Pages from the Sages
Being a DM (Dungeon Master) is a very hard job. It entails making sure the players have a good time. But he/she needs to make sure that they have fun running the game too. Being a good DM includes being prepared above all else. Know your material for the actual game, not necessarily every rule in D&D. A DM that is a quick thinker helps too. Searching for a certain rule during a gaming session slows things down. Use your best judgment and proceed with the game. Try not to manipulate player characters that much (easier said then done). Creativity helps when you are designing your own world and when visualizing situations as they happen for the players. Although all players contribute to the game (including the DM), ultimate success depends on the DM with his challenging content and riveting delivery.
When we took turns in our gaming group DMing, my one friend became DM and his only rule was this: “I am DM. I am God!”. Basically what he said went. Also when we gamed, we had what we called “the battle map”. This map was gridded and you could draw on it with dry erase markers. It helped greatly. Especially when detailing battles where everyone is standing and such. Or trying to describe the inside of a dungeon or the contents of a house. And I always loved whipping out props like scrolls that I had made or little toy keys and such. The players always loved this. I always liked separating players and telling certain ones to leave the room. I mean, it makes sense. Passing notes to players was always a cool thing to do. Even if they don’t say anything or they don’t make sense to them. The fact is the other players think that the other player knows something they don’t. Keep em’ guessing is what I always say.
I had this one campaign but it ended tragically. It was my fault. A little side quest from the bigger picture led the PC’s down into a tavern celler to get rid of the rats for the barkeep. Only these rats were Osquips. Big teeth. And very deadly. I kept rolling good for the rats, the players were rolling poorly. Next thing you know a character is killed. Shot the campaign all to hell. I learned a lot that gaming session. Maybe what I should have done was roll all dice rolls behind a screen and constructively cheated. I could have just had the rats run away for some apparent reason. Another mistake I made was that there were a couple of NPC’s along for the ride (one being a fearless undead slayer). My friend’s sisters were bored so I handed them a NPC character sheet each. They did not know what to do and were asking a lot of questions. One thing they did do was not go into the tavern basement with the others as I had planned on everybody being down there. Be wary of introducing new (brand new) players into an already established campaign. DMing experienced players is hard enough!
Above all, I love DMing because I let my natural creativity flow. And it’s good to hear that you ran a nice game from the players afterwards. Even if the game had some problems, let the characters give some criticism. It might even make the game that much more enjoyable the next time you play. But there are sometimes that you just like sitting back as a player character and letting the responsibility of Dungeon Master weigh on somebody else’s shoulders for a change…