You might have heard about this new thing called professional Dungeon Masters. It hit its stride during the pandemic, as more and more players were forced to navigate the complexities of online Dungeons & Dragons. Finding randoms on forums resulted in horror stories, creating a need for seasoned DMs who could give groups of strangers (who eventually become friends) a fun and safe time. Even as restrictions ease, however, players are finding that paid DMs deliver. What exactly do they deliver? Here are 5 reasons you should hire a Professional Dungeon Master/Game Master.
Your Game Will Actually Start On Time
We’ve all been there; One player always shows up late, the pizza guy is slow, or the DM gets caught up in pre-game chit-chat. Or there’s that one party member who gets bored and checks out early. Eventually your 7:00pm to 10:00pm game becomes a 7:30pm to 9:30pm game. And look, there’s nothing wrong with socializing at the D&D/Game table. It’s a social game, and we’re in it to have fun, right? That said, it’s reasonable to want your games to happen when they’re supposed to happen.
With a pro DM at the helm, you can expect the schedule to actually mean something. On StartPlaying, Game Masters post start times and intended session lengths for their games. When you hire a professional Dungeon Master or Game Master, you’re paying them for a set amount of time. Being the professionals that they are, they will honor this contract with punctual service.
Pro DMs Treat It Like A Job… Because It Is
You’ve probably played a game run by that wonderful soul who pours their very being into DMing/GMing. They build a rich world, write exciting plots that tie into player character backstories, and then improvise something entirely new when players ignore the plot to start a monster zoo. Unfortunately, you may have also been subject to DMs who discriminate against players of certain identities, force the players to act out their novel, or just plain phone it in. When you’re paying your DM, you’re more likely to get the hard worker.
Just like with scheduling, you’ll find that a pro DM/GM treats the content of your game with respect. They’ll come with a polished story and display a strong grasp of the rules, to start. Many will also bring a full suite of digital tools so that you can try out subclasses, settings, and even full on virtual tabletops that you’ve never seen before. If you’re looking for a personalized campaign, a pro DM/GM will literally make it their job to provide.
Play In Confidence With Safety Tools
It’s a sad reality that marginalized players aren’t treated fairly at every table. Even if a GM is an ally, there is no guarantee that the other players will be as well, especially at tables with strangers. DM’s might hesitate to stop the offenders or lack the experience to deal with harassment at their table. That’s less of a problem with a pro DM/GM. Many of StartPlaying’s professional Game Masters have run games at organized public settings like conventions. This, and their years of experience, have given them practice in handling potentially troublesome players. In addition, StartPlaying’s inclusion and encouragement on the use of safety tools allows players to give feedback before, during, or after a game!
Other Players Will Be More Respectful
With a capable DM/GM in charge, trouble should be dealt with right when it starts. With a pro in charge, trouble might not even start at all. People tend to value the things they pay for more than things they get for free. By hiring a professional Dungeon Master, players are essentially paying for their D&D session. As such, the players of your paid game are more likely to show up on time, come prepared, and work with the group.
Try Something Besides D&D
There are so many cool TTRPG systems out there, but D&D has the most players by far. And it will probably stay that way, as it takes time to learn a new system. For many groups of busy adults, getting the rules of D&D right is enough of a task. Imagine trying to get your rogue, who still can’t remember how Sneak Attack works, to research the clans of Vampire: the Masquerade. Rather than force your friends to halfheartedly try a new system, you’ll have better luck finding a professional Game Master who knows your system of choice. When you do find a game with such a pro, you’ll also find other players who are just as passionate as you are.