14 Sep

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been playing role-playing games since I was eleven. As of the time I’m writing this, that’s sixteen years of doing this. That’s not the confession part; I’m quite open about the fact that I game. I started with Dungeons and Dragons 3.0, and moved on to 3.5 when it was released. I’ve tried D&D 4.0 and even a quick round of 5e. My personal favorite is Pathfinder, which was adapted from 3.5 and is still being updated today. So no, it’s not a confession that I game.

I’ve ran D&D games since about a month after I first played. Back in grade six, out of the group of us that played, only one friend and I were willing to try running the games. So we took turns. I learned more mechanics and rules of the game while I ran the thing than I ever did when it was first taught to me. Admittedly, the first few (ok, the first many) adventures I ran were a bit heavy handed, a bit cliched, and not that strongly attached the the rules of the game. Really, there’s no reason fourth level adventurers should be meeting gods. That was a mistake (sorry, grade six gaming group, but it really was). But that’s not the confession, either. I imagine most first time DMs (that’s Dungeon Masters, the people who run the game, for those of you who don’t know) make similar mistakes. All of a sudden the world is yours to create… Why wouldn’t you go all out?

No, my confession is much, much worse.

In the sixteen years I’ve been playing and running the game, I’ve never once read a rulebook.

Oh, I’ve used the rulebooks, certainly. I’ve skimmed through them. Looked up answers to specific questions. Opened a random page and glanced at it. But I’ve never read them all the way through. The truth of the matter is, I’m still learning rules to games I’ve been playing for more than half of my life.

And you know what? I think that’s ok.

Ever since I was young, I put more focus into the story of the games I created and ran than the mechanics. Oh, the rules are important. After all, without knowing how to play the game, how could you explore the story? I like to think that my story-focused approach to learning the game (and to teaching it to new players, something I’ve done a lot) makes me a fun DM. Maybe not the best DM. Maybe not the most true-to-the-game DM. But I make a fun game.

After all, isn’t the point of games to be fun?

Welcome to Another Worldsmith, a place where I will explore and share my ideas on role-playing games. My hope is that I might give new players and DMs some different ways to think about the game, some new ideas, and some resources to use. Even if you’ve been playing games like this for years, maybe I can spark some new ideas in you, too. A fair warning to you experienced players: things I say, things I advocate, might not follow all the rules of the game. Heck, there are times when I think, for the sake of a story, the rules need to be ignored entirely. But there’s nothing wrong with that.

Because it will be fun.

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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


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