Scanning through Netflix, I came across a movie called the Dwarvenaut (2016). I decided to watch it and discovered that it was about an artist and entrepreneur, Stefan Pokorny, and his Kickstarter Campaign to create dungeon modular pieces for miniatures in Dungeons & Dragons. I was surprised that the game was still being played. I quickly pulled out my old Player’s Handbook, Dungeon’s Master Guide, Monster Manual I and II, Deities & Demigods, Oriental Adventures and a bunch of old modules and started to try to play with my kids. I even located my old lead miniatures.
I soon found out that the game was harder than I remembered. Back in the 1980’s, even though my mother graciously bought all of the books for me, I had relied on other people to be the Dungeon Master and know the rules. My D&D education was further complicated by a reporter named Bill Elder with WWL-TV Ch 4, who had decided to take a boys prank in an undeveloped subdivision near my house, and manipulate the story into devil worshiping mania. The local school board, influenced by national and local hysteria, banned D&D from the public schools and the private schools followed suit.
Now, we did not have the Internet or Twitch or Skype and I lived in the country, so we did not even have cable. School was typically where I interacted with my friends and now one of our possible hobbies was an indicator of worshiping Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, or Mephistopheles. But, now I had the possibility to change all of that. I had a seven and five year old eager to play and I had a game that I wanted to play, but could not figure out the rules. Luckily, I now had YouTube.
I started going through YouTube videos and searching the Internet during my Thanksgiving vacation in 2016, but I just wasn’t sure how to get started. I did come to realize that my books were from the first edition and that now everyone was playing fifth edition or 5e, but it wasn’t until I saw a video by Nate, at WASD20, called, “How to Play D&D part 1 – A Sample Game Session”, that I was ready to bring in the kids. He showed in his video how to start role playing. The checks, the combat, and the relationship between the Dungeon Master or DM and the Players as they both participate in telling a story.
I would then find examples and instruction from Matt Colville, Matt Mercer with Geeks & Sundry and Critical Role, Dawn Forged Cast, Dungeon Dudes and Chris Perkins with Dice Camera Action. All of them would assist me in starting as a DM and on creating a larger world with my kids.