So you’ve bravely volunteered to be the Dungeon Master for your group of players. Congratulations! Let’s get you ready for running your first-ever game of Dungeons & Dragons.
SPOILER ALERT: You’re going to have fun. You’ll be exhausted at the end of the gaming session, but you’ll have a blast.
In this article, I’ll talk about some “best practices” for preparing for your game, what to do right before the game starts, how to run the game, and what to do after the game is over. The D&D Dad has you covered, first-time DMs.
And just remember, you’ll only be a brand-new DM once. After that, you’re a veteran.
A note from the D&D Dad: I’d normally create two separate articles for this adventure session, but this one-shot by M.T. Black is special. Not only is it a great introduction to new players (I had one at this session), but the entire adventure takes place on ONE sheet of paper! So I’m simply combining my Adventure Report with my Review.
For this one-shot, we gathered multiple misfits from the world of Eberron, who then stepped into the world of the Forgotten Realms:
As I wrote in my intro to this blog, my kids are more or less responsible for my current obsession with Dungeons & Dragons. I blame them for all the money I’ve spent on hardcover campaign books, pencils, and dice!
But seriously, I don’t blame them at all. It’s been a blast showing them how to play the game, and watching them snag a rulebook and study spells or look for special skills for their favorite classes or find some Legendary magical item to add to their Magic Wish List for their current D&D character.
I’ve never been more proud of my role as a nerdy dad than when I saw my 13-year-old on the front porch swing with his nose stuck in the Players Handbook. Or when my 10-year-old has to choose between the Monster Manual and the DMs Guide for night-time reading.
So while I’m not claiming to be any sort of expert with my less-than-one-year experience playing, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about playing D&D with kids.
The party moves from the “training grounds” of Phandalin and Thundertree and encounter danger head-on in this wild and crazy adventure from the always-reliable M.T. Black! For details, see my spoilerific Adventure Report.
The “Phandelvers” (or so I’m calling them!) finally move away from the “Starter Set” neighborhood of Phandalin and Thundertree and end up getting tasked with saving the city of Neverwinter from certain disaster in this DMs Guild one-shot from M.T. Black!
Session 12: The Secret of Skyhold Tower (9/15/18)
In the smoking ruins of Thundertree, the druid Reidoth begs the party to locate the Crystal Ball of Farseeing for him so he can help protect the party’s newly save town of Phandalin. He know they can find info in the city of Neverwinter, just a days’ ride away. He promises rewards for the Crystal Ball, and of course the party agrees. They also agree to drop off the recaptured Glasstaff with the Lords Alliance in the city. All in a day’s work…
Thanks to the Internet, you have access to over four decades of information related to Dungeons & Dragons. There’s a lot of stuff out there, and it’s hard to know just where to start your research. That’s where I, the D&D Dad, can help. I’ve been there myself, cluelessly clicking through site after site, trying to find the quality content that didn’t make my head want to explode.
In this week’s blog entry, I’m going to narrow things down for you by sharing the online resources that helped me learn D&D quickly.
Session 1: The Driftwood Tavern, Neverwinter and the Cragmaw Hideout (9/23/17)
Gundren Rockseeker, a dwarven miner, meets with his old friend Zaxbinaxby the Silverthorn (a dragonborn wizard, aka Dad) and new acquaintances Emally (a human bard, aka Mitch) and Darius Falone(a half-elf paladin, aka Drew) to get them to bring a wagonload of supplies to Barthen’s Provisions in Phandalin. Payment is 10 GP each. Emally introduced herself to Darius by trying to pick his pocket, but Darius caught the little urchin.
Gundren leaves to head to Phandalin with his friend Sildar Hallwinter, and the trio leave a day later. After three days of travel, they meet fellow adventurer Eileria Fangorn (wood elf ranger, aka Elizabeth) when they turn off the High Road from Neverwinter and begin traveling east on the Triboar Trail toward Phandalin.
After half a day on the Triboar Trail, they find two dead horses, which must have belonged to Gundren and Sildar. Then goblins ambush them, just as they recover an empty map case from Gundren’s horse. They defeat the goblins, avoid two traps, and enter the hideout! They fight goblins and find an unarmed and barely conscious Sildar, but no sign of Gundren!
Neptune Stormbringer (firbolg/genasi druid, aka Drew), Revali (aaracokra ranger, aka Mitch), Rurik (hill dwarf bard, aka Robinson), and Kirby (high elf cleric, aka Caleb) – occasionally assisted by Cloud Serpent and Sir Puggle III – are old friends, chatting with Brottor the bartender in the Gambling Golem tavern in the village of Longsaddle.
Kirby talks about his time in jail and how he’s friends with dragons; Revali notes that he’d never hurt birds; Rurik reminds everyone he’s still searching for his father, and Neptune brags about how long he can hold his breath and how fascinated he is with cataloging monsters.
Their chat is interrupted when Sqwelch the goblin bursts into the bar, crying for help and promising big rewards. Of course the party agrees to help, and they leave town, heading west into the Starmetal Hills, following Skwelch to the tower of the mad mage Hugo Harpell in the Neverwinter Wood. On the way they fight off a wild boar and meet an odd fellow who had crossed the mad mage and was cursed as a result.