Woes of the Dungeon Master
Lowrollers went live last week and we are currently getting back into the tabletop gaming mindset. I am reminded of some of the difficulties of being the main dungeon master of a group of peers and some of those dislikes and I figured I’d share some of them with y’all.
I already know the story line. Sometimes during the “slower” parts of the story my role as storyteller becomes difficult. Quite frankly, I already know all the answers since it is my story. I have to work on understanding that my players barely know how their character acts let alone the world around them. At the same time, I cannot skip all the “boring” lore parts simply because it is an uninteresting concept to me. These small details are critical details to learn, but God can they be soooo boring and I think this happened in my last session I ran. I didn't provide enough details perhaps because I already know them.
Things that are obvious to me are not obvious to the player. I can say something around the lines of, “This curtain is a darker shade of blue then the rest” and my party will do nothing. But lo and behold, a statue is in the room clearly it is going to come to life! I know there is something off with the curtain because I wrote the story line but that information may not be obvious to the players. Or in the example of the curtain, the curtain the clue is so obvious it must be nothing.
Player decisions versus character decision. I have a certain head-canon in my head. If one of my characters are really interested in the agriculture in my head, I may provide an interesting crop for the player character to investigate and even though the character is interested, the player may not be. Sometimes that can prove difficult as I have some of these hooks that are simply not taken advantage of because of players forgetting their own story line. This hasn’t been a problem in recent months, but when a game first comes together it can prove difficult for players to truly understand their characters. Because of that my first arc in a new campaign is very story driven, giving the players time to really fall into their characters goals and personality.
Sometimes I really don’t want to DM, and I just want to be a character who explore the world. I don’t get the opportunity to make in depth characters for the story in the same way a PC would. My in depth characters are basically villains and quest givers. That can be rough because there may be a jealousy involved to a player who gets these great character building moments. Jealousy isn't really an issue for me, but I can see where that can become a little rough.
Just some thoughts into the mind of the Dungeon master. I’m sure other game masters have the same issues (and many more!) It may be interesting to start a discussion about it. Also check out my DMing in action on Lowrollers Live at 9pm every (most?) Monday nights! We introduced two new characters to the story this past week!