Brennan Lee Mulligan is one of the best Dungeon Masters around, and watching him guide eager adventurers on Dimension 20 is undeniable proof of that. Now he has some great tips for anyone looking to become the best Dungeon Master you can be.
Taking the plunge into the world building, NPC acting, and encounter balancing that comes with being a competent Dungeon Master might seem daunting at first glance, but the best way to learn is to actively play Dungeons & Dragons (or the RPG of your choice) as a PC, and then simply begin telling your own stories. Brennan recalls his first steps into the role at the young age of ten, which should make you realize that anyone can do it, it just takes that first step.
“I had the benefit of being ten years old, and like most ten-year old children, had no sense of common sense of judgement,” Brennan begins, “When you’re ten you’re still a year or two out from asking those kinds of puberty-esque questions about ‘Am I good enough? Am I smart enough?’ Ten-year old children have no sense of propriety, so I was like ‘Yeh! I can DM! Whatever!’ and I jumped right in.”
Just like that, with only the barest of experience in the vast world of Dungeons & Dragons, Brennan let his imagination run wild to lead his friends through their own adventures. The key point is to dive in, headfirst, and simply do your best, “Don’t be afraid to stumble through it…truly, it doesn’t matter if you’re getting all the rules right [at first]. Grab the books, watch an actual play, get a loose vibe for how it’s supposed to go, and you’ll have an awesome time!”
Brennan also has high praise and is acutely aware of the information age in which we live, and whether someone is brand new or a veteran of RPGs, “If you want to DM for the first time, you are living in age where nobody has ever had more resources at their fingertips to learn how to do it. Matt Mercer has an awesome thing for DM tips. Matthew Colville has ‘Running the Game’, Dropout.tv has Venturing Academy…there are a ton of modules with published adventures, all of that is available!”
Ultimately, Brennan believes in diving right into the action and learning as you go, and he circles back to this idea in closing on this biggest tip for a new or veteran DM. At the end of the day, you can read about how to DM for hours, consume every book, and watch every instructional video on YouTube, but experience is going to be invaluable. So, call up your friends, write out a story, and take the party on an adventure!
Finally, since Brennan is such an engaging DM, be sure to watch Dimension 20, where right now Pirates of Leviathan is halfway through its season, but you can also check out all of the previous seasons and adventures on Dropout.tv.
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