D&D General What is the worst piece of DM advice people give that you see commonly spread?


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
“The rules are there for a reason. If we don’t adhere to them we might as [XYZ nonsense]!”

No, the rules are to give you an idea of how to play, and to facilitate the stuff you don’t want to put work into. They literally are guidelines.

“Start small, just a village, don’t try to build anything else.”

Nothing makes me less interested in a campaign than a world so generic it can be jumped into with literally nothing more than a town and its surroundings.

Better to use player input about what they want to play to build the broad strokes of at least a large region of the world, with basic ideas of the basic types of places are outside of it and have influence on history and culture but aren’t part of the region.

It’s a lot easier to wing it with a skeleton than with nothing.

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Like I said, it implies advice.

And ever social media site has morons, not just YT

Or are you implying that everyone who has ever linked to a Youtube video on this site shouldn't because nothing said on YT is relevant or valid?
I'm definitely saying Youtube was way more dumb comments per video is normal for social media. TikTok might be worse, I don't know, but Youtube is absolutely bottom of the barrel for quality of comments, and anyone taking things randos in the Youtube comments say as "relevant or valid" is someone who needs serious help with life. Like I hope they're a kid and that's the excuse!


5ever, or until 2024
One that use to be more common--including in the official rules, so not just advice--anything, specifically for D&D, that rewards "roleplaying", that is playing a particular character a certain way.

What I do not mean are rewards for the group, or rewards for showing up and playing, nor do I mean things that facilitate certain play styles or character types. Nor do I mean NPCs reacting to certain character behavior (as long the DM does not over do it).

What I mean is one player gets more XP (or can train more easily, or get a clear meta-game reward) for a session then another, and to explain why, the DM has to tell the other player that he was not playing his character as well, and hence is effectively telling that player how to play his character. The great majority of the time, this is just not a good idea.

Yes, there may be some exceptions. An inspiration mechanic that rewards something cool at the table can be ok (though I don't do that). Non-D&D games may have subtler or more interesting ways of rewarding RP choices. And the player could really be doing something disruptive or really self-defeating, but then this should be dealt with in terms of telling the player, not through some mechanic.

EDIT: I realize I am blurring mechanics and advice, but there has also been plenty of advice over the years that essentially forces the DM to tell a player that they are doing it wrong.


Most of the advice I'm seeing commonly spread...is pretty good advice. Like, you guys are definitely pointing out some bad advice, but commonly spread?

The best advice I would give is "it's okay to be wrong."
I think the OP posters asking for bad advise that each person has seen commonly spread, not bad advise that is commonly spread by numerous people


If the DM has to occasionally tell a player that they cannot do something because it violates the rules of the game (i.e. too many actions or casting a leveled spell and bonus action spell on their turn) the player should be booted from the game because they're being problematic.

I'd submit: "You need to know all of the rules and be an excellent storyteller to be a DM"
The truth is that you just need to be present and willing to give it a try. You'll learn over time, but any DM is better than no DM, and people are awfully patient if you're putting yourself forward for their entertainment. Just do it!
Actually, “any DM is better than no DM” is my pick for worst advice. 😀


I see a lot of lying to players for their own good.

I have also seen the demand for DMs to cater specifically to player's characters and optimization paths.

If there is a rogue make a lot of traps. If there is a greatsword wielder make magic greatswords.

Where it pushes over the line is that it is often followed by the idea that all DMs who don't do this are bad and mean.

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