Tabletop Gaming and Fantasy

The last few weeks, I’ve been running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. It’s my first time as a DM.

None of the players had played before. They’ve played console RPGs before, like Skyrim and Fable, and they’ve recently had an absolutely unhealthy obsession with Catan, but this is their first foray into old-school pen and paper tabletop gaming.

It’s going well – I hadn’t played in, well, a while, and like I said I’ve never DMed. So there’s a learning curve on both sides of the screen. But they’re patient and into it and everyone seems to be having a good time with it.

I decided my narrator hat wasn’t fitting as well as it should, though. (I’m running a pre-written adventure, with the occasional modification as the situation warrants.) Over the first three sessions, I’m seeing the players relax more into their characters, remembering their characters’ goals and personalities more readily, and dipping their toes into In-Character gaming. (One player in particular, but to some extent each of them.) 

I didn’t have much trouble slipping into the various NPC roles. It was just the narrating part that was … well, I wasn’t doing it justice. Maybe it would be better if I was narrating a setting and storyline I came up with on my own, and we’ll see about that in a couple months, but in the meantime…

I decided to re-read the old Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy. To find a suitable DM-voice, primarily, and to refamiliarize myself with things DnD, and for the sheer fun of it.

There’s tons of books, of course, and – like all such series, written by dozens of authors in someone else’s shared world – the quality is inconsistent. The originals, though – they hold up better than I expected. I remember reading them when I was, I don’t know, ten? Eleven? When you revisit something from childhood like that, so often it’s a huge let-down.

I haven’t read any fantasy in a while – after finishing Wheel of Time finally, I read the last two Song of Ice and Fire books and I don’t think I’ve touched on any stripe of fantasy since. It’s been about three years.

(I do have, on my TBR pile, a copy of Nicole Dragonbeck’s First Magyc, which I’m looking forward to and which you could pick up too for just 99 cents…)

So it’s about time, I guess. I may go on a fantasy-only run for a few months. There are a few promising titles out there I’ve put on my sometime-eventually-in-the-future list, so I’ll probably be picking up a few of those. 

For now: I have a chapter about killer robots to write. 

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