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How To Become A Dungeon Master

A dragon bust painted black and gold, next to a miniature wizard

Becoming a Dungeon Master (DM) is a great way to enhance your tabletop gaming experience. As a DM, you are responsible for creating and running the game, crafting the world, and leading players through an adventure. However, becoming a DM can seem daunting at first, especially if you have no prior experience. Here are some tips on how to become a successful DM.

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1. Learn the Rules

Before you can run a game, you need to understand the rules of the game system you’ll be using. Whether it’s Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, or another tabletop game, take the time to read through the rulebook and understand the mechanics of the game. Familiarizing yourself with the rules will make it easier to create adventures and help players understand what they can and can’t do.

2. Practice Storytelling

As a DM, you are the storyteller of the game. You will be responsible for creating the world, describing the environment, and portraying non-player characters (NPCs). Practice your storytelling skills by reading books, watching movies, or playing video games that have a strong narrative. Pay attention to how the characters are developed and how the plot unfolds.

The Lord of The Rings has inspired many tabletop adventures!

3. Create A World

One of the most exciting aspects of being a DM is creating a world for your players to explore. Think about the setting, the history, the politics, and the geography of your world. Consider what creatures inhabit the world and what kind of magic exists. Start with a basic framework and build upon it as you go.

This map was made using Inkarnate

4. Plan Your Adventure

As a DM, you are responsible for creating an adventure for your players to experience. Think about the plot, the setting, and the challenges that the players will face. Make sure that the adventure is balanced, and there are opportunities for players to use their skills and abilities.

5. Encourage Player Engagement

As a DM, you should encourage players to engage with the world you’ve created. Allow them to ask questions, make decisions, and interact with NPCs. Listen to their ideas and incorporate them into the adventure. This will make the players feel invested in the world and make the game more enjoyable for everyone.

Painted miniatures in a tavern setting for tabletop games like dungeons and dragons
Custom miniatures help immerse your players in the game!

6. Be Flexible

No matter how well you plan, unexpected things can happen during a game. Players might make choices that you didn’t anticipate, or the dice might not roll in their favor. Be prepared to adjust your plans on the fly and go with the flow. Remember that the game is about having fun, and a rigid adherence to the rules can stifle creativity.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Becoming a successful DM takes practice. Start with a small group of friends or join a local gaming group. Run one-shot adventures to get a feel for the game mechanics and practice your storytelling skills. As you gain more experience, you can create longer and more complex adventures.


Becoming a Dungeon Master can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By learning the rules, practicing your storytelling skills, creating a world, planning your adventure, encouraging player engagement, being flexible, and practicing regularly, you can become a successful DM. Remember that the game is about having fun, and a good DM can make all the difference in creating a memorable experience for the players.

Four painted miniatures, including a firbolg warrior, a halfling bard, a  human wizard, and a dragonborn fighter explore a dungeon set in a game of dungeons and dragons.
These adventurers are ready to explore a dungeon!

The Dragon Bust at the top of this post was designed by 3DsOfSan.

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About the Author

James Geary

I'm a system administrator by day and a 3D-printing wizard by night. I take care of the printers at

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