You decide how you want DM. This is described in the first pages of the Dungeon Master Guide in the introduction. There are three subsections:
- The Dungeon Master
- How to use this book
- Know your players
I would recommend not skipping this and reading it in detail.
A dungeon master can wear several hats. (…) As a storyteller, the DM helps other players to visualize what's going on around them, improvising when adventurers do something or go to an unexpected place. As an actor, the DM plays the roles of monsters and secondary characters, breathe life into them.
It gives a campaign so much more life. You will not succeed at something by avoiding doing it. Therefore: practice practice practice. I will use the descriptions of monsters in my answer.
SPOIL ALERT: if you don't know what Otyugh looks like, don't watch it before reading my full answer!
I've often had the opposite situation where, as a DM, whenever I mentioned the name of a creature, players would go to their phone and quickly search for it on Google. Not only that, they were showing everyone – sometimes while I was halfway through my first sentence!
So we talked about it and agreed that no one would show the others or look for monsters. Some players shared that they felt annoyed when someone showed them the photo; they felt cheated because they had just started to build a picture of the creature in their mind when >> BAAM << there was the picture! Some were not convinced at the start but shared that after a few sessions, they preferred not to see the picutres anymore. To win!
In addition, there are sometimes problems with the images due to previous editions; the interpretation of the appearance of creatures varies from one edition to another. For example, during a session, I started to describe the Kuo-Toa of the 5th and I made the mistake of mentioning their name. A photo of AD & D / 2e appeared and that was it: burned on the back of their skull! There was no way to convince them that they were blue-purple in color after that. … it was at the beginning of a whole series of sessions revolving around a mystery about the Kuo-Toa.
But whatever. I learned my lesson, which was:
When I do that, players often say it's fun not knowing the name because they have to make a picture in the head of this strange creature … who, I think, is a big part of the fun in D&D. This brings a feeling of immersion. There is also a kind of community imagination. You decide if you want to mention the creature's name at the end of the encounter.
Or, never tell them the name of the monster! They know the monster by what they imagined in their mind, or collectively assembled. They will be curious and often and will ask you questions. You can add flavor as you go. Interestingly, when I did that, it often went very well – even with players who, in real life, were glued to their phones most of the time. They even found their own names for the creatures, which was great. The chicken-lizard that turns you into stone! Guess what it is …?
If you think back to qualified horror writers like Lovecraft or Algernon Blackwood, you find that they create a heightened sense of suspense, mystery and horror by not giving it all up.
Finally, a practical solution:
The first paragraph of each editor often describes what the creature looks like. Use this to help you!
Back to Otyugh:
An otyugh is a grotesque, bulbous creature carried on three sturdy legs, its eyes and nose fixed along a wine-like stem that winds from the top of its swollen body. Two rubbery tentacles end in thorny leaf-like appendages that the otyugh uses to shovel food in his gaping mouth.
In truth, I wish I could see an Otyugh and ask a DM to describe it to me as part of a campaign. It would make my day!
Ultimately, you have to decide, but of a DM / player who enjoyed this game for the yonks, I would recommend honing your description skills.
S & # 39; fun.