Stories from Dungeon Masters header

Stories from Dungeon Masters

There are things we do as players that make Dungeon Masters facepalm or laugh out loud. They’re memories that stay with us, for better or worse. I have some moments to share gifted by fellow DMs, if only to relive happy times.


There are things we do as players that make DMs facepalm or laugh out loud. They’re memories that stay with us, for better or worse. I have some moments to share gifted by fellow DMs, if only to relive happy times.

Note: Below are direct quotes from fellow DMs. I didn’t touch a word, not even to fix typos…

Dungeon Master Share


Having killed the evil Queen of Hearts, the story finishes with Alice (portal mage) granting the party access back to their own dimension. I was NOT expecting one of my players to murder the new King, shut the portal, and declare himself ruler of Wonderland.

Bonus: If a talking caterpillar offers you drugs DO NOT ACCEPT THEM!

This story also included the most frustrating moment: The Cheshire Cat was supposed to be their spirit guide around Wonderland. One of the players saw something invisible coming close, freaked out, and they all stabbed it to death. *sigh*

@thespirit_riley thoughts:

Granted, if the opportunity presented itself on a golden platter, I might be inclined to seize power too, especially if the new regent was of a particular alignment. Glad you let it play out, that’s the most important thing. It just means you set something up that a player was genuinely willing to invest in.

As for bugs and drugs, I rarely get the chance to poison my players. Let’s just say they’re wary of me. I bet it made for a wild ride.

Rest in peace kitty. You probably looked scary enough to warrant a stab. Though, if it was really needed it, I’m sure there was a narrative way to stop the act. But, it’s dead and you didn’t force it, so let them fend for themselves. They’ll think before they strike next time. Maybe.


Tbh giving players “to much line”. Meaning letting them get away with to much then having to reel them back in. Letting the minmax happen for story-ish purposes then realizing I’ve messed up. Also putting magic items in for story only then realizing they are OP for the setting.

@thespirit_riley thoughts:

We all make mistakes as DMs. It happens. We’re trying to make every aspect of the game enjoyable, and sometimes we throw them that overpowered weapon, like an endless ammo crossbow so the Rogue can do thirty damage a hit … as I said, mistakes. Just go with it. That doesn’t mean you can’t adjust later on. Were they happy at that moment? Probably, so know you did something right. Give them a hard encounter next time you see fit.


Balancing Epic moments with more mundane slice of life.
This partially comes down to what your palyers like (You should always tailor your story a bit to taht), but striking the right balance of big, cavalry-charging epic battles against “simpler” but enjoyable daily Roleplay

@thespirit_riley thoughts:

I can’t agree enough. You’d be surprised how many players prefer socializing with the NPCs, taking an imaginary stroll through a park, all sorts of simple things after a night defeating hobgoblins. We, as DMs, should always allow this (to an extent) because it’s what’s important to the players, they’re building character in their minds. Not to mention, everybody at the table is getting insight into said characters, which is always valuable information.


When one of my players managed to talk down a situation with a desperate villain I had entirely planned to end in bloodshed. It was done only in character between him and I, no rolls, just proof he was paying enough attention to their motives to make an argument that convinced me

It was my favourite moment because it was one of the only times that the story I made didn’t feel like it was in my control, but was a living thing that I had created and existed outside of me. It also showed just how well my players understood the world and engaged with it.

It wasn’t a player trying to convince me as a GM to do what he wanted me to, it was his character, desperate to see the good in everyone broken by the wars and governments of the world, hoping this far gone criminal would remember the heroic soldier he once thought he could be.

@thespirit_riley thoughts:

THIS. Firstly, that’s testament to the world and characters you’ve built. Your villain wasn’t just an objective, the villain occupied a time and place in the player’s world. Secondly, the fact that you, as a DM, recognized the value in letting it play out shows a certain respect for your players’ desires, that your villain wasn’t just what needed to happen to push a campaign agenda. I sometimes find there’s more value in what my players interject into the world than what I had envisioned. After all, they are seeing it moment-to-moment. I’m happy both of you took something positive away from the experience.


When I’m trying to create serious moments involving Warlock patrons or Cleric/Paladin gods and a phone vibrates. #dnduniverse

@thespirit_riley thoughts:

DMs put a lot of time and effort into what they craft. The least we can do as players is respect that, devoting our attention to these few hours they’ve created for a party’s benefit. I get it, we have lives to lead, and sometimes that call needs to happen. For the most part though, treat it like theater, silence your phones if an emergency isn’t in the wait. Please and thank you.


A big thanks to the DMs who participated. Follow me @thespirit_riley. This is but a taste of what awaits, and I want to hear your thoughts.

Header photo by spablab

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KM Riley

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