General: DMing Style
by, 09-19-2012 at 10:12 AM (617 Views)
I build a world framework. You help make that world real. I build the kind of world in which Iíd like to adventure because my NPCs are adventuring there. You then help make it into the kind of world in which you want to adventure by making choices about what happens.
I never have a PC when I DM. You are players. You have player characters. Iím the DM; I have all the non-player characters. I donít need a PC to make me feel connected to the world or point you in the right direction. I made the world. Theyíre all right directions.
I run a sandbox-style game, but with plots happening all around you. You can choose to get involved with them or forge your own way. But things happen when youíre not around, and ignoring a plot doesnít make it go away; instead, it means the campaign world will change because you didnít get involved as much as it will change because you did.
I donít expect the world to survive the campaign. I donít expect NPCs to survive the campaign. I expect you to raze cities and murder NPCs. Donít worry about them; Iíll make more. I have infinite resources for regeneration.
You should make character choices based on the kind of game you want you be in. If you take as your feat Weapon Focus, Iíll assume you want more combat. If you take an item creation feat, I assume you want more detail on that. And so on. Every choice you make tells me something about the campaign world and its shifting focus. But itís also up to you to use what you have to solve problems. I donít design problems specifically so your abilities will solve them; I set up situations, you solve them with your abilities.
I expect you to be smart. My NPCs will be smart (when thatís appropriate). Itís rare, but I might give you actual real-life challenges like puzzles and riddles that need solving with on your own brain power rather than a series of die rolls; I know thatís kind of shitty and takes power away from your character sheet, but I also know it can be interesting and entertaining and make for some good storytelling. In such cases, Iíll sometimes employ an intermediaryólike the wife or the boyóto stand in for the world while I play an NPC if the challenge is a competitive one so as to even the playing field.
I donít railroad. Iíve have an outline of what the antagonists are doing while youíre doing what youíre doing, and you tend to cross paths with the antagonists, but if you donít care, so be it. If you want to go off the rails, thatís great: you canít. There are no rails. Do what you want.
Iím tightfisted, but not unreasonably so. The gameís advancement scheme means that encountering treasure is less frequent than leveling up. Youíre going to be poor, but your characterís going to be badass, so that makes up for it. You wonít feel it until youíre third level and still tracking copper pieces. That usually means youíre going too slow not that I am.
Donít try to con me. If you want to do something, letís talk about it. If youíre picking something because thereís a rules interpretation out there that you want to exploit, donít spring it on me. Talk to me. Make sure we agree before you choose something upon which reasonable people disagree. I am an extremely liberal DM, but Iím not a goldfish. I think the rules are there for a reason, and sometimes shit doesnít do what you think it does, and sometimes shit doesnít do what I think it does.
Above all: Talk to me. I canít game without you.