Mar 9 2018

Getting paid to run D&D? Yes, please!

, Gaming , ,

I received an email from where they invited me to be a featured GM on their site. The site is a directory of games looking for DMs and DMs looking to run. I have no shortage of games to run locally, but I am looking toward this as a side-business that might give me a few bucks in my pocket. This article is more of a musings on the prospects as well as a mission-statement approach to how I'd like to see this done.

LFGM does not have any pricing guidelines. It does have a (simple) payment infrastructure which basically boils down to Min/game, cost/game or cost per player. I'd really like something more robust. I'd like to have minimum cost per hour which would be divided between the players. I'd like to get around $50 per hour to run these games. That translates to (roughly) $12.00 pr player per hour for 4 players in a four player game. That would net me about $200 per game.

LFGM also has a rating system so I may have to run a few games a lower rate in order to build ratings in the system. Perhaps charge a lower price ($5/hour would net me $80 for a 4x4 game) at first then gradually raise the price to the higher rate. ($8=$128, $10=160, $12=$192). That's not a bad strategy I feel.

What is provided for this service? Included in a "game commitment" is a pre-game "Session 0" which would be no longer than 2 hours (preferably 1 hour) to get an idea of what type of game they want, what sort of characters they are thinking of and any backstory building that is required. It would include all of my prep time (about 1 hour per 4 hour game on average). It would include running the game (4 hours with some "wiggle time' of up to 30 minutes to complete encounters). So it would mean that I am committing 7-8 hours of my time for the fee I am collecting.

What do I expect from my players? Treat the game like you are in it to play. Respect my (and your fellow players') time and don't just goof around or waste everyone's time. If you don't know how to play, be honest. I can spoon-feed you the rules and cues if you want me to. If you want a munchkin experience I can do that too. If you want deep role-play or hack and slash those are styles I can run. But be clear up front what you want to play so I can prepare the game you want. I request that you not meta-game the adventure. If you know something don't use player knowledge that your character doesn't have. I also request that you be fair with the other players, don't cheat or force the other players into situations that make them uncomfortable, don't let your idea of your character make you become an enemy of the party (unless that is part of the story you want to play...bearing in mind the other players will know that up-front so they don't have hurt feelings about it). That last one would include behaviors like randomly attacking party members of personal slights, or stealing from party members, or having personal "quirks" that might make you compulsively do these types of things without letting you fellow player know that it is a behavior you can't control. And in that last instance, make sure they are okay with it...if your game play is going to make someone else have a bad time then you can't do it.

What should the players expect from me? A fair game. It isn't the DM vs the Players it is a cooperative story. There is a random element and sometimes the dice are cruel. You will see what I am rolling. I will plot the adventure but you drive the story. If the plot isn't adequate or is a little too railroady then I need to know how you feel and we'll discuss it out of game. But trust me during the game and I promise I'll try to make it worth it.

What is not allowed? I am not interested in "Evil PC" games. If that's what you want then I'll have to decline. This does not mean that you can't be evil, but it does mean you can't do evil without consequences or repercussions. And the party is (supposedly) your allies so screwing them over is also off the table. This isn't a PC vs PC game. I reserve the right to allow any homebrew you find into what is essentially a game you are renting from me. If I don't like it then it doesn't go into the game. I also reserve the right to adjust any homebrew that is brought in (mid-game if needed) if it is breaking the game. If that's a deal-breaker for you then so be it.

Is your game Adventurers League legal If you want it to be, then yes, it is. I have a DCI number and am an experienced AL DM. I'll run specific modules on request. I'll take care of logging the paid games into my DM's log and I'll provide you with a reward summary for your personal Al logs. I'll send you a PDF of any certs that you get. But, be aware, I'll also enforce the AL guidelines, and I'm kind of strict about them.

Who owns the copyright on what in a custom game? This one is tricky, but Wizards of the Coast owns all the D&D-related stuff. If I am running a published adventure then all of the rest of it is owned by that author. You own your character and any backstory that isn't related to the adventure or to Wizards-published material. If I write the campaign/adventure then I own it (minus what you've provided to it). Personally I'm not doing this with an eye to publishing, but I keep a lot of notes and have been asked about publishing stuff before. I'd rather spell all this out up-front.

In conclusion, I'd like to let this be an opportunity to be a professional DM. I've been doing this for 40 years and so if I can get paid for it, then I'm stoked to try. I'm not sure if I can do this for a living (yet), but we can try it and see. If you have cash and want to try with me, then you are welcome!