Heading into a session with the right attitude makes a world of difference. Be mentally ready to improvise. Let go of your real life problems and focus on having fun and making sure everyone has fun. Be ready to spend a lot of energy as a DM – at least to match your players’ energy level. Acknowledge your players bright ideas and try to be just when whupping their dumb asses if they don’t think things through.
Or hopefull “aptitudes”. Plural. Know what your strengths are. If you’re new at DMing, well, pay attention to what works for you and learn as fast as you can. Knowing your comfort zone will help you run a smooth game. It will also help you be better prepared when you get out of your comfort zone.
Who doesn’t like the organized chaos of the battlefield? I know I do. It is fun and eats big chunks of a game so it reduces prep time (most of the time). D&D is based around combat mechanics – that’s all I need to know. There will always be at least 1 combat every session.
I suck at acting, but I do what I can. Namely, I roleplay caricatural quirks and annoying vocal habits. Are you a good actor? Then use your superior skills! Just make sure you don’t larp.
Need a good guideline to know if the game you planned will rock? Ask yourself: is it filled with awesomeness? Yes – you’re good to go. No – your game needs more red dragons!
Build up some D&D hype. Talk about your upcoming game. The best time to call your players to pump them up is when you sit down for your weekly (monthly, yearly) prep time and don’t feel inspired. Instead of procrastinating and cleaning your whole house, call your buddies and get pumped together!