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5E What's fun about being a DM?

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The balancing act.
Making the players feel like they succeeded at something that was difficult, but still ensuring that they can succeed.
Coming up with answers to the crazy ideas the PCs spout.
Seeing how the PCs come up with answers to the crazy ideas I spout.
Feeling the world I have planned out slowly twist into something new and unexpected as it makes contact with The Enemy :-D


Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
There've been others along these lines: Watching the players (and their characters) interact with the scenarios at play. Seeing how they solve the problems they face, seeing how the characters evolve in play. I was never all that great at writing fiction, but as a DM I only need to write part of the story--the players will finish it one way or another.

Creating the setting and the scenarios scratches a lot of my creativity-itch, as well, and gaming satisfies most of my need for social contact--more so when there isn't a quasi-quarantine going on, of course.


World Traveller
I enjoy creating atmosphere. Some of the most fun I had as a DM was running Curse of Strahd. I had Tabletop Audio and Ambient Mixer to create creepy soundscapes. Crows and wolves, creaking wood and howling wind. Coupled with my descriptions, painted such an evocative picture. For the first few session of CoS we also only drank wine, as that was the only alcohol in Barovia. That didn't last long though. I wish I could run it again. I've got several great game soundtracks now, and Sword Coast Soundscapes on YouTube has great CoS audio.

I also love surprising the heck out of my players. The reveal of something crazy like a beholder or a mind-flayer never ceases to impress and its lots of fun.

Seeing the joy and excitement of your players. Seeing them bring the game and its world to life in new ways. Seeing them sometimes fear for the lives of their characters and sometimes exult in their victories.

Getting to create worlds and interesting characters is also a treat, to be sure.

And right now, with things being what they are out there, just giving people a place to forget all the woes and connect with other people is no small thing.


Limit Break Dancing
I like creating interesting challenges, and then seeing how the players solve or overcome them. "How do we sneak past the guards in the middle of an anti-magic field? Our usual tricks won't work this time..."

I like world-building: creating a vibrant, detailed, and interesting world for the players to explore. "I wonder what lies beyond the Wailing Wastes? Nobody has ever returned from there...at least, never returned with their sanity intact..."

I like character-building: watching the player characters go from level-one Nobodys to high-level Heroes, one quest at a time. Hercules and Cuchulainn need not apply; we are looking for Samwises, Pippins, and Frodos.

I like creating my own monsters, to play to the party's unique strengths and weaknesses, and toy with the players' expectations. "I thought you said this ooze was immune to lightning damage!" "The last one was!" "But the last one was black! This one is canary yellow with green spots!!!"

I like writing my own magic items, to reward the players in more interesting ways than "a number goes up." A magic shield that cuts the random encounter chance in half...a magic tent that can cast rope trick once a week...a potion of healing that refills itself at dawn....a vial of endothermic fire--it's like alchemist fire, except it does cold damage...


Creating a good story that the players enjoy. Even if I use some pre-made modules in the whole campaign, I try to make a few side adventures to fill in some things and make it player focused.

This is the juice for me. Creativity, story-telling. I love weaving a story and seeing where the players will go with it (which makes it all unpredictable and interesting for me).


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
My favorite thing about DMing is having only the barest sketches of a session prepared because I had a busy week and didn't have the prep time. But my players start reading more into a description or event and have these long planning conversations that end up becoming an impromptu writers workshop for me and I take an idea or two they came up with and run with it. Somehow, my adventures come across as more impressive to my players, and they are more impressed with what I've "planned", on those days when I was just improving off of their ideas.

That and crushing PCs, seeing them driven before my villains, and hearing the lamentations of their players.

Especially when it was caused by ideas they came up with.

Best things about being a DM:
  • Improvisation when the PCs inevitable jump off my carefully laid out railroad in the first 10 minutes of gameplay. :ROFLMAO:
  • Building the world behind the story, so I know what happens after the players jumped off my railroad. :sneaky:
  • Roleplaying a character that the players hate, but are either too afraid to attack or really need for something. :devil:
  • Telling the players about a major and unexpected plot twist, then sit back as they all start talking at the same time bubbling with ideas how to overcome this next obstable. :cool:

That, and of course crushing PCs, seeing them driven before my villains, and hearing the lamentations of the players.


Lifelong DM here.

Often I see posts about the hard work of being a DM, groups searching for a DM, the various responsibilities of a DM...

This thread is not about any of those things.

For those of you who love to run the game (and I am one of those), what is fun about being the DM? What drives you to take a seat behind the DM screen? What do you love about it?
I like being able to make the things I have in my imagination kinda come true.


I add to most things said. But last years I slowly realised I'm a fan of my players and their characters. I think that is the point where you are happy being the DM. It's like people doing movies, books and series all for me and only me.