(Picture credit dnd.wizards.com)
You sit in a Tavern Surrounded by strangers
It all began with a random comment and a curious friend, he asked me something about D&D and boom, there was, I didn’t even know what had been let loose. I told him all about the adventures I had, as an Oath sworn Paladin, and a Greedy Rouge, I told him about dragons, and wizards, about turning javelins into rail guns, and about nuking towns with scrying spells, and funny enough he didn’t seem to care nearly as much as I did. I wanted that feeling back, I wanted to dungeon delve, and solve the great mysteries of the kingdom. So I took up the mantle of (queue that funny Zelda treasure noise) Dungeon Master, but I found out I was a few editions behind, I played 3.5, and 5e is …. different, especially for a rusty player. I had books to buy and Adventures to write, but then I realized what’s an adventure, monsters, plots and all with out the adventurers? I had the usual troubles, flakes, half commitments, and an ever shrinking group, But eventually we settled for four solid newbie’s not unlike myself, It was a case of the blind leading the blind and looking back even just a few sessions (were about 7 sessions in now) I can see the myriad of mistakes made.
Hindsight Always rolls a 20
I find I make the most mistakes when I feel the most confident, not unlike a fighter charging into a group of bandits, only to discover their all werewolves, and you don’t own any silver. The first few sessions, at the start were not all that bad, (see that’s the confidence bit) but as the grind went on, I began to feel like the last party member, bleeding out without much hope. I had what equated to maybe, 3 more sessions of experience with the game then my Players did, and almost none of that was as a DM. It’s like teaching your crew how to build a house, when you don’t even know how, you make the best of it.
I skipped a lot of crucial steps, first off, I had my character creation session, and our first play session at the same time. Which led to a lot of stress, How does the party know each other? Why do they care? and most off all why are they here? My party was practically all new to the game, and I wasn’t much less green. I got hung up on these small details, and it pained me that my players couldn’t care less. They wanted to play, whatever that meant for them, I found out that meant a lot of talking, a lot of rolling 20’s, and apparently marrying each other, oh and collecting every random item worth anything.
I guess the REAL take away for me was that lesson the books keep repeating, but that you never really learn until you play. It’s about having fun, however you do that, if that’s the serious horror campaign, or the silly high magic where dragons constantly get turned into shep’s and a man-bearpig leads your party. It’s about how you have fun. That’s the real magic a DM brings to the table.