So my sister – generous and superior creature – is hosting a D&D game for me to DM. Or attempt to DM, maybe I should say, because it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. Even after four sessions I still kind of suck at it, though I suspect I’d have sucked less from the get go if I’d had more experience as a player (maybe it’s not too late. Do you run a D&D game in Vancouver? Do you need another member?).

I wanted to draw our group’s characters – they’re SO GOOD – but I’m shy of publishing any features that I haven’t confirmed. So I’ll get to that at some point in the future, and in the meantime here’s my Icewind Dale party (I just picked up the Enhanced Edition).



Filed under Hchom

13 responses to “D&D

  1. Scorrosive

    Ah! I’d love to see more illustrations from your campaign! The NPCs you’ll probably create! Eee!

    Best of luck DM-ing! But yr fantasy comics are so fun I doubt you’ll lack for interesting story ideas. My friends and I are prepping to play a campaign ourselves! It will be my bud’s first time DM-into he’s been taking notes from Matt Mercer (he DMs Critical Role on Geek and Sundry & has a few pointer videos.) it’s pretty popular but it’s been a good resource for my group!

    • Marian

      Oh hey, that’s a thought. I could definitely draw the NPCs without worrying about getting details wrong, so maybe I’ll do that first.

      And thanks, I’ve been meaning to dig into various video resources. I hope your and your friends have an awesome time with it.

  2. I wish I lived in Vancouver simply so I could invite you to join our game (also, B.C. looks beautiful). But we’re playing via Google Hangouts, since my players are in California, and I’m moving to Portland next month, and we’re playing 2nd Edition AD&D, and…

    Still! That is really awesome that you’re in a game. While I enjoy being a player, DMing is my favorite role. You get to do as much worldbuilding as you like, you get to set up challenges and see how the players deal with them, you get to create and portray a wide array of NPCs, and you have the satisfaction of providing funtimes for your friends. I’ve been DMing since 1985 or so and I love it.

    Here’s my completely unsolicited DMing advice:
    1. Never railroad the players. If they think of doing something that you didn’t plan for, don’t tell them “you can’t” or try to force them back to where you want them to go. Instead, consider saying “yes.” Don’t be afraid to improvise. The players will always surprise you, and sometimes their actions take the game to a far more interesting place than what you had planned for them.

    2. Come up with situations, confrontations, and predicaments. Don’t bother thinking up solutions. That’s for the players to figure out. And, again, they may come up with something you never considered.

    3. Why am I telling you these things? You did the illustration for One Shot Podcast’s Star Wars campaign. I’m guessing you’ve already listened to at least some of their podcasts. They know what they’re doing. Fear the Boot also has a lot of good gaming advice, and the websites roleplayingtips.com and gnomestew.com have a lot of good advice, and OSR blogs like dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com (no, really), middenmurk.blogspot.com, rpgcharacters.wordpress.com, sorcerersskull.blogspot.com, bloodofprokopius.blogspot.com, jrients.blogspot.com, and a whole lot of others have tons of cool, weird, interesting ideas that they’re just throwing out there all the time.

    Lastly, your Icewind Dale party looks awesome! When I played, I made my party members based on characters from our group’s long-running LARP campaign. When I moved to Minneapolis to attend art school, I explained my Elf knight character’s absence by saying he’d been sent into political exile in the far north. Icewind Dale gave me an excuse to play out some further adventures with him, of a sort.

    …man, I’m a huge nerd.

    • Marian

      This is fantastic, thanks – I was at least implicitly asking for advice. I’ve seen the “don’t railroad” tip in a few places, and at first I was all, “duh, of course I won’t do that,” but now I think I need it tattooed into my flesh. I’m so accustomed to controlling the entire story, my default state is white-knuckled grip.

  3. i just wanna see the half-orc piggyback the elder! and the rogue kick a chest that broke her lucky set of lockpicks. and the drow shows off a drizzt underdark wanted poster, but tucks it away to hide the treasure map scrawled on its back. and i’ve deemed your party’s name. The Shieldless, need no protection, they quite have each other :)

    • Marian

      I love this. What’s that, in the half-orc cleric’s hands? A shield? Noooo, it’s a, um… a dinner plate! Yeah! No shields here, no sir.

  4. Tracy

    Excellent! I love seeing this post and that you got your D&D wish! I just recently found some like minded friends were gonna try our first campaign soon. Cheers to all us adventurers!

    • Marian

      Yes! D&D is definitely my long-awaited christmas miracle. Best of luck on your campaign, I hope you have a blast.

  5. Aw, I bet you’re being way too hard on yourself! Are you having fun? Are the players having fun? If the answer to both questions is “yes”, then you’re doing a great job!
    Devin Parker had some fantastic advice; I’ll throw in a couple more:
    –Know both the kind of story you want to tell, and the kind your players want to play. It helps to discuss this beforehand. Is your group narrative and character driven, or do they love min-maxing and squeezing every last drop of DPS out of their build? Do they want subtle political maneuvering, epic monster slaying, light-hearted adventuring, grim war-waging, high drama? Or a combination? What do YOU like? You’ll be most effective as a DM if you’re relishing the unfolding story too.
    –I like to do some basic prep so as to not break immersion. (I try and avoid this: “You interrogate the villagers about the recent bandit attack. The baker’s daughter saw the bandit leader’s face and describes him to you.” “The baker’s daughter? What’s her name?” “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..”) I have a list of NPC and location names at all times for this purpose; the Dungeonmaster’s Guide has tables for things like random encounters, inn names, mishaps etc if you need a “cheat sheet”.
    –Avoiding railroading is tricky for me too because I am a Diabolical Machiavellian Mastermind Over-Planner… but the most important thing is to make sure the players retain a sense of agency. If you need to nudge them, and sometimes you will, just be subtle. Trust in your own ability to think on the fly. I used to script things out elaborately in advance, but now I just come in with a couple islands of important plot points and trust the currents of play to get us there at their own pace.
    –Oh and one thing I’ve really enjoyed doing is (b)logging the whole campaign. We keep a blog, and being 4 AAA video game developers, got wildly out of hand with recaps, maps, art, journal entries, etc. It’s a nice resource both to keep track of things for your own enjoyment/ to refresh if need be, and if any future players want to get on board.
    P.s. if you are ever in Halifax, I will drop everything to write you in for a one-off guest appearance. <3

    • Marian

      Thank you, this is great. That’s definitely another thing I need to get better at: not letting my players see where they’ve caught me un-prepared. I’m so used to full creative disclosure, that bullshitting with a straight face is really hard to pull off and stick with. My bard makes lore checks on everything, bless his heart.

      I really like the blogging notion – I’ll keep it in mind for future campaigns (may they be myriad), where all my spare brains aren’t funnelled into learning the basics.

      And if I’m ever in Halifax, I swear that this will be my #1 priority.

  6. I’M A NEW DM TOO!

    Well. I started in January and we’re 30 sessions in. I still feel like I’m wet behind the ears. So much to learn.

    I’m so happy for you. It’s difficult and wonderful and challenging in all the best ways. I hope you’ll share your NPCs and maps with us.

    And also, I have only one nugget of advice–to hell with advice. Fail big, fail hard, and you’ll learn big, and learn hard.

    Much love.

    • Marian

      Wow, I envy the frequency of your sessions! I think we’ve only had about six or seven over the whole year.
      This is excellent advice, though. It’s had not to want to muffle all my failures as much as I can.

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