DM Guide & Expectations

DM Guide


This document is intended to explain what expectations are from a Dungeon Master (DM) on The Dragon’s Neck (TDN) server. It will also outline the role framework that we intend to work within. The reason we’ve opted to try organising things this way is to eliminate some of the messiness that can come with several creative people collaborating to tell a story. It also is an attempt to try and make easing into the role of a DM less daunting, which will hopefully become clear as you read through the document.


We classify the vision as the overall philosophy that TDN has been built around; from lore to mechanics and everything in between. The vision affects all aspects of what you do. The setting is low magic and intends to concentrate far more on themes like philosophy, politics, interpersonal conflicts and grey morality over the usual heroism, good vs evil, whims of gods or cults, etc.

This doesn’t mean that there can’t be elements of those latter themes in your stories and events, it just means that the primary focus should not be on them - this is, after all, still a fantasy world. TDN is not intended to represent the classic Forgotten Realms. Instead the tone of it seeks to be more grounded, where alignment gets muddied by complicated situations and is measured far more by consistent behavior over singular actions.

To put it more plainly, events where cultists look to summon a demon are likely rare if ever to be seen on TDN. Similarly the undead and other elements of the supernatural need to be taken far more seriously and used far more sparingly.

So what does that mean? The server requires a lot of creativity and thought. It wants to challenge you to move away from things that are standard fare on most servers, and instead think about how you can take relatively mundane situations and make them complex and interesting: a corrupt guard extorting money from a poor and vulnerable family, a string of slayings in the slums that turn out to be a vigilante taking revenge in the name of their murdered sister, and so on.
It also wants you to try and think of events that can bring people together in situations that aren’t about violence or misery, such as faires, competitions, masquerades, religious days or other such things that allow players to explore a broader range of their characters emotions, opinions, desires and character traits.

If you don’t think you understand this by that brief overview or are in doubt regarding themes you want to incorporate into the server, please seek further clarification from the senior staff. If you have a few ideas and want to run them by senior staff to help you understand whether or not you align with the vision, please do so. It is vitally important above all else that you do align with this vision - for your own fun and enjoyment as a DM as much as the server integrity.


Quest Master (QM)
Quest Masters are players who have a limited role - occasionally they can be called upon to support DMs as a particular NPC, to keep players engaged when things are anticipated to get hectic and require attention to be divided between multiple places.
Mostly, however, Quest Masters exist to create small, engaging pieces of content that enrich the flavour of the server without making any large waves. They are not there to provide any substantial rewards to players or drive any particularly important storylines.

Trial Dungeon Master (TDM)
As a Trial DM, your responsibility is also somewhat limited. All DMs begin as Trial DMs on TDN. The length of time is at minimum 3 months, at maximum 6 months; this evaluation period is to ensure that you are concrete in your ability to represent the vision of the server. As such, your control over things will be relatively restricted. This role is meant to help you ease into DMing on TDN with less responsibility and less pressure on managing things, while ensuring you fully grasp the tone all DMs should aim for. It’s intended to help you establish yourself also with the player base, as well as get you used to NPCs, factions and players. More on this will be explained under the Structure section of the document.

Dungeon Master (DM)

DMs are considered trusted members of staff. They have proven themselves to understand and align with the vision of the server, and to be able to accurately portray it. DMs are likely to be assigned to a faction or multiple factions to take part in. Though they may not be leading the faction, especially if a player has that position, they will control NPCs within the faction that help drive plots. They will also be trusted to create events of their own off of the main story framework, as well as help in main story events or even run them.

Senior Dungeon Master (SDM)
Senior DMs are long-standing members of staff that have proven themselves consistently and are trusted enough to know a lot of things about the server and the main campaign. This role comes with extra responsibility, as if they depart from the role they will no longer be able to take part in whichever campaign they have full knowledge of. This means that if they quit the DM role to become a player, they will have to wait until the next campaign begins before they can involve themselves at all.


To utilise these different roles to their best effectiveness, this section of the document will lay down the foundation of what you can do and what’s expected of you in your respective role, and also what to expect from those in other roles.

Please note ahead of this that all NPCs that are created by staff must be documented and listed alongside their respective owners. This will exist as a thread on the forums.

The reasoning behind locking NPCs to each QM / DM is to ensure consistency across the board; this way, no NPC will feel inconsistent to players and there will be no need for extensive documentation for others to read about those NPCs before they play them. This will hopefully streamline interactions while barely limiting DMs. It also means that if a QM or DM decides to step down from their role, we can cleanly retire those NPCs and replace them if necessary in an IC way that is respectul and feels natural and not disruptive to anyones experience.

Quest Master

Your responsibilities as a Quest Master are primarily to enrich the server without majorly impacting it. This means that you should not be creating characters of any great importance, nor of any lasting permanence in the setting.
A basic example of this might be a travelling wizard that’s not familiar with the culture and laws of Amn following The Longest Year, to disastrous effect. This kind of small storyline could end with the unfortunate demise or imprisonment of the wizard, to demonstrate and reflect to new players what they might expect if they don’t adjust to the setting themselves as a spellcaster.
While you don’t necessarily need to create such on-the-nose scenarios in all of your efforts, it is important that you don’t misrepresent any of the custom elements, such as people having a general flippancy towards supernatural forces, a disrespect towards authority or other threats with no repercussions, or similar things which might undermine a more grounded tone.

Furthermore, DMs (including Trial DMs) may call upon you if you’re available to assist with a planned event. If you have that availability during the time of the event, it’s expected that you treat this with priority over your time as a player.


Though it was touched on briefly, to be more clear: you should not be creating characters that are important nobles, archmages, overly powerful adventurers or anything that would exert a serious level of authority over other players. You should only create characters of minor importance and any quests you generate with such characters should similarly be minor in scope. You are not permitted to possess any existing named NPCs - any NPCs you possess must be created by yourself and must not have any permanence within the setting unless agreed upon with a Senior DM or the admin.

Largely, your role as a Quest Master is to simply breathe more life into the setting and generate moments for people to react to and incorporate into their character and conversations going forward. You should not be handing out rewards to players of any shape and size except for, perhaps, a modest amount of silver (Always confer with a DM/SDM before handing out rewards to ensure that there is a mitigated risk of economical impact with the rewards due to the ever-changing state of the economy.) or some very basic healing potions and supplies.

A Quest Master can potentially move directly into a full Dungeon Master role if they have proven themselves and generated enough positive roleplay in accordance with the server vision to give the team full faith in their abilities. Any technical knowledge needed to DM beyond that could be trained by other DMs if required. However, in most cases the expectation would be to move into a Trial Dungeon Master role for a time. If you have applied as a Quest Master, you will need to at least be consistent in performing your role for one month before we would consider you to automatically move up to any kind of DM role (providing you want to). If you wish to move into a DM role before that, we would require you to submit another application for it like anyone else.

Event Timeframe
As a Quest Master, the maximum length of any ongoing quest you can run is one week. If you begin a quest and for some reason cannot conclude it within this timeframe, please reach out to a DM or Senior DM.

Trial Dungeon Master

Your responsibilities as a Trial Dungeon Master involve creating events that enhance a current story point along with any smaller, unrelated events you may want to run out of your own interest. This doesn’t mean creating major plot points, but rather showing how the current story arc is affecting the world and the people in it.

For example, if a famine were to happen in Murann then events could be portrayed to show how tough that makes life especially for those in the smaller farms and villages that are expected to provide for Murann. It could come with increased costs, which also create a domino effect on any military organisations. It could show the terrible side of that, pushing people to steal or fight each other. It could also show people manifesting virtuous qualities, giving up their share for others. It could lead to an emergence of clerics of Chauntea, and people supplicating to them. These are things which can be handled without the need for major characters to involve themselves.

And finally, it’s preferred but not necessarily required that you try not to turn your events while in this role into a chain or string of events. If you do, however, it is expected that you conclude this before you begin anything else. Anything that happens during your events that could potentially affect things on a larger scale needs to be brought to the attention of senior DMs as soon as possible in case building work needs to be done - but again, try to avoid this unless you know in advance and have agreed with a builder/builders that it would be fine for an area to potentially change.

A Trial DM will be allowed up to 5 NPCs they can create to use repeatedly for their events. Of course, they can also create endless throwaway characters if they wish - but they need to ensure that events involving these throwaway characters don’t require that character to return and that the character isn’t tied to anything that has permanence like a local settlement.

The permanent NPCs that the Trial DM creates cannot be anyone of significant importance, but they can be tied to settlements. They can be clerics, wizards, farmers, adventurers, mercenaries and anything along those lines. They cannot be overly important, nor can they be tied to any major factions.

Any NPCs that may be required within factions or otherwise, perhaps due to the way an event needs to be played out and the players involved, must have generic names; i.e someone from the Alchemist’s Guild would just be ‘Alchemist.’ Similarly this applies to things like guardsmen, representatives of nobles, etc - and keep interactions with these kinds of characters as brief as necessary and then move on.

Possession of named NPCs that you have not created is not allowed. These NPCs may have specific lore you are unaware of, may be claimed by other DMs, or may be linked to a storyline piece and are left dormant until they’re ready to be brought into that story.

Additionally, if you intend to do anything significant with a particular area that you’re unfamiliar with, it is recommended to speak with senior staff to ensure there aren’t any lore considerations with those particular areas that may need to be taken into account ahead of time.

If you’re concerned about anything you’re doing or where the event might be leading, contact a DM or Senior DM to see if they can assist you however you need.

There is a minimum of 3 months in your role as a TDM before moving up to DM proper, though it’s expected that we would wait at least two months to give you the time to show your understanding of the vision and the setting well enough. Once you feel as though you have a good grasp on the custom setting and have ran a few events successfully, feel free to approach the admin of the server or one of the Senior DMs to discuss whether you might be eligible for a DM role.

In contrast, if it’s felt by the staff that your understanding of the setting and the vision is not quite sufficient or you have been a TDM for 6 months and the staff do not feel you are capable of moving into a full DM role, you will be asked to step down. You may be asked to be a player for some time until we can evaluate that you truly understand the setting, or you may be offered a Quest Master role for a time to see how you fare in more of a supporting role instead. This is mostly going to be dependent on how far the staff feel you are away in your alignment with the vision.

Event Timeframe

As a Trial DM, the maximum length of any connected series of events you can run is one month. If you begin an event chain and for some reason cannot conclude it within this timeframe, please reach out to a DM or Senior DM.

Dungeon Master


As a trusted member of the staff, Dungeon Masters have far more freedom than Trial DMs or QMs. However, as we want to avoid confusion and excessive book keeping, there is still a degree of structure to the role.
Your freedom allows you to do more as a story teller, in that the events that you create can potentially lead into longer storylines and you may both see and run events within the main storyline.

Furthermore, your responsibilities will involve keeping watch on and fostering roleplayers that are trying to make an impact on the server and have proven to some degree that they’re capable. An example of this would be a player that has already gathered others towards a particular cause or goal. Perhaps they want to set up a business or push towards a political career within the server. As a DM, you are able to support these kinds of ambitions and are expected to, to some degree.

Similarly, you will also be responsible for helping to guide and advise Trial DMs and QMs. This will mostly involve helping them with any mechanical issues they might have or just being there to support them during events should they request it and you have availability.

Each DM will be able to create multiple NPCs which will be theirs. These NPCs can be important figures such as high-ranking faction members, nobles, important clergy members, etc.
These NPCs will also be the springboard for events. All NPCs you create will be yours alone, just as other DMs NPCs will be theirs alone - even Trial DMs. This is so that each DM is responsible for their own contributions and DMs don’t have to cross reference with each other on which NPC knows which PC, what their personalities are like, or similar. Exceptions to this can be made with mutual agreements if there’s a pressing need for one DM to take over another DM’s NPC, however that will either need to be pre-agreed with staff visibility or otherwise will be due to another DM stepping down unexpectedly from their role with loose ends left for players.

Additionally, a full DM may be given a faction to look after, of which interest can be discussed beforehand. DMs that do not wish to have the responsibility of any of the factions will not be asked to unless there is a truly pressing need. This also may not necessarily entail running said faction, but rather just being a point of contact for high ranking PCs who may need the extra resources of a DM to make something happen which the DM deems acceptable.

If you intend to possess a named NPC that you have not created, first discuss with senior staff to ensure this NPC hasn’t already been claimed by another DM or is reserved for a main storyline piece in future. You may be free to claim this NPC as your own, however be aware that if you do claim it then it is yours and only yours going forward. That means that if you step down from your role you will need to close off that NPC somehow.

Finally, although you will have the freedom to create your own storylines that can stretch into multiple events, it must be noted that your primary responsibility is still to the main campaign and supporting it. Take care when creating your events not to stretch yourself too thin, mostly for your own enjoyment and to avoid burn out.

In order to progress to a Senior Dungeon Master, you will be expected to have been a full DM for a minimum of 7 months. You will also be expected to have proven yourself as a storyteller capable of both working with the main storyline as well as creating your own, and your interactions with the community need to be proven to consistently align with the server vision and tone.

At that point, you will need to inquire about becoming a Senior DM if you wish to progress. The current Senior DMs and the admin will then discuss to ensure there is agreement that you are suited to the task.

Event Timeframe
As a DM, the maximum length of any connected series of events you can run is six months. If you begin an event chain and for some reason cannot conclude it within this timeframe, please reach out to a Senior DM.

Senior Dungeon Master

Senior DMs enjoy the full trust of the admin and staff, and will be granted access to review the entirety of the server campaign along with any plans the staff may have for future plotlines and mechanical ideas that will tie into those themes. You will also have a voice in these matters, discussing with other Senior DMs alongside the admin as to the best direction moving forward.

As a Senior DM, your duties will include everything that a regular DM has, plus you will also be responsible for oversight of multiple aspects of the way the server runs. You will be expected to have an understanding and at least a cursory oversight of all the factions, so that you can assist with the running of them.
If you have moved up from a DM role while supporting a faction, you are also expected to continue supporting this until a regular DM can take your place. Similarly, any factions that do not currently have DM support will need to be supported by you.

You are expected to support regular DMs, Trial DMs and Quest Masters with any queries. If they require any support in running or organising events, you will also be expected to help them if you have availability to do so.

As a Senior DM, your main priority will be on forwarding the main storyline of the server and also ensuring that it has a healthy pace. You will not be able to run these storylines whenever you please, but will adhere to a plan agreed upon with the other Senior DMs and especially the admin.
Although you are able to possess any NPC you wish that hasn’t been created or claimed by other DMs, you must also inform other staff of your intention to ensure all other DMs know that NPC is now yours.

Important NPCs are available to you as long as they are not claimed, and you are also able to make important NPCs of your own. However, as with everything else, you will be regularly discussing these matters with other Senior DMs to ensure there is no overlap or mistake with your intent.

Although you may be overseeing multiple factions at certain times, you are expected to hand those factions over wholly to a capable DM or a capable player that has earned their place. Primarily, a Senior DM is intended to be a supervisor or overseer for everything story related and someone who is ready to fill in any role necessary at a given time.

Lastly, as you will come to learn the entirety of a campaign and possibly the next, you may be in a situation where you are unable to participate in the current campaign at all, or the next depending on how well that following campaign has been fleshed out. Similarly, you will be unable to participate in any ongoing quest lines that were active during your time as a Senior DM.

Event Timeframe

As a Senior DM, the maximum length of any connected series of events you can run is nine months. If you begin an event chain and for some reason cannot conclude it within this timeframe, please reach out to another Senior DM.

Other Rules

Below is a list of rules and points that all DMs need to adhere to, regardless of station. Failure to adhere to these rules can lead to anything from being stripped permanently of a DM role to being permanently banned from the server. Be sure to read these rules carefully before proceeding.

  • If you have a PC of your own, you may not use any knowledge you have that isn’t also privy to other players to your advantage as a PC, even if you step down from your DM role.
  • If you have a PC of your own and knowledge of a particular storyline piece, you may not participate in anything linked to that storyline as a PC, even if you step down from your DM role.
  • You may not create custom items without express consent from the admin or Senior DMs.
  • You may not offer excessive amounts of reward to any particular player, no matter their contributions. If you are unsure what constitutes excessive, seek clarification with Senior DMs or the admin.
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