Monday, October 30, 2017

A Matter of Trust

Some weeks ago, a friend suggested she should try Dungeons & Dragons.

She has played but a single role playing game you see, at least to my knowledge. It was a few years ago, so I may be mistaken. She could have played many times since our first, and last session together.

With myself as GM, she and a group of perhaps five others partook in a pretty epic session of the FASA Star Trek RPG. She was brilliant at it. A natural, as they say.

We managed to meet for only a meager handful of sessions. That was a few years back, and we've been trying to get together to game again ever since, but distance and conflicting schedules has made that extremely difficult (read: impossible).

I got the chance to see her again at New York Comic Con, and we discussed the possibility of staging another game. She said, half jokingly and half seriously, that perhaps she should try a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Her reasoning?

"It's like 'geek cred', no? If you're going to be a gamer, you need to play D&D at least once."

Strangely, for someone who has no great love for the game, this hit home, and made sense to me.

D&D was my first game, and I can't deny the fact that without it, without the experience of that first game, that first campaign, nothing would have followed.

That is to say, had I never played D&D, had it not existed and I hadn't played it when I did, I wouldn't be blogging this right now, I wouldn't have written, and sold my own game, I wouldn't have celebrated 40 years in the hobby this year, and I wouldn't have had all the incredible memories I've form over all these years.

My friend asked me to run a D&D game for her, and my first thought wasn't, 'Ugh. That game', or 'But Tales from the Loop is sooo much cooler' (even if it is). My first thought was, "Wow. Why me? What makes her think I'm the right guy for this honor?"

Maybe I'm the only GM she knows. Maybe I was there when she thought of it.

Maybe she trusts me. Maybe she thinks I'm good at this stuff, and she wants her experience to be good, so...

I've been mulling around fantasy ideas in the back of mind ever since. 

I'm not sure what I have in mind exactly. I see something classic, old school, to give her and the other players that participate a taste of what it was like in the 'Golden Days'. At the same time, D&D is a taste I've never quite acquired. I need to season it somehow, to make it not only palatable, but full of the kind of flavors I enjoy. How do I accomplish B, while still achieving A? That's the real trick isn't it.

I will figure it out. I want to. I have to. 

At the risk of being overly dramatic, it's a matter of honor now. A matter of trust.

Barking Alien


  1. Expedition to the Barrier Peaks? :-)

  2. For a brief gaming session, I'd go with "The Assassin's Knot." It's a D&D murder mystery dependent almost entirely on roleplaying.

  3. Sorry guys, I appreciate the suggestions, but neither goes in the right direction for what I have in mind.

    I am trying to give someone who never got to play D&D a D&D experience, while at the same time not frustrating myself with all the things I dislike about D&D.

    @jbeltman - While Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is an old favorite of mine, it features an adventure focused on Sci-Fi elements. She's played a Sci-Fi game, and is looking to try Dungeons & Dragons. Thing I dislike about D&D #3 - It rarely feels like medieval times, or even fantasy. This would just reinforce that.

    @WQRobb - I don't think we want something 'dependent almost entirely on roleplaying'. We want D&D. Something based on action, and adventure with some roleplaying thrown in.

    D&D seems a lot like Star Wars lately; People love D&D as long as it's run, and played as something else. That's is, it appears it works best when it doesn't work like itself. In the case of Dungeons & Dragons, I'm not saying I disagree with that necessarily, but it seems unfortunate.

  4. So I'm looking for people to playtest an adventure I've been working on, and it might hit that elusive spot that's both D&D and something you'd run - a dungeon full of Froud goblins. I've got play reports on my blog (; message me if interested and I can send you the file.

    If that's not appealing, I think some other sort of dungeon crawl would be the thing to deliver the iconic D&D experience. Maybe Finch's Demonspore ( or one of the Tales from the Yawning Portal dungeons?

    1. I took a look, and while I am not sure it's what I'm looking for, I do like the idea of a D&D game with Froud Goblins because, well, Froud.

      I am not sure I want a traditional 'dungeon crawl'. Still, I am keeping an open mind. I will read through your play reports more thoroughly, and let you know.

      Thanks for sharing this! I appreciate inspiration from all sources.

  5. Because you know how to tell an amazing story and I was totally immersed.