So, I'm looking for advice on how to start. What books are completely necessary, which are good to have, etc? I'm subscribed to D&D Insider. I think the future lies in making maps online and using things like maptools and fanstasy grounds - so what kind of software do I need to make maps ,etc.
I've made most of the maps we've been using in the online game using Maptools, but if you go in the Wizards.com archive, you can find a bunch there as well. That's where I got the map for tonight's session.
Monster Builder is probably my favorite tool for running D&D 4e. I almost never run "stock" creatures in my games anymore.
If this also turns into a tips for DM'ing thread, that would be great too.
Thanks in advance.
I think the best thing I ever read on DMing was to try to say "yes" to your players as much as possible. Even when they throw something completely weird or unexpected at you, try to figure out a way for them to see at least part of their idea through. Unless somebody wants to do something totally gamebreaking or that would screw the other players, it's just more fun to let them try to have their way, even if you only give them a very small chance to succeed.
Prep time is also important. I'm always wishing I spent an extra hour or two preparing for a session.