I Never Wanted to Be a DM…

When Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons was released, I was in a place in my life where playing some D&D seemed like an extremely good idea.  I was in a job I liked, my finances were essentially secure, my home life was peaceful and beautiful.  It was time for me to have a hobby, and I knew just the one.  I hadn’t played D&D in years, but I had loved it back then and thought it would be great social exercise for me (my social calendar was a bit lacking at the time).

The new system had a certain appeal to me, since I work in computer gaming and there are many design similarities to what I was already doing for a living.  I picked up the new PHB and started looking for a group.  I wanted to play D&D, not DM,  so that meant I needed a group and a DM.  Well, in Austin, there are either very few people who want to be DM or they already have full groups.  Plus, it seems that people tend to play with people who are already in their circle of friends (and though I knew some people who would probably play, none of them wanted to DM – and I certainly didn’t).

I tried a couple of local groups that had a spot open, or were created out of essential strangers, but none of them felt like the group for me.  Sometimes the mix was just wrong, or the DM was heavy-handed about how the story should go, or there was a min/max munchkin present (it only takes one to ruin my day).  Plus, I found that I didn’t like being away from my girlfriend, house, and dog for an entire afternoon/evening (apparently, I’m quite attached to them).

I grew despondent and kind of gave up on the idea for a while.

Then one day, I was sitting here at my computer with nothing to do.  I had found this blog, and had been reading the backlogs of it, because it was so interesting (girls playing D&D seemed so novel to me – and cool, good-looking girls, no less).  My girlfriend was surfing on her laptop, the dog curled by her side, and we both kind of had a bit of cabin fever, having been cooped up most of the winter.  I thought to myself, “we need some kind of hobby that we can do together.”

Of course, lightning struck my brain right then.  And I died.  No, I had a rare flash of creativity.  I realized that if I acted as DM, I could introduce her to the hobby that I used to love, and at the same time, we could do it without leaving the house and dog that we are both very tethered to.  All that was left was for me to learn to DM and us to find a group.  Oh, and she had to agree to it.

Luckily, she agreed to it.  We decided to ask a friend of mine from work and his girlfriend to join us, because we thought having another “couple” there would be kind of cool.  (Plus, in my mind, I was still thinking about how cool it would be to play with girls at the table.)  They agreed, too.  We only needed two more to have a “perfect-sized” group.  We invited another couple, but found out they were no longer a couple (open mouth, insert foot).  But the woman from the couple wanted to play, so that left just one slot empty.  My girlfriend asked me why I hadn’t asked my best friend.  Honestly, it just hadn’t occurred to me, but seemed exactly the right idea.  He totally was into the idea, and so we had a full house – five players, one DM.

I really thought it was going to be harder to learn to DM.  I picked up the DMG at the local games-and-comics store, though, unwilling to be defeated by my anxiety.  To my surprise, WotC made it very easy.  The book had most of what I needed to know, and plenty of material was provided for me online.  It occurred to me that if I used published material, I could just learn the basics, then learn the rest as we played (or make it up).

The whole configuration isn’t what I originally pictured when I first wanted to play.  But now that I’m settling in to the idea, I think it’s going to be big fun regardless of what side of the screen I’m on.  Plus, if I can provide a space for my girlfriend and my friends to have fun in, that will really make my day (especially my girlfriend – I love her very much and am very happy to be able to share this thing that I find so much joy in).


9 Responses to “I Never Wanted to Be a DM…”

  1. I’m so glad that you are leading this game for us! I’m lucky to have such an awesome boyfriend and I know we’ll have a great time :).

  2. biopunk Says:

    Good to know you are doing this (…and hopefully continuing to blog about it as you go?).

    I’ll wish you and your group many adventures together!

  3. Hugh Kuenzi Says:

    How often do you write your blogs? I enjoy them a lot

  4. @biopunk – Yes, I definitely plan to continue blogging about this. It’s my own personal adventure, of sorts. Also, I’m going to try to provide a play-by-play as sort of a lasting recap for my players. And, I will be introducing the players as soon as they make characters (so I can refer to them by names other than their real ones – possibly by their characters’).

  5. @Hugh – Well, since I just started, I seem to be writing here a lot. It may just be an early outburst of inspiration because of the newness of this venture, but I hope to keep it up fairly often. Stay tuned and we’ll both find out!

  6. Angry Johnny = eabod?

    Hi! Definitely glad you are doing this, and glad that you have found some inspiration at my blog.

    By the way, you mentioned that you don’t know how to insert links into these comment fields. Of course, the simplest way is to just copy/paste a URL into the comment; it won’t be a hyperlink, but anyone can copy/paste it back to their browser and go to the link. like so –

    My other blog details my Mutant Future campaign, check it out!

    Or, you could just use simple HTML to make a hyperlink. In the example below, remove the “—” from after the “” to make it a working link:

    text of your link here

    Like so:
    My Mutagenic Substance Blog

    Some comment fields require you to use “[” and “]” to enclose your HTML tags rather than “”

  7. Oh, looks like wordpress automatically converts a URL to a link! Blogger/blogspot does not do that, it would have shown up as a simple text url.

  8. Damn, and it looks like it converted my example into a link too, let me try again – remove the “!–” from the “” to make an HTML hyperlink:

    text of your link

    Lets see if that works.

  9. Damn, this wordpress is too fancy and it automatically removes the brackets even if you invalidate the HTML! Here is a link to a page that explains what I was trying to show you.


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