Friday, November 15, 2019

Have Dice, Will Travel

So, this is a thing that happened; I just did my first gig as a professional DM.

This has been a long time coming. I've been teaching D&D to people for years--decades, really, and using D&D to promote language arts, stimulate communication skills, and encourage role-playing and creative problem solving. I have also taught the game to lots of people who want to swing swords, cast spells, and kill monsters. So, win-win.

The professional Dungeon Master sits at the intersection of today's Gig Economy and the rise in Geek Culture. A lot of people are intrigued by Dungeons & Dragons, and would like to play the game, but there is still something about the game, no matter how well-written the current rules are, that make it an activity that is better taught by someone who knows what they are doing instead of puzzled out for oneself. YouTube has helped, somewhat, but honestly, there's no better learning experience than roiling the dice for yourself.

I suppose now I'll need to formalize a price sheet, and maybe put it on this site, and very likely update that, as well. Can't have a blogspot address, after all. Doesn't send the right message. Or does it? I make a point of stating I've been doing this for a while. I wonder if I can still get an Earthlink account?

I wrote an original intro adventure for this group, complete with handouts and other cool stuff. For teaching tools, I'm using a variety of items available commercially, including the cards from the Essentials Boxed Set, because they are sweet and easy to understand.  In the future, I intend to write some special adventures that utilize famous literary characters, so people who want to, say, have a Narnia-Themed Bachelor Party (!) could run around in Narnia on the Dawn Treader. Or hang out in Lankhmar with a certain sneak-thief and his barbarian pal. Those would be for experienced players, though.

The game was fun, and it is always cool to see your players solve the puzzles you created for them. The game ran about four-and-a-half hours, not including breaks. Great game; everyone had a good time. One of the kids wasn't too clear on the concept of team play...or the idea that they were playing good characters...and he required a little extra reining in. Everyone else took to the game with great aplomb. Spells were cast, Sneaks were snuck, and axes did a lot of damage and required extra gory description. I can't help it; it's the law of critical successes.

North Texas isn't New York City, but I think I can pick up some weekend gigs. Maybe not enough to quit my day job, but surely enough to splurge on groceries once a month.


  1. I am so glad to see a girl (at least one) at the table! One thing I’ve discovered gaming in Japan, mostly with female players from overseas, is that there’s TONS of women in the USA who want to play, but TONS of them have had terrible experiences at the hands of sexist male GMs and players. They stopped playing for years, and then rediscovered RPGs in a new country. I want to see a generation of girls growing up without the bad part.

    1. I have to say, this has not been my experience, at least, not exactly. While male to female ratios have been anywhere from 3:1 to 5:1, there's always been at least one girl or woman that wants to play, and I've never said no to that. A great many of the folks I know in Texas have played or currently play with women in their games with none of the drama or scuttlebutt that you see online in the horror stories. I'm not suggesting that the stories don't happen, but from where I've lived for most of my adult life, this has just not been the case.

      And that girl in the picture above? She was probably the best player at the table. Quick thinking, clever, and useful to the whole party. I told her afterward that if she liked the game, she should consider becoming a DM.


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