Fam, can you give me some dungeon master tips? I'm dm'ing a group of friends of mine and it's all of our first time playing and i'm not reallg entirely sure that i know what i'm doing...
my #1 advice to new DMs is to not be too reliant on the source material. If you’re doing a published adventure, realize that your players probably wont do everything *exactly* as the book says. They’re going to try to go places that arent in the adventure or will come up with solutions that you didn’t expect.
For situations where the players do something you dont expect, just ask them to do an appropriate skill check (ie. if the fighter wants to get on top of a building to get a better view of the town, ask them to make an athletics check). just use this rule of thumb:
If something is easy, the DC should be about 10 or 12 (10 if its hella easy or if u want to be nice to your players)
If it’s moderately difficult, the DC should be 15.
If it’s hella hard, to the point that you wouldnt expect the players to be able to do it, the DC should be 20
Also, you should learn to be comfortable with improvising. NOTHING goes as planned in DnD, and that’s a good thing! It keeps the story fluid and organic, and it makes it a lot more fun for the players to not be stuck on rails. Personally, I do very little preparation other than monsters for encounters and a few NPCs because I just LOVE improv and DMing is a great exercise for that!
The point of it all is that DnD is a game, and games are supposed to be fun! So try not to tell players they can’t do something. They can *try* anything, and sometimes you just have to tell them “nothing happened”. It feels a lot better to be told that the thing you tried didnt work than to be told you couldnt try it in the first place.
(the only addendum i’d add to this is that if a player tries to use a spell slot for a spell that wouldn’t work, you might want to elaborate on how the spell works and explain to them why it wouldn’t work in that context so they don’t feel like they wasted a spell slot. BUT! if they learn something from using the spellslot, even if it’s that “you’re in an antimagic field” or something of that sort, then you should definitely let them cast the spell.)
Anyways, I hope this all helps! Have fun!!