Sunday, March 20, 2022

Favorite DM Advice of the Week

Writing a blog is a bit outdated.  So is hanging out on FaceBook.  At one point I joined a "Grognards Who Play 5th Edition" FaceBook group, and it can be as cringe as you would expect.  "I played 4th Edition, so I know what D&D was like back in the day".  I have to consciously pause and remember the playing base is huge, and people have encountered the game for their first time across a wide range of editions and play styles.  That means sometimes it's a Gen Z or Millenial 3rd edition or 4th edition player saying they pre-dated 5th Edition, so they're the grognards now.  I don't even care.  We're in week 3 of a brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, if you played 4th Edition and now you want to be known as an old timey war gamer, you go for it.  The world could end tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's some great DM advice that popped onto the Grognard's group this week (courtesy of a fellow old timer "Josh S").  They do a good job of distilling far more verbose descriptions of the old school mindset into 3 basic precepts:

1. The story is whatever the player characters do.

2. The DM’s job is to adjudicate the rules and bring the world to life.

3. The dice never lie. Don't ask them questions if you aren't prepared to accept their answers.

Carry on with your regularly scheduled programming.  Let's all be careful out there.


  1. I'm in a Curse of Strahd Facebook group, and it is really interesting to see the range of ages, backgrounds, and DM styles present. Generally I find it quite heart-warming to see so many new DMs ("Curse of Strahd is my first time as a DM"... eek!), even if they sometimes get a bit heavy-handed with deciding what's going to happen. Luckily, there are enough of us old folks around to gently remind people not to force a story on the players but to let the story emerge from what the players do.

    Maybe I'll check out that Grognards group, sounds amusing.

  2. That is an excellent distillation of a GM's job. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Good advice I have been stretching to the limits in my super hero game. Especially in relation to powers. The mantra kind of goes like this; "The power does what the player says it does", the GM's job is to "Accept the world-changing consequences of super powers", and "the dice never lie, the damage is that much!"

  4. "The world could end tomorrow"
    Not. And when it ends, it wion't be with a bang, but with a whimper. %))

  5. Happy anniversary to the last post!