Last Saturday, my roommate organized a D&D character creation party, inviting several of his friends to come over and experience the thrill of bringing an RPG character to life. A few showed up (which was to be expected), and he threw around the idea of running a little something to let the new players test drive their characters.
I’ve been saying frequently lately that I’d love to give DM’ing a chance, and when he brought this up, I offered to run it for them. Immediately after the words left my mouth, I got a twinge of nervousness. Was I ready to be a dungeon master? I have watched hundreds of hours of D&D shows, watched videos made by DM’s giving advice, and have read the DM guide thoroughly. If I wasn’t ready after all that, I’d never be.
Cut to a few hours later. I whipped out the Lost Mines of Phandelver starting adventure and just began. I had read the adventure cover to cover a few days prior, and had a good grasp on how it flowed. The first session was short and simple (By the way, there will be spoilers for LMoP if you haven’t played it before) and after some coaching on the basic rules and flow of the game, the party managed to get their assignment from Gundren Rockseeker and made it to the Triboar Trail. There, they came upon two dead horses, a sure sign of an ambush. After being surprised by the goblin ambushers (and having one PC nearly bite it on the first hit), they easily dispatched the goblins and protected the cart.
What happened over the next few days surprised me. One of the players, whom had never played before, contacted my roommate and expressed her desire to play again as soon as possible. I was not expecting to hook someone so early. I felt a small swell of pride in that, but I knew one session wasn’t going to be enough to retain everyone.
We scheduled session two for the following Wednesday. Two of the original players could not make it, but two other people expressed interest in playing. We rolled up a couple characters and I worked them rather humorously into the current narrative. After spending a few hours the day before making notes and preparing for the session, I felt confident that these players would enjoy the next big step in the adventure: raiding the Cragmaw Hideout.
Of course, when the session reached the moment where the party was to head off to raid the cave and rescue one of the people that was on one of the dead horses (I substituted my own PC for the adventure’s default character of Sildar), they proceeded to derail everything I had planned. I quickly learned that no matter what you plan, your party will inevitably ruin it.
I went with it quite well and the party forwent going to Cragmaw Hideout in favor of delivering the goods to the general store in Phandalin. After a visit to the inn for drinks, an encounter with the Redbrands, and the appearance of my character, fresh from escaping the Hideout, the session ended.
I felt I could’ve played a few of the NPC’s better, as banter isn’t my strong suit, but overall I feel the first two sessions were a positive experience. I now have a party of potentially six players, most who’ve never played the game before, seemingly enthusiastic about playing more.
What surprised me was that the next day, I was still riding the high of playing. I didn’t expect to be so energized and fulfilled by being a DM. I slept a mere four hours and went to work in a good enough mood that my boss even commented on it. I may have found my happy place.
I’m considering adding a campaign journal to this blog to share my party’s adventures. I feel this party has lots of potential for shenanigans, and writing about it would be fun. I will propose the idea to the group to see what they think. Right now, I’m thinking about the next session, but I think I won’t plan as much this time. Just make a list of things I need to have happen, and let everything else fall where it may.
I can’t wait.