Will Doyle Profile picture
Jul 16, 2018 11 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Playing and running #dnd at conventions has taught me SO MUCH about my game. Here are the ten most important tips I've picked up for DMing at conventions so far (most apply to home game too!):
1) Ask each player to introduce their character at the start of the game. Not just Class/Race/Level - ask them to describe their character entering the scene. It only takes five minutes, but it's CRAZY how many DMs skip this, leaving players wondering who they're gaming with!
2) Try to run your game standing up if you're able. It keeps the mind active. It can feel unnatural to start a game that way: my tip is to stand up and hand out initiative cards once everyone's seated, and then never sit down again.
3) When describing things, try to start a sentence looking at one player and end it looking at another. Consciously try to look around the table and make eye contact with every player.
4) Smile as you describe things. If you show joy in what's happening, your players will feel it too.
5) Roll with your players' plans, especially for shy players. In a busy convention slot, each player only gets a handful of chances to interact with you. If your response is to nerf them, they may clam up. They'll certainly leave the event questioning your decisions.
6) Show No Mercy (or at least, show very little mercy). Some DMs seem to treat convention play as a safe zone. In my experience, a good character death often makes for a more memorable game.
7) Read the adventure beforehand.
8) Hydrate! For a four-hour convention slot, you need AT LEAST a litre of water. If you get dehydrated and a headache sets in, you're screwed! I recommend taking a sports container. (This is one of those obvious ones, but seriously, don't ignore it. It will ruin your day.)
9) Use initiative cards, and ask the players to preroll a bunch of initiative scores at the start of the game. That way, you just have to rearrange the cards whenever combat occurs.
10) Don't judge people. That player who's acting like they're in a mood may be in a mood about something entirely outside of the game, or may NOT BE IN A MOOD AT ALL. You don't know them. Be trusting. I'm continually confounded by players' behaviours.

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