My (very brief) history of Dungeon Mastering

My name is Michael, and I am a beginning Dungeon Master (DM) for Dungeons and Dragons, fourth edition (D&D 4e).  This blog will serve three purposes:

  • Chronicle my development as a DM, with a focus on the online aspects
  • Share my thoughts about how to be a better DM
  • Host my files for use in my online D&D games

First, some background.  I became interested in Dungeons and Dragons while in college around 2000, and I briefly played the game with my wife Barbara and some of our acquaintances. We were excited about the game, and I read all of the third edition rulebooks.  However, when it actually came time to play, we had a lousy time, largely because the people we were playing with were doing things like fudging their dice rolls.  “Cheating” at a game like D&D doesn’t make any sense to me – it’s not like you can “win” or anything.  So, that didn’t last long.

Fast forward to 2010, when my friend Nate talked about his and his wife’s adventures in D&D and offered to host a game.  Nate is a first time DM but a long-time gamer and professional game designer, so he’s a great dungeon master.  We’re having a blast with our campaign, even though we’ve barely gotten to level 2 with our characters.

I knew right from the start that, while I love playing as a player character (PC), I would also love DMing.  Strangely enough, I got my chance at a wedding.  One of our college friends was getting married in Florida (we live in Colorado), and since the wedding was at 10:00 AM, we had lots of free time in the evening to hang out with the bride and groom and some of our other friends.  I had brought the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 with me (reading it for fun), and one of my friends noticed and asked about it.  Soon, he had rolled up a character, and the rest of the gang joined in.  We started playing a pre-made adventure right there in the hotel room, despite the lack of a printer, a battle grid, minis or anything else – and we had fun!  My friends asked if we could keep it going online, and that’s where things stand today.

That’s enough background for one post. I hope to share my thoughts and learnings about being a good DM, especially for an online game, with anyone who is interested.  I’ll be using a program called OpenRPG to host the game and probably Skype for audio chat.  Let me know if you have any suggestions or comments, either advice for me or things you would like to see me address.

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