D&D 4E The DM Game


The Premise. There is a dearth of 4e games. If you narrow in on good 4e games (whatever that may mean to you in particular, but I generally take it to mean the sort of game you yourself would like to play in) then their number becomes miniscule. With that being the case, the DM’s running these good games are never going to get an opportunity to play in one themselves.

The Solution. The DM game. A game of rotating DM’s. Sure it’ll mean taking your turn behind the metaphysical screen once every six months or so, but isn’t DMing 2 months for the opportunity to play 10 months a year a good return on investment for your time, effort and creativity?

Who this is for. People who honestly enjoy DMing but who would also like to be part of the sort of game that they themselves run. You don’t have to actually be running another game to apply, but you do have to know how to run a game and be willing and happy to take your turn and put in the thought, effort and time required to make it a good game, which is to say the sort of game you’d like to play in.

Who this is not for. Beginners of any sort; those new to 4e or DMing. People who don’t actually like to DM, but are willing to suffer through it just to get to play in a (hopefully and presumably) good game. Also those smart-asses who think they can skate by on putting in virtually no effort to enrich the game or running their sessions in an utterly lackadaisical effortless manner.

The Pitch

I would like to gather a group of 5-8 like-minded creative and communicative individuals to participate in a game where they will all run their characters for 1-1/x of the time but also run the game 1/x of the time. If my math is right that should add up to one whole game. I am hoping for this to be a weekly occurrence on a European weekday Evening/ East Coast Afternoon/West Coast Brunch or crazy early Australian time the next day. It’s really that simple (and also that complicated as evidenced by the lengthy FAQ section).


Do you really think this can work? Yes, I absolutely do. Am I brimming with confidence? No, I am not. Would I bet on it? A sporting wager, sure. Would I bet the proverbial farm? Nope. It’s going to live or die (like most games to be honest) on the quality of people that put themselves forward to take part. If it’s a bunch of lackwit twats then I am not confident of being able to successfully organize a walk around the block with them. If it’s capable, creative and communicative folks then we can steal The Golden Fleece. I will be holding interviews with interested people and hoping I will be able to separate the two.

How do you see this working in a virtual space? I mean, it is something that does need solving, but I am not opposed to everyone running their own version of the game when it’s their turn on whatever their VTT of choice is. If someone has a subscription to Roll20 of some sort and wants to host it, I am not opposed to that either. It’s mostly a technical issue that, at worst, will require maintaining character sheets across different games and various VTT’s. Not ideal, but hardly an impediment to a good game.

How are you going to maintain a semblance of a balanced party with the party roster changing as DM’s and players rotate in and out? Ok, this one is mine, what I would ask! I do like to throw really tough and challenging fights against the party and I dislike having to parse numbers to do so. Having at least a few characters capable of throwing out a heal if necessary gives me the latitude to misjudge what they can handle without it becoming overly deadly. When we’re building the party we can either judiciously create a few hybrids, or we can have the same character play different roles depending on who else is in the group. I see no reason why the same character couldn’t be a 2 handed weapon wielding paladin then become a 2 handed weapon wielding cleric or even a 2 handed weapon wielding avenger. If we’re already maintaining multiple copies of the sheets then it’s relatively simple to decide what he’ll play as when that DM is running things based on who else is in the group and who’s missing.

Different DM’s have different house rules, how are you going to get those to align without changing them every time a new DM takes over? That seems like it would get really old really fast and could influence how characters work from DM to DM in fundamental ways. Once we have a group set we’ll discuss things like reasonable adults who want to have fun. Everyone will be invited and encouraged to put forward their own house rules and I am quite honestly looking forward to hearing them; we can discuss them and if they are not universally acclaimed we’ll have a vote and see how things stand. I am quite certain that the sort of people I would like to attract for this project will have their own preferences but I am also certain that those people will be able to graciously let go of them if the majority isn’t fond of their innovations as well as accept and adapt to those that most people do want to play with. I, personally, have some that change the way the game flows, and they’ve worked pretty well in the past, but if people don’t want them then I’ll have to work with that.

Is there going to be a continuing story or is every DM going to run his own thing? My preference would definitely be that there be an overarching story of some sort, but if most people want something else then that’s the way the group will veer. I think it’s more than likely that the narrative will be driven by the players more than the DM’s, since every character is going to be present x-1 times more than any single DM.

How are so many DM’s going to run a coherent continuing story? Simply by being good at communicating, how else? The DMs running in succession will likely have to discuss things at least a little to make certain that things go as smoothly as possible when the reigns get handed over. And even if you’re not the one next in line and you have an idea for something, you can always message whoever is running or due to run next and ask them if they wouldn’t mind introducing or foreshadowing whatever it is that you’ve dreamed up. Every step of this process is going to require a willingness to collaborate and communicate; this one is no different.

Is there a campaign world you envision this taking place in? Not really. Once the group is assembled we’ll decide on what world we’d all like to play in. It could be a published setting everyone has at least a passing knowledge of (so FR or maybe Greyhawk), a more obscure one if people are willing to read up a little on them (I am a huge Planescape fan) or we’ll make up something of our own. If everyone puts down 2 or 3 points of interest on a generic map of some sort we will have more than enough to start with and expand from as we need. Alternately, since I think it’s likely to be a character driven campaign, we could use the backgrounds of the various characters to inform the worldbuilding – I’ve never done that before and it could be fun. Additionally, if we find ourselves needing something more coherent and cohesive especially regarding the history of the world, we can always play a session of Microscope to establish it.


I hope I have answered most of the questions that might come up while making it clear what sort of project this is and what sort of people are required for it to take off and thrive. I am, however, more than fallible and if there is anything that is still unclear please don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my best answer. Other than that, if you’ve read through this and feel that you would like to take part then please send me a message so we can work out a convenient time for a short (10-15 mins.) interview. Thank you all for your attention. My Discord is DarkGreen (no numbers) and is likely the best place to contact me for a timely response.

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I have done something like this once. Before Virtual games. First to make it work thier has to be a document of things that are sacred and the DM's can't mess with, and a list of things that can but how it's limited. The main thing is set a good solid framework for what can't be changed, what is hard to change etc so that all DM's are working from the same restrictions. The way our group did it was each DM had a zone in the campaign area that was thier own. they made it up, races npc's etc and within the overall framework it was thier's to modify. when the game crossed zones DM's changed. Person who had been DM'ing then brought in thier character at an appropriate level and became a player. New DM's player became NPC and had to do other things while game continued. It can be fun but the DM's have to respect each other differences and no retaliatory dm'ing. Also when events cause one zone to affect another zone the two DM's in charge of the Zones (or however many are involved) must get together out of game and work out how it works. It's a lot more backend out of game work to keep it flowing because if you try to do the world stuff at the table with everyone then there are no surprises.


I appreciate your thoughts, but I am leaning more towards playing with mature adults that want to have fun and collaborate. If there is a certain NPC or plot point that they would prefer the others not use, sure, but for the most part my hope is that people will actually want to riff off of what others have established and be equally curious to see what others make of their creations. Obviously, there is not right way to do it, but I feel that with the right people, and finding those IS the assumption I am working off of, then leaving it to people to be mature adults about things is the way to go.


would have to be the right group. I think my current group could pull it off but I don't think they would want too. It would stress out the perfectionists who'd be so worried about messing something up or aggravating someone else it would just suck the fun out of it for them

We did this in the 2e era with 3 DMs . It was a lot of fun. We purposely did not give the next DM any background notes.

So the new DM knew everything from being a player and didn't outright contradict that but otherwise anything not yet revealed was fair game. It was fun as one of the DMs to know what I had planed for x, y, z and see how different the next DM made it!

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