Interview with a Professional DM

We sat down with GM Jeremy, a professional game master.

What differentiates a casual DM from a professional DM?
I would say the expectations from the players. Anytime a customer is purchasing a professional service there is the expectation of excellent customer service, a high quality product, within an inclusive and respectful environment.

What services do you offer?
I provide game mastering services for a variety of table top role-playing games including D&D 5e, AD&D, Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars, Star Trek, Aliens, Fate, and Apocalypse World.

Due to the massive popularity of D&D 5e I also offer workshops on learning how to play D&D online using tools like Roll20.

Professional dungeon mastering is a controversial topic in our community, why do you think that is?
I really don’t think it is very controversial. I think Social Media provides a small percentage of people to have a really loud voice. The reality is that people will complain about anything and everything. At the end of the day, this is a service that is provided for others. It’s no different than paying someone to change your oil, mow your lawn, or do your taxes. Can you do all those things yourself? Yes you can. So, does that mean these services shouldn’t exist? Absolutely not. There are a million reasons why some people choose to pay someone else for those services. Just because I personally wouldn’t pay my friend to give me a ride to the store, doesn’t mean that Uber shouldn’t exist as a paid service.

Could you beat Matt Mercer at Boggle? 
This may not be a popular thing to say… I am familiar with Critical Role.. but I have never watched an episode. I tried to watch one episode. But it was 15 minutes of ads and just them talking about the companies that support them and so I turned it off. I know these guys are voice actors(I guess… on video games or cartoons). I don’t know. I know people like the show but I guess I’m just not interested enough to make it past the first 15 minutes of ads.

So would I win? I think I would get bored halfway through the game and then I would say, “so tell me about yourself, I literally know nothing about you”… and then we would go watch a movie or something.

What does your yearly convention schedule look like?
I own a game store that sells toys, comics, and games. So I go to comic book and game conventions. I love going to Gamestorm in Portland. I have been attending that convention since 2002. I also do Emerald City Comic Con, Rose City Comic Con, Wizard World, Dallas Fan Expo, Comicpalooza, and several smaller events in the Pacific Northwest.

How does your pro game prep differ from your home game prep?
Are my players reading this? LOL just kidding.
I would say for my professional games I do a lot of reading of new material. And I do a lot of note taking in the Roll20 games to make the campaigns fit my style better. The professional games are 90% official D&D 5e Adventures like “Ghosts of Saltmarsh” or “Tyranny of the Dragons”. So I have less map-building to do and more note taking so that I can tweak the adventure to fit that particular gaming group.

In my home game? Wow, I’ve been gaming with these guys for 20 and 30 years, so I do a lot more “off the cuff” role playing. Home games are a mix of 50/50 home-brew with official stuff. But for my guys I incorporate more old school adventures from the OSR community and original AD&D modules. Because of that I do a lot more map-building in Roll20 for my home game.

What challenges do professional dungeon mastering present?
I would say, getting the word out. It took me about a year before my website showed up on the first page of Google when searching for “dm for hire”.

What US President (living or dead) would have made the best DM?
Teddy Roosevelt. That guy really liked adventures!

With tabletop gaming at an all time high, do you foresee an increase in gaming as a mainstream paid form of entertainment?
I do. It really started with video gaming and e-sports. Now the generation of kids that started the whole e-gaming phenomena are adults with jobs.

Tell us about your D&D class.
Yes its a class that teaches people how to get started playing D&D online. So the course covers the basics of how to play D&D, how to use Roll20, how to use Discord, and then we practice what we have learned by going through a short dungeon crawl.
Most of the interest has been coming from homeschool children ages 12+.

Where can people learn more about professional DMing?
Why my website of course! www.gmjeremynow.com as well as Facebook and Instagram @gmjeremynow .

Thank you so much for your time and your questions.

Thinking of becoming a professional Dungeon Master?
Pick up a few supplies:

Bear Mace
Bitchin’ Dice
Breath Mints

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Sorry for the ads, but tacos aint free:

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