On Being A Dungeon Master

So, after a long, long time of just being a basic player, I finally got the chance to be a dungeon master and run my own little campaign. I played with my normal group of players and we did a couple of small sessions, all loosely based on the world of Skyrim. And it was a HUGE amount of fun! To the point that I’m a little bit too excited to do it again.

It really is like herding cats though.

Well, in my case, it was literally herding cats. I’m leading a group of definitely not Khajiit through various ruins as they battle a vampire menace. It’s a huge amount of fun leading this party through all sorts of silly places, watching them decide what to do and then giving them lots of shinies for not dying.

So far they explored a vampire crypt, made the right choice involving a vampire holding an ancient relic and have saved a cleric on behalf of an angry paladin. They’ll soon be finding out what this weird scroll thing is and what they can do with it. This may or may not involve nuclear scrolls.

The party has also managed to slaughter their way through a LOT of enemies.

Trying to find the right balance is the tricky bit!

Seriously, every fight created seemed far, far too easy. The Warlock and the Ranger seemed fine, but the Swashbuckler Rogue and their sneak attacks meant that basically everything died before I had a chance to, well, actually have the bad guys do anything.

That I don’t mind too much, but it’s quickly reaching a point that the Warlock and the Ranger don’t really get to do anything. So I’ve got to restructure my fights so those two get to be involved as well. Right now the combat is basically “Rogue sneaks in and kills three people and the other two pick off what’s left”. This is not much fun for either the Warlock or Ranger because neither of them get kills of their own.

There’s also disagreements.

At the end of the day, it’s the DM’s game, they’re telling the story, and sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

Frankly, you’re in a room with a minotaur, even if you get a natural 20, I’m not really sure how that’s going to intimidate said minotaur. I mean, you’re three skinny cat people. It’s a minotaur. A pretty big one.

For the sake of arguments and just getting the conflict over with, I let them intimidate the minotaur. That did basically ruin the whole fight. But that’s fine, I just altered the fight and introduced some different elements into the fight, notably a second enemy controlling the minotaur, and they had to locate and fight that enemy instead.

But sometimes, you have to say no. Because I’m not dealing with these guys keeping that minotaur as a pet.

No matter what, you can work around these things.

Having an ounce of creativity is key. I find that having a basic plan is best, but I need to adapt to each conflict, to keep the story going even when players get sidetracked or take unintended paths.

I would however appreciate even a tiny weeny bit of respect for literally any of the characters I’ve created for this campaign. Sure, the paladin guy’s an asshole, but Mundy’s a nice guy who’s helped you the entirety of the campaign.

Death by D20
Death by D20


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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