Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anatomy of a D&D Session

Last Sunday, someone mentioned they wanted to play D&D.

Oh boy, I thought, I'm going to be asked to DM again. Sure enough, my skills were once again called upon to get an adventure together. Since the last time we played (which was a few months ago)  I have gathered more materials than before. I now have not just one, but three D20s.

Hold up though, I hear you asking, what exactly is this Dungeons and Dragons you are going on about?

Dungeons and Dragons is a roleplaying game played with imagination, dice, friends and some pencils and paper. One person is assigned the role of Dungeon Master, who is responsible for creating the adventure and playing the monsters and characters you meet on said adventure. Everyone else is a player (or PC) who creates a character that will face the various challenges set upon by the Dungeon Master (or DM).

Wow, that sounds like a rip roaring good time! How do I go about playing this Dragons and Dungeons?

Whoa there sparky, you're going to need a few things first.

- to play.
- A whole bunch of dice.
- To read the books.

There are a lot of D&D books out there, but what you'll basically need are the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters guide and the Monster Manual. They will give you a pretty thorough rundown of the rules, races, classes and ideas on how to roleplay. There's also a crapload of stuff that is a simple Google search away, you lazy bum.

Anyway, I'm here to tell you about how our D&D session went.

This was to be the fourth time that I have ever DM'ed ever, and I really wanted to try and write an adventure instead of using an existing one. First of all, I had to come up with a name. This is probably not how real writers write an adventure, but I needed somewhere to start off. As I was looking around my room, I saw a lego set that my sister and I bought in Australia. It came with little lego spiders.

And thus, the Web of the Spidermancer was born in my brainmeat.

I wrote the campaign outline, designed some encounters and wrote a whole lot of fluff for the players to go through. Then I tried to find some maps online for the adventure. No dice there, I could have pieced together some tiles or something, but then I thought what the hell, I'm a dab hand at photoshop, I'll just make some maps.

Not pictured: Hours spent agonizing over whether or not more skulls were needed.

The adventure was intentionally written as a small as possible. The PCs arrive in a village in the arse-end of the world, the problem is obvious and there are way too many rewards. I also tried to keep it as fun as possible, with little mini-games like a drinking contest and a sidequest to collect spider eyes.

I also prepared way more than I needed to. In total I wrote about seven encounters, and the players managed to finish in three encounters. I'm pretty sure they had fun though, and there was some groaning when I showed them an encounter that they could have done, had they gone a different way.

Yes, there were actual girls

Things that I learned? I need to prepare more. Sure, there are some things you can't prepare for, like a PC who goes on a totally different tangent from what you have written, or horrible rolls which mean that your miniboss misses every single attack it makes, but these lessons will hopefully make me a better DM.

And next time, I am totally going to cheat if Gargantua the Spider misses three times in a row.


Wilson said...

Derpbear approves of this.

Albie said...

IF I recall, Derpbear derped his way to delivering the final blow on Gargantua the Spider :P