasing different kinds of players.
As for game focus, remember that the idea is to have fun, so some messing about it to be expected. But there's a few things I can't stand - I played a remote game once and a player went off and checked emails between combat rounds. When he came back he didn't know what was happening, or sometimes just wasn't there, leaving us hanging for 5 or more minutes. I told him (in the politest terms) that I didn't want him in the game any more. It's that simple. At the table, I won't have anyone texting, taking calls or otherwise not paying attention. One warning, and after that they don't play. If they haven't been keeping up when it's their turn to act, that holds the whole game up for everyone.
There's a million tips on how to make a session engaging, so hopefully there'll be some more advice below this, or go check out those links. Marasmusine 02:37, 1 May 2012 (MDT)