Friday, February 8, 2019

Dungeon Mastering 101: Confidence

I've been a DM for over 25 years. I've always thought of myself as being good at it. I try to make the table comfortable for others, I spotlight the players, and I want everyone to have fun.

But something strange has occurred in the last few months: I've lost confidence in myself. I'm sure part of it was the burnout on DnD 5E (I'm loving Savage Worlds in the Deadlands setting since the change). And I think another part of it was my switch over from being a DM who used 100% self-written adventures to nearly 100% published adventures. But I don't think that explains it all.

Its something I'm struggling with. Being a good DM is important to me and I have two awesome groups these days (and I even get to play in 1 of them). I figure if I can root out the cause of the lack of confidence, I can better work on how to fix it.

One thing I've noticed is that I've always been a very improvisation DM and that's something I've moved away from. Perhaps that was the first symptom?

I don't think DMs always get the credit they deserve. While its great to see people like Matt Mercer, most of us don't have his background or budget and I think it can set an unrealistic expectation for some within the hobby. Don't get me wrong, show like Critical Role are great for the hobby, but every DM is different and the fact they are willing take on the responsibility should earn them some love.

I wrote this in hopes of a) exorcising whatever demon I've got right now and b) to let others know that if they go through this kind of thing, they are not alone.


Jay Exonauts said...

Hang in there brother! We all have our ups and downs when it comes to running the table. It's a lot of pressure sometimes, but remember--no one is at the table who doesn't want to have fun and imagine the hell out of what you're creating!

Take care!

UbiquitousRat said...

You are not alone. Confidence problems haunt me all the time. I even spoke about it recently in a podcast episode and found even more GMs who said they related. It’s a thing. You are not alone. So far, the best thing I can suggest is to simply try to do what you enjoy. If it’s not a joy to run, don’t run it.

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