How DMs Can Help With Player Backstories

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The position of Dungeon Master is well one of the difficult and traumatic positions in Dungeons & Dragons. The DM is accountable for shaping the world and guiding gamers by means of the story they wish to inform with the group over time. They can typically discover themselves taking part in the position of mediator between gamers struggling to get alongside.


Because a lot duty falls on the DM’s shoulders, typically questions come up about simply how a lot management they need to have relating to the character-building course of with their gamers. While somewhat steerage is nearly actually welcome, particularly relating to new gamers, an excessive amount of steerage may doubtlessly alienate the gamers from the DM and trigger undesirable tensions on the desk. Perhaps management is not the best phrase when it comes right down to it, so the place does the road fall between useful steerage and dictation?

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Dungeon Masters Are an Important Part of Player Character Creation

Long earlier than gamers sit down on the desk, they take the time to create characters and switch their sheets over to the DM for approval and game preparation. Having the chance to weigh the complete get together and their capabilities permits the DM to not solely plan encounters but additionally form small plot threads round particular person character targets and backstories so everybody feels invested within the epic story they construct collectively over time.

In an ideal world, everybody would get the whole lot they wished out of the game, and there would not be anybody singularly hoarding the highlight. Sadly, even with probably the most versatile DM, that is not all the time the case. When it involves introducing gamers to the game, DM steerage is commonly essential to steer them towards the category, race, background, spells and gadgets that may assist them get probably the most out of the game.

Even seasoned gamers might have DM enter earlier than a game formally launches. For instance, if everybody within the get together unwittingly chooses the identical class, it would make for attention-grabbing gameplay, but it surely may complicate issues unnecessarily because the game unfolds. Imagine a celebration of nothing however Bards, all taking part in the identical position. Not solely will they battle consistently for the highlight, however their choices will grow to be restricted when fight encounters develop more difficult. In the top, the DM may actually make ideas, however gamers could not need their recommendation.

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Should Dungeon Masters Dictate DnD Character Backstories?

Character creation is a really private a part of the game for a lot of gamers. Even if participant characters come into their preliminary assembly understanding one another in some capability, they are going to all have secret histories that encourage their conduct and improvement all through the game that solely the participant and DM find out about. That timid Cleric who watched his complete household die by the hands of a power-hungry lich could not ever speak about what he went by means of. However, his reactions to conditions that contain necromancy will inform a narrative the remainder of the get together will need to hear extra about.

One nice instance of this passed off throughout Critical Role marketing campaign two with Liam O’Brien’s character, Caleb Widowgast. From the beginning, the Mighty Nein suspected Caleb was hiding one thing darkish. As they got here to belief each other, the revelation of Caleb’s private tragedy — wherein he killed his personal mother and father on the behest of his power-hungry mentor — defined an important deal about how he reacted to sure triggers, like hearth. Had DM Matthew Mercer advised O’Brien he could not undertake such a macabre backstory as a result of it did not match into his imaginative and prescient as a DM or as a result of it would make the opposite gamers uncomfortable, it is onerous to think about who Caleb might need been.

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Because backstory is the early framework for a way a personality acts when tried and examined, it is vital for DMs to present them autonomy over their historical past, regardless of how darkish and twisted it might sound. On the opposite hand, a participant’s backstory shouldn’t give them entry to overpowered skills and gadgets. The leveling programs are there for a purpose, and whereas it is likely to be neat to have some distinctive skill as a result of a personality was born and raised in a mine stuffed with darkish magical ore, ultimately, it must be as much as the DM to resolve if it is a cheap request.

Another vital factor to contemplate is the consolation of the get together as an entire. If gamers are making particular person character decisions that do not mesh with the vibe that everybody’s searching for, it’s going to fall again to the DM to both catch it earlier than it turns into an issue or resolve the issue as soon as it does. Fortunately, issues like this may be nipped within the bud lengthy earlier than a game launches with good communication between DMs and gamers.



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