Sunday, August 31, 2014

Taking Control of the Game

For the past couple of months, Tony, Mandy and I have been playing D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) with some friends every weekend. D&D is something that I have been playing off and on for the past 10 years. It helps me use my creativity and indulge in my dork side. And just to make something clear - we are Christians who do not try to cast fireballs on the local coffee shop when our order is messed up. So, now that that's out of the way, on with the story.
   Tony went on vacation a week and a half ago. So, we did not play D&D last weekend. But, we did play this weekend without his presence. You see, Tony is the DM (Dungeon Master). He controls and narrates the story. So, for the first time ever, I stepped in to the role of DM for our friends. I did not do any planning beforehand. Tony gave me a few tips over the phone before the game started.
   1) Keep it entertaining. Do not let the players get bored.
   2) Keep the players guessing. Throw in unexpected things.
   3) Use a lot of detail. Paint the environment for them.
   4) Do not worry if you do not have a planned story or quest. Winging it can sometimes be the best thing.
   With those pieces of advice, I sat down with my cup of espresso, surrounded by a variety of books and dice and proceeded to lead the rest of the players. I was a little nervous. While I am a fiction writer, it is one thing to sit down and think about the story you are creating. It is quite another thing to make the story up on the fly and then tell people that story.
   Also, players usually ask the DM numerous questions. Specifically, if they can roll for certain actions - searching for treasure, creating things, negotiating with characters, etc. And that's outside of combat, which I found to be simpler. So, I had to draw on my memory of past games and determine how to answer those questions. I had to determine what treasure would be found, what monsters would be fought, what the weather would be like, what the general environment would look like. And I tried to throw in some humor.
   Some laughs were shared around the table and I was told I did not do a bad job. For that being my first time, I will take that response. We are going to game again tonight, with me being the DM once more. I was asked if a separate campaign could be started, in addition to Tony's campaign, with me as the DM. While that is flattering, I do not know how much time I can devote to DMing a campaign, in addition to playing in Tony's.
   But, I was happy to take on that role and express myself in a new way when it comes to D&D. So, do not be afraid to take on roles that you have never done before. Whether it be in a game situation, a career, a family, with a friend. You might get some positive response from others around you and surprise yourself in the process.

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