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Know Your DM

The idea for this page grew out of 2007-07-17 In Character. It’s supposed to serve as a quick summary for potential new players.

Here’s how we play:

  1. Characters start with very little background: Name, class, race, alignment, job, a friend or relative they know, two reasons to join the party, and maybe a patron deity. I’m trying to keep upfront investment small.
  2. Over time, the things that people actually do turn into the background of their future selves.
  3. If you add a trait to your character, make sure this is entertaining for the rest of the players.
  4. This is not therapy. I don’t feel like putting up with conflicted or disturbing players or characters.
  5. I try to minimize wasted prep time, so my campaigns don’t have elaborate backgrounds unless players feel like working with me on some of that. This way I’m sure that we’ll have exactly as much background as is both necessary and relevant.
  6. Third person or first person, it doesn’t matter, as long as the action flows smoothly.
  7. I keep descriptions as short as possible. Make every word count, and leave the rest to the players.
  8. I prefer forgetting about the rules if that makes for a better scene.
  9. I don’t like the exact accounting of move actions (move-equivalent actions, movement speeds). I felt this was a great benefit of 2nd ed. combat movement rules: Since every round was one minute long, you could usually move all over the battlefield with a round.
  10. Both acting and dice rolling are fine as long as we’re all having fun at the table.
  11. I don’t like conflict at the table. A little in-game conflict between players can be entertaining but conflict spilling out on to the table is not. If the game master is seen as a referee, as a source of challenges, then that’s good but too much adversity can turn into an emotional drain for the game master.

See also: How I Roll.

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