Dungeon Masters have it rough. While they get to play judge, jury, and executioner to your player characters, they also have to create a bunch of Non-player characters (sometimes on the fly) and villains, often complete with backstories, and never see them advance in any kind of meaningful way.
Being a DM means making everyone else have a good time. I enjoy it, but I prefer actually playing the game to running it. It might be because I get so caught up in telling my own character’s story rather than the world-at-large’s tale, or it might be my own inherent selfishness when it comes to gaming; either way, I love playing a character.
So, as a DM, I do a couple of things to alleviate my longing to tell my character’s tale.
1.) Recurring characters.
Creating a recurring character is one of my favorite things to do. Whether an ally, a villain, or just an interesting shopkeeper, I try to create characters that the PCs will remember, and the best way to keep people remembering is repetition. Maybe the shopkeeper keeps having shipments stolen, or needs you to find his romantic interest who was kidnapped. Or the same villain keeps showing up to foil them and get defeated, only to escape justice and seek revenge again. Granted, eventually the villain is going to have to go… but it can be fun for a few sessions every few months.
2.) Encourage the PCs to do awesome things
Some game systems reward players for playing it safe. I don’t. I like to encourage my players to do things that are basically crazy in order to solve problems. Launch themselves off a catapult? Do it. Use a fireball to ignite a bunch of explosives in order to crumble the foundation of a castle with the bad guys trapped inside? Awesome. Accidentally cause a time paradox after going back in time 3 minutes to stop yourselves from doing something stupid that involves exploding the moon? Even better.
Letting your characters do cool stuff makes games memorable.
3.) Discover the joy in world building
I’ve slowly come around to this, but world building is a lot of fun. When I first started DMing, I would use the settings provided in the book because I didn’t want to spend so much time creating my own, but when I finally came around, I found out that building cultures, peoples, maps, geopraphies, histories, religions, magic systems, etc. etc. etc, were some of the most fun times I had in Dungeon Mastering. If you think character creation is cool, playing imaginary god and creating a world is even more fun.
These are just a few ways to make DMing more interesting. What tips do you have?