Ten things about running my first Dungeons and Dragons game
Ten things about running my first Dungeons and Dragons
1) I put more thought and effort into making sure I knew
what I was talking about tonight than I’ve done for most job interviews. The
idea of being unprepared for my first time running a game (never mind even
PLAYING one) was unacceptable. So I read through each scenario a few dozen
times to the point where I basically knew that world inside and out.
2) None of that really mattered once the game started, as
the four players went off and did 10,000 things I didn’t expect. That’s pretty
much why D&D is addictive to so many people: There’s only so much prep work
you can do. After that, it’s all about rolling with the punches.
3) Speaking of rolling, only one of us had actually played
before, and only three of us actually had dice. I own two sets, and ended up “rolling”
using an online tool rather than actual dice. It ended up fine, although I did
miss the thrill of actually rolling a result. Yes, I said the thrill, because
those four lit UP when they rolled a high score. This game is addictive.
4) In a fitting way, the first battle was hilariously
terrible before it turned into a macabre scene of death not even Stephen King
would imagine on his worst day. The party consisted of a three dwarves (two
Paladins, one Cleric) and a high elf (Rogue). They initially faced off against
four goblins, and at one point, I said, “A
level 10 character happens to walk by as the eight of you struggle mightily to
do anything approximating battle.” People couldn’t roll double digits to save
5) Just when that got annoying, the cleric successfully cast
a spell that essentially exploded one of the goblins into smithereens. I called
this one Todd. Todd got over everything, and became the first real bonding
moment for four people that really didn’t know each other before. (Each one
knew one other, but that was it.) Todd jokes flowed for the next ninety
minutes. Eau de Todd turned into a fragrance. The game clicked at that moment,
and really didn’t let up for ninety minutes.
6) My brother (one of the Paladins) managed to turn one of
the goblins into a morbid Weeble Wobble three feet from the majority of ex-Todd
a few turns later, stabbing him in the foot with a javelin and landing a
killing blow in the process. This goblin tried hard to fall over dead, but
instead just bobbed back and forth. When these characters killed, they killed
hard. No “slip off this mortal coil gracefully” crap. Life and death were separated by ‘splodey body parts previously attached only moments before.
7) That blood lust took over, and in their next encounter,
they left one goblin alive in order to interrogate him…only to then slit his
throat while another put their hand over its mouth to contain the screams once they had the needed information. I
started to worry for my own safety.
8) Once in the nearby cave, they found three wolves chained
up, and decided that the best way to pacify the wolves was to feed them the
dead goblin. The cleric got a natural crit on his Animal Handling skills, and
lo and behold, our heroes now had three loyal direwolves. I was proud of them
and terrified for me. They named their primary one Put-Put, for reasons that
eluded me but delighted them.
9) They zigged where I thought they’d zag a little later,
avoiding one route I was subtly pointing them down in favor of essentially the
boss battle cave instead. I worried that they would be outmatched, but they
kicked the everloving hell out of the boss without realizing how much danger
they were actually in. That boss also owned a wolf, who was too sad to fight once its master was slain. They named that wolf
Tup-Tup, because of course they did.
10) I’m still riding the high an hour later. I am not sure I
can possibly put as much prep work into next week’s session, but I’m glad I
braved the role of DM and glad to facilitate some of the most brutal fantasy
deaths I’ve ever aided and abetted. See you in my nightmares, Put-Put!