The Virgin DM Monologues: Thoughts After the First Game

I survived!  Aren’t you proud of me?  I’m proud of me!  Let me introduce you to the cast of characters first and then go back and tell you all the fun, crazy, annoying, embarrassing details.

The PCs:

  • Babs the Barbarian – 7 feet of butt-kicking female wonder.  Ex-wife of Egon.  Claims that Egon stole her jewels and is chasing him down and making a nuisance of herself until he gives them back.
  • Egon the Halfing Rogue – Who was awfully tall today because he didn’t have a halfling mini.  Ex-husband of Babs, who says he didn’t steal the damn jewels and why are you bothering me, woman?
  • Orsik the Dwarf Cleric – Healer Extraordinaire.

The NPCs:

  • Captain Commander Dude -  He had a real name, but it was lost in my babbling.  Head of the militia of the town of Stalgard.
  • Marshall Eversong – “gay” (?) bard, last survivor of the last adventuring group to attempt the quest
  • Marta – bar wench, bearded dwarf girlfriend of Marshall.
  • Nameless Shop Owner – He yells once.  He didn’t need a name, really.

The Baddies:

  • Encounter 1 – Goblin Hexer, Goblin Warrior, 5 Goblin Cutters (minions)
  • Encounter 2 – 5 Fire Beetles (that looked suspiciously like Large Centipedes)

Walking In

Walking into Anubis’ house and seeing people seated at the table, gaming paraphenalia strewn about, and the spot at the front reserved for me was pretty damn intimidating.   Even with these guys being my closest gaming buddies (and non-gaming buddies!), it was still really scary.

Actually, I think that my first time DMing was probably even scarier than my first time stepping up in front of a class of students and teaching.    But let’s face it – I was teaching a subject that I knew.   I’ve been a musician since the age of 7 and a paid one since age 14.   I’ve been playing D&D since… 2008.   Less than a year playing RPGs.   Talk about trying to wing it on very little experience!

Setting Up

I took a long time setting up my stuff.  Part of it was because I had no idea how I’d need things set up.  The other part was that I was killing time because I was pretty much paralyzed with fear.  I got the laptop booted up with the PDF of the adventure (for easy searching) and Anubis’ Encounter Manager, preloaded with the baddies for the first 2 encounters.

I had my stack of books, the module, my dice, the minis.  I set up the map for the first encounter, in the shopping district of the town of Stalgard.  (For those who need a picture, check out the first encounter listed in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide.)

The Ribbing Begins

Next comes the part where I seriously begin to question whether I really want to do this…

PC:  “What’s that?” *points to map* “A river of crap?”

DM-e:  “It’s the town wall.”

PC: “Why is it brown?”

DM-e:  “Because that’s the closest color I have to wall-colored.  Maybe it’s got mud holding it together.”

PC: “Why don’t you use black? It could be an obsidian wall.”

DM-e:  “It’s not.  It’s brown.”

PC:  “It’s only 5 feet wide?”

DM-e: “I dunno, does it matter?”

PC: “Well, I don’t think they’d have a five foot wide wall to defend a city.”

DM-e: “Well, pretend it’s wider.”

The goblins bust a hole in the town wall and storm into the shopping district, attempting to steal the magical hammer from the weapon shop.

One PC: “WOW!  Those are some big goblins!”

Another PC:  “No, they get smaller when they pass through the wall.  It’s only distorted when they’re in the wall.”

First PC:  “Oh, okay!”

DM-e: *shakes head, wonders if she should just quit while she’s ahead*

The townsfolk start running away from the goblins as the goblins run into the city.

PC1:  “Oh, the goblin takes an Attack of Opportunity from that dwarf!”

DM-e: “No he doesn’t.  The dwarf was running away at the same time as the goblin was running in.  I just can’t move them all at the same time.”

PC3:  “Why are they running away? That one has a crossbow!”

DM-e: “It’s a townsperson, not a warrior.  Just ignore the mini’s gear, will ya?”

The PCs Accomplish Things

Eventually my players stop being jackasses and actually do things.  The PCs kill the goblins, including the one that stole a bag from the weapon shop.  Egon opens the bag and an overwhelming sense of evil comes over him.  He closes it quickly.   The militia has shown up, of course, just as the action has ended.  Commander Stoneskin (heretoafter referred to as Captain Commander Dude) comes up to the PCs and thanks them for having done such a good job.

He takes them to the tavern, where they drink up for free.  Dude gives them the information about their quest – to destroy the hammer in the Forges of the Halls of Tannheim.  Whatever treasure they find on their way will be theirs to keep.  He introduces them to Marshall Eversong, the last survivor of the last group of adventurers to try to destroy the hammer.

Marshall babbles incoherently about his last trip to the halls and how Bob the Warlord died in an explosive trap before they even got to the Halls.  The rest of the group was beset by orcs and goblins.  When the fighter fell, Marshall grabbed his backpack (containing the hammer), and ran away.  He climbed a tree and watched as the rest of his party was slaughtered.  (Honestly, I wasn’t planning on Marshall having done this, but it just kinda came out of my mouth.)

Marshall tells them all the rumors and things he’s heard about the Halls and their inhabitants.  He offers to come with them to walk them to the entrance to the Halls, but they turn him down, asking just for a map.

They make the journey up into the mountains.  The entrance to the tower has a choice – push open the side of the gate that is up by one hinge (and get through unharmed) or walk over the rotting wooden door that’s on the ground (DC 20 Athletics check).  Our rogue walks over the rotting door, fails the check, falls on his arse, and awakens the nest of five fire beetles.

The fire beetle fight took a long time and the rogue and barbarian were bloodied once or twice apiece.  (Somehow the cleric managed to avoid being smacked around.)  Two of the fire beetles escaped into their tunnel and were followed by the halfling, who managed to finish them off with two very lucky attacks.

Things I Learned (In No Particular Order)

  1. Anubis & his wife are total jackasses hellbent on probably making me cry from frustration.  (It’s really good that they usually also manage to make me laugh my butt off.)
  2. I need a better system of keeping track of monster’s attack powers.  Like a list or something.
  3. I should probably not mention what kind of hex is on a PC.  (Oops.)
  4. I really need to pay attention to the rules more often so I’m better at remembering them.
  5. DMing is not quite as scary as I thought it would be.
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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