Dungeon Master questions.

Rules Questions

1. Is being a Dungeon Master hard? 2. Also, do they even play if they create ever scenario?(Idk I havent played yet).

1: Depends. I takes more time than being a player, so if you don't have time then it can be difficult I suppose. If you have lots of time on your hands and a head full of stories to tell its not hard at all. I mean the simple act of running the game is not necessarily difficult. you just direct the action and you try and make things fun for everyone.

2: I don't know what this question means. Are you trying to ask, if the GM(DM) plays a character in the game? Are you asking if they have to create every game they play? The answer to both is... if you want I guess.

maybe clarity a little and you may get more responses.

1. It can be.

2. Yes. Since they are every scenario they are always playing.

1. Yes. You have to be prepared for an infinite number of possible choices by the players. And D20 systems, like Pathfinder have complex rules. Not to mention it can be very time consuming for generating stats for Non Player Characters. Also you need to be pretty familiar with the system to figure out what option material to allow your players to build characters with. Being too stringent or too lenient can ruin the RPG experience for people at the table so it is a very hard job.

2 You could have a non player Character that acts pretty much as a PC, but you'll know whats really going on, you'll always know how tough the monsters are and you'll always know what the best course of action is, depriving yourself of some the joys of being a player. And the players may feel your DM-PC is stealing the show.

You really would be better off playing the game first rather than running the game first.

It's challenging to balance story and enjoyment. Moreso, your players really are the deciding factor.

Eg. My personal live games are great, with some discussions being easier because we have played along time together. On the other hand, I tried running games at the local store and the personalities I encountered their made it more challenging. If you surround yourselves with difficult players, your task is harder. If you have a good group of players who realise the entire experience is a group effort then it's far more enjoyable.

Good luck and happy gaming newb!

1) It can be, it depends on a number of things. If you are running a pre-made adventure, such as a basic 32 page Pathfinder Module, it's pretty easy. The whole "book" only takes an hour or two to read, all of the monsters are already stat'ed out, it tells you how to run the rules for some of the encounters, and it will give you suggestions on how to run most of the encounters. There will also be maps, descriptions of how the NPCs react to the players, and even suggestions on how to tailor the treasure to the party.

The longer pre-made adventures take more time. Not only will a 60+ page book take longer to read, but there are more aspects to the adventure that you should be familiar with to make sure the adventure "moves forward" in case the party can't figure out what to do next. Sometimes a party will kill an NPC that was about to give them information on where to go next, so instead of an interrogation you might have to supply them with a rough map that was tucked into the NPC's backpack (wink, wink!)

It also depends on the group. Some groups work well together, and those are easy to run b/c they want to play the adventure. Other groups will have one guy who always wants to "scout ahead" but never reports back to the party. Other groups have a hard time paying attention, and wind up asking the same question about a room description 3 or 4 times in the course of five minutes.

DM'ing generally just takes some patience, decent people skills, and a little time to prepare.

2) DMs absolutely play in the game. Not only do you roleplay the personalities (and hidden agendas!) of different NPCs, you are also fighting in combat as the monsters. You're still making attack rolls, rolling damage dice, and making saving throws. The cool part about making rolls as a DM is that you don't have to show the actual dice. That way if combat gets too easy, a fudged "critical hit" can keep the party on its toes.

As DM, you also control the pace of an encounter. If you find that the party always uses the same tactic, you can use a convenient wandering monster to disrupt the tactic and make things interesting. If you think a pre-made adventure would be more fun with a plot twist, you could have an NPC betray the party as an extra climax when they think the module is almost over.

DM'ing can be alot of fun if you want to tell a living story that responds to the party's actions and decisions!

1. Yes. I think there is like one important axis to consider, improvisation vs planning. Improvisation needs innate skill and is hard to learn, but if you're good at it GMing becomes very easy. Planning takes a lot of time that can be reduced by playing a premade adventure.
The best GMs are probably somewhere between those two, important points are planned, but can improvise when players act out.
I often need a short break when GMing for a couple of hours.
However GMing is mainly learning by doing, so in that aspect it's not rocket science, and it's no competition.

2.No, you don't get to play a unique hero with whom you can identify. However you can completly invent a world and every citizen therein, so in that aspect you get to play a lot.
Most people I know have a clear preference for playing, and GMing is fun but not as much fun as playing. The reason I have is that the GM doesn't feel like part of the group. Sometimes you play against the players, sometimes you play with them but have to restrain them from doing something. So it's like a parent and his children, you'll never really be part of your childrens playgroup, no matter how cool you are, but therefor you've got the money to buy whatever you want for yourself or your children.

DM/GMing can be hard or easy. It depends on the work you are willing to put in and the group you are playing with.

Some GMs go to great lengths to create a world, scenarios, etc. This can be very difficult for some.

Some GMs pick up pre-written adventures and then modify them to suit their own tastes.

Some GMs pick up a pre-written adventure, read it, and run it without modification.

All varieties are fine. Your own style will depend upon you and your group.

A couple of points for GMing:
Know the rules. If you do not know the rules you may have difficulties. A way around this would be having a player at the table who knows the more obscure rules and helps out.

Time to read.

Know the scenario you are GMing and the abilities of the creatures you are running. Plan out a general plan of attack for the creatures. Make sure you come up with some alternative plans. Thinking about these things ahead of time will save time in the game.

A system of some kind to keep track of details. The system will vary from GM to GM. I like word documents with 'talking points' for my social and encounters and quick references for my combat encounters. I also use excel to keep track of equipment, experience etc.

- Gauss

Dark Archive

Titan00Clash wrote:
1. Is being a Dungeon Master hard? 2. Also, do they even play if they create ever scenario?(Idk I havent played yet).

1) it depend on your ablilities to tell or improvise stories, and know the basic rules of the game.

imho, you shouldn' start with an homemade scenario . I would suggest you to start with some paizo product and switch on your own story after that.

2) I used to play, as a dm, the cleric of the group for about 10 IRL years. so , yes, the dm plays too.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It requires more work than just being a player, since the Game Master (Dungeon Master is a D&D specific term) has to run all the NPCs, the game world and keep the adventure on track.

Whether that's "hard" is really a matter of perspective. It gets easier with practice, though.

And yes, the GM is also playing the game, even if they don't run Player Character while GMing. Some GMs do that, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're new to GMing.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In my group we switch off GM's after a story arc, it is a volunteer thing so some people GM more then others but I think every one has done it a few times. One it helps players understand the prep and it also gives the ability to twist the style a little bit based on the new GM's approach. I think it is good to be on both sides it helps people appreciate the game more. So I would suggest switching when the time feels right!

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber


In my current game, two of us are GMing (we swap every few weeks). It helps keep the game fresh, and there are two related but different threads of adventure being pursued at any one time, with the focus on the thread of the current GM.

Seeing the game from the other chair is always good. You learn things as a player that you can't pick up from GMing, and vice-versa.

GMing is hard but rewarding. The more you do it, the better you get at it just like with everything else. There are tools out there to make your job easier. What are you worried about, specifically, as GM that we might be able to help you with?

As for the GM playing, you'll get a variety of answers. The GM does play but generally not as a player. The players each have their one or two characters (companions) and you have the rest of the universe. You get to play many characters. You may even need to send an NPC along with the party to help them with an adventure. You shouldn't play in the same way as the players though since you have, hopefully, already read the adventure.

Being a Dungeon Master isn't necessarily hard, but it does require more time and system mastery than being a player. Players can show up to each session and not spend a lot of time outside the game itself doing anything related to it. A DM, in contrast, is required to spend time outside the sessions themselves planning.

There are ways to minimize this, in particular by running premade adventures. This can be very helpful for new DMs, since it can give you an idea of how things go, before you start thinking about writing your own. But even if you're using premade adventures, a good DM will need spend time reading through the adventure, making sure he understands all the rules involved, etc.

Which brings us to the rules. Obviously if a new DM is a new player you can't expect him to know everything off the bat. But that said, the DM is the final arbiter of the rules in the game, so a new DM who wants to be a good DM is going to need to spend some time trying to get a decent grasp of the rules before his first session. That means reading through the core rules a few times, maybe asking questions of things he doesn't understand on forums such as these, etc.

Then it's just a matter of experience and having fun while getting it.

Regarding whether DMs "play": They do not have individual characters that are "theirs" in the way that players do. But in a sense, every character that isn't played by a player is "theirs." That's part of the fun of DMing, at least for me. Each session there are new characters that I've created that were a ball to play. Then once their part in the story is done, I come up with others.

One of the most rewarding parts of DMing for me is the players' reactions to some of my creations. I remember the party coming across a group of tinkers once. It was a father and his two younger daughters. When they approached, one little girl popped up out of a hatch with a crossbow aimed at the party, and what followed was a 3-way conversation between the PCs, the little girl, and her father (the little girl kept shouting what they were saying to the dad inside the wagon.) The players loved it. :)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I merged the threads on this topic.

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