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The most important D&D rule

Ok, so there's obviously a load of rules to try and get your head around in Dungeons and Dragons. It can be tempting to try and learn all of them before you feel ready to start and take the first step in your DM career. In reality though, there's only one rule you really need to know to get started. Come closer, I'll tell you. That one rule is... encumbrance.

Seriously, I cannot stress enough how absolutely vital it is to ensure that none of your party members are carrying even an ounce of equipment more than is strictly allowed! If even a single member of your party goes over their encumbrance allowance just for an instant, then the whole campaign is ruined, and you might as well all go home.

Lol. Just kidding. As with so many rules in D&D, I literally couldn't care less about encumbrance. That's right, I said it. Go tell Wizards of the Coast - I'm sure they have someone who can put a hex on me or something.

No, the real important rule is this: everybody should be having fun!

That's it. Thanks for listening. Catch you in the next post.

What are you playing for?

Seriously though. Whether you see your sessions as a chance to play a game, a chance to tell a story, or a chance to just hang out with your friends - what all those activities have in common is that they should be fun! This is literally the whole point of D&D. If it's not fun, then you've got a problem.

If that's the case, then you should try and figure out why it isn't fun (speaking to your players honestly is the best way to go about this) and then make any changes that should make it more enjoyable. Or, if the problems can't be solved within your existing group, then either look for a new group to play with, or just stop playing D&D full stop. There's no shame in it - it's an awesome hobby, but it's not for everyone.

Fun for you too

It's key to stress though that this rule does mean everyone should be having fun - DMs included. If you're running a session that your players love, but that you find stressful, or where the prep becomes too much, or where players are negatively commenting on your rulings or voices or whatever - then you've got a problem.

Eventually you'll either come to resent your players, or you'll just burn out and have to stop. That's not somewhere you want to be. I've had hobbies before where I've put so much pressure and stress on myself that it's completely destroyed my love of them, to the extent that it took years to rekindle that initial excitement. Don't go there - solve any problems before they get worse.

What's not fun?

Solving these problems can be easy or extremely hard, depending on the nature of the issue, and the personalities involved - but as I said, the best place to start is by talking with your players. If it seems like they're not having fun, ask them why, and what elements they've particularly enjoyed in previous campaigns that you can try to incorporate in yours. This feedback could be the difference between an awful campaign that everyone dreads, and an awesome one that they can't wait for.

What's your problem?

Or if it's you who's not having fun, then again, you should start by asking yourself why? Do you find the prep too arduous? Then maybe try prepping in a less intensive manner. Are you worried that your players aren't invested enough in the world or its characters? Again, check out the links and see if those tips help.

If it's an interpersonal issue though, and there's one player who doesn't gel with the group or is making the sessions difficult for everyone - then again, you should talk with them. Privately, if possible, to see if you can get to the bottom of whatever their concerns are. Or if things are really bad, then talk to the rest of the group to see if they're having the same problems with that individual, and if necessary, consider kicking the problem player from your table.

At the end of the day, you need to remember that no D&D is better than bad D&D - so if you really don't think you can resolve whatever issues you're having as a group, it's also fine to end the campaign.

Nobody is entitled to the time you spend either running or prepping the game - so don't feel bad if you have to go down that route. But with a bit of luck, and with a bit of time spent finding nice players, as well as communicating openly between yourself and them, then hopefully that should ensure that your game remains super fun for all!


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