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In addition to making plot notes, it can also help new players to make notes on certain mechanics. If a player finds themselves forgetting that they have to reload a certain weapon, or prepare specific spells, write it down. Those who play spellcasters often find it helpful to write out spell descriptions on note cards, rather than flipping to the appropriate page every single time. The same may apply to weapons, magic items, and more.
Avoid the frustration on both ends and cut some corners. Or even better, simply don’t write those corners until you need to. By keeping a really zoomed-out, bird’s-eye view of the story you’re trying to tell you can fill in the details as and when you need. Having a plan is great – and knowing the kind of narrative you and your players are all trying to tell from the offset is a genuine godsend – but the more rigid that narrative becomes, the less fun you’re likely to have telling it. This hobby is all about being imaginative and rolling with the punches, so have fun with it! Tell stories even you didn’t expect to happen. Why do you think we roll dice every time we try something?
Keep in mind the difficulty check, known as the DC, on rolls. This is especially important for the Dungeon Master. The DC is the number that needs to be met or exceeded to succeed whatever is being attempted. Easy actions, opening an unlocked door, for instance, have a low number usually 0-10. Medium actions a medium number 10-15, and hard actions a high number 15-20. When planning your challenges, keep those in mind. Speaking of success and failure, don’t be afraid to lean into any negative characteristics your character may possess. Whether it’s from a poor attribute (low Dexterity, Strength, for example) or because you just wanted a character that is a kleptomaniac, flaws are what create depth. They are also often what a player loves most about playing. My own character, Althea, is an optimistic Druid with horrible Charisma. She is stubborn and tries to take every problem on herself. She can’t communicate with others well, so she just doesn’t.
You shouldn’t feel bad about sitting down to GM and not having a full grasp on every rule in the book. If you’re confused about how something works in play, don’t panic. You can improvise what happens in the moment and check on the rule later, or even pause the game briefly to give your players a break whilst you read the rulebook. Whatever you need, just do it. No-one is going to be upset that you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of how the game works on day one. (If they do, they probably suck – maybe don’t play with them.)
Not sure what a spell’s description means? Can’t remember what AC or DC stands for? Don’t know what it means to be behind cover? Ask! Pausing the game’s action for a few seconds is worth it to help make sure everyone is on the same page and having a good time. More often than not, DM’s and other players will be glad to answer questions for friends who are learning the game. And if they aren’t…well, refer to the first point. They might not be the best people to play with, especially for a first campaign. Discover extra details at https://dnds.store/.