So you want to be a dungeon master, huh? Congratulations! You've taken the first step towards becoming the worst enemy of your friends. Just kidding, sort of. Being a dungeon master can be tough, especially if you've never done it before. But don't worry, I'm here to help you not suck. Here are some tips on how to improve as a dungeon master for your next dungeons and dragons campaign.
Plan ahead. This one seems obvious, but it's really important. If you're winging it, your players will know, and they will get frustrated. Take some time to plan out your campaign beforehand so that you know what's going to happen and when. This will make the game more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Be flexible. That being said, sometimes things don't go according to plan. Maybe your players decide they want to do something that you didn't account for. That's okay! Just roll with it and go with the flow. The important thing is that everyone is having fun.
Be prepared. This goes hand-in-hand with tip number one. In addition to planning ahead, you also need to be prepared for anything that might come up during the game. Make sure you have all the materials you need on hand so that there are no disruptions in gameplay. This includes things like extra dice, minis, maps, etc.
Know the rules... but don't be a rules lawyer. It's important that you know the rules of the game inside and out so that you can make rulings when necessary. However, don't be That Guy who argues over every little detail or tries to take advantage of loopholes in the rules. That's not fun for anyone involved. just remember that the most important thing is that everyone is having a good time playing the game.
... but feel free to break them. Just because something is written in the rulebook doesn't mean you have to do it that way. If there's something you want to do that bent or outright breaks the rules, go for it! Again, the most important thing is that everyone has fun while playing.
Explain everything. Your players should never feel like they're in the dark about what's going on. If there's something they need to know, make sure you explain it clearly. If they still don't understand, try explaining it differently. Remember, they're not mind readers!
Be descriptive. One of the most important parts of being a dungeon master is setting the scene for your players. When they're envisioning the world you've created, they should be able to see, smell, taste, feel, and hear everything around them. The more detailed your descriptions, the better!
Bring snacks. Seriously, this one is non-negotiable. If you're going to be running a long game, make sure there are snacks and drinks for everyone involved. Nobody likes playing on an empty stomach!
Have fun! This one might seem obvious, but it's really important. If you're not having fun while running the game, your players won't have fun either. So relax, have some fun, and enjoy yourself!
Bonus tip: Find a good balance between planning and spontaneity. You should have a general idea of what's going to happen in your campaign, but leave room for spontaneity too. That way if your players do something unexpected, you can just roll with it!
Being a dungeon master can be tough, but if you follow these tips, hopefully, you won't suck at it too much! Just remember to have fun and be prepared for anything (including hungry players). Good luck!