“DM” is lingo specific to the game Dungeons and Dragons, as opposed to being a GM or Game Master, which refers to folks who make plot in other sorts of role playing games.
As someone who knows little about the rules of Dungeons and Dragons, and who hasn’t role played much, DMing has been an exciting challenge. We chose a canned adventure for our first game, and sprinkled a few items from our own plot into the dungeon.
For the uninitiated: Dungeons and Dragons works sort of like a paper and pencil version of a computer game. Players show up with character sheets that contain their character’s statistics — intelligence, strength, magic spells, etc. The DMs describe what the characters see to the players and select the monsters, traps and other adversaries that the players come up against.
Monsters also have a set of statistics that tell the DM how strong they are. In order to figure out what happens when a player comes up against a monster — if a particular blow hits — the DM and the player roll various sets of dice. Your computer does all this automatically for you in computer and video games.
The excitement of a Dungeons and Dragons game, often referred to as “D and D,” comes from the wide open possibilities. If you want to pick up a sewer grate in an electronic game, whether you can do so is pre-determined by the computer program, while in a tabletop game, the DM can simply say “yes.”
This wide-openness almost got my husband and I in trouble during our first stint DMing. We didn’t have time to create a starting town for our players, so we started them out on a mission a bit away from town. One of the players immediately said, “let’s go back to town and find out more about this,” which put us into a terror. Luckily, it all turned out all right, and while we had a few hiccups along the way, for the most part the game was a success, and we’ll be meeting again next week.