From the tome of Anduin, high priest to Atmera:
Under the red sun the light is born, as is the dark.
The eight traverse the lands, discipled by the ruined innocent.
All must unife before the sun and moon, Or the great fire's thurst is quenched.
When I was a teenager, I used to remember the dreams of my previous night's sleep with relative ease. Each day I would go into school and tell my friends of the weird things that I saw the night before. Most of which was the result of too many video games. I once dreamt of a world that was the culmination of Team Fortress, Zelda and the Hunger Games, my friends the victims of my unyielding will to live. A few of these have stuck with me over the years. One such dream is now the premise of my homebrew campaign.
Chapter One - Starting a homebrew campaign
I had never actually intended to ever run a homebrew campaign. My previous game master resume consists of running two games of Strahd, one which completed, the other getting roughly half way through the content, and a handful of one shots, which were of my own design. Most of these one shots were crafted as a way of introducing people to playing D&D so the storylines within weren't overly complicated, as most of the players would be focused more on mechanics or interacting with interesting NPCs. Over the last couple of years, these games had all concluded, gone on permanent hiatus, or I wasn't able to continue to play due to having a new family to look after. However, as things began to settle down in the homelife and we had come to the realisation that 'we need to get out more', I wanted to play D&D again. This meant finding a group, and the hardest part of D&D, as most will have the experience of, is finding a DM. So, being that I was the one that wanted to get this game going, I figured I should be the DM. With little effort the game was filled out with players and it then became a matter of what to play.
I looked at the campaign books produced by the Wizards of the Coast that I have available and to be completely honest, I found them to be a bit lackluster. I've played through a number of the published campaign books and excluding the best campaign on the market (Strahd), they were lacking that epic story. I found myself asking 'Is that it?' at the end of Storm King's Thunder. I also found that none of the other campaign books were as well written as the Strahd book. I have a limited amount of free time so I didn’t want to spend all my time looking for a campaign that would suit my needs so instead I made the choice that I was going to write the world myself (because that takes far less time than reading a prewritten adventure...).
So armed with my keyboard, google docs and a weird dream I had when I was 16 years old, I set about creating the greatest D&D campaign known to man (aim high, your fall is much more spectacular). Thus, the world of Rinth was born. However, there is a small problem. I don’t really like being the DM…
I should like being the DM. I’m very much enjoying writing the campaign world. I like bringing the characters to life. I like getting reactions out of the players when something unexpected happens, or they have been fooled by the BBEG. I like messing with my friends' minds in this safe environment to do so. But overall, I find the whole experience to be taxing. As a player I get to sit there eating chips and other unhealthy things, joke and laugh with the other players while awaiting my turn in combat. As a DM it’s 100% attention the entire time. Juggling what each player wants to do, while trying to keep everyone engaged. I’m scoffing cold pizza while players ask questions, or worse yet, I spend the entire time not having a drop of water because I don’t like having people waiting on the DM. At the end of the session I like to know if the players had a good time, and most often they say yes, however if I ask myself the same question, most often it’s a no.
So, if I’m not into being the DM, why do I do it? Because I like my friends and I want them to have a good time playing D&D. The group setup for this game don’t have other games going on. This is the only game they play. We all have families and don’t really have the time for too much more. So, I do it for them, because I love them.
Why are you telling me all this?
If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely questioning why I am writing all this. Honestly, it helps with hitting our search engine keywords. In the above text I’ve used the term D&D a number of times. D&D Dice is one of the most searched terms that we get clicks from on Google, so this helps boost us in that area. Secondly, I’m not writing this for you, I’m writing it for me. I would like to enjoy being a DM more. Hopefully, somewhere in these musings I’ll have more of an understanding of my experiences when running the game, and hopefully, be able to identify those areas I enjoy, along with those areas I dislike, and explore each more.
What’s going to happen moving forward?
Each time the group gets together I’m going to write up a game summary. Nothing too long form, and I’ll largely be looking at what I did during the games and those areas that I can improve upon. I may look at how I prep for each game and suggest to myself, ways that I’ll be looking to improve that prep.
I do hope that during this series of posts that someone gets a little value from them. If not though, I hope that I get value out of writing them at least.
The next time I write one of these posts, I’ll explain my process for writing my homebrew campaign, including coming up with a prophecy for the campaign. Until then, have a pleasant journey.