Running Dungeons and Dragons

I was late to the whole tabletop RPG thing, by which I mean I was intrigued at the group of nerdy guys who were running it when I was in fifth form but I wasn’t actually able to play it myself. Mostly I saw them playing OWOD Vampire (Old World of Darkness as opposed to New) but never joined in. I didn’t really play anything at all until I got to my final year of Undergrad when Bemused Werewolf and FFG introduced me to Space 1889 and Vampire respectively.

The idea of playing Dungeons and Dragons let alone running it never once entered my head for the first fifteen years of my GMing games. Dungeons and Dragons when I was a teen was horrifically complicated from a maths point of view and unfortunately ‘easy’ maths is not my forte and has never been. I am, though, an experienced GM, I’ve been running tabletop roleplaying games now for about twenty years and whilst some things I’m never going to get the hang of I am good at bouncing off people and giving people a satisfying narrative, or rather, I suppose I don’t really give it to them, theres no one who is going to go into my game and feel like I dictated the pace or even enforced it, I just pull it out of my players, they’re the ones who shape it, almost as much as I do.

All my creative projects really, they aren’t about me doing a thing but rather me working with other people to combine, bounce off of and draw from us all a thing. I think it’s why I’m about world creation rather than telling more linear narratives.

At the moment I’m five years into an on-going dungeons and dragons world that I’ve been running. It’s fifth ed because that suddenly became more accessible to those of us who are no good at maths. It’s satisfying to run but once again I’m faced with my lazy creativity, I’m using pre-written campaigns to form my world whilst I’ve written a meta-campaign based largely on the personal plots that the players have brought to me. It’s something in me that I rarely create in a vacuum, I suppose that no one does really but all the creative projects I’m involved in involve other people to a very large extent, I am much more collaborative than I feel I give people credit for.

All this musing to say that I am enjoying creating quite a three dimensional world within the Dungeons and Dragons setting despite how snobby people (and me) can get about D&D. I’m not sure how much it has entirely deserved the snobbery but then maybe it being quite so Basic (and honestly fuck it, I like basic, I’m a basic kind of girl in many, many ways) is what is allowing me to create quite such a multi-layered story within it.

Honestly I think it’s multilayered mostly because Weasel is one of the players and they tell me it is. My players have largely stuck with it as well which is nice. Three players out of seven have dropped out over five years, I currently have a core group of four which is a good for roleplay but it’s not my preferred group size, I like six people or rather I do in person – it’s different online in terms of managing a group able to roleplay together to people around a table, there’s no breaking off into little groups and I haven’t managed to find a way to recreate that. Gather Town isn’t something that a lot of my players really enjoy and they took away a lot of their functionality in the free version anyway.

The not breaking off into little groups thing does mean there’s less roleplay for little things but I think it means the whole group is more invested in each others stories and certainly multiple people paying attention to the same scenes does mean that the group as a whole are more aware of the overall story of it. Even if it is D&D and I still have some kind of innate snobbery there it is a world I’m proud and pleased with building.

Leave a Reply