Welcome to the Dungeon, Master

Well I did it, I ran my first game.  It was scary, and fun, and I recall almost none of it, but that is the nature of my brain, thank goodness its on YouTube forever!

It is here that I would like to chronicle the rise to DM and what I thought about my first time running a game.

I had been toying with the idea of running a game since the start of my D&D fandom, which was over a year ago with Critical Role. However I shied away from it almost constantly.  Even once i realized that my own initials were DM i was still cautious  about attempting something i felt that i had no creativity for, or skill in.  However despite my brains own intentions many of my friends expressed thoughts of support in the idea that i turn to the DM side of the game.  They constantly commented on my RP ability and my creative story telling in my characters backstories.  Yet i was still unconvinced that i could pull off something as complex as running rules and playing as NPCs.  I did however enjoy the idea of the story telling aspect, that is what kind of always appealed to me, like a tiny piece of metal in a river on a sunny day. There in the peripheral glinting wildly, always tempting, always teasing. So I would occasionally pour over the DM guide and ponder philosophically about the idea of running a game at some point.

Enter October of 2015.  Some spark finally took root in the dry recesses of my mind and the flame of inspiration burned bright.  I had decided i would run my current group, the marvelous Half Assed Crew in a spooky Halloween one shot inspired in a world i was creating on the side.  Pretty much all at once they were dancing with excitement and encouragement at the process, and i would tease them with little bits of the things i was working on.  I will admit that this made me very happy, and their enthusiasm helped me continue and actually think that I could do this thing that i secretly wanted to do, but let my brain constantly talk me out of.  However the wonderful “A Sinister Invitation” was not to be.  My work was rapidly approaching its busy season and my prep was slowing to a turtles pace.  Then as the game was pushed to November and we were about to finally play, my job suffered a ransom virus attack the day of the game, i had to stay and work an almost 16 hour shift to fix it and my first DM game was postponed indefinitely.

DM’ing was put on a back burner as our own campaigned slowed down and life events kept D&D squarely on the back burner for a bit.  Then Matt Mercer’s DM tips videos hit Geek & Sundry and his simple straightforward tips seemed to help reignite the flame in my belly and I longed for at least a chance to prove my mettle in the forge of a game.  At the time I had started working on a world of my own, and Sunday nights would stream map drawing on twitch, it was crude but relaxing and people showed an interest in playing in the world I was slowly building. Right on the heels of my new-found excitement and Mercer’s tips came Matt Colville and his tips.  After listening to Colville i was 100% convinced that I could do this and that with some work I might actually be good at it.  I had decided that not doing it and pining away would get me nowhere and i immediately set out to create my first adventure and grab some people to play.  Obviously life always has other plans but i did find some groups of people and set to working on the world, its settings and the first adventure in between work and my other campaigns.

As time went on and the campaign building slowed because of work I decided that i need to cut a few things to accommodate more time for my own creative endeavors and so making the hard decision to drop out of a game i had been in for 6 months i set myself to a more firm direction. DM or die.  An opportunity arose last month when, as the Half Assed Crew were planning our future games I blurted out that maybe id run a one shot based on the Acquisitions Inc training ground for some of the members if the could make it.  It caught me by surprise but I can only assume it’s because my brain had enough of putting it off and knew that if there was a fire under my ass i might actually get it done.  So i set out to tailor the module to my tastes and added a bit of flair as it would be my wonderfully ridiculous Dwarf bard who would be running the show.

Planning was a blast and I thank a few special critters for allowing me to bounce ideas off of them and fine tune my weaknesses.  i will admit it was hard work and maybe by the time of the game i wasnt as prepared as i would have liked but it might not have been played if i had waited until i thought i was ready.  Eventually i had no more time and the game was afoot, er on rather.

The game was fun, and it looked like my players were having fun as well.  I remember feeling very intimidated at the start and worried that what I had prepared would not work but once I started and fell into the groove I think i did okay.  It was probably not the best module to start with as it was mostly a skill run, with little combat and some out-of-place things that i either forgot to add, tweak or remove but it worked for the most part.  I remember being frustrated when i forgot to do something, or lost track of my notes, but i don’t think my players ever really noticed. The stress of trying to keep everything moving and remembering rules did make it so that i don’t really recall most of what happened in the game and when i critiqued myself later the ending was a little sloppy, but we had played, no one quit and everyone had fun so honestly all that means it was probably a success.

I know where my weaknesses lie, and I know where to bolster the walls so to speak.  All in all I had a blast and imagine that if I ran something that i wrote myself and built from scratch i would have a better handle on the minutiae.  I do know that i should have plenty of water, because talking for 3 hours is rough, and that trying to keep all those rules in your head and adjust on the fly is something i will need a lot more practice at.  Overall it did not discourage me from continuing and in fact gave me the confidence to at least keep going for now.  It will be nice to see how a steady campaign feels.

To DM’ing…..and BEYOND!

 

and if your are curious you can watch my first DM attempt here https://youtu.be/EzwNOm-cXq0

 

 

How Role Play Saved My Character

If you haven’t seen #OffTheRailsCrew I suggest you watch it here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlq_AULlkvENVZVtKp6SP7wooz915N_4v.

It is pretty solid storytelling and a group of great players to boot. This game was a rocky start for me, but I have found redemption in solid Role Play. With that being said I would like to share with you why I am excited to play Augthar now.

A few months ago I joined a one shot in order to give @Tempuslibris her first chance to be in a D&D game.  Since I knew it was a one-shot and I was naïve about it becoming anything else I decided to make a character I wouldn’t normally play.  This was right around the time that Matt had created the Witch Hunter class so I said what that heck and rolled up a Goliath Witch Hunter, because why not?

Our first game was fun.  I however absolutely hated my character.  I couldn’t find his voice, I didn’t like melee, and I literally almost died, Charles had to drop in a deus ex Machina to save us.  The entire time we played in the back of my mind I was thinking, it’s just a one shot, it will be over soon. Fast forward to today and we have 13 episodes under our belt and 3 more players added and it is totally a full blown campaign.

I will not lie to you that the episodes leading up to our last one were tough for me.  I admit that over time, I grew to find Augthars voice. What joy and entertainment I could not find in his class, I found in role playing him and engaging with the other players.  It was the only saving grace of this Tuesday game in the beginning.

In all RPG’s I have played casters, or a form of caster.  Melee just has never done it for me, and as we continued into our never ending one-shot I felt the frustration and hatred grow.  You probably can’t tell if you watch the episodes, but the only time I was having fun was when I got to role play.  I remember it was around the mages tower episode that I had just decided to RP Auggie to death in order to keep the game going for my friends. From that point I had fun.  He wasn’t my favorite character but he would do.

Things started to change a little after the Broken Isles.  Charles introduced my nemesis into the story line and I fed off of the feels that that produced, giving me an outlet to enjoy our campaign.  As we progressed in the story I knew that we would eventually face this demon, and I devised a plan. It seemed only natural that Augthar would sacrifice his life for his friends and to end the demon that destroyed his clan.  So with Auggie on the top of a mountain I made a decision, Augthar would die for good at the first chance for a heroic death.

I was confident in my decision as we progressed further, and came closer to meeting our Demon Boss. However something started to happen that I didn’t expect.  I do not know why I never saw it coming but Auggie was growing on me.  With level 5 and my new hammer I found the combat to be a little more interesting, I found Augthar had another side to his personality and I also found that maybe with the right combination of RP and items, even I could be coaxed into liking a melee character.  The time also happened to coincide with Mercer renaming the class and updating it even more.  I was feeling stronger and had more options.

Then came the day I knew was coming. Two weeks ago we fought the thing that had possessed my character for 3 years, the beast that made me kill my entire clan.  The RP was strong with me.  I landed blow after blow, I saved team mates and I felt that I was doing Auggie justice.  All the while I was waiting for that moment when I could give him his heroic death.  Auggie was at 1 HP when he charged in to attack the demon.  I had a superior health potion but was so determined to kill him I didn’t use it.  I took a hit and went unconscious, and then Rhia fell and died.  During this time something woke in me, after all this time of disliking a character I had tricked myself into caring about him.  I know to most reading this it probably seems silly that I didn’t already care about him, but it honestly took me by surprise.  With Rhia down and myself newly healed I went in for what I would hope would be the final kill.  I had no idea what the Boss’ HPs were but I hoped.  I succeeded. I killed my demon and Charles gave me an honest heroic out, at least I think he did, and I didn’t want to take it knowing Rhia was dead.

So here I was knowing that I was going to die but instead of going out with the boss I knew I needed to save my sister, so I RP’d and hoped that Charles would be okay with it.  I then felt that since Rhia was saved with my death that it wouldn’t be fair if they could just bring me back to life so I gave myself rules to return.  I would roll 4 times 0-40 I would return to the living 40-75 I would stay in limbo and 76-100 I would die never to return.  Granted that doesn’t seem even, but it was the heat of the moment and I wasn’t thinking.  In the end the story played out as it did and I lived.  I was happy that Auggie was alive and I felt a renewed interest in him.

I am not sure exactly what the lesson is in this.  Sometimes the things we think we will not like still have something redeemable in them, that perhaps is a solid lesson.  We put up barriers and surround ourselves with what is comfortable.  I took a chance on something I normally wouldn’t play and I grew to love it just as much as my other characters.  That is why I love D&D, and that is why I will never stop playing.