Becoming the Dungeon Master

Many eons ago a group of us friends became mildly interested in trying Dungeons and Dragons.  A 3rd version of the basic set was purchased along with a Monster Manual.  No one really read the rules, there was no Dungeon Master, we created dungeons on graph paper.  The game we played vaguely resembled the game we bought.  It didn’t last very long.

Dungeon Master

Somewhere along the way I picked up a 3rd edition DnD Players Handbook for reasons I can’t even remember.  Needless to say up until recently I have zero experience with Dungeons and Dragons, less you count movies and cartoons.

If You Gather Them I Will Play

A few months ago our board gaming group started and then quickly grew.  After months of playing board games a group of west coast friends started playing Dungeons and Dragons.  Those of us on the east coast became interested, but didn’t want to give up our board game nights.  Finally someone in the group decided we needed to try DnD.  I made a deal, he would get the players I’d get the tools and be the Dungeon Master.

Despite the fact that I wanted to play the game, the idea of becoming the Dungeon Master intrigued me.  I knew I was going to want to gather the Starter Set, collect the books and have fun reading up on and preparing the adventure.  Also since we were not going to start playing for awhile it gave me something to do. I would get to prepare for the eventual game night.

Learning to Be the Dungeon Master

Very quickly I picked up the 5th Edition Starter Set and began reading through the Basic Rules.  After reading through the basic rules I began to read through the beginnings of the first adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver.  The rules for the 5th Edition were actually pretty easy to understand so I quickly had a pretty good idea of how to run the game.  I was able to refer to my west coast Dungeon Master friend to get some clarification on some rules I had questions on.  As a new Dungeon Master he also gave me tips like getting a Dungeon Master screen and supplying my players with dice to use.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons, Two Hours at a Time

I was pretty nervous my first night as Dungeon Master.  Not only had to run the game, but I had to make sure it was fun.  I didn’t want to be the reason that we played one night and decided it wasn’t fun.  My group was pretty happy after the first night.  We didn’t get terribly far but everything went as it should.  In between the first and second sessions I got some tips and prepared more.  Unfortunately due to our real world lives and schedules our DnD time is played about two hours at a time.

For a new Dungeon Master playing two hours at a time is a blessing and a curse.  Trying to prepare and determine how far your players will get and what they will do is a difficult balancing act.  However it allows you to adjust in between sessions which is a big help early on.

Its About the Journey, Not the Destination

Dungeon MasterSo far we are only about seven hours into the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign.  I have at least that much time if not more into preparing for the adventure.  It is tremendously enjoyable to prepare for the next session, learning more and more as I go.  We have just purchased monsters and NPC from the Pathfinder character boxes for a more visual representation.  I am sure my players appreciate that as apposed to my poker chip goblins!  Players are beginning to purchase their own dice and get invested in the game as well.

We have a very long distance to travel but it is so much fun getting together to take this adventure together.  I have since gone on to buy the Dungeon Masters Guide and the Monster Manual and look forward to learning more and more about the game.  Each session I try to make the game a little more enjoyable for my players.

Becoming a Dungeon Master is something I have always wanted to do and I am finally getting the opportunity to do so.  I’ve already got our next adventure picked out!  For now my goal is to get them to the end of this one, hopefully in one piece and hopefully smiling at the end!