The Fine Art of Being a DM

Being a good Dungeon Master involves a lot more than knowing the rules. It calls for quick wit, theatrical flair, and a good sense of dramatic timing—among other things. Most of us can claim these attributes to some degree, but there's always room for improvement.

Fortunately, skills like these can be learned and improved with practice. There are hundreds of tricks, shortcuts, and simple principles that can make you a better, more dramatic, and more creative game master.

But you won't find them in the Dungeon Master Guide. This is a reference book for running the AD&D game. We tried to minimize material that doesn't pertain to the immediate conduct of the game. If you are interested in reading more about this aspect of refereeing, we refer you to Dragon® Magazine, published monthly by TSR, Inc. Dragon Magazine is devoted to role-playing in general and the AD&D game in particular. For more than 16 years, Dragon Magazine has published articles on every facet of role-playing. It is invaluable for DMs and players.

If you have never played a role-playing game before but are eager to learn, our advice from the Player's Handbook is still the best: Find a group of people who already play the game and join them for a few sessions. If that is impractical, the best alternative is to get a copy of the Introduction to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Game. It covers all the basics of fantasy role-playing with the AD&D game, but in a much simpler presentation which teaches as you play. It includes several introductory role-playing adventures. These will show you what goes on during the game and give you step-by-step instructions on how to set up and run a game with your friends.

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