Top 5 tips for planning a DnD Session

Being DM is one of the highlights of playing DnD and it is a true honor to lead a crew through another thrilling adventure. But as the saying goes, with great power…

This can be a nerve-wracking time, whether it is your first time or 100th but don’t worry, you are not alone. Every DM worth their salt can tell you that you are constantly wondering if you are missing the mark, anxious about keeping everyone engaged, and probably unsure about the outcome of it all. 

Here are a few tips for planning a DnD dice to help you ease your nerves and ensure that you have a long and fruitful run as DM. 

Be Prepared for NPCs

For much of the game, players will be interacting with NPCs which makes the game endlessly colorful. You need to be prepared for these encounters around every turn so keep a list of some generic names to pull from that match you’re setting and adventure. 

It is easy to be thrown off if players introduce new NPCs but having some names and characteristics on hand, ready to, makes it all seem effortless and part of the plan. So, whether it is Odo Shifter the cantankerous innkeeper or Gram Tyrik the dimwitted henchman, you will be ready to roll with it. 

Know the lay of the land

It will do you good to refamiliarize yourself with the geography of your adventure before your session. You should be comfortable with the characteristics of the world and refresh your memory about its history.

Adding unexpected elements can be fun and it is part of the experience but it needs to make sense in the grander scheme of things. Coming across a bustling port city while PCs have been trudging through the desert seems a bit out of place. This could interrupt the flow of the game and interfere with the immersive nature of the game.

Whip out the rule book

Constantly referring to the rules while in a session can be quite disruptive and mess with the flow of the adventure. So, it is always a good idea to give your DnD Books a once over before the session starts. Familiarize yourself with the rules, even if you think you know it all.

There are tons of very specific scenarios in the books that you might not come across often but being able to handle them when they do pop up will make the game so much more enjoyable. Things like wilderness survival or underwater combat don’t always pop up but if they do, you will be all over it. 

Focus on the goals

Players should know what the end goal of the campaign is from the very start. This seems like an obvious statement but it is easy to get them lost with lots of embellishments and complicated details. Make sure that everyone in the party knows what they are after.

You should also set small personal goals for PCs too. Throughout the adventure, you can refer back to these goals and pull from characters’ back stories to help them develop in their own right, changing the way they approach scenarios. 

DMs should always keep their eye on the price but leave some room for characters to find their own way. Strike a balance between going rogue and being too rigid and you will find a sweet spot where everyone remembers the goal but has tons of fun getting to the end.

Remember: This is not a job

It can be easy for a DM to get lost in the preparation stage, endlessly mulling over small, insignificant details, trying to get everything “just right”. You should always remember this is a game and you are here to have fun! 

Leave room for players to guide the game and for things to unfold as the DnD Gods want.  It is not uncommon for a Dm to spend more time preparing for an adventure than they actually do running the session but this quickly turns into a job rather than a hobby. You want to look forward to preparing and not dread it like a Monday morning commute. When you have fun, the rest of the party will follow suit! 

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