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Veteran TTRPG players and game masters know that it’s incredibly rare for anything to go as planned. Players might circumvent a DM’s masterfully engineered fight with a wild gambit from a bard or rogue. On the other hand, someone’s bad roll might result in that gambit going down in literal flames. Every time a player rolls a die, there’s no way to know what’s going to happen. Part of learning to play D&D is learning how to improvise. This is where understanding a character’s backstory can come in especially handy – it makes it easy to react to even the wildest situations.
There’s this weird phenomenon we all tend to have with RPGs where anything in the future is seen as limitless and unrestrained. Anything could happen! We aren’t tethered to the planes of reality; the story is ours and ours alone. But as soon as something does happen it becomes this unshakeable and immovable constant. We must not touch the past. That doesn’t have to be true. It’s important to not mess too much with the past or your actions in the present might as well be worthless – but if some side character you all hate is too important to let go of? If your character did something last session that makes absolutely no sense in the story? If you just made a mistake? Get rid of it! Forget it ever happened! Change it forever! Why not? Actions should have consequences, sure. But in no other medium are you expected to tell a perfect story without a single edit. Allow yourself the privilege of tidying up.
Arguably one of the most recognizable aspects of Dungeons and Dragons that isn’t obvious to new players. Perhaps you have heard the terrified gasps after a player mentions, they rolled a “Nat 1.” Or someone talks about rolling a “Nat 20” and saving everyone’s rear. All actions in Dungeons and Dragons succeed or fail based on a number, whether opening a door or convincing a king, not to wage war. When a character attempts an action a D20 is cast- the number that it lands on is the “Natural” (or “nat”) number. Characters have abilities that either aid or hinder their success by adding or subtracting from the natural number. Criticals, however, are either an automatic and brutal failure (nat 1) or a blindingly cool success (nat 20). Some abilities can change this fate such as Luck or Advantage. Typically, criticals lead to the most memorable moments in a campaign.
Taking on the mantle of dungeon master can be highly intimidating for D&D beginners and first-time roleplayers. Creating a world, filling it with interesting characters and providing an engaging story for your players that reacts to their decisions – not to mention remembering the various rules required – is a lot to take on if you’re new to the hobby. But learning to DM, GM or whatever two-letter acronym your tabletop RPG of choice throws at you doesn’t need to be quite so daunting. There are some top DM tips that can make your life easier, as well as ultimately providing a better experience for both you and your players, letting you tell the stories you want to.
Though it’s been around for decades now, new players today continue to flock to Dungeons & Dragons. Some love video games like The Elder Scrolls and want a game with even more freedom of choice. Meanwhile, others want to be a part of their own fantasy novel like Lord of the Rings. For some, especially those who aren’t used to roleplaying with others, it can seem a little intimidating at the start. There’s a lot involved in creating a character, and a lot of mechanics to learn and navigate. But for those who love RPGs and spending time with fellow fantasy nerds, there’s no need to fear. Every tabletop veteran starts somewhere. See extra info on https://dnds.store/.