I'm going to be participating in a game with a group of people looking to play 5th ed online. (probably using Tabletop Simulator or Roll20) I'm the only person in this group who has played D&D before. I've been a DM for one or two brief games in the past, and I've been a player in other people's games off and on for about a year now. I don't have a preference one way or the other. My question is whether it would be better for the game and the group for me to volunteer as the DM, or to let someone else be the DM, and participate as a player. In either case I'll probably be explaining the rules and answering questions, as I'm the only one with the physical set of books, as opposed to a pdf, and I have more experience. Consulting the players and seeing if anyone else really wants to be the DM may be the best option, but any information or other input is useful.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Pokep's Answer gave me all the information I needed for the situation I discribed, but I'm not quite clear on how I could change the question to be more focused and on topic. Are there any specific changes I could make to this question that would make it not 'Primarily opinion-based' ? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonathan
    Jun 27, 2016 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


DMing is a role unlike any other. Show them what it entails as you show them the rules, then see if any of your friends are up for it.

Your first session - or two or three - is going to be dominated by rules questions. There will be very little chance to develop anything more than the simplest of plots. Creativity, in fact, would probably be a bad thing - you will want everyone concentrating on learning the mechanics rather than solving fancy puzzles. There will be plenty of excitement in the game for everyone no matter how plain vanilla the adventure.

Here's what I would do. I would create a character myself and play alongside everyone else. I would make a very simple adventure - perhaps just a crypt with two or three rooms, a trap, and a few simple monsters. I'd make as good of a map as I possibly can and I'd spell out all the monsters explicitly. Then I'd "let the map be the DM". I'd simply play through the map, almost like a boardgame, with my character acting alongside the other players. As the party meets monsters I'd put the statistics out in front of everyone. Even the trap I would deal with publicly.

After the game, I'd explain that in a "real" game, someone takes responsibility for creating the adventure. The "DM" describes things verbally and keeps much of the information hidden, adding to the suspense and surprise of the players. And then see if anyone volunteers for the position. The session should give them a good idea of what it entails and also a reasonable expectation of what an adventure might look like. If no one volunteers, then take the job yourself for a while.


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