> #1 treat your players like a politcal party with guerilla training. Brainless, yet surprisingly cunning.
>#2 Decide which source material can be used, by designing your map first. You'd be surprised how angry players get when they realise that their wings will be as useful as a 40ft rope, since the campaign is in the underdark.
>#3 Read their character sheets. You'll learn more about the games rules from arguing with your players on how powers work, than reading any amount of DM's guides.
>#4 Your dungeons are only as smart as your dumbest player. If there's no way through a puzzle, they will find a way to make one. To that effect, never put anything of plot importance behind a pegboard, only gold and loot.
>#5 gold is just loot that the players havn't found a way to abuse yet.
>#6 There's no such thing as an "imtimidating goblin". Your players don't care how much time you spent setting him up as the BBEG, he needs to be at least an Ogre for it to count.
Shall I continue to be dry and unamusing?
>#7 A player who says "can I" already knows the answer is no, don't try to surprise them.
>#8 A player who says "I can" is on the path to being the next DM, nourish this and take your rightful place as their nuisance player.
>#9 Rope and fire is a players WD40 and duct tape. Deny access to these at all costs.
>#10 Any problem that a player could solve by interacting with normally will be attacked. Even the rotting "rope and wooden plank" door will be attacked with fire. Laugh when the attack misses.
>#11 Your players don't hate you, but they hate everything you built. Don't take it personally when your players kill the entire town just because it had a light were-rat infestation.
>#12 a land base campaign will still manage to involve ships or sea-monsters. A sea-faring campaign will see your players plant their asses firmly in the desert. Circumvent this by placing them in a desert island. They will immediately find their way into the underdark.
>#12 a player that wishes to chronicle the campaign is not trying to help, he's trying to put words in your mouth, and catch your plotholes.
>#13 a player that wants to draw maps is looking to get dungeon pre-views.
>#14 a player that wants to take inventories is looking to add loot to their sheets
>#15 if a mechanic adds to your workload, ignore it. It's not worth giving the players one more thing for them to expect you to track. Encumberment is the worst of these.
>#16 hunting is only ever allowed to keep the players alive, never let them set up a business. Put poaching laws in place to prevent this.
>#17 a player who has tasted the blood of the hunt will inevitably move on from hunting beasts, to hunting townsfolk.
>#18 an evil campaign is harder to run than a good one. There will be more debates about what is amoral (and therefore allowed) than any time a paladin considering if slaughtering the hunter-turned-werewolf will make him fall.
>#19 Months and years is a good way to make your players aware of time. And increase your workload threefold when your players demand to know what happened in the three months of winter you just skipped.
>#20 Keep to standard names. The utter confusion as you try to pronounce "Garbolous" is not worth the immersion. The same goes for naming months, years, and places.
>#21 When a player make a character, they will do everything except give you plot-hooks and personality. Feel free to retroactively add these yourself.
>#22 A career in sales will train you to manipulate your players into actually play the game. It will not stop them from doing everything in their power to do everything else at the same time. For this reason, phones, tvs, computers, books and lint are all forbidden from the table.
Case in point.
>#23 Players will follow you everywhere. They are better than the CIA.
>#24 If your player is in the CIA, they will never find you.
>#25 Never play with someone who you can't knock out with the DMs guide.
>Your Players will allways ignore the plot hooks and go for the most trivial thing you just came up on the fly and yes if this gets the story going then a magic broom is as much of a mcguffin as that magical sword
>to this effect all sticks, flies, unicorns, toads, bricks, walls and terrors from another dimension are to be considered Mcguffins, and are to be considered magic.
>scratch that, all PCs are cannonically massive faggots, and thus are not allowed to have relationships outside the male gender.
>Make a point of taking and referring to your notes during play. As the players will never see this material, the most important things to record are their most memorable stupid moments
>Be sure to post the cream of your notes to /tg/ in such a way that your players will know you're talking about them on an anonymous image board. If they call you out on this behaviour, deny everything and claim that the things they do are "pretty common in roleplaying games".
>These phrases are guaranteed to keep your players in a state of euphoria known as "paranoia". This state engages players and keeps them from doing things that could annoy you. Like flicking lint across the game board.
>In times gone by, DMs were advised to make secret rolls for random encounters, traps, and other perils for the player characters, with a generous helping of dummy rolls so that the players were never entirely sure what the sound of the dice meant. This is old-fashioned humbug. Roll your dice in plain sight of the players so that the meta-gaming bastards can go into panic mode whenever you get a 20 on an "I wanted to roll dice right now" check.
>The high-point of justification is the rhetorical flourish, "Wouldn't you like to know?" This is an especially good answer to the question, "Why won't you tell us what that roll was about?"
Allright folks, I'm running out of steam here in good old Ireland, so I think I'll retire. If you somehow manage to snark all the way to morning, I'm sure I'll have more to contribute. Goodnigh/tg/ents!
>There are only two polite ways to interrupt a discussion among the players on what to do next. The first is to inform them that one of the characters has taken damage. The second is to call for a saving throw.
>Encourage your players to improvise contributions to the rich tapestry of the campaign world. Putting them on the spot with questions like, "What's the name of your character's mother?" is a good way to exact retribution for the times they've made you come up with irrelevant details at the gaming table.
>Never be afraid of making expensive items mundane and crummy looking items magical.
>(3.5 only) Combine this with to-the-letter interpretations of magical item identification to drive them insane.
>anything presented in the right way can be ignored and anything unimportant can become the center of attention. Use this to your advantage and hide important things in plain sight.
>When using rare monsters, don't say what they are. odds are they bear a similar description to another, more common monster.
>If you rigged the arena with a convenient way to fell the boss in a single blow also consider putting an elixir of resurrection in the next rooms loot pile for the obvious reason. Then don't mention it unless they make the appraise check.
>Placing several locked doors in next to each other with mention of loud noises and mechanisms whirring with each one bypassed is not an indication they should turn around, avoid it or proceed with caution but that they should instead find a faster way past the doors
>once every couple months, give the players town guard character sheets. Put them up against a monster which the PCs have fought occasionally like an ogre or a troll or a wyvern. Brutally murder them
>If your players are getting cocky, dig through the splat books, giant balls of spider legs are dangerous
->If they're still cocky, get the book of vile darkness, it'll make you feel better.
This is something I have learned over and over, to the point where I am now certain it is a tabletop law, just one many DMs haven't learned yet:
>Every dungeon is boring, every obstacle is a waste of time. It doesn't matter how exciting you try to make it, how interesting the scenery is, or how deadly the dangers, every player will look at it and say "Why are we wasting time on this? Can we just get to the loot?". Every part of your dungeon will evoke groans, sighs, and irritated questions about whether they can just skip it.
>And then afterwords, they'll insist that they're having fun and want more. Right up until they get to the next obstacle.
>Be sure to hold up high standards of roleplaying. The best way to do this is blatant favouritism. Shower rewards on the players who you- err, whose roleplaying you like, and make your scorn obvious to the plebians.
>throw in some guilds for flavor
>describe two to fellow Swords for hire as being part of the guild
>next two hours of are them interrogating the men about how the join the guild
Sorry to hear you have shit players, anon.
>there are four ways your players will deal with obstacles.
>avoiding them (or running away, trapping, bypassing etc)
>making friends with them (or intimidate, or bribing etc)
>being defeated by them
Make basic plans for all four contingencies.
>#23 Players will follow you everywhere. They are better than the CIA.
And if I have a player named "Leonid Yaprize Paveleer"?