Friday, April 10, 2009


I finally have the opportunity to do something I've always wanted to: play Dungeons and Dragons. My friends and I have been playing somewhat complicated board games (Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Battlestar Galactica) for much of our college careers and I've brought up the possibility of playing Dungeons and Dragons a number of times, to somewhat favorable responses. Last week I finally decided to pull the trigger and buy the books for DnD 4th edition.

I decided that it would be best for me to be the Dungeon Master (DM) for our first adventure/campaign, since I have a decent grasp on the rules already. If you don't know, the DM is the person who sets up the dungeons and adventure for the players to face and also controls all the enemies and NPCs they will encounter. Essentially, the DM is the author of the story that the players are participating in.

It's also going to be my responsibility to teach everyone how to play, as no one (as far as I know) has played DnD before and almost no one has played a tabletop RPG before. I'm somewhat struggling with how to simultaneously teach seven people the game at once. My current plan is to pregenerate a character in each of the 8 classes and then allow my friends to pick them how they see fit. I'll then run them through a quick dungeon that should serve to introduce them to the way the game works. After that initial session I'll have them create characters for them to use for the rest of the campaign. They should be far more informed about the decisions they are making if they've seen how the game works.

The first adventure I'm running is a module from Wizards of the Coast called Keep on the Shadowfell. I think a pregenerated module will be better for us all, how to play and how to DM. Hopefully we can get through that, because I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to create my own adventures for my friends to play through.

The freedom and ease of creating an adventure in DnD makes my imagination the only limit on what I can make. I've always dabbled in making levels for games, but I've never had the time (or talent) to learn map editing programs and make anything better than a couple square rooms. In DnD the only things I need are some pencils, graph paper, and a few rule books. It's no trouble to create a lava filled cavern or a magical floating city.

Some of the things I look forward to incorporating in future campaigns:

-Vertical dungeons involving lots of climbing
-A city-wide siege
-A dungeon with rooms only connected by teleportation spells
-Adventures to other planes

I already (without even reading the rule books yet) have an idea of how all of these things can be accomplished. I'm excited.

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