What would James Wyatt do?

dmgFollowing my last post, I’m trying to learn how to write and run my own adventures. To do that, I’m going back to the Dungeon Masters Guide to try and put myself in the mindset of a brand new gamer. When I first read this book back in the summer of 2008, I thought then that it was brilliantly written. I think I did what a lot of others did too, I put it to one side to concentrate on the Players Handbook and Monster Manual. I guess the DMG is the least ‘needed’ of the three core books, but I’m in the situation now where I ‘need’ it more than the others after all. It’s also unusual in that it’s credited to only one person on the cover: James Wyatt. others helped with the development, but you can see that its written with a single voice, and I think it benefits from that.

I’ve always read the parts in RPG rulebooks that tell you what a role playing game is, I like the various takes on it. Where a lot of games go wrong though, is they don’t take that advice forward and tell you how to run this game, the one you have in your hands. The DMG does nothing but that. As I come across the eye openers, I’ll share them here.

First up is a piece on DM style and some of the considerations. Imagine the following list and put your campaign on the sliding scale between the (admitted) extremes:


DM style considerations

Gritty …or… Cinematic

Medieval fantasy …or… Anachronistic

Silly …or… Serious

Lighthearted …or… Intense

Bold …or… Cautious

Preplanned …or… Improvised

General …or… Thematic

Morally ambiguous …or… Heroic




Apparently, the usual D&D expectation is to be to the right of the list, and I’ll need to make sure I brief the players if it moves too far away from that. So what do my first thoughts tell me? Well, I think I essentially want to play Ultimate D&D. I want to have lots of action movie type stunts, swearing, explosions, truly wicked villains, and other modern tropes, like dungeonpunk. I want to move away from fat, pipe smoking hobbits and wizards in pointy hats. I’d rather my rogues looked like whasserface from Alias, and my wizards like John Constantine.

This flys in the face  of my stated intent to start small, but hey, this isn’t world building, it’s tone and feel stuff.



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