Improve Your DMs Guild Content – 8 Simple Solutions
Days and nights passed as you tirelessly created your first piece of content for the DMs Guild. It’s an exciting feeling, you’ve built something you love for a game you love even more. But what do you do now? Many authors will start working on their next piece of content, but I believe this is to be folly. You don’t understand if your previous work has been successful. More than likely it won’t be successful and you need to understand why. How can you improve your DMs Guild content?
Take a step back and think about this question.
How Can You Improve Your DMs Guild Content?
To understand why we chose the solutions in this article you first need to understand the target market of DMs Guild. DMs Guild is solely focused on Dungeons and Dragons. You already knew this, but think about what that means for a design, content, and layout standpoint for your target market. Every single person who will read or purchase your content expects it to look and feel exactly like Dungeons and Dragons. Every aspect of your content that matches the Dungeons and Dragons design makes it that much easier for a consumer.
Here are our 8 simple solutions to improve your DMs Guild content.
1. You Know Too Much
The single best way improve your DMs Guild content; Understand that nobody in the world knows as much about your content as you.
You have to make everything easy to understand. You’re losing potential consumers, but not focusing on this. Write the content you want and then go back and edit it for a twelve-year-old kid. Now do it two more times.
Even after you try this approach a few times you still won’t do a great job of it. The reason for this is because you’re the expert. Experts have an extremely difficult time breaking down a subject. Especially when the subject is their own creative work.
Take the time to make your DMs Guild content as simple as possible to use and you will see measurable, engaging metrics.
2. Standardized Content Layout
Every Dungeons and Dragons content has a similar content layout to make it easier to consume. Here is their formula:
- Cover: A beautiful image that drives the reader to turn the cover.
- Legal (Credits, Copyright): Not exciting, but required nonetheless.
- Table of Contents: Help the consumer navigate the content even if it’s only 10 pages.
- Overview (Introduction, Context, Synopsis): As concisely as possible, summarize what your content is about and the context a consumer will need to enjoy it.
- Content: Your content, in all its glory, goes here.
- Outro: What should the reader know once they finish reading your content?
- Index: If your content is large an index is helpful to find certain keywords. An index can be extremely time-consuming, take care when adding one.
Unless you have a good reason otherwise, just copy their formula. Keeps your content consistent with what the market expects to improve your DMs Guild content.
3. Bold Key Sections, Monsters, and NPCs
I know it sucks, but consumers will skim your work. That’s just how it is and you need to help them quickly find what they are looking for. Sometimes the best way to improve your DMs Guild content is doing something you may not want to do.
Bold text is the common approach for RPGs, including Dungeons and Dragons, to find key phrases while skimming text blocks.
Here are some pieces of your content you should bold for readers:
- Skill Checks
Dungeons and Dragons also supports a number of keyword subsections for their environments. Here are examples of those:
- Development: What can change in this encounter? How will that affect the player experience and why?
- Creatures: Describe the creatures, friend or foe to the reader.
- Treasure: What riches await a successful adventure party?
- Interaction: How can players engage with this content?
- Investigating: If the players search, what can they find?
- Tactics: Enemies don’t want to die. Tactics help the dungeon master know how the enemies in the creatures section adapt to players.
- Negotiating: If the players want to be diplomats what can they hope to achieve?
- Secret Door: The always classic secret door. This isn’t all that common, but a decent item to call out to your readers.
It’s also interesting to note that these sections typically come in certain order, but it’s not an absolute rule. My advice would be to always have your content sections end with Treasure and then Development.
4. Headings and Typography
Dungeons and Dragons typically use only three heading levels, Title (H1), Heading (H2), sub-heading (H3). The sub-heading (H3) will almost always have a bottom border to it as well. As for typography, you’re going to have to purchase the fonts if you want to create an exact mirror of their content. However, there are free versions.
I recommend the free version
5. Listing Currency Amounts
Think back to the last time you looked at some currency amounts in a treasure section. It probably looked something like this, 34cp, 6sp, 90gp. Perhaps the obvious important note here is that the currencies are abbreviated (i.e. cp for copper pieces). What is not always noticed is that they are in an order of increasing currency type. That is to say, cp comes before sp, and sp comes before gp.
6. Narrative Text Placement
If you want the narrative text for a room put it at the beginning or directly after an introductory sentence. Large encounters may have multiple narrative text blocks, but that is the exception to the rule. Don’t confuse your readers by putting important narrative text two paragraphs down and almost completely out of context.
7. Consistent Maps
Your maps should denote any sections with numbered icons, contain a grid layout of 5ft /square (10ft for larger maps), and always keep your maps orientation in line with a cardinal direction (i.e. the top of the map should be facing North). Creating a great map is hard, but these simple steps will keep someone from becoming completely puzzled on how to use your map.
8. Location General Features
If you’re writing a location where players will be for a significant amount of time create a section of your content where you describe the general features of that location. Explicitly call out all the important features of the location (i.e. doors, ceilings, flow, torches, stalagmites, rocks). This is extremely helpful for a dungeon master to quickly grasp the environment and improve when needed.
What Did You Learn?
If you learned something new from my list or think I missed something let me know in the comments. My own advice of “You know too much” applies to me in this situation as well. Help me catch the blind spots I’m not thinking about and we can both learn together.
Wouldn’t that be a beautiful moment to witness!