The Virgin DM Monologues: Prepping for Game #1

I made the crazy decision that I wanted to try my hand at DMing.  How this notion got into my head, I’m not quite sure.  Either way, I opened my big mouth (both in real life and on the blog), so here I am!

Because I want to share the crazy process of what goes on in my n00b mind without giving any early hints to my players, the posts regarding my campaign will be published significantly later than the actual dates involved.   For example:  I’m writing this the night before my first game takes place, but it won’t be live on the blog until a week after the game.

Confused yet?  It’s okay, I’m confused enough for a whole family of hobbits.

Shall we move on to some DMing talk?

…and the Word was writ in books, and the Word was good…

First stop, the Dungeon Master’s Guide.  I had skimmed through this a few months ago.  There’s a lot of good information in there, but honestly, I’m not sure how much of it I’ll remember (or need to remember) when the game is rolling along.

Next stop was the module I purchased, Forges of the Mountain King(Goodman Games 4e).  (If you post any spoilers in the comments, I will ban your IP.   Play nice!)

I figured that if I was going to be brand-new to DMing, I might as well use someone else’s adventure so there’s less for me to worry about.   I got the PDF so I could have it right away, and ordered the hard copy separately.  There are some cut-outs and stuff that will be nicer with the original version.

I’ve skimmed through the whole thing.  Then I read the first few encounters.  Then I read them again.  Then I started to think about which hook I wanted to use and how I was going to use it.  Then I re-re-re-read the first few encounters.

The last book stop was the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide.  Not that I’m in Forgotten Realms, but I liked the encounter in the town where the goblins bust through the wall and try to steal an artifact from the town.   I wanted to use that as the starting encounter for my campaign, to give my players a reason to go to this dungeon in the first place.

…and the Word was on the Internet…

I also did some surfing of my top 3 favorite DMing sites – Gnome Stew, DungeonMastering, and ChattyDM.  They’re my boys.  Well, Yax and Phil are my boys.  I’d love for the Gnomes to be my boys, but I don’t know them well enough yet.  (Martin Ralya certainly gives my GeekBoy some competition for hottest red-headed DM!)

..stuff, I need STUFF!

I have my Core Books, my FRCG, my module, a bunch of notes…  I need minis!  I’m gonna gripe for a second here.  I love Anubis with all of my little gamer heart, but I hate that he mostly uses d6s instead of minis.  It’s become a running joke at his games. “Yeah, I’m gonna attack Red-5.  WTF monster is that again?

Being a compulsive box-shaker (trying to relieve childhood Christmas memories?), I have purchased several boxes of minis in my time.  They live on top of and around my television in my living room.  For this particular module I need lots of dwarves, orcs, and goblins, and a few guest appearances by other baddies.  Between my collection and Hybban’s, I should have enough for what I need.

We’re playing at Anubis’ house, so I can use his battlemat and DM screen (as well as his Encounter Manager software!).   I’ve got my Vis-a-Vis markers in all sorts of fun colors (shoot me, I’m a girl!).  I’m even going to make up a super spiffy note that if my players are cool enough, they’ll find while searching… somewhere. (Hey, they read the blog. Don’t wanna give out clues!)

…the events of the first session…

  • PCs start in the town of Stalgard, a mostly dwarven town a day’s walk away from the place where the dungeon crawl takes place.  They are in the shopping district.
  • OMG Ambush! - Goblins breaking through the walls of the city and attacking townspeople (and PCs) on their way to steal a magical hammer from the weapon shop.
  • Hooks and Stuff - PCs meet the leader of the town militia who thanks them for killing the goblins.  He explains about the Mountain King and his minions and why they want the hammer.  It’s an evil magical hammer and it needs to be destroyed in the forges that created it before it gets into the wrong hands.  PCs meet Marshall Eversong, seemingly-gay human bard who was the lone survivor of the last party to try to destroy the hammer.  Marshall tells them all about the Halls of Tannheim (some true, some rumors) and his party’s death.  If the PCs take the quest to destroy the hammer, they can keep any of the riches they find within the halls.
  • Fire Beetles – They live in the shallow pit under the rotting wooden door at the entrance to the tower.

Will I survive my first adventure behind the screen?  You’ll find out soon!

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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