@OmegaMaelstrom Does Eldritch Blast scale by Character level or Warlock level? Eldritch blast scales with character level, not warlock level. This is true of any cantrip that scales with level.
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) October 22, 2014
@NewbMichaelEmpowered evocation mentions any ‘evocation wizard spell’, can you benefit from this with spells known from warlock class ? A wizard/warlock who has Empowered Spell can use that feature with a warlock spell that is also a wizard spell.
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) January 10, 2015
Very fun chat happening with Chris Perkins on his DM advice and tips. We are actually going through some really fantastic dungeon master tips with Chris Perkins we’ve got a great new book out fandelver and below the shattered Obelisk fantastic let’s just kind of dive in you’ve obviously got a lot of dungeon master knowledge under your hat so what what are some of your best advice for those who are a player or maybe completely new to d d trying to figure out like is this the moment I should be dungeon mastering is this the moment to take the leap well um Todd for those who don’t know me I’m Chris Perkins I’m one of the game architects of Dungeons and Dragons and I have been dming since I was 10 years old which is a long time let’s just leave it at that but I put together a presentation that I first gave at the recent San Diego Comic-Con and then did an updated version of that presentation at Gen Con and this what we’re doing now is sort of a version of that it is uh this presentation I put together which is aimed at both new and experienced DMs so I’m going to basically walk through the roles that a dungeon master plays and then we’re going to have a little fun along the way giving tips and offering some advice for some situations that do come up in the course of a game My Hope after you’ve watched this if you’re a new DM you’ll come away thinking oh there are some helpful tips here if you’re an experienced DM you might go away thinking well I didn’t learn anything new but I feel validated that’s very fair yeah yeah that’s my so without further ado first question is what is a dungeon master a a World Builder B A storyteller c a referee or D all of the above I feel like d D is the correct answer perfect yes I have survived it’s more than that a dungeon master is also an actor a director a teacher and an improviser that is a lot of roles for one person to play at the table and all of us DMS are better at some of those roles than others and those of us have been damning a long time have found tips or tricks or ways to sort of um up our game in the areas or the rules where we’re not the most comfortable or the most able right so what I’d like to do for the remainder of this presentation is take each of these dungeon mastering roles and give one tried and true tip and then intersperse a few little q and A’s in between so the first thing is World building the dungeon master is a World Builder that means that the dungeon master is responsible for creating the setting in which the campaign or the adventures happen and there’s a lot to a campaign setting to think about if you’re thinking about it on the world scale it can be quite daunting which is why my tip for World building is start small it can be very tempting to bite off more of the campaign than you can chew or more of the campaign that the players will even experience right and DMS are busy people they have lives they don’t have infinite amount of time to get their setting off the ground but if you start small you have a better chance of actually creating content that the players will experience and use and enjoy and by small I mean maybe your campaign starts at a village so detail The Village Define some of the personalities of the NPCs who live there flesh out some of the locations that are important and then if there’s areas around the village like maybe there’s a dungeon nearby or a haunted castle or a ruined tower on a Hilltop these close by locations can serve as the starting places for the characters to explore in their Early Adventures that is enough of a campaign right there to to get things off the ground right there you’ve got several sessions of play that can happen starting small means that you won’t waste a lot of effort describing places that the characters might never go to uh so question where should one keep one’s campaign notes oh wow I’m terrible about this in a journal or notebook B in folders on a computer see in a Wiki or D in an online virtual tabletop whatever works best for you correct yes all of those answers are fine it was a trick question there wasn’t just one correct answer it is a matter of DM choice and one of the Beats I’ll hit later is that DMS are individuals they have their own ways of organizing their information and however works best for you is great I for many years had a campaign in a Wiki that the characters that the player characters could actually add to that was helpful but my stock and trade is keeping a journal and a notebook as well as some computer files but whatever floats your boat perfect another question how much time should be spent preparing for a game session a none B an hour or two at most see as many hours as you can spare or D depends I’m going to have to go with the pens I have been burned many years Todd wants to go with depends oh I’ll get there trust me but you are correct the answer is it really does depend you might be playing d d at the drop of a hat like at a moment’s notice without any prep in which case you just don’t have time to prepare and that’s totally valid you may be running a pre-published adventure that doesn’t require a lot of prep great for you preparation might be the most fun activity of dming and so you will invest as much time as you can into it and that’s marvelous because it’s a wonderful Escape so it really just depends on the individual and the circumstances of the game that you’re going to be playing so for those who are curious my typical prep for my campaigns consists of one a campaign recap which I write ahead of time it’s basically like a paragraph of text and it’s similar to what a lot of TV series do to get people up to speed on what’s happened if it’s a serialized story previously yeah in this campaign and the reason I write that recap ahead of time is one of the things I like to do in planning for the current session is to look back through my notes to see if there’s anything that happened in the past that needs to be brought forward or is going to be relevant or important and I want to remind the players that that happened and so I will craft the recap looking into the past just a very quick nutshell summary so the characters so the players at the very start of the session are reminded of all the important details to sort of frame what I expect to happen in the game coming perfect yeah absolutely and you never know what what is going to spark like a new idea in you especially coming from the past yes and it might be quite short it might be as simple as previously in the last session your characters helped this Mountaineer out of a snow drift defended him against a pair of attacking Crag cats and then with his help marched up the mountain to the yeti cave you know it might be as simple as that or there might be more to it right I also as part of my prep create a list of friendlies and a list of foes uh it’s just an NPC list basically a reminder to me of which NPCs do I think are going to surface in the game um if I write down their names it means I won’t forget them or mix them up later I also create a very very short bulleted list of planned events and encounters now an experienced DM knows that players often take the game in unexpected directions but that’s okay as part of my prep though I still like to anticipate where the session is likely to go like I expected this thing to happen first then I expect them to do some shopping then I expect them to march to this location and then I expect this big thing to happen that way at least I’ve thought about it right there might be no details there it’s just basically me thinking mentally of where the session will begin and where I expect it will end and what do I think will happen in between and more often than not I’m proved wrong something comes up unexpectedly but that’s fine I’ve thought about it and then finally my last bit of prep is if necessary a map if there’s a location that they’re going to explore and there’s already a map for it I just need to have that map ready if it’s a new location and I feel like I need a map for it I’ll either create one or I’ll go on the internet and find one so the dungeon master is also a Storyteller and what I mean by that is the DM takes care of the setup and while the player characters are the ones kind of driving the story by their choices and actions the DM always has to be in lockstep with them and prepared to react to their actions and decisions and kind of lead the story along in in some cases if the story gets stuck or mired also sort of digging it out of the mud or pointing out the options to the players so they know what the possibilities are the DM also will over time learn a lot about their players and their players tastes and their players predilections and that will inform storytelling down the road like if your players tend to be a violent Bunch the DM will plan stories that cater to that that type whereas if they’re more investigative or more into role-playing the DM is shaping the stories in line with what the characters and the players expectations are but my tip for storytellers is this talk less listen more why I’m afraid to ask I was just instructed to talk less because um you do want the players to be invested in in the story you’re telling and the more they talk the more invested they are but also as a DM your players will do a lot of your work for you if you just listen to their interplay and their discussions they will fill your head with ideas they will give you things that you are or ways to take the story that you didn’t even think of yourself and being a good listener you can plan what’s going to happen while they’re talking it is my favorite thing to watch players just spiral and you you just watch it happen it’s the best feeling as a dungeon master where you don’t actually have to do anything you just watch it unfold watch them another trick that I use as part of this talk lesson listen more is when I’m describing when I’m setting up a scene and describing the scene I’ll be very very brief minimalistic in details like at the end of the road you see a crumbled Down Stone Vineyard full stop let the players ask for details you know are there any is there anybody about why yes you see there’s something shambling in the vineyard to the left of the crumbled down building then they’ll ask me another question you know uh and I’ll they’ll just keep asking me questions and I will feed them information uh basically only giving them as much description as they need so question what should I do if a character dies a cackle with delight B tell the characters player to do better next time C have snakes erupt from the Dead characters corpse yeah or D discuss options with the Dead characters player can it be option A and D at the same time definitely not B I’m going to suggest that the correct answer is have snakes erupt from the dead character’s corpse okay no I’m just kidding I’m just kidding the real answer is discuss options with the Dead characters player right often when death occurs it’s unexpected it might be the result of bad dice rolls or just a bad decision and in that case it’s basically spelling the end of a character’s Journey or a character’s Arc yeah and some players are prepared for that uh some players actually greet their character’s death with a fair measure of enthusiasm yeah uh particularly if they’re the type of player who’s got like a lineup of other characters that they’ve built and they’re just aching to play something else yes you know the type yes and so death is not that doesn’t come with any trauma or or any um um you know resentment or anything like that but you never know and so as a DM it’s always good to say okay this happened take the player aside or just have a conversation and say do you think your character’s journey is over at this point are you happy with the situation or at least are you ready to move on from that character or would you like to discuss other possibilities in d d there is plenty of ways for characters to come back from the dead and working with your player you might be able to contrive something fun not only the character coming back from the dead but maybe with a vision that they had while they were dead maybe while they were dead they actually had some sort of weird extra planar interaction uh that that might Propel the character’s story even further along it might be divine intervention or some other encounter but there are all kinds of ways to skin it but I think that it’s smart for the DM and the player to both agree on the course of action with regards to that character and their Journey just so it doesn’t feel like it’s incomplete right yeah and unsatisfying another question how do I make my players care about my campaign a make the campaign about their characters B create likable non-player characters and antagonists C have the characters actions come back to haunt them or D avoid predetermined outcomes argue it’s their campaign not just yours but all of the above and they’ve very specifically run into an issue of my films are so unlikable that they just don’t want to be involved with them at all and that is definitely something I’ve had to happen before like you need them have like something cool about them or interesting or yeah like exactly yes so uh I believe you are correct that all of these are the right answer if you make the campaign about the characters the players will have more investment in the campaign and one of the easy ways to do that is to tie events into their backgrounds or their classes or or their other character choices that they made you know if they’ve defined that they have relationships in the campaign you know allowing the campaign to explore those relationships can be very gratifying the likable non-player characters is also important because if even if they’re unlikable in terms of their behavior yeah yeah players will like a good villain and they will invest more in the world if they care about the people who live there or enjoy spending time in the company of the people who live there and then having the characters actions come back to haunt them is important because it creates a very similitude of the world like their like actions have consequences the characters did something and this thing happened they may not not know the consequences immediately right those consequences might sneak up on them but what that does is it creates a depth to your world and it creates that moment of oh crap look what we did we have to fix this because this is a problem we created and that creates investment and then avoiding predetermined outcomes what I mean by that is if your players feel like you’re just kind of got them on a railroad to a destination and they can’t get off right then their investment goes down because they realize they actually have no influence over where the campaign is going but a clever DM will guide them to where you want to go while still giving the full like a range of choice or at least the illusion of choice so that players do feel like their action like they’re helping to steer the campaign and if they have that feeling they’ll be invested right moving on to the dungeon master as a referee a very important role that dungeon Masters play my advice to DMS on being a referee is this the rules serve you not the other way around right and what I mean by that is the rules of DnD exist to uh as like guideposts a situation comes up and you don’t know how to resolve it the rules are there to give you a framework to resolve it but every playgroup is unique DMS will often customize their play experience for their particular group say you’re playing with smaller children who don’t know the rules that well but love the idea of getting into character and going off on an adventure and just like uncovering rocks and looking in tree holes and things like that a DM can run a version of DnD that sort of pairs a lot of the rules down similarly in in just a more typical game DMS often have house rules that they’ve introduced because their players have a particular style that they like or the DMS decided that the campaign is of a particular genre or style that needs tweaks to the rules maybe it’s harder to heal or magic is more rare or whatever whatever the situation the rules are there to help you they don’t dictate your campaign that’s perfect so question hypothetical the Goliath Barbarian wants to ride the Hostile Albert and how should I resolve this a don’t allow it B allow a die roll to determine the outcome C look up the rules for grappling a creature or D ask your players for suggestions I I like b c and d I hate a I don’t want to tell players know I’m amused by a dice roll that goes wrong the potential there is too much I also like other players like you know everyone giving their advice on that I would argue that all of these are valid oh okay um so starting from the bottom I’m working up asking your players for suggestions you know you’re you may be the DM but you don’t have to know everything if you don’t know how to resolve the situation players at the table might actually be able to suggest something to you and if you like it you can adopt it if you want to look up the rules for grappling a creature because you think that might actually help resolve the situation that’s actually great the rules exist to serve you you don’t have to necessarily know how to resolve the situation but if you think of something in the rules that might help you go to that rule and see if it works allowing a die roll to determine the outcome is always fine and always acceptable the dicer great for for doing that and if they roll high enough you just allow it yeah the one that you you chafed at yes that don’t allow it but I would argue that there are situations where that is the valid way to handle the situation right what happens if the Goliath Barbarian is unconscious should you allow the player to ride the owl bear probably not probably not yeah there are things that can be true in game situations that might actually prevent that character from doing what they want to do yeah like that’s halfling with five strength like you know even that might be a long shot it might have a high CR but if there’s a wall of force between the halfling and the owl bear then yes there’s no realistic way finally got me one on one yes I thought I thought you’re messing with me by giving me three positives and one negative I have failed all right another question well okay what if the Alberta is friendly instead okay a allow the Barbarian to succeed automatically B require a successful ability check against a dc5 an easy DC um C same as B but with a higher DC because riding an Albert should never be easy or D trick question owl bears are never friendly I I well and that in itself was a trick question it’s still all of them because well there are friendly owl Bears probably I think I’ve seen witness to you make an L bear friendlier than they are potentially designed to be uh people are very attached to Owl Bears despite the fact that most of them all rip your fade a face off yeah true uh I would argue that all of these are acceptable answers you can allow The Barbarians to succeed automatically you can require an ability check at a low DC or at a higher DC and uh you may decide in your world owl bears are never friendly yeah yeah as the DM you get to make that call now replace owl bear with you know Kraken or dragon or whatever monster you want you will eventually come to a monster for which this for which the answer is well you know what uh you’re never going to find a friendly gray ooze right oh in my campaign well no I want a friendly groups another question one player is hogging the spotlight uh what should I do a after the game have a private chat with that player B make it clear when you’re shining the spotlight on other players C ensure every player character has moments to shine D dump that player if they’re spoiling everyone else’s fun so it’s definitely potentially all of them because and I really like what you mentioned about letting people know when the spotlight is on them and establishing that but yeah if it becomes it’s definitely become a problem tables have been at before where you kind of this first character syndrome that occurs or only character syndrome and other other characters other players may not be accustomed to giving themselves the spotlight like some people are just either they’re playing a character who is quieter and more subtle or they themselves are a quieter person that needs that Spotlight on them and have that opportunity to talk up yeah um so we got one yeah all of these are viable options having the private chat with the player just to let them know that there’s an issue is great making it clear when you’re shining the spotlight during the game like for instance Todd if you’re hogging the Spotlight and I’m trying to get you know Gary or Julia to to chime in then I will simply say Julia it’s your turn what does your character do and that’s a signal to Todd to you know not talk because I’m having a one-on-one conversation with Julia or Gary or whoever and then ensuring every character’s moments to shine as you say is very key because players will eventually get into the pattern of realizing what you’re doing and realize oh okay this is so and so’s character moment here I’m just going to shut up for a bit in the extreme example if nothing else is working out dumping the player is always an option you can have friends who are not fun to play D D with just because of behaviors and yeah and and people getting wrapped up in the excitement they’re not always behaving the way they would normally and so sometimes it just doesn’t work out and that’s fine yeah there’s a chemistry to every group yes yes there’s there’s every group has a bit of alchemy to it and uh when when you combine personalities you know you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen right so we come to the intermission here and on this particular slide are six images one of them is not an official DND book cover can you guess which one if you guessed the one in the top middle you are right yes maybe it was the art style that gave it away I don’t know but this gelatinous Cube has not appeared on an official fifth edition book cover before but the reason I drew this image to your attention is just to sort of create a little break point in the middle of this presentation I’m here to issue the gelatinous cube challenge perfect so a gelatinous cube is an iconic DND monster that dates back all the way to the origins of the game it is Cube shaped it is gelatinous it haunts dungeons it often sort of sweeps up debris as it makes its way through 10 by 10 corridors it’s in the dark very hard to see in fact Many Adventures end up just walking into one not aware that it’s right in front of them and sometimes it sneaks up on adventurers from behind and engulfs them and that’s bad because gelatinous cubes have acidic enzymes that will dissolve flesh so this fun not particularly intelligent monster gets a lot of use but here’s my challenge to DMS everywhere right now try to think of the most interesting or unusual use of a gelatinous cube maybe it’s one that you’ve actually experienced before or used before or maybe it’s one that an idea that you’re just pulling out of the sky right now cube with a vampire in the middle that is stuck it has lived who knows how many years inside of this gelatinous Cube that has been feeding on it for maybe a hundred years but it keeps on regenerating over and over again so this kind of withered husk of a vampire is in the center of the gelatinous cube constantly feeding it and so that geliness cube is in the dungeon and they have to face off with this horrible Undead ooze like conglomeration what might be fun about that encounter is that when you kill the Ooze it basically frees the vampire that can then start regenerating normally and suddenly you’re fighting the second monster that’s super fun the other thing I like about that is the visual of going down the dark Corridor and seeing this husk of a vampire floating toward you and not realizing it’s not actually floating it’s suspended in the cube and if you run up to fight it blurp you’re going to run right into the key oh that’s great yeah yeah that’s super cool um I’ll share one idea of my own and that is kind of similar to yours only in this case the gelatinous cube absorbed and dissolved a master Thief who happened to be the head of a Thieves Guild and rather than simply being dissolved the thief’s Consciousness became one with the cube and now the cube believes it is the master thief and is leading the Thieves Guild oh my God I love it [Laughter] yes who knows how to dispose of anybody who you know literalized to its position exactly it’s another being the pig farm and also the pig oh yeah right spoiler alert folks stay away from a pig farm um another fun use of a gelatinous cube would be let’s say you’re going into a dungeon to retrieve a an artifact or an item right wouldn’t it be fun to put the item inside the gelatinous cube so it was always moving around the dungeon and never in the same place twice using detection yeah that’s great here’s a third one uh you’ve probably heard of the latinous cube hiding out in the bottom of a pit right so if the characters fall into the pit goes into it of course well how about the ceiling pit the characters walk along the pit opens in the ceiling and the gelatinous cube just drops on top of somebody perfect I love it all right well we need to move on back to our regular scheduled presentation but think about gelatinous cubes I I do constantly okay good for you yeah thank you another role that the DM has is as an actor the DM is responsible for playing all of the background and supporting characters in The Campaign including the monsters by and large my tip is start by understanding a creature’s motivation if you always know what a creature wants it becomes much easier to role play that creature and bring it to life right so my question is how do I play a galleb door which is basically a talking Boulder right just by way of example a lean into expectations I.E use a deep gravelly voice B defy expectations give it the personality of a say rock star Rockstar you get it uh C check its intelligence score and its alignment or D Think Like a Rock become the rock oh all of them and yeah I wish I could become a rock sometimes that would be fantastic they seem very peaceful interesting now I would argue that the first three are all great uh leaning into into expectations is good because it’s easy you don’t have to think too hard about it yes rocks probably have a gravelly voice okay I can pull that off and your players will get it gravel is in the water if if the right if the Gilder talked in a high squeaky voice the players might go you know they might go what’s that um Gravely voice expected but I always think it’s nice when acting out a creature to find a way to defy expectations to give it a personality that will stand out or stand apart and it could be any one of a number of different things from just a quirk that it has to a a manner of speaking that is unusual to a personality that seems to be a little unexpected for the type of creature that you’re encountering but all that aside a creature’s stat block often has cues or clues in it that can help you role play or act out that creature one of them is its intelligence score if you see a creature with a low intelligence that can affect very easily how you play that creature and Alignment is another good cue we don’t prescribe alignments for creatures in DND but we suggest an alignment for everyone so if you’ve got a devil and its alignment is typically lawful evil lawful evil tells you something about its personality it’s kind of a tyrant it’s probably domineering um that kind of thing now Think Like a Rock become the rock sounds like something a High School Drama teacher might urge you to do uh now while I Ruled that out yes as being practical um I have been challenged on this one before right if you imagine if you actually sort of physically get into a hunkered down position like a rock you know you sort of expand your chest maybe a little yeah that could affect your performance acting so maybe becoming the rock is actually a viable thing after all perfect the DM is also a director and but what I mean by director as opposed to Storyteller is a director um needs to keep the story moving and know when things are getting bogged down and then kind of reorient the invisible camera as it were or and the director has to know where to shine the camera at any given time so my tip is let your players help steer the adventure but when the fun is gone move on right one practical way I I do this is let’s say I have my session planned there’s a destination mind or a conflict Brewing or something that’s about to happen and my players are dragging their heels in or they’re they’re Tangled Up in a discussion that isn’t going anywhere or they’re just content to hang out in town and are actively sort of not striving to go where they know they need to go one of the things I do is I will just fast forward so they’re they’re lagging around in the town they’re Dickering with their shopping they’re they’re arguing about this that and the other thing I’ll just say the next day you’re on the road heading to the dungeon and they’re like uh oh oh okay we’ve just been sort of re-centralized and the DM has basically pulled us into the future that is a great way to get the action moving again because you’ve just essentially jump skipped or edited out right a bunch of stuff to get back to the story at hand now I know some players of mine will sort of go whoa whoa okay okay we’re on the road but can can I just go back to the town for a quick second or just flash back to buying some carrots for our mule Charlie yeah and I’ll go yeah you got the carrots now you’re on the road heading to the you know that kind of thing yeah just basically cut the movie and then jump to the next scene perfect question my characters don’t want to complete the quest laid out before them what should I do a provide additional motivation B surface a more tempting Quest C let the players direct the story for a while you know just sit back whatever D tell the players you have nothing else prepared I I mean all of the above potentially if you’re not into improving this is the only thing that you’ve got left at there at the end yeah I think that’s a very fair thing to say like you were not prepared for another Avenue but I do like the chaos of players sometimes you know subverting that Adventure if they’re not into it and finding their own way you are correct all of these things are viable options providing an additional motivation can help like if they’re going on a treasure hunt and the Paladin’s like well I’m not all about treasure that’s not really my bag you can contrive something that would hook the Paladin in um maybe there’s some there’s some Noble thing that can be accomplished with the treasure or there’s some other thing at the destination that the Paladin might glom onto as being important enough for them to go on the adventure you can Surface a more tempting Quest it’s okay if the players are really resistant to going in a direction and saying okay that’s not working I’m going to save that for later and see if I can maybe get them back there at a later time and instead try something else but like you say you have to be pretty comfortable with improv yeah to embrace that and you also have to be comfortable with improv if you let the players basically take the reins for a while yeah and and so saying look guys I have nothing else prepared this is what we’re this is what we ought to do totally cool in d d is a game and everybody’s supposed to have fun and there is a social contract that underlies the game the social contract being the DM will put on a good show and the players will respect the work that the DM has done to do that and they will respect each other everyone will respect each other that’s the social contract if the players are basically rebuffing what the DM is prepared they’re not they’re kind of breaking the social contract at that point and it’s okay for the damn to say look guys the adventure is that way big sign pointed in that direction and and that’s totally cool another question the game is dragging how do I speed things along a jump ahead skipping events of little consequence B collapse a string of unimportant events into a montage C have someone kick down the door D play fast music in the background all the above again yes um you’re correct music is a great motivator but also uh the uh talking about prep I have over prepped May a time where I’ve had too many beats in an adventure and I’m like yeah I’m just gonna delete this because we are running out of time it’s happened more that way than the other way I have very rarely had to actually create more content for the story where mostly I’ve just had to delete entire like NPCs or opportunities or you know things they had to come up against just for the for the pacing of that Adventure yes absolutely I’ve done the exact same thing I’ve also had some villain from the past who’s been absent for several sessions just show up out of nowhere literally kick down the door and say it’s fighting time you know like so that’s a perfectly viable option and gets a game going right off the bat you know it gets going right away again uh playing fast music I’m not necessarily referring to Benny Hill Music here but there is if you if you are a DM who does use background music in the game right switching to a track that has a faster Pace yeah can subliminally get the character or the players juices going again and get them sort of thinking faster and and anticipating um moving on to something more exciting so moving on uh to the dungeon master as a teacher right this often comes up if you’ve got players in the group who don’t have a lot of experience with the game the dungeon master is often the one who’s thrust into the role of teacher at the table my tip is explain how the D20 is used then start playing it can be tempting to walk the players through all the sort of elements of what makes a d d game like here’s your character sheet here’s your hit points this is your armor class this is what it means here are your weapons and here’s how much damage they do here are all your abilities blah blah your spells it’s been my experience with new players that the sooner you get them actually playing the better and a lot of the rules or things on their character sheet can be discussed when they become relevant for instance a player doesn’t need to know anything about hit points until combat happens and something hits them or until they fall off a cliff and they take damage right that’s a great time to talk about what hit points are and what they mean in the game and how you keep track of them you don’t have to burden the player with that information up front what you really want to burden the player with is just get their imagination going right away it’s good to know what the D20 does however because it is so manifestly important to most players at various points in the game for various reasons to pick up that D20 and roll it so knowing that high is good low is bad is just as a player they can internalize that right away and then they can start getting into character that’s perfect question one of my players has trouble deciding what their character should do on their turn in combat how do I get them to play faster a use an egg timer skipping the player if they aren’t fast enough I think I’ve seen that yeah B signal your exasperation by rolling your eyes and sighing loudly awesome that’s a great way C suggest one or two good options or D make the initiative order visible to your players I think initiative order is really good to see for a lot of folks um providing options once it’s from you know ground to a halt uh not a fan of the other ones rolling your eyes come on yes the first two options are not great yeah I don’t think you want to put added pressure of a timer on the players and on the player in that moment because they’ll just freeze yeah B rolling your eyes just that’s not good you’re just a jerk you’re just a jerk um suggesting one or two options is often great like just a reminder oh by the way you have can trips you can just do those or you haven’t used your Fireball yet yeah you know that kind of thing little prompts can help a DM or help a player narrow down the possibilities and come to a decision and making the initiative order visible is helpful because if the players can see it they know when their turn is coming up and they can start thinking about what their character is doing before their turn actually arrives finally one of the biggest roles of a dungeon master and one of the hardest is the DM is improviser improv is basically mental gymnastics yeah it’s what a DM is basically doing all the time that they’re while they’re doing everything all those other roles they are also improvising all the time and it is it can be very exhausting to keep up with several players each of them are doing things that are not planned it can be taxing and it can be difficult and it requires exercise and practice which is why my tip is hey improv gets easier the more you play and until then embrace the unexpected right often DMS will use a technique called yes and where player says I want to do this wacky thing the DM says yes and here’s what you have to do or here’s here’s potentially um where this might go that kind of thing another option is like no but you can’t do this but you can maybe do this other thing or you can try it but it’s going to be really really hard another technique um for for DMS is what my colleague Mackenzie de armas calls embracing the loading wheel okay which is while it’s true that improv gets easier the more you play and that it’s it’s good that until then you embrace the unexpected you as a DM also have license to pause and think and take a few seconds you know maybe up to 10 seconds or longer to react to figure out what to do and you can make it transparent to your players like hey guys uh I got a loading wheel here the the wheel spinning I’m thinking just give me a couple seconds here and then re-engage question the characters are about to kill the villain in one round how do I avoid the unexpected anticlimax a give the villain some extra hit points or a protracted death right B with its dying breath have the villain summon a greater threat C have the villain assume a new form after its first form is destroyed or D don’t enjoy the anti-climax uh I I don’t mind the anti-climax sometimes but like yeah all those are really great options that giving them a little extra hit points you know uttering a curse after they die that leads to a whole nother Adventure or bringing in the actual real villain of the overarching story that kind of stuff that’s all fantastic yes having the vampire implode and then another creature sort of arise from its innards is also a great example yes or a swarm of creatures as the case may be right um and like you I think it’s okay to enjoy the anti-climax and the reason I feel that way is players often are Overjoyed when their characters feel badass yeah and if they just pound that villain down in one round they will remember that that’ll become part of their party’s story and uh that is often a good thing and even narratively there are some of my favorite movies are like all of this effort to get to this one villain and the villain is gone in seconds yes sometimes that’s very satisfying to me because I’ve seen this narrative before but yeah like that moment where you just like you end the villain immediately that can be that makes you feel like the hero right question the characters are about to die how do I avoid a tpk okay a let them die the dice giveth and the dice taketh away yeah um B have the enemy show Mercy or make a tactical error okay C stage a timely rescue or D divine intervention all those are viable uh uh I avoid divine intervention so I do always like to have a plan B if the characters do die I like to have a secondary Adventure that has to do with them all dying as if maybe there’s there is a curse on them or there is a deity that wants to intervene by a cost yes so I actually uh ruled out the let them die but I actually prefer your answer that it’s it can be it can be viable if you have a plan post death right to keep the campaign going or to keep the players engaged in the campaign either as their characters or in some new form maybe they’re playing ghosts for a while yeah maybe they’re playing vampires for a while I’m gonna get trapped in the afterlife exactly bureaucracy so actually even though I ruled out let them die that could be a viable option if the campaign can survive it yeah yeah yeah yeah question how do I become a better DM a watch other DMs B eat your broccoli C build a better game table or D steal Matthew Mercer’s Mojo I I don’t know like you should have dream vegetables I know that now that I’m older but uh I think stealing Matt Mercer’s Mojo I would be irresponsible to condone taking his Mojo that his that’s his Mojo find your own so I kind of feel like watching other dungeon Masters is really inspiring so that’s your best option really I would agree with you I I would even go farther to say that you know artists learn by appreciating other artists work writers Get Better by reading other writers um and seeing what they do well and what they don’t I think the same is true for DMS if you watch other DMS you can learn from them you can say oh I like what this DM does in this situation oh I love how this other DM keeps the plot moving or I love how this other DM sort of Embraces the characters backgrounds and backstories and uses that as fuel for Adventures so I heartily encourage the watching of other DMS which was not available to me back in the I know ancient days yeah living out in the middle of nowhere with no internet um now it is a thing and we should take advantage of it we didn’t have live streams and stuff but like maybe you’d be in a DND game and you’re like this is how I would have done it yeah this is a totally okay reaction as a player to have and be like start thinking yes this is the time I wanted engine Master because this is how I would have seen this story or how I would have handled things right and when I finally did find a d d Club there were DMS there that I didn’t like right I thought they weren’t good and I learned from them too yeah by by experiencing them by watching them I saw oh I never want to do that exactly Yeah question how do I know if I’m doing a good job as DM a you’re having fun yeah B your players are having fun C y’all can’t wait to play again d you did everything Chris Perkins told you to do [Applause] Perkins told I don’t think you’re gonna have days as a dungeon master where you didn’t feel like you did a good job or maybe you didn’t have fun because you don’t feel that way but your players clearly did have fun and loved the adventure I’ve had that happen uh if you are having fun you did a good job if they’re having fun and you’re stressed out you still did a good job if they listened to you I feel like they they’ve been doing a good job um I actually ruled out the last one I don’t think it’s actually important that you do everything I tell you to do because I am just I am just one dm exactly offering some advice I am not to be trusted completely very fair a trap it is a trap yes absolutely um so I have heard it said that there is no wrong way to play D D yeah I disagree I think that if nobody is having fun yeah you’re playing D wrong yeah but if everybody’s having fun right you’re playing d d right and so if you’re having fun your player’s having fun and you all can’t wait to play again congratulations you’re doing a great job as a DM the last point I want to leave with is this how you DM is ha as unique as how you paint or how you write and no two DMS are alike and that’s how it should be with that I’d like to segue into a little bit of a promotion here the original DND Starter Set had an adventure in it called lost mine of fandelver very much beloved a lot of people have played it at this point a lot of people have dm’d it at this point that came out in 2014. this year on September 19th 2023 we will be releasing uh fandelver again taking the original adventure and expanding it into a full-blown campaign and that campaign is called fandelver and below the shattered Obelisk I urge folks to check it out either the book or the DND Beyond version and um experience the adventure in a whole new light perfect and finally last slide if you’ve enjoyed this presentation it’s undoubtedly because of the art that features prominently within it here is a picture of my dog Milo as a wizard and here is a list of all of the artists whose work is featured in this presentation thank you https://t.co/j4abqum0sa pic.twitter.com/uBYPHDG2nJ
— Todd Kenreck (@ToddKenreck) September 12, 2023
Hey @JeremyECrawford ! How is going? Thanks for this channel. Its nice of you to answer our questions!
In the example, how much cover has character number 2 from One's ranged atacks ? Can character 2 use Stealth ?
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/EsKVEr4bhX
— Rafa Gaudard Marques (@RagmTW) January 6, 2020
In the diagram below, character 2 has 3/4 cover against the attacks of character 1. And character 2 could attempt to hide, with the DM's adjudication.
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) January 6, 2020
Cover in D&D is a DM decision, using the parameters in the PLAYER'S HANDBOOK (p. 196).
If you play on a grid, the DUNGEON MASTER'S GUIDE (p. 250–1) provides additional guidance, through text and diagrams. Even then, the DM determines the degree of cover at the game table. #DnD
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) January 7, 2020