I’m Back DMing and I’ve Never Been More Excited

It has been a while but I recently found myself inspired to dive back into worldbuilding Rania, my fantasy world. I don’t entirely remember what the exact spark was but I realised what I wanted to do with a potential Dungeons & Dragons campaign and suddenly found myself animated by the prospect and I dove into creating a basic skeleton, which led to a consideration of exactly where I’d want the campaign to start and from there I had an opening quest. It made me feel excited to jump back into the dungeon master seat, which I had temporarily stepped away from back in March this year.

Now, considering the date you’d be forgiven for thinking the timing was Covid related but it actually coincided with the end of the campaign I had played in for a couple years and the realisation that if I were to pick back up with DMing, there was no way I could do it with such a large group. My previous group had 6-7 players and I started out pooh-poohing the idea that it was too much for a newbie DM because I knew these people and of course it’d be fine. Yet several sessions later, I found myself struggling to make sure everybody was able to feel involved and balance combat around the size of the group and just keep things regular, and so I knew that to really get to grips with DMing and run a game I was proud of, I needed to condense. So, I apologised to my group and told them it was done, but I left things open because I knew I wanted to restart things but I needed some time. The ending of my other group hit me very hard for reasons I’m not going into here and my depression took hold in a pretty big way, which I think is why I’m so excited to feel so passionate about running a game again. It doesn’t mean my depression has gone away, I’m out of work and stuck in the house for good reason, but it’s a sign that some of the fog is lifting, and that’s so good.

Having sat on my ideas and started fiddling with a few details for a few days and finding that my eagerness to do this did not die down, I approached friends, people I have played with before and know that our playstyles work together well and it’s always a good time. With all onboard, I gave them some time to ponder their characters and got to work on building the village we’ll be starting in and roughly what the adventure contains, as well as maps, but most importantly, I edited and updated the “Plane Shifter’s Guide to Ancalen” I had previously written for my last group which introduces the continent we’re playing on in basic terms and also talks a little about playable races and classes and those sorts of things. This I uploaded to my World Anvil which allows me easy editing and sharing. I really love what World Anvil offers in terms of worldbuilding, it’s such a great tool.

I feel like in these months away from it all, I’ve learned where I went wrong (I know I railroaded my players, I didn’t know what I was doing at the time) and how I can improve my DMing method. I’ve watched a few different “real play” shows that show me how different DMs do their thing, as well as looked at the other campaigns I have been a part of, and I’m ready to use some of the things I’ve picked up – though let’s be real, I will never be done learning and growing as a DM.

It’s now been a couple of weeks and all I need are my player’s characters and to build a few encounters. My campaign has a basic skeleton with several branches that could take the players in several directions, though who knows, they may even find a branch I haven’t yet considered! I have factions, and conflict, allies, potential treasures, and lots of ideas. I am so ready to just get started, though it’ll be another week or two yet before my group heads in to unveil The Dragon’s Shadow.

You have been brought to the decaying village of Shairdsmire, cradled in the Slumbrous Swamp of Drutha, having been called by the promise of adventure by notices posted in nearby settlements. The people, downtrodden by decades of servitude under the Black Dragon that had claimed the nearby mountains, are calling for mercenaries willing to investigate why this dragon seems to be missing, and you have answered this call.

The Dragon’s Shadow

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