Keeping Players Involved
One of the challenges a new Dungeon Master faces is keeping his/ her players involved with the campaign. Luckily there are a few things you can do both in game and out of game. Here’s a few examples of what you can do during the game sessions.
First, be sure to include everyone in the group.
Don’t be afraid to give attention to a player when the situation presents itself, however don’t give that player all the attention. Make direct eye contact with your players when speaking to them as an NPC. Draw them in to the dialogue, and make sure that they know this is their moment to be a part of. Make sure to give everyone involved an equal opportunity to speak, make decisions, and prepare beforehand. Try not to constrict your player’s choices. If you have a lot of players that like to play chaotic alignments, then you may end up driving them away by limiting their options. If an action a player is attempting is a little out of the norm, grant it. One of my favorite phrases coined by Matt Mercer from Critical Role is “You can certainly try.” Let them attempt whatever it is with an improvised dice roll.
Another way to keep the players interested is to make the game interesting.
Create side plots and story hooks that involve the player character’s personal backstory. Make it personal to the character and the player will be more likely to stay interested. Give proper rewards to your player’s characters. Incentivize them with awesome gear after completing a difficult task. Give them something extra if they solve a problem in a creative fashion. This will encourage creativity amongst your players, enticing their appetite to play.
There are also ways to keep players coming back outside of the game.
Invite the players out! Take them to a restaurant or a bar. Invite them to your house for a party night and host a pot luck. Keeping the community together is vital in any game, no matter the size. Stay in contact with your players. Text, call, and email them as frequently as you can. Don’t be overbearing on the game so much when you do though. Talking about the campaign constantly may annoy the players and cause them to become disinterested. Talk to them about what’s going on in their life. Maybe ask about their favorite sports or hobbies. Talk about the campaign as it’s brought up, and talk to players about their possible character advancement casually. This will help to ensure that the players feel welcome as people and that it’s not just about the game all the time. Keep in mind that all people are different. Therefore, some players you’ll have to approach differently than others.
I hope this little post has helped all you ladies and gents out there with what it means to keep your players in the game. If you readers out there have any other thoughts or ideas on how to keep your players involved, then please share with us and comment below! Happy Questing!!
If you’re struggling to prepare for your campaign, check out Dungeon Master basics for before sessions!
Author: Ven’Orik (Zach)
I’m just a regular nerd with a passion for storytelling and fantasy. Growing up I read books by Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, and this solidified my love for the genre. I first started playing D&D when I was 13 and have been pursuing it since. I’m just here to share my knowledge and hopefully learn a thing or two from all of you as well!