It seems fitting to interrupt the intensity of my Flight of the Ideator series with a post about worldbuilding, personal play, and the like. The kinds of things that were partially responsible for my sanity through my months of unemployment. And it’s been over a year since my last Dungeons & Dragons post here, so I’d say this is overdue.
Not unlike Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, I love it when a plan comes together. That feeling when the stars align. When the hours in which friends don’t have work shifts or commitments interlock like Tetris blocks and thoughts of rescheduling blink out of existence. “FINALLY, we can play some D&D.” It wasn’t until I assumed the mantle of Dungeon Master, though, that I began to appreciate time spent thinking about D&D and that particular activity – play – in a more nuanced way. When Gaming Is Off The Table: Personal Play (cont.)
I’ve DM’d a D&D game six times, now. The most recent session marked the beginning of a new story arc and I came out of the gate strewing even more world-building loose ends. Or billiard balls (as I’ve started thinking of them after reading the beginning of this article by Sly Flourish). Playing in a campaign setting that is constantly writing itself in my imagination is delightful. It’s only frustrating when I have all of the answers for the questions my players aren’t asking and none for the ones they are. But I’m blessed with a patient bunch who are humouring me. It’s nice to feel trusted like that. And I think they know they’ll eventually be rewarded for it. After my 6th session as a DM… (cont.)
I’ve DM’d a D&D game five times. At the last session, we wrapped up the first “chapter” of the unfolding saga and finished up the session with some story-based levelling up of the characters. Now they have more skills, more HP (not the sauce… although…), and can, as a result, face more peril. devil emoticon. What delights me most are all of the loose ends that can rear their heads as we go forward. grin emoticon. The world continues to expand in a big bang fashion while we’re not gathered at the table. And I’m starting to get a feel for the characters – I have high hopes for the journey the players are taking them on internally. I can’t wait to see what they do with what I’ve got up my sleeve for their next challenge.
I can now say I have DM’d a D&D game four times. Before an earlier session, I created a minor character whose backstory and circumstances are peripheral to the main quest but were mysterious enough to capture the party’s imagination. Yesterday, the players spent more than 30 minutes debating how to deal with that character… and I think they came to a consensus decision… but because it had been a long session, they decided to pause the story before taking any action. I really didn’t expect my players to keep ME in suspense between sessions, but here we are.
I can now say I have DM’d a D&D game twice. Last night, I learned I have no DM poker face skills when the players’ choices take me completely by surprise, but the improvisational workout is exhilarating. After previously putting my three 1st level players in mortal peril by liberally sprinkling goblins into an encounter, this time I had carefully selected a still-formidable, but not entirely overwhelming creature for them to fight (Giant Goat). They charmingly befriended it instead. THAT is the magic of RPGs. #NewKidOnTheStatBlock