As DMs, we’re always striving to become better – or, at least, I think we should be. But, what does it mean to be a good DM?
To me, being a good DM means making sure that everyone at the table is having fun.
So here's 3 quick tips that will immediately make your game more fun – and that you can implement in your game tomorrow, if you want to.
MAKE MEMORABLE NPCS
Coming up with NPCs is something every DM has to do.
Often, you’ll notice that your NPCs act kinda "samey" – you are, after all, probably not an award-winning actor with a thousand distinct characters up your sleeve.
There’s a ton of good tips on creating fun and memorable NPCs (including this article from the Eventyr Games blog), but they can be hard to remember when your players suddenly decide they wanna “talk to that baker-guy over there!”
In those situations, I use this simple two-step approach:
PICK A MODEL. Choose a person you know. A celebrity. A co-worker. Your mom. My mom (or not, that'd be weird). Whoever. That’s your NPC. Make them an elf or a dwarf or whatever, but base them on that person. Anyone who springs to mind.
GIVE THEM A QUIRK. Give the NPC one thing that stands out. A lisp. A tendency to talk fast. A weird head-scratch. An arrogant air. A cough. A weird haircut. Literally anything your players can focus on, that will make them remember that character.
USE FUN MAGIC ITEMS
There’s good reason to be wary when you hand out magic items to your players. Power creep is a real thing and it can happen quickly.
I find, however, that there are a lot of items in 5E that don’t really make the players more powerful, but just lets them have a lot more fun.
I’ve got a video with 10 fun magic items right here you can check out for more inspiration!
No matter how different a monster is, the tactics to beat it are often the same. Characters often cast the same spells and use the same attacks, regardless of what they’re fighting.
One thing that immediately makes a monster more fun, is if it has a weakness. A way to fight the monster, that the characters can exploit to their benefit – it doesn’t even have to be a better way, as long as it’s a different one that motivates them to try new tactics.
Check out, for example, this weakness that the Blood Acolyte from Heretic’s Guide to Devotion & Divinity has:
Healing Aversion. If the acolyte magically regains hit points, it must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be Stunned until the end of its next turn.
If a character knows this weakness (I let the players make an Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion check with a DC of 10 + ½ the monster’s CR to learn it), a simple healing word spell can become a potent offensive action!
Interested to learn more? I have a video on monster weaknesses you can check out right here!
That’s the 3 tips. Try ‘em out – and if you want to discuss even more tips & tricks, you can head on over to our Discord server and continue the topic!