Lethargic Party: How to Get Your Players Invested

Dungeons and Dragons

Last week I shared about how creating an appropriate monster encounter can be one of the most difficult aspects about being a Dungeon Master (DM).  However, there is another aspect about being a DM that I have found to be equally challenging, and that is enticing my players to be invested in the world I have thrown their characters in.

So, outside of a killer story and dynamic world, what are some things I can do to keep my players interested in the game?  Here are fourthings I have found to help me in this endeavor.

Play on the backstory
As a DM I always encourage my players to create a backstory for their characters.  By doing so, they will get a sense of how their characters will act, and what drives them to adventure.  The more I know of their story the more I attempt to bring elements from each story into the world they are exploring.

Perhaps a long lost brother shows up after years of being missing, or maybe a certain artifact is found, or any other variety of events that correlates with each characters ultimate goal.

Reward your player
Aside from the main goal each player may have in mind and giving them what they are hoping to achieve, there are several minor rewards you can give for creative actions and role play.  This might be better equipment, more wealth, or even bonuses on future rolls (of DM or player choice).  Rewarding for this creativity gives the players incentive as well as helps keep them interested in the game.

Adjust to their playstyle
Every party will want to focus on some specific aspect of adventuring: Diplomacy, a “kick-in-the-door” approach where you shoot first and ask questions later, treasure hunting, being stealthy, etc.  Good DMs will create scenarios that fit within the style of play that their players are wanting to pursue.  Obviously, you don’t want to make things too easy, and it is always okay to force certain events for the purpose of driving the story.  But, in general, give your players freedom to explore your world, and your story, their way.

Talk with your players
I cannot stress enough how important this is in any campaign.  There is no point in running a game if no one is enjoying it.  Be open to player suggestions and allow them to help you plan future sessions.  Most players want to see you succeed as DM as much as they want to succeed in the story you have set before them.  Listening and adjusting to your players needs will help you become a better DM.

These are the four big things I found that have helped me.  What has helped you in the past as a DM or a player?  What has been your best experience with D&D?

Until next week!

Grace and Peace.


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