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Tips to Help DMs Welcome New Players to Organized Play

This is the third in a series of 4 articles written from the perspective of a brand new D&D player. The articles are written with tips and thoughts for DMs, organizers, and shop owners who hope to welcome more new players like me to the fun of D&D Organized Play. Previously, I had tips for organizers. Today’s focus is on DMs.

Being a dungeon master is the toughest job in the business. A DM has the role of Storyteller/Mathematician/Voice Actor/Improvisor/Psychologist/Director/Cartographer/Props Master/and Referee. Sometimes the jokes they tell will even be funny, which really goes above and beyond.

I’ll not presume to be able to give D&D Adventurers League DMs advice, I’ll simply point out some behaviors and trends that this brand new player spotted in the DMs he’s played with. Then I’ll end this post with a word of encouragement.

First, the DMs I’ve recently gotten to know have been incredibly passionate. It’s clear they love D&D. Not only are they energetic and enthusiastic at the gaming table, but they have been great at connecting with new players both immediately before and after the game sessions. It’s been fun to watch someone be excited about what they do. This draws a new player in.


Image courtesy of Lauren Bilanko

Second, the DMs have been prepared. It’s clear they are ready to go with sessions at varying levels of play. They’ve had D&D Adventurers League Log Sheets ready to go and have often had full cases of miniatures and pregenerated characters for new players to choose from. This really helps to minimize that awkward start up time at the beginning of a session.

Thirdly, the DMs have been patient and I must say that this is something I deeply appreciate. They’ve certainly had to field rookie questions from me, but they’ve not once let an ounce of frustration show.

In fact, they’ve seemed pleased to talk about the basics of the game, particularly as it relates to D&D. Never once have they acted like they were put out by any new player who has shown up for the D&D Adventurers League. Twenty 20 years ago I had played D&D before, so I certainly know the difference between a 12 and 8 sided die, but I’ve seen our DMs be very patient with other players who were complete newbs and needed to be shown the difference between a 20 sided and 8 sided die, or where dexterity is on their character sheet. I can’t overstate how important this patience is for welcoming new people into the hobby.

Image courtesy of FJ Rebolledo

Image courtesy of FJ Rebolledo

Finally, the DMs I’ve recently gotten to know have been incredibly welcoming. They have made it abundantly clear in not just their words, but in their body language as well: they welcome new players at all skill levels and at any point in play. And, honestly, it’s this welcoming spirit that is one of the beautiful things about our hobby.

As a result the D&D Adventurers League group I’m a part of regularly has new players. This is in large part due to the fact that the organizer has made the group discoverable, but also because the DMs have fostered a sense of community with their preparedness and welcoming nature. Not only do you have many players like me who were once brand new, yet now are regulars, but every player is enjoying themselves, which empowers them to reach out and invite friends along.

So my word of encouragement to D&D Adventurers League DMs is to keep it up. Your willingness to embrace brand new players, and your patience through their initial learning stages is often turning those new players into regulars.

I should know.

Author: Clave Jones

By day Clave runs the Innové Project, which seeks to make the world a better place. By evening he runs Nerds on Earth, which seeks to make the world a little nerdier. Clave was recently drawn back to D&D after a 20 year hiatus.

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