Dungeon Master for the First Time

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

As you may have realized if you’ve followed this blog for the past few months, Rachel and I have recently gotten into D&D. This is about my first foray into being the Dungeon Master.

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Rachel and I have been playing D&D with our writer’s group friends for the past few months. One of our friends is the Dungeon Master, considering she had some of the most experience as one. She actually works in the children’s room at a library and does D&D about once a month with a group of kids and teens.

That was how we started our own group, actually. Rachel and I noticed her tweet about her D&D sessions and basically asked if we were able to join somehow. We joked about how Rachel and I are small enough to pass as middle schoolers, if only to have the chance to try out D&D with an actual group.

It’s been so much fun so far, with us doing a couple of one-shots as practice and now we’re on a longer campaign. With that said, though, I’ve always been a player in the games and I was definitely interested in giving a try at being the DM.

We have a game night with a couple of other friends, neither of whom have ever really played D&D (or, rather, had any real interest in it) but I asked them if they would be willing to give it a try if I was able to create a campaign with a Harry Potter spin to it. While I’m still working on the Harry Potter campaign, I did recently do a short one-shot for Rachel and one of those friends.

The one-shot itself was about a village in which a few townspeople had gone missing. The guard called for volunteers, setting the scene for the characters to meet, to search for the villagers and vanquish whatever monster in the woodlands that was causing them to disappear. In my notes — all twelve pages of them, not including the stats for the monsters, NPCs, and my tower map — I detailed the responses I would give as the NPCs or identify what the characters could find depending on how well they rolled when persuading or investigating. Once they reached the woodlands, there were three paths they could take, with an optimal order for them to explore if they wanted to rescue all five missing villagers alive.

They did it, which was great! It was a bit unorthodox — or perhaps not, since D&D is all about communal storytelling and is bound to go off the rails at times — and they absolutely demolished my mid-boss and boss monsters in about a turn or two each with some lucky rolls, but it was a good time.

It was definitely a learning curve for all of us involved. In fact, I think the one who knew about what she was doing the most was Rachel. She dove into the campaign in-character, showing our friend the kind of role-play the game involves and making me think on the fly regarding my story and the NPCs with her questions and actions. We used the pre-made characters that came with the starter kit considering, between the three of us, we’ve only ever made two characters before. That, and our friend was worried about all the math, haha!

I’ve been writing for so many years, some stories of the Choose Your Own Adventure kind, of which D&D reminded me. It was enjoyable to go back to that kind of format, but being a DM means that you can create the world, but it’s the players that create the story based on how they react to the challenges you set up. It was a lot of set up, and everything is most likely not going to go the way you plan it, but it’ll all work out okay in the end (well, unless a character dies). All in all, though, I really enjoyed my first time as a DM, and I’m looking forward to doing it again.

Of course, now all I want to do is create a Legend of Zelda-flavored campaign!

Do you play Dungeons & Dragons? Have you ever DMed? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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