I have been my group’s Dungeon Master for about seven months now. I know that it isn’t that long yet I have learned so much since starting my first campaign. So, I thought it might be fun to share some tips and tricks I learned so you can learn from my mistakes.
First off, my biggest mistake. Why the hell did I think it would be a good idea to run a homebrew campaign as a new DM? I have gotten a better grip on it now, but I do not recommend starting from scratch like this. Please, if you are running your first campaign, use a module.
Remember, your NPCs are there to complement or challenge the PCs. They are not the stars of the story, the players are. This is something I need to remind myself of a fair bit. The main culprit is the parties healer NPC, Lilly. I need to rein her role in a bit.
You need to talk to the players. We have had a few issues come up in our group that could have been solved so much sooner had we communicated better. As a DM, I feel like I failed them because of this.
On that note, you should make sure your players know that they can talk to you about anything game related. Make sure your door is always open.
Things will not turn out the way you plan. That is fine, roll with the punches. You need to be able to adapt story beats quickly and be flexible. Did your plot-important NPC get killed? Are the players not going to a certain location? Are they not even interested in the plot at all? You simply have to adapt, ‘yes and’ is your best friend.
Talk to other DMs. I noticed my skills improving once I started talking to other DMs outside of my group. Thanks to them I was able to improve plot points and get more ideas. There are great discord servers out there, join a few.
Hell, if you are a fellow DM feel free to message me if you want a chat!
And finally, research. While it is vital you know the basics, you don’t need to be an expert. I am quite possibly the second least informed member of my group. When I forget something or am unsure, I check with the players.
Do not feel like you need to memorise everything Wizards of the Coast have published. Sure, studying a fair bit is always a good idea but don’t go overboard.
I truly hope this helped. If you have any questions, please let me know.