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D&D DMing thoughts 

Running Blades in the Dark as much as I have has made me a better D&D DM

Mechanically, DMing D&D is not hard. Tedious, yes, but not hard. There's a rule for (almost) anything, so it's mostly a matter of applying the relevant rule. It gets easier with experience, and with players at the table who are totally willing to "well, actually..." appropriately.

D&D DMing thoughts 

I don't mean to diminish anyone's creative endeavors, but I'd also posit that it's not hard, mechanically, to write D&D content. There are literally combat calculators online, and while tactics MATTER, you can guarantee that DMs are pretty much gonna wing it/adjust tactics to suit the party ANYWAY.

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D&D DMing thoughts 

Finding combat that's thematically appropriate and introduces the right flavor for the scenario - building tension where appropriate or releasing it, or letting the players let loose a bit - is more challenging, and definitely where the fun in writing a scenario comes in (presuming that the people who run it are decent DMs).

Plus, if you're running a campaign, figuring out how to have the big bad exeunt stage left in a puff of smoke while adhering to the mechanics is also fun.

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D&D DMing thoughts 

What makes D&D HARD is that it's not really storytelling at it's best - it's collaborative storytelling. You need to be able to adjust for your players' behavior.

If they decide to pursue the big bad and ignore the victims, you need to be able to adjust that.

If they decide that rather than take the rooms in a dungeon one by one, they're going to pull an MMO thing and run through with Expeditious Retreat and pull the whole dungeon, you need to adjust for that.

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D&D DMing thoughts 

You also need to be able to raise the stakes. You need to be able to punish character for being the sword in a situation that calls for the pen. You need to be able to make combat HEARTBREAKING.

... at least I need to be able to.

And that's where Blades comes in. Running Blades (and playing Blades) has changed the way I think about consequences. Away from "you take 5 damage" and towards "rocks fall on the macguffin".

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D&D DMing thoughts 

I think this is why I have a following of Very Loyal Players, locally, and also why storytelling focused players like to play with me.

If you haven't built for DPS, you can engage in combat by grabbing the keys or a dagger or thieves tools and releasing the hostages, or by keeping "dancing lights" up by the human fighter, or by... well, anything.

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D&D DMing thoughts 

I also don't let anyone tell me "I roll x skill". They can describe what they do, or try to do, and I will tell them what skill that is. They can ask "is there any way for insight to help me here?" and I can give my opinion.

The game involves rolling dice, but if you just wanted to do that and not tell a story, you could do it at home in your PJs.

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D&D DMing thoughts 

(also also,this is how I get away from
me: "okay player x, roll perception"
everyone else: "ooh ooh I'm gonna roll that too" or player y: "I should roll perception, my modifier's higher"

That is Bad Behavior at the table, and honestly, if you're not looking behind rows of books, you're not gonna see the stashed scrolls even with a high perception.)

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