DMG 2 Lessons

2009 September 15
by Stupid Ranger

So, I know you were expecting Dante to be posting about the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 since it releases today, but you get me instead.  Don’t worry, Dante will tell you all about the DMG 2 soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a little something with you.

It All Started with James Wyatt…

One of the first things that caught my eye as I was flipping through the book was one of the insets, where James Wyatt describes his experiences with his son, who wants to play a fire archon.  Who among us hasn’t wanted to play an awesome character, but somehow, it didn’t fit into the standardly published player options?

The inset tells the story of how Master DM Wyatt combined various elements and developed a fire archon-like class for his son.  He concludes by pointing out that the character class is really important to the player, and if a players wants something non-standard, the DM should work with that player to develop something that works without being unbalanced.  Great advice!

But Here’s My Two Cents’  Worth…

The best part of this story is that it illustrates two very fundamental concepts of D&D.  First, the game can be flexible; just because the rules don’t specifically map out every single eventually doesn’t mean your group can’t make something happen.   The published ruleset is designed to provide guidelines and structure upon which you can impose your own imagination.

The second element I see here is the cooperative nature of the DM-Player relationship.  This harkens back to something Bill Slavicsek and Andy Collins discussed during our interview: there should not be an emnity between the DM and the players.  As players, we’re not engaged in a battle to “beat” the DM; as DMs, you’re not “out to get” your players.  It should be a cooperative environment that allows the players to help the DM tell a story.  And because it’s cooperative, if the player needs something, like help customizing a class to fit the character concept, the DM should be willing to help make that happen.

So Remember…

This isn’t about who wins; it’s about having fun.  So if something is impeding the fun, discuss it and see what compromise is available so that everyone is happy.

Now, get out there, roll some dice and have some fun!

One Response leave one →
  1. September 16, 2009

    I agree with you that D&D is not supposed to foster an adversarial relationship between DM and Player, but not everyone thinks that way. I’ve met quite a few old school players who insist that the campaign is the DM’s and only the DM knows best.

    In these campaigns, it is very much a DM vs. Players mentality.

    I avoid such DMs, but they’re out there, though it’s much less common these days.

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