D&D 5E Your one best piece of GM/DM advice?


Treat the game like improv. "Yes, and" your players when you can, and ask them to "yes, and" you and your plots. You are all storytellers.

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Steal ideas from the players. I had a game where the players had to acquire some magic rocks and bring them to the person that hired them. The rocks weren't important and were just a reason for them to go to a certain location. The players became convinced that the rocks were dragon eggs so I made them dragon eggs. Now they became very important as the PCs went to great lengths to hide these eggs from the bad guys.


Lots of good advice so far. For me the thing I'd add is to remember that unless a character in your game world wanted something to happen, it's irrelevant (this can be PCs or NPCs). Doesn't mean that stuff won't happen that's seemingly "random" or "just there for flavor"; just remember that those things aren't relevant unless they're tied to someone's motivations, either PC or NPC. The fastest, easiest way to make a game feel more like a "living world" is to have characters in that world have real motivations that are put into action.

The best stories aren't stories about stuff that happens in a vacuum; they're stories about people acting on the things that truly matter to them.

For me, the game world, the setting, the flavor, etc., can all take a back seat as long as there's people in that world doing interesting things that will have a meaningful impact on my character.


If you were to offer one single piece of GMing advice, what would it be?

(If this works out, I'll pick a few for an article).


What you look for twice exists.

This produces incredible verisimilitude despite making no sense at all. But the things people are pretty sure should exist generally do.


I've already given my best piece of advice, but here's my second. At least, it's second for me considering how I DM.

Plan for the next session at the end of the current session. Oftentimes someone has to be home at a certain time, the gaming store is closing, everyone is mentally drained/too excited by killing the BBEG to do this.

But take the time to plan the next session. Where will you play? Who can make it? What time? And then do in-game planning. Will the players travel somewhere? Are they going further into the dungeon? Are they up for following up some side quest? A few minutes at the end of the current session go a long to make the next session better.



Anytime you want to say "No" try to say "No, but..." or "Yes, if..." instead. Reward creativity, even if it stifles your plans.

But likewise, don't be afriad to say "NO" when you need to. There are plenty of good reasons to say no, not just to in-game activity but player behaviour, attitudes and actions. Not everything that happens at the table is okay. Nor should it be. A DM must have a firm and steady hand and be willing to use it.

And that plays into my advice: Be firm. Make a decision and stick to it. Maybe it's the right decision, maybe it's the wrong decision. Waffling over it will not benefit you, your players, or your game. Be consistent.
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