I see many games advertised on Roll20 (and similar platforms) that read: “Looking for a group of players to join my game. Also, a DM to run it.” These are pretty common, so I know there’s a market for advice on finding dungeon masters.
Well, look no further. I have you covered.
Advertise a short-lived campaign on Roll20 (or Facebook, or your library’s bulletin board, or whatever). Say, three or five sessions. Specify that you are looking for experienced, patient players. Ask players to share how long they have been playing your system and filter out anyone that is too new to the game.
Find a pre-published module. Acquire it, study it, learn its secrets. Take some time – at least a month – to learn the mechanics and the craft of running sessions. If you are running it over Roll20 or a similar platform, learn that platform’s quirks.
DM your game for your experienced players. Ask for feedback between sessions. Give yourself plenty of time to incorporate their feedback and master the concepts. Experience is the best teacher.
End the campaign after the specified sessions have passed. Thank the players for their assistance. Stay in touch with them if they’re cool!
Congratulations, you now have a DM for your game.
Seriously, folks. It’s time to step up.
I joined Roll20 with the intention of running a PC. Then reality struck. Most games that need players attract dozens to hundreds of applications per slot. It’s a madhouse. It’s like the job market, only better, because it’s a game market. People that run games are in short supply.
So when I see people asking for DMs, my first thought is always: “well, what’s wrong with you?” The community needs more DMs and it always will. Maybe it’s time you sat behind the screen for a change.
(My second thought when seeing these is wondering if they post “I’m looking for a supermodel to kiss me” on Twitter.)
In the end, I decided to run a campaign instead. I’m glad I did as this campaign is my finest work to date. I waited, kept an eye on the advertised groups and eventually signed on as a player – it’s win-win. That’s how you get a game off the ground – you supply it to meet an enormous demand. Asking for a DM is like posting on LinkedIn that you want a job. Unless you have some wicked hot skills, no one cares.
That’s not to say you can’t ask someone to be a DM for you. If you’ve never played and one of your friends is experienced, maybe ask them about it over coffee. But don’t generically ask the internet: “hey, any DMs out there willing to run a game?” Because the answer is yes, but why should they answer? You need to prove yourself worthy of sitting at their table, not the other way around.
Now, maybe you already DM a bunch of games and are looking for a change of pace. I understand – that was why I joined Roll20 in the first place. But these people can’t account for the numbers of DM requests I see. It’s rampant. And, while it doesn’t need to stop, it does need to be dialled back a bit. Stop asking the world for a DM when you can give it one instead.