When you’re the dungeon master and you’re hosting at your place, you need to do more than order a pizza and make sure enough beverages are on hand. Many masters spend hours crafting their stories and coming up with descriptions to put players right into the game. However, the literal surroundings can also make a huge difference. If you want an epic game that will be talked about forever, it’s time to put some more effort into it.
First, consider your players and their preferences. That’s a rule of thumb for any host. Take a few cues from home staging experts and real estate agents, making sure your home is welcoming and free from distractions. It’s not enough to make it look inviting, though, because your home actually needs to be made welcoming for your niche visitors:
1. Seating comes first
Comfortable seating that’s supportive and ideally ergonomically minded is the best way to make sure you can game all night. If your seating is left wanting and you’re on a budget, Life Hacker has some great tips on getting the best chairs on a budget. Ultimately, you’ll want this kind of seating for your home all the time, so make that a priority when it comes to springing for new furniture. It’s just an added bonus that it extends DnD time.
2. An expansive table space
Maybe you have a sprawling map to help bring the game to life, or you have hopes of picking up one soon. In this case, a ping pong table is a perfect fit (complete it with a piece of custom-cut plastic to keep the map in shape). However, not everybody has the space for this. Otherwise, get a sturdy space that comfortably seats your guests and allows for maximum usage (a card table with hidden pockets and cup holders is great).
3. Adequate lighting
If possible, take advantage of natural lighting, but the reality is that many DnD sessions happen at night. While The New York Times praises the benefits of natural light, you can come close to mimicking it any time of day. Avoid harsh, fluorescent overhead light, and only use “mood lighting” for short periods of time. Proper lighting can help keep people alert, headache free, and helps greatly when it comes to jotting down character notes.
4. Shop smart for snacks
It’s a stereotype that DnD players can live off of Funyons and Mt. Dew. If you really want to keep gaming all night, you’re going to need some real sustenance. Be careful of sugar/caffeine highs and lows, and if you’re good in the kitchen now’s the perfect time to show off your skills. Jalapenos stuffed with protein, good fats (like homemade guacamole with veggies as dipping vehicles), and flavored water instead of soda is a good start.
5. Plenty of airflow
Another stereotype is that there’s a certain “smell” that comes with these epic sessions. However, this is going to be true when you put any group of people together in a small, cramped room for hours on end. Make sure to keep air quality a priority, and consider air flow when choosing where the game will go down. A well-maintained HVAC system can do wonders, as does regularly scheduled breaks.
It’s not easy or always 100 percent enjoyable to be bot master and host, but you have the necessary skills to make it work. It might mean a little more planning than you’re used to, but it’ll pay off when all the players power through. If you really want to master this roleplaying game, think beyond the creation of your virtual reality.