Play with different groups of people. It’s the only way to get better.
This was needed like a spring sunshine after a gloomy winter. Thank you. Your words are always well crafted, and even better, enjoyable to read. Thank you.
One of the best things to happen to the growth of D&D is the rise of the streaming games; but this is, conversely, one of the worst things to happen to DMs. Yes, there are actual games by actual DMs streamed out there- but the truly popular ones? Those aren't D&D games, those are entertainment. You will learn as much about being a good DM for your home game from watching Critical Role as you would learn to be a considerate lover from watching adult film clips off the internet; it's just not in the same ballpark.
I used to agree with this. I used to give this same advice. For new GMs, I still agree with this.
For more experienced GMs, I have come to disagree. Since this was originally posted, I decided to watch some CR, for sake of gaming-culture literacy, and have come to think that it is much less different from most home games than I initially thought. The players and GM on these shows do have skills most home tables do not, and have some gaming style elements that most of us don't use. But an experienced GM can see when those are in action, to pick out other GMing bits that may be of use, and those skills and style can be learned and applied, if the results seem like they'd be enjoyable.
As for later CR campaigns. I understand that there's tons of props and efforts to make it more commercial, and that the players start to behave more like they are hosts of a TV show, which probably annoys people who would prefer to see more "pure play", but I would not be able to tell, having not tried to watch those.
The best table dynamics are created through open communication. As weird as it sounds, a lot of tables don't have that. DMs that don't solicit input from players. And players that don't provide good feedback to the DMs.
Of course that's a big "if" in your second sentence in your second paragraph. The world is full of games where things aren't entirely working for GMs and players are sometimes having fun. Trying to figure out how to rectify those qualifications is often what GMs go on a search about.Honestly? Once one gets away from forums And their arguments, and understands the one basic idea, everything gets easier. Doesn't matter what top tier DMs do. Or what Mercer and gang does. Or what paid DMs do.
Its your table, your rules. If you and your players are having fun and it works for you, that's all that counts. Kitchen sink approach to races, limited selection on classes, railroads, sand boxes, dungeon crawls. All combat, no combat and all role-playing. Or all roll playing.
Your table, your rules.
Right but not realky. Fun is subjective, so you have to manage expectations. But that's for you as a DM and your players to work out. What works for Mercer or paid dms may not work for me, you.Of course that's a big "if" in your second sentence in your second paragraph. The world is full of games where things aren't entirely working for GMs and players are sometimes having fun. Trying to figure out how to rectify those qualifications is often what GMs go on a search about.