D&D 5E What is the best way to learn how to be a DM?

What is the best way to learn how to be a DM?

  • The Dungeon Master's Guide

    Votes: 10 12.5%
  • The official starter set and/or essentials kit

    Votes: 22 27.5%
  • A wotc adventure book

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • Watching or listening to an actual play series

    Votes: 14 17.5%
  • Mike Shea - Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master

    Votes: 9 11.3%
  • Other 3rd party products

    Votes: 3 3.8%
  • Matt Colville - "Running the Game" series on youtube

    Votes: 13 16.3%
  • Other videos

    Votes: 2 2.5%
  • Playing friends/family who are experienced players

    Votes: 64 80.0%
  • Playing at a convention or game store with strangers

    Votes: 12 15.0%
  • Playing with friends/family who have no experience, figuring it out as you go

    Votes: 31 38.8%

I think I would put this under the "figure it out as you go" category :)

What I’m envisioning, and what I tried to convey, is more “a disciplined application of a fornula that has worked well for other endeavors.”

1) Understand paradigm at a conceptual level.

2) Build a substrate of sound fundamentals.

3) Put (1) and (2) together before you “go live.”

I felt “figure it out as you go” was more “art or anarchy or feel” vs what im depicting above, so that is why I didn’t go with that. Were you envisioning “figure it out as you go” captures that model?
 

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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I'm sure it has worked out well for you and that you miss your cousin dearly.
It has--totally worth it--but yeah, there are times when I miss him. Fortunately, sometimes he channels his spirit through me, but then I end up yelling at myself. What can you do, right? 🤷‍♂️
 

niklinna

Legend
I would like for there to be some sort of comprehensive book that I could read, that progressively laid down the fundamentals, addressed DM and player motivations from the start, talked about how D&D interfaces (and doesn't interface) with those motivations, and offered ways to tailor things to address varying motivations. Ways to apply general rules to specific situations that might not be obvious. When and what to handle transparently vs. hiding info (of whatever sort) from players...which can relate to motivations. How to scale things up from a simple adventure (easier for a beginner), to more involved adventure, to a series of related advantures, to a sprawling campaign. How and why to homebrew (or not, digital tech and league play being what they are these days). Stuff like that.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Just dive in and figure it out as you go. Most of the options are great for hints, tips, tricks, etc. But the only way to really learn is by doing it. It’s probably better to play awhile first, but if that’s not an option, just dive in.
 

Oofta

Legend
Is murdering a good DM and consuming their flesh so their power transfers to you off the table?
Sadly it's very hard to get dice while in prison, so I hope you're good at arts and crafts. I hear origami can come in handy for those d20s. :)
 

What I’m envisioning, and what I tried to convey, is more “a disciplined application of a fornula that has worked well for other endeavors.”

1) Understand paradigm at a conceptual level.

2) Build a substrate of sound fundamentals.

3) Put (1) and (2) together before you “go live.”

I felt “figure it out as you go” was more “art or anarchy or feel” vs what im depicting above, so that is why I didn’t go with that. Were you envisioning “figure it out as you go” captures that model?
I think figuring it out as you go would be a kind of autodidactic process, so dependent on how people pick up new skills in general (and a host of other variables--age, language, etc). You sound very rigorous and mindful about your learning practice; not sure that would be the case for everyone (for a child, for example).
 


Hard disagree. While I don't think it should be necessary (as it was in the bad old days), I feel that your current DM is by far the best source of information for becoming a DM. They might be a jackwagon, but if you enjoy playing under them, then their style is probably similar enough to your own. If not... you should be looking for a new DM instead.
Assuming, of course, that you actually know what you definitely do enjoy doing and what you definitely don't enjoy doing. Also assuming you have the breadth of experience and contrast to be able to tell when you enjoyed things simply because you didn't know any better or didn't have any other options, vs when you enjoyed things because those things really were speaking directly to your interests.
 


delericho

Legend
Watch one, do one, teach one.

That is, I'd recommend by starting off either as a player in an existing game or, not quite as good, watching someone running a game online. That will give a feel for what it's all about and how it's done.

Then I'd recommend picking up a Starter Set or generating some small adventure of your own, and running that.

And then I'd recommend taking some time to explain to someone else what you're doing and why. That last step is surprisingly helpful - chances are you won't have really thought through those details until you have to explain to someone else.

That done, just get on with it. :)
 

I just want to emphasize how radically better the starter set adventures are for a new DM than the full book 5e adventures. The full campaign book adventures are (in my experience) mostly way too complicated and poorly presented to run other than as-is without becoming more trouble than they are worth. If you are destined to be an "exactly what the published adventure says" DM this is probably fine, but if not than it's probably the worst way to start.

The starter sets meanwhile have barebones adventures begging to be fleshed out by a creative DM and made their own, and even where they are not barebones they are simple enough that you can get a grasp of how everything interacts in them, making them much easier to tweak to your liking. And they come with both a little helpful advice for new DMs and all the monsters and items printed in the back so you don't need any books handy. For anyone who actually wants to be creative but also wants to save prep time and/or needs a little guidance they are WotC's best adventure products all around. It's a shame they don't design more products on the same model.

I'd also like to say that the worst thing you can do to the poor 5e DMG is expect it to teach a new DM how to DM. I think it would probably have a much better reputation if so many of us had not made the mistake of trying to use it for that. As a guide for someone who has already run games to level up their DMing skills it is vastly more effective.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Someone you know wants to start up a game of dnd 5e. Aside from the players handbook and monster manual, what, if anything, would you recommend they consider to learn how to run the game? Choose 3.

This should settle it! :ROFLMAO:. Though I made this 5e specific, it is arguably an even more pressing concern for non dnd games, that have fewer venues for teaching new players how to play. What have you found is the best way to learn a new system? I don't follow actual play series for entertainment, but personally I have found watching an actual play video, particularly with the creator of the game, is very helpful in seeing how it plays in practice.
I learnt to swim by swimming, not by watching swimmers or reading about swimming.

To me, games are the same. To quote Game Changer from Dropout, “The only way to learn is by playing, the only way to win is by learning, the only way to begin is by beginning.”

I voted for the play options, obviously.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
How is this option:

Playing friends/family who are experienced players​


No longer at 100%.... It was a while ago. Who the heck would NOT vote for the best way to learn to play... :confused:
 




bloodtide

Adventurer
I'm very much on the side of play the game and figure it out on your own.

The whole point of an RPG is you can play the game however you want, but this is something that has been lost in the internet age.

Too many starting gamers watch a video of one gaming group, and then think their game must be exactly a copy of that.
 

gorice

Adventurer
I (extremely reluctantly) voted for learning from experienced players or some of the better streamers. The books just aren't very useful, in my experience. I haven't played the starter sets: do they provide more/different advice than the PHB/basic rules?
 

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