The Dungeon Master’s Handbook: Tips from April 2023

Here are the top ten Dungeon/Game Master tips that I posted to various social media channels in April 2023. These tips are great for almost any TTRPG like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, or Old School Essentials.

  • Your players will always assume traveling NPCs will betray them. Surprise them.
  • Not all random encounters need to be battles against monsters.
  • For your heavy tactical gamer players, incorporate roleplaying as a part of combat.
  • Don’t save up that good idea for later, use it as soon as you’re able to.
  • Plan only what you need to plan and force yourself to improv at the table. It makes for a much more open-ended game in the end.
  • Build your NPCs and their actions as stand-alone characters and events, not just how they react to the PCs.
  • Tune your lazy DM powers. Force yourself to come up with a random on-the-spot NPC at your next game.
  • Consider layered traps. Maybe the pit trap has a falling pot of pitch trap right on the other side.
  • Preparing for improvisation means having the right tools available to you. What is your improvisation tool list?
  • A quick and easy way to add flavor to an NPC is to associate them with a character in a movie or TV show you like.

These tips are courtesy of Mike Shea at

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.

As always, good luck with your next session, I believe in you! See you in the future.

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