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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%

As much as I want the books to be better there is no substitute for experience. Nothing else comes close. Probably the ideal sequence is
Play with an experienced DM​
Talk with that experienced DM about DMing​
DM with people who have played and/or DMed before​
Talk with those people about how things went and what can improve​
Run for people new to the game.​
EDIT: The DM you play with and talk with about DMing should be one whose game you enjoy. The people in the first game you run should be similarly vetted. That probably goes without saying but now it's been said anyway.

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What I would choose (and I've advocated for before) isn't represented in the above.

* Eschew the GM as Jedi and aspiring GM as padawan relationship. I don't feel like this has been good for our hobby at all. Don't let someone's idea of what you should be doing infect your curiosity and creativity and boldness. Its just as likely or more to curtail you or frighten you as it is to aid you.

* Read the book or book that you're trying to run. Imagine play. Work hard to conceive "what is this game trying to do" and "how does this game do that thing?"

* Practice discrete conflicts where you aren't burdened with maintaining a through line of narrative continuity so you can focus on making this particular thing awesome and running it correctly. Focus on the type of stuff that is fundamental to play while you aren't burdened with the fear and stress of running a game. Practice combats. Practice social conflicts. Practice expeditions/journeys and all that goes with that (presenting multiple compelling routes foregrounding conflict and telegraphing consequences of alternative routes, climbing obstacles, hazard-spanning obstacles, supernatural obstacles, denizens and locales etc). Practice fleeing/chases/driving off enemies. Practice supernatural conflicts. Practice the constituent parts for that are seminal/important for this game to work.

* Practice again. Think small and focused and work on your fundamentals. Think of how situation-framing and scenario-design create decision-points that are provocative and compelling. Think how twists and turns in the fiction and gamestate post-action resolution make for a better or worse play experience with respect to "what is this game trying to do."

* Now put it all together and boldly run a game.

* Be honest with your players and ask the same of them. Make sure your relationship is open and understanding.

* Be humble about your play. Make corrections. Do it again.
I think I would put this under the "figure it out as you go" category :)


Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Surprised to see no mention of Adventurers League.
Playing at a convention or store with strangers could be AL, as could be playing with friends/family who are experienced. There's nothing really unique about AL that isn't covered by playing with people.


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I had that in mind when I put playing at a game store as an option. The downside is that you are often playing with strangers which can be hit or miss
This is my own experience, of course, but I have found PFS/AL folks much more willing to help foster a new GM experience than those at conventions. A similar experience, but a bit different. Rotating casts of players and GMs, but a much higher chance of playing again. Continuous feedback and assistance to learn and improve. YMMV.

Is murdering a good DM and consuming their flesh so their power transfers to you off the table?
The problem is you need to consume the flesh raw and that exposes you to more parasites than most people are comfortable with and it tastes nasty.

That's what I heard anyway.

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