Being a DM is a big job. You've got all those rules to master, a cast of thousands to portray -- heck, you've got a whole world to create.
The size of the DM's job is why you're holding Dungeon Master's Guide II. The 320 pages of the Dungeon Master's Guide was sufficient to get a campaign world thriving, but it just scratched the surface of what's possible.
Truth-in-advertising time: Here's 288 pages, and it's just a second scratch on the surface of what's possible.
But what a scratch! Whether you run a game that's one kick-in-the-door battle to the death after another, or one fraught with tense negotiations and political intrigue, there's something in here that can help you out with the big job of being DM.
Here's a sample. Flip through the book and check out the following:
Adapting to Different Play Styles: The psychodramatist, the cool guy, the brilliant planner, the outlier, and the lurker. Who are these people, and how can you keep them all happy at the same game table?
Preparation: How to get ready for the game if you're under time pressure; step-by-step checklists for 1 hour of prep time, 2 hours, 3 hours, and more.
More Traps: Tired of yet another spike-bottomed pit? Here you'll find fire summoning traps, painful hobbling traps, trapped weapons, fey rings, and spell turrets. Many are built at multiple Challenge Ratings so you can find one that's appropriate for your characters -- or maybe just a little bit tougher.
Exotic Encounter Locations: Goodbye, 20- foot-square dungeon room. Hello, ice bridge, evil crypt, treetop village, and burning building!
Encounter Tables: Every DM knows that PCs don't always go where you planned. Now you're ready with a fun encounter when their whims or overconfidence take them into an infernal vortex, a sewer tunnel -- or the wizards' guild late at night.
Medieval Society: If the characters go really far afield, they might find themselves in a different nation or culture altogether. Now you have everything from systems of government to political plots to random rumors to make every part of your setting come to life.
Laws and Punishment: Player characters often wind up on the wrong side of the law -- sometimes justly, sometimes unjustly. Here's how to handle the arrest, the trial, and the sentence . . . or at least the part of the sentence that the characters serve before they prove their innocence or bust out of prison.
Magic Events: When you're creating the climax to an adventure, you want a magic event such as the sudden appearance of a burning eye on the horizon or the gradual growth of an inky blackness that grows larger with each life it consumes.
Saltmarsh:D&D veterans will remember Saltmarsh as the site of an adventure published in the early 1980s. Now it's back as an example of a fully detailed town. You can either put Saltmarsh in the world you create, or call it by another name and use the information for one of your own towns.
Unique Abilities: Sometimes you want an NPC that's unaccountably weird. Now you can create characters with extra limbs, fey spirits, or beings that are just "abysmally wretched."
More NPCs: At one time or another, every DM has needed a statted-up bounty hunter in a hurry. Now you've got one, plus other DM staples such as the tribal shaman, the cultist, and the martial artist.
Businesses and PC Organizations: PCs do more than just delve into dungeons. Whether they want to invest their loot in a merchant caravan or take over the local thieves' guild, you're ready.
Magic Locations and Magic Items: We haven't forgotten that players spend as much time with the "blue books" as the DMs do. In addition to new items (and new ways to customize the ones you've got), we offer magic locations that grant you powers beyond what mere trinkets can offer.
Teamwork Benefits and Guardian Spirits: We've got two new ways for the players at your table to act like a team: teamwork benefits that represent experience and specialized training, and guardian spirits that grant magical powers to the PCs and their allies.
Being a DM is indeed a big job -- but it has a commensurately big reward. You get to create entire worlds, fueled only by your own imagination. You get to play every dastardly villain, every savage beast, and every comic-relief innkeeper. You get to ensnare your fellows in intricate webs of plot and scheme.
Best of all, you get to look up from your dice and your notes every now and then to see your friends hanging on your every word -- or laughing uproariously because they're having such a good time. You're making that happen.
So look up every once in a while and bask in the joy you've created. Do it enough, and you'll never want to relinquish your spot at the head of the table.