So, you want to become a Dungeonmaster? If so, I hope that this blog will be useful to you. In upcoming posts, I intend to give you at least some of what you need to become a great DM. Your feedback is important and so please feel free to become a member of this blog and leave your comments. They are appreciated!
STEP 1: LEARN THE RULES
I am going to be using version 3.5 of the Dungeons & Dragons rules in my examples because it is the most current edition of the game. If you are using another edition of the rules, be aware of this, but most of the information that I cover should still be useful to you. If you are unfamiliar with v.3.5, you might want to check out the Wizards of the Coast website to learn more.
The minimum books that I would recommend that you own as a DM are the first three core rulebooks. They are the Player's Handbook, the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master's Guide. I just ordered the Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebook Gift Set from Buy.com myself for a great price. You can also find them at your FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store), Amazon.com or bookstores like Barnes & Noble or Chapters (for my Canadian friends).
NOTE: Some of these links go to Buy.com where I have set up an affiliate account. Not a big deal, but I just didn't want anyone to think I was being sneaky!
You don’t have to learn ALL the rules at once to be a DM, but you should at least be familiar with the most important ones, including the rules for Character Creation, Combat and Magic. If you are a complete beginner, you might want to check out the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game and the Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies book. They offer the new gamer more of an easy introduction than the core rulebooks.
Another recommendation that I would make for you when you are just learning the rules is to (except for the Basic game and the Dummies book) buy ONLY the core rulebooks. There are literally dozens of official D&D books out there (and even more unofficial books thanks to the d20 and OGL licenses) and you get intimidated very quickly if you try to digest too much too quickly. In fact, I would recommend that you run at least one ENTIRE CAMPAIGN using only the three core rulebooks above before you even look at another rulebook. You (and your players) will thank me for it later
One last thing that I would recommend to you while you are learning the rules is to either play in another DM’s campaign or at least roll up a few characters yourself. Either method will give you a leg up on learning the rules in preparation for running your own game.