What makes a good DM?

Had an argument with my sisters about DMing. What makes a good DM? Is it perfect knowledge of the rules? How much he prepares? The ability to think outside the box and create new challenges? To keep the game corehent?


Perfect knowledge of the rules? I think that maybe more like the definition of a god… or godlike creature at least.

Being prepared for everything is almost impossible cause your players will always come up with the one thing you could never prepare for. ( DM: The mayor slips you a letter asking for help. Player : I want to find a fight club to earn extra money… DM ::fungah:)

In my opinion a good DM can roll with his/her players ideas and keep up a fun and entertaining session for everyone involved.

I’ll take it a step further and say the job of a GM is tougher than anyone elses because you create everything for the sole purpose of the players enjoyment.

A great DM is one who puts his players in front of himself.

I like it when a DM prepares well ahead of the current place of the campaign. That way, things that happen early on may have meaning or importance later and there can be an coherent campaign instead of and on-the-fly plot. I also enjoy this so that if the group decides to play for longer than the session was originally planned for we can continue the plot instead of the afore mentioned on-the-flying.

That being said, a DM’s ability ot think on-the-fly is very important in any other capacity. If a player likes to RP his character, being able to act out a good NPC is vital. Part of this also includes flexibility to what the players want.

Knowledge of the rules is important, but not terribly so. There’s a rule book handy during sessions for a reason and a lot of the mechanics are learned over time from just playing the game.

I would consider the most important aspect of a good DM is the ability to keep the game moving. It is fun to go off topic every now and then to provide humorous and somewhat related content but if this happens to often, there can be a lull in the game and, much like radio, dead air is the worst thing.

A good GM knows what his players wants and provides it (while also having fun himself.) Some players like following the rules exactly, others like making things up on the fly. It can be difficult if you have both types in a session… but a good GM could please them by alternating styles in his campaign, for example. (of course, the players need to be understanding as well.) The bottom message is, RPGs are GAMES, having fun is the whole point.

(I recall there was once an -official!- D&D campaign based on Alice in Wonderland!) :hahaha;