Dungeons & Dragons Online

DM Anxiety?

Hi everyone,

I’m a fairly new DM and I’m currently running a weekly LMoP game on Roll20 as well as a monthly (at best) IRL heavily modified Ghosts of Saltmarsh game. I have never played TTRPGs as a player and took the leap less than a year ago when I started DMing for co-workers.

Long story short, I’m experiencing a lot of anxiety regarding prep. I’m doing okay at the table (considering I’m a beginner) but I have a hard time coping with all the stress prior to the sessions.

I should state I’m a pretty anxious guy and I have the same kind of anxiety when it comes to preparing my lessons – I’m an English teacher in France.

Here’s what seems to be the problem: there is simply so much to learn! It is both the best thing about the game and a terribly frightening idea. I know I’m not supposed to know all the rules (I have a rules section in my OneNote document as well as a custom screen) and I know it takes years to become a good DM but I simply feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that’s out there.

I should also state that I am a pretty curious person as well as a very nerdy guy who likes to know everything about the things I really geek about. I used to be a massive Star Wars fan and I just had to read all the books, know all the characters, planets, etc.

Read more:  What baffles me the most about Tasha's is how Bladesong itself is entirely unchanged

Now prepping doesn’t feel like work and it’s actually a great way for me to escape from my daily life (even though I like my job) but it still makes me anxious. How do you all deal with this?

I’m pretty sure I’m doing everything I can to improve:

¤ Playing on a regular basis

¤ Asking my players for feedback, trying to adjust

¤ Thinking back on my games and trying to critique myself

¤ Watching some actual plays with different GMs (in different languages)

¤ Reading the WOTC books and keeping an open mind

¤ Reading GM-related book such as Lazy DM, etc.

¤ Reading fantasy & sci-fi novels

¤ Watching a shit-ton of videos on YouTube

¤ Reading about some other TTRPGs and how they work

I’m pretty sure I checked all the boxes, and somehow the more I get into the hobby, the more I realize just how much there is to learn out there. I’m a bit of a hoarder and always try to steal stuff from other people, especially on Reddit. Subs like r/characterdrawing or r/battlemaps have been extremely helpful and I’m very grateful for the work of those people, but it just dawns on me how little I know!

Now I know this is just a game and it’s supposed to be fun, but as the DM I feel compelled to provide a good experience for my players. I have obviously tried different things regarding my anxiety in general (therapy, meditation, etc.) and so far the best thing I’ve found is simply talking about it, hence this post.

Read more:  I scrapped two months of campaign planning and it felt better than hanging on to it did.

How do y’all proceed? Thanks for taking the time to read.

Tl;dr: I’m very anxious about the sheer amount of information you have to learn as a new DM.



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