DND Question: What do I need to know to be a good DM

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Jason Thayer
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29 Feb 2024, 2:33 pm

I'm requesting the DND Starter Set for my birthday because I want to play with my cousin. Most likely, I'll be the DM as well as a player. (She's only 9, and I think it'll be too difficult for her to start.) Can someone give me some advice on how I should start?


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funeralxempire
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29 Feb 2024, 2:34 pm

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Find more players would be my advice. It's not really possible to conduct a campaign with only one PC.


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Jason Thayer
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29 Feb 2024, 3:19 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
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Find more players would be my advice. It's not really possible to conduct a campaign with only one PC.

What's a good minimum number of people, counting the DM?


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funeralxempire
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29 Feb 2024, 3:37 pm

Jason Thayer wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
Find more players would be my advice. It's not really possible to conduct a campaign with only one PC.

What's a good minimum number of people, counting the DM?


4-7 players is what I'd recommend.


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29 Feb 2024, 6:24 pm

Okay . . . <*cracks knuckles*> . . . where to begin?

First, obtain the the core rulebooks.  At 1st edition, they were the Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG), the Players Handbook (PHB), and the Monster Manual (MOM).  A DM's screen is very helpful, too.  You can also obtain (or download for free) some pre-made adventures -- I strongly recommend this.

Note paper, graph paper, polyhedral dice, pencils, and markers or minatures (Minnies) are also necessary.

Oh, and a place to play, too!

Currently, the game is in its fifth edition (5e).  There is a Starter Set available.

Second, STUDY the material.  Don't just give a single read-through and think you have it covered.  You need to KNOW the material.

Third, roll up a few characters of your own.  Not only will this help familiarize yourself with the system, but you will have some spare characters to use as non-player characters (NPCs), spare player characters (PCs), or one of them could become your primary favorite character to play.

Fourth, gather some like-minded friends.  I have seen groups of 2 to 7, plus the dungeon master (DM).  I am most comfortable with only 4 or 5 players, although having only 2 or 3 players can be fun, too.

Finally, keep notes -- who did what where and when.  Basic stuff -- a log, not a novel.

Oh, and remember the Golden Rule of Gaming: "The most fun, for the most people, most often".

 Link to the Official D&D Website 


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SabbraCadabra
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12 Mar 2024, 6:25 pm

If you're getting the 5E starter set, it does a pretty good job of teaching you how to play, and it's got some decent adventures packed in with it. I can't vouch for the newer ones, but the older kit came with Lost Mine of Phandelver, and that was pretty decent. Not overly complex, but there were plenty of side-adventures packed with it, and plenty of hooks to expand on it as you wish.

If she's only 9, I wouldn't worry too much about being the best DM possible, just have fun with it.

funeralxempire wrote:
4-7 players is what I'd recommend.

5E is specifically balanced for five players (one DM and four PCs).
There's absolutely no reason you can't play the game with only two people; Rob Kuntz was famous for running through Castle Greyhawk's dungeons completely solo, but if you must have more members in the party, there are rules for hiring NPCs (or you can just let the player control extra characters for free). I believe one of the newer kits even comes with sidekick cards for this express purpose.


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12 Mar 2024, 6:38 pm

Here are a couple of links that might be useful to the neophyte DM:

 Basic Rules for Dungeons and Dragons 5e 

 Dungeons and Dragons 5e System Resource Document 


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