In our last post about starting your career in the DM’s throne we talked about doing some “field research” to help you get acquainted with some of the published campaign settings. Eberron, Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, and Dragonlance are all excellent settings (not to mention Planescape, Ravenloft, and Midnight to mention just a few of my other favorites), but there’s nothing that makes you feel quite as empowered as a DM than making your own world. That’s why you take the job, right? You want to control everything! It’s not enough to make villains laugh and damsels swoon, you want to move mountains and direct nations!
It’s as timeless a human emotion as hunger or comfort, just as Ozzymandias (the original, not the Watchman), but it’s also one of the toughest things to do as a DM. Anyone can make a backdrop, but how do you make it a world? How do you craft cultures like Tolkien or weave a complex mythos like J.J. Abrams? The short answer, unfortunately, is that you don’t. Not yet. Those guys are famous for a reason and you’re not going to read anything on the internet that makes you into a DMing ace overnight. Keep in mind that it takes only part inspiration to be a Dungeon Master, you also need to have every possible contingency accounted for in case your players (inevitably) go off the rails and start poking around where you haven’t prepped. As a start, though, here are some basic tools.Read More