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AKA: What you need to know if you’re going to play in one of my games

I’m a story-driven DM. This means that I’m more concerned with relationships – between party members, between the party and NPCs, between heros and villains – than I am with keeping track of ammo and spell components. It also means that each campaign I run is designed and tailored for the players I’m running it for. Each story is a living, breathing thing that will grow and change based on how you, the players, interact with it. I put a lot of work into things, so actions have consequences. It’s also worth noting that because I work in homebrewed worlds, things won’t always work the same way as they do in standard D&D modules.

As far as I’m concerned, the DM’s job is to help players tell the best possible version of their story. That means powerful and inspiring heroes, equally powerful and terrifying villains, and a flexible framework of rules to help keep everything running smoothly. I employ house rules fairly liberally, am happy to homebrew almost anything if there’s a good enough reason for it, and I’ll do everything I can to make this game fun and satisfying for everyone. This includes:

  • I’m available during the week between sessions for anyone who wants to ask questions, discuss personal plots, work on customized items or spells or class abilities, etc
  • I’ve got access to pretty much all of the 5th edition source books, so feel free to get creative when pulling your character together. I can also probably help if you need to look something up and don’t have the books yourself.

IN EXCHANGE, I REQUIRE CERTAIN THINGS FROM MY PLAYERS

  • You need to show up. Even the first sessions, before the game really kicks off, will help both me and the rest of the players to start to get to know both each other and your characters.
  • You need to create characters who want to go on an adventure. Specifically, you need to create a character who wants to go on this adventure, whatever campaign you’ve signed on for, and who is at least willing to work with other people while they’re doing it. So spend a little bit of time learning about the campaign and talking with the people you’re going to be playing with, before you lock too firmly onto any one character concept.
  • Finally: you need to communicate! This starts at character creation and stays important all the way through – if you’ve got an idea for something you want to try, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to make it happen. If something’s bothering you about the game, or my style as a DM, or how the party is working, let us know! At the end of the day, D&D is about making everyone’s fantasies come to life, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

THINGS TO AVOID IF YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN IN MY GAMES

  • Trying to be the star of the show. Dungeons and Dragons is, in my opinion, an ensemble story. Each character will have moments to shine, but if you don’t want to share the spotlight, you probably won’t enjoy my games. This includes people who want to play loner characters that spend the whole time complaining about the adventure. That’s just another way of making the story all about you, and it’s rude.
  • Killing everything. There are plenty of DMs who are happy to run hack-and-slash games, and I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding one that works for you. I’m not one of those DMs. If you don’t want your character spending their session time in jail, maybe don’t murder everything that tries to talk to you.

AND HERE ARE JUST A COUPLE OF THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND …

Every now and then I meet a player who thinks that I’m out to get them, or that I’m attacking them personality. I’m promise you that I’m not. I love building epic stories with my players, and so that means that there will be bad guys trying very hard to crush you into dust, characters who will try to kill your characters, who may use underhanded tactics. Those are characters. I create them to challenge you, and I’m thrilled when you win. If you feel I’m being too harsh, the best thing you can do is let me know, because then I can try to adjust things. I am not trying to “beat” you or “win” this game.

As a sort of flip side to the previous thought – just because I’m not deliberately trying to kill your characters doesn’t mean that I’m going to pull my punches. Your characters may die. Resurrection, while in theory always possible, has costs. Angering the wrong NPCs will have in-game consequences that can make your gaming experience sort of miserable until you fix it. So while I probably won’t make you count arrows, or bother paying attention to minor spell components, don’t make the mistake of thinking that anything toes.

And a word of caution to the veterans: just to reiterate here, I run homebrew campaigns. That means that some things change. Creatures might not have alignments that you’re used to. They might also not have all of the same abilities that you’d expect. I do this to help keep a sense of wonder and surprise alive for ALL players, not just new ones – and to keep the players who’ve memorized the source material from having an unfair advantage in terms of how comfortable they feel at the table. Don’t worry, though – any major changes that I make will be listed at the top of the campaign guide. I’m not trying to punish people or pull the rug out from under you.

ABOVE ALL ELSE … HAVE FUN!

Seriously.

It’s a game.

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