Waggish Writer Geeks Out: (Mis)Adventures when I DM-ed for the First Time
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This is a one-off post where I share my (mis)adventures when I decided, since I played for years, I could handle trying to run a game as a DM. I'll set the concept what I'm about to talk about and my (mis)adventures when I volunteered to lead a game session.
What does DM mean? DM means Dungeon Master, the person who is in charge of leading a group of players on an adventure by describing the scene, setting foes against the party, and rewarding clever thinking or really good rolls of the dice.
How did I come to take on the role of DM? My boyfriend has been being a DM for several years, having taken the role out of necessity to get the ball rolling. He gets a chance to play in another game with a friend who plays in his game. What they both want is to be able to play together at the same time. There was a period where games were not happening, so I volunteered to cover the gap with a one-off session.
As it was my first time trying the DM vibe out, I decided to go with a module. A module is a mini-adventure created for those who've not DM before and wanted help in getting the basics down. I took careful care in looking over a book I picked up to find a good adventure for first time adventurers and a fun moment for veteran players/DMs till I found a blend of traps, puzzles, and monsters. I looked over the module and thought, "I can hold off on this until it's closer."
Little did I know time would run away from me. On the day to play, I realized to my horror how long it took to prep. The game board was Roll20, an online platform where individuals can play the game. However, I had no maps, no tokens, and no idea how to actually put the game to action. And it didn't help I didn't have the forethought of how to work Roll20 from the DM stand point (my fault for not thinking of asking my boyfriend to help me set up the basics, oops).
I scrambled to find maps, labeling them on my side to keep track of what is was. My model sat open beside me while I frantically looked up tokens for potential creatures. And when the game time was starting, I logged into Discord where I realized I had not tokens for the players. In a nutshell, we did not start on time as the DM (me) was not timely in preparing for the game.
The group was very flexible and understanding, due to being players/DMs/new players. It was a mix group of individuals as the goal was to help ease in new players into the upcoming sessions for the other games.
As the DM for the one-off session (it split into two days, which we did not finish the adventure as the other games were starting back up), I enjoyed listening to the players trying to guess what I'm thinking. My boyfriend and his friend (the other DM) created two dragonborn characters who were trying to one up each other. Their interactions were highly entertaining.
Something I did not consider was players coming in and out. It was a bit of a juggling act, but the players came in and out without too much trouble (this is the DM perspective, so I could be entirely wrong).
I really had a blast with the DMing. There were some things I bent the rules on (stats of monsters), things I didn't think I needed to do (how the traps were laid out), and things I improvised (how to handle really clever player thinking that did not break the game).
If I had a wish list, I would love to try and lead a D&D campaign based on one of my favorite worlds: Middle Earth. I need only the Player's Handbook as I picked up the Loremaster's Guide (basically the DM's guide), and a book that offered a series of adventures set after the Battle of the Five Armies from "The Hobbit."
Leading a full-on campaign is something I will probably invest in the future, but I have my hands full with my writing and its many projects.
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This is Waggish Writer signing off of this post. Stay tune for more from "Waggish Writer Geeks Out" series! See you next time!