LTTP: Returning Dungeon Master

As an artist, I’ve been drawing and crafting since before I can remember, and I got in trouble on numerous occasions for sketching away during class at school. As a writer, I always had a napkin or scrap paper in my pocket that had Worldbuilding notes that I jotted down while on the job at work. As a gamer, I got my start with a Tomy handheld Pac-Man console and a hand-me-down Atari 2600 when I was three years old, and I haven’t stopped. I’ve been able to use three passions of mine as tools to facilitate my abilities as a Dungeon Master for tabletop gaming; specifically Dungeons & Dragons.

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When I first entered High School, literally on the second day, I discovered Dragon Magazine in the library. My first impression was, “How does a pen and paper RPG even work? It doesn’t sound like much fun…”

I was playing Final Fantasy VII at the time and the only D&D games I had played were Tower of Doom and Shadow over Mystara. I had heard about the tabletop game from my older cousins, but never had the chance, nor the desire, to try it. I loved fantasy and writing, so I spent a lot of time in the library reading through their stock of Dragon Magazine.

My closest friends are the ones I made during my freshman year, and they were all sophomores at the time. The one I hung out with the most, Josh, who at one point in time practically lived at my house, played tabletop RPGs and I had no idea! It wasn’t until almost a decade later that I found out, but by that time I was already married and had a kid.

It took a long time to convince them, but I finally got two of my brothers and my waifu to give D&D a shot. We got started just as 4th Edition was rolling out and our first campaign lasted for a few months. My friend Josh eventually joined, and then I got the chance to join his games. It was around this time that I started studying game design and I wanted to create a more streamlined system that my son could comprehend and enjoy.

I took the fundamentals and created a streamlined RPG. To add to the immersion, my son and I took his collection of Tomica and Legos, brought out a notebook and we started creating characters and assigned them to Minifigs. Giving these figures names and adding stats and backstories enhanced the fun and introduced narrative, stakes and consequence. Playtime was now also story time and my son loved playing within this reactive fantasy world. The fact that his actions and decisions influenced the story blew his mind and the random randomness of a child’s imagination blew mine.

Seriously, the whims of a child can challenge a GM’s ability to improv like nothing else! My son will bust out the most random shenanigans and I have to try and create some feasible reaction that doesn’t break the game or cause some type of cataclysm! I must be doing something right because, so far, the world remains intact!

Fast forward several years. My family packed up and moved so many times I’ve lost count. But we’ve all finally settled down, hilariously back where we started. I got invited to play test my friend’s game in development and that night the fire had been rekindled! I had heard promising things about 5E and after reading through the changes I was eager to get started.

I unpacked all the old goods and tools, and I’ve been setting aside a day per week to dress up the old stuff and craft up some new components. I have two separate groups gaming in the same setting. They haven’t come together just yet, but their fates are intertwined. I’ve been keeping a DM journal but with the resurgence of tabletop RPGs as of late, I figured it’d be worthwhile sharing our gaming experience for anyone who’s curious. I’ll be writing up entries detailing the unfolding stories and share my DM crafts and thoughts.

Until next time!

 

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