About a week ago I got into a conversation with a couple of people on Twitter about being a Dungeon Master and how it’s essentially a very solitary role. It all started because I felt a hankering to create a new campaign setting, but with a twist. I wanted to create it with other DMs. I wanted input from other Dungeon Masters, and for each of us to build our own sections of this world that we would eventually be able to show to players. Like a kind of gift to the rpg and D&D community. Not a setting devised and created by one person, but a collective of DMs all putting their unique stamp on it, creating a wholly new and different world where each nation feels different than the other. I thought if nothing else it would be a fun exercise and chance to meet and learn from other DMs.
This idea grew through my Twitter exchange. It grew to an idea, presented by one of the others involved, of a place for DMs to get together and talk about the campaigns they are running, share ideas for encounters and characters and learn from each other. It became an idea of a place for us to all become better Dungeon Masters together. We would break out of our solitary worlds and create better games, better stories and better worlds for our players because we were doing it not by ourselves but with input from DMs of all walks of life.
And so the DM Collective was born. I created the Discord server and invited the 2 others I was talking to. We posted the link on Twitter, we invited other DMs. It grew, in a week it grew into a community of like minded people who want nothing more than to be better at our hobby and be better for our players. There are some who are more active than others but that’s fine, maybe they are reading the conversations we are having a learning from them. In the week since its inception we have gained streamers, DMs Guild content creators, Roll20 DMs and DMs who play face to face. The wealth of knowledge going back and forth in this Discord server is truly astounding.
So far we have helped a DM create a mine cart chase a la Indiana Jones for his Twitch stream, we have helped a young, relatively new DM with her aquatic race design. We have promoted each other’s streams, new releases on DMs Guild. We have taken our first steps in creating a shared world with a common theme but very different nations. We’ve shared helpful links, art we find inspiring, and playlists we listen to when writing or playing. We have a contest we run for fun that helps us with our story telling (and honestly so far it’s created some interesting ideas for adventures). It’s truly exciting and rewarding.
So often in life we feel we’re alone in our interests, or we know there are others out there who like the same things as us but we just never find them. But we’ve found each other now. We’ve never met each other, we weren’t friends before a few days ago. Now we’re a collective of incredibly supportive people sharing the idea that being a DM doesn’t have to mean you have to do everything yourself, and keep your excitement about your campaign to yourself. It’s possible for Game Masters with very different styles and different levels of experience to come together and create together. Ego is left at the door, we don’t care if you’re preparing to run your first game or if you’ve built worlds and streamed a 100 games. When we talk together we’re all the same, a bunch of people trying to have fun and make sure our players have fun.
At the end of the day we want to create stories and have adventures. It takes courage and time to sit behind the screen. It can be a solitary, lonely job. Sometimes you come across a problem you can’t figure out and you need to talk through it or get advice. Instead of going to Reddit or Twitter, we can get almost instant input from several people at once without our players getting spoilers.
I’m excited to see where this takes us. With so much talent in one place it’s inevitable that we create some cool things to share with other DMs and players. I’m full of ideas for books and adventures and supplements and different ways to get more people involved. But I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer. For now it’s great getting to know the others in the DM Collective and learning from them. Hopefully one day our campaign setting will see the light of day and many games will be played in it.
Dungeons & Dragons is amazing and fun game. It brings people together to tell stories of heroism, triumph, disappointment and adventure together. Wizards of the Coast has built a community of gamers through streaming, content creation and social media. The popularity of D&D grows everyday. Shows like Critical Role have gotten more people interested in the game. Matthew Mercer, Matt Colville, James Introcaso, Adam Koebel and Mike Shea and many others have pushed the game into the limelight with their accessibility and presence in the D&D and RPG community and encouraged and guided others to take up the mantle of being a DM. Now in the spirit of that, we’re trying to do the same. We’re there to help other DMs new and old become better and to be the DMs they want to be. It’s exactly what those of us in the DM Collective needed, wanted and couldn’t find until now. Watching how to YouTube videos and reading blogs and watching actual play streams is fine but you can’t interact with them. You can’t say “Hey I got an idea for this. What do you think?” and get helpful, insightful and experienced feedback from different sources and spark a conversation.
If you’re a DM and you’re looking for that extra helping hand, look us up. Contact me on Twitter or join us here. We haven’t turned any GMs or DMs away. We did boot a couple of bots though. It’s no place for androids.
Have you been a part of a community like this? What has been your experience as a Game Master? Let me know in the comments.
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