11 Ways to Be a Better Dungeon Master: Lessons Learned in Our First Year Recording 3 Wise DMs


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By The 3 Wise DMs. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

How much time should you spend prepping for individual game sessions? When should you improv and when should you plan more ahead of time? How can you keep rules lawyers and house rules under control?

This episode marks one year of recording 3 Wise DMs and some of the most intensive gaming of our lives. We’ve had as many as 5 campaigns running across 3 different systems, and every week we got together to talk about them on this podcast. It’s been an intensive RPG workshop for all three of us, and we learned a ton during it.

This week, we look back on the very first episode, how our DMing ideas have changed since then, and 11 things we think make us better dungeon masters than we were at the start of this podcast.

1:00 Traumatized DMs: Cringing back at our first episode

7:00 Lesson 1: Stun still sucks — nothing wrecks combat like making someone skip a turn

10:00 Lesson 2: Dealing with the unexpected — or how we learned to loosen up as DMs

15:00 Lesson 3: Can you improv a historical mystery RPG? Why Thorin is running Call of Cthulhu by the book (and the history books)

25:00 Lesson 4: What we’ve learned about session prep, dialogue and running organic worlds

32:00 Lesson 5: Talking it out — how the podcast helped give us better perspective and empathy when handling DM-player conflict

36:00 Lesson 6: How we cut down on rules lawyers and broken house rules

47:00 Lesson 7: Homebrew magic items — creating the Vampiric Wand of Cthulhu

52:00 Lesson 8: How playing different games with different people and talking about it every week helped us handle our games better

55:00 Lesson 9: Improving DM-player communication, expectations and engagement

58:00 Lesson 10: We’re not there to entertain the players! … Except maybe we are

65:00 Lesson 11: The formulas we use to set our games up for success

69:00 Final thoughts and how our DMing changed over the first year of recording 3 Wise DMs

82 episodes