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    First time DM stories
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 10, 2003
    Posts: 347
    From: Harker Heights, TX

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    Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:59 pm  
    First time DM stories

    You never forget your first time taking up the dice and gaming materials and trying to be "the man behind the screen". Usually, most of us have experienced some growing pains while attempting to become a good game master.

    So, let's hear some of the fun and/or weird stories of when we were first beginning to try this game out. Just for kicks, I'll start off:

    I had to borrow the DMG and player's handbook (first edition!) from the local public library. I did so over and over again for a time until I thought I was ready to DM on my own. I bought my first module at an Air Force BX - Against the Cult of the Reptile God, because I thought the cover was cool.

    So my brother and a couple of his friends became my first players. Turned out that this was a tough module to DM, as there was a pretty complex blend of role playing to do as well as game mechanics to be familiar with. I totally fudged almost all of the rules, did not have the right dice, misread the maps, had to backtrack and contradict myself several times, but in the end it did not matter - we had a blast and became a regular gaming group for a few years while we were in high school.

    But the worst part was when I misunderstood the hit dice/hit points rules and accidentially awarded my players with far too many hit points whenever they rose a level. Ended up that an elf theif and half-elf magic user had over 60 hit points each at 4th level!

    Oops on my part, but I learned right off the bat that you never let the players see you sweat, and I just rolled with it and played on. But it was still good (even if players from other games raised their eyebrows at my player's stats!)

    Let's hear what happened in your experiences!


    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
    Posts: 2470
    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:35 pm  

    Oddly enough, I don't quite recall my first DMing session, much less my first playing session per se', but I DO remember my first introduction to the game.

    However, what I do recollect from my early DMing career is how inept I was, at least seemingly compared to my own DM (he was older and more familiar with the rules). Later on things definitely got easier, especially with time and more experience (not sure what "DMing level" I've achieved since then but I definitely feel a lot more adept, in spite of all my endless queries to the apparent contrary).

    However, maybe others have a more crystalline memory about their first DMing experience, and I, too, am interested to read about it...

    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 77
    From: Denton, Tx

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    Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:01 pm  

    Osmund-Davizid, Great story and it brings back memories for me. I used to game with a guy in the '80s at my high school who had a very similar DMing experience down to having his brother in his gaming group.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 655

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    Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:37 pm  

    Interesting thread. I can't remember exactly either. I would have to say it was when my folks bought me the basic set, and my dad played with me. It was probably horrible! However, my first REAL effort would have to have been with my cousin and a couple friends. Sadly, I can't recall the adventures at all. Funny how that works.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 11, 2008
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    Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:09 am  

    I started with the basic boxed set when I was in elementry school (1980). I was the DM and my players were my dad and my friend Marc. My first adventure I DM'ed was the original Keep on the Borderlands.

    I remember that after one encounter they found some jewelry. I managed to read the commas wrong and instead of giving them three pieces of jewelry, I strung the numbers together. They ended up with just over a million and a half gold pieces (1,600, 900, and 600 g.p. was read as two items, not three). Within a week they were going through the price lists in the players manual and buying a fleet of ships along with anything else they wanted.

    Needless to say, I do much better with both my reading skills and my DM'ing now.

    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:33 am  

    Actually, I believe my first adventure was the one in the Basic set. I don't have it anymore, but wasn't there a short adventure in the back? I'm pretty sure I used that as my first adventure, with my dad and my cousin. My dad's character, Ragnar, later became my character. He changed from one edition to the next, and eventually reached I believe 17th level Ranger. I would love to post him, his wife, and all his party someday. Is there a place to do that?

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2715
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:15 pm  

    ragnar wrote:
    My dad's character, Ragnar, later became my character. He changed from one edition to the next, and eventually reached I believe 17th level Ranger. I would love to post him, his wife, and all his party someday. Is there a place to do that?

    At the top of the Forums page you'll see a link entitled, Articles. Click that and scroll down until you come to the Rogues' Gallery. Within, you'll find many examples of submissions you can model your own upon, including two for Sir Xaris himself. Wink

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    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
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    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:13 pm  

    I remember vividly my first playing session, although, like Lanthorn, I can't remember my first time DMing. I think it was in middle school, running a friend solo, through B1. I probably DM'd a number of times between then and junior college, although my D&D playing was pretty erratic in those years. The first session I really remember DMing was in junior college, when I ran some people through the sample dungeon in the 1st edition of the Basic Rulebook (The blue-cover); the Tower of Zenopus. I set it in Safeton, and it was the beginning of a Thieve's World/Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser-inspired campaign that continued to Greyhawk, and eventually turned into a single player campaign that ended up in Ket with a war between that nation and Bissel. Funnily, this was before I ever read anything on the GH Wars. I was still just using my old WoGH Folio at that point. The best part of the Tower of Zenopus adventure was when the party had chased the evil thaumaturgist into the room with a ladder leading up to the ruins of the tower. The party was fighting the thaumaturgist's fighter bodyguard and the former had climbed to the top of the ladder and was sniping them from the trapdoor at the top of the ladder. He had already webbed the party's main fighter, who was an elven weretiger from the Gnarley (it was an interesting party). The halfling-pixie fighter was trying to fight the body guard, and the thaumaturgist was getting ready to cast magic missle. The party's magic-user was out of spells and decided to throw his dagger at the thaumaturgist. Roll to hit; 20. Roll on the Arduin critical hit table; right through the throat. Died, hanging through the trapdoor with the wizard's dagger in his throat. Laughing
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 24, 2013
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    Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:35 am  

    I remember far too early in my DM career, (as I switched chairs with my usual DM to give him a crack at playing).
    I tried to DM a party through the Throne of Bloodstone adventure (Forgotten Realms)- a ridiculously high level adventure, and trying to figure out what to do with 3 phalanxes of Demons.

    Graph paper covered every surface, and we got through about 5 rounds of gametime for the whole night.

    Steep learning curve about being organised and prepared though.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 22, 2012
    Posts: 157
    From: luseland, sask

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    Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:51 pm  

    Not to hard for me to remember my first time dming. It was last fall. The module was/is temple of elemental evil supermodule. SPOILER ALERT!!!!

    They were not long for Hommlet when they headed for the moathouse. It all went pretty smooth until the last battle with Lareth and his gang. I had to smudge a couple rolls on the rod of smiting but the party won out and moved on to the temple. It was here that i made a critical error now known as didn't read and understand the whole module. The party won through the tower at the temple. Found the secret door and the tunnel to the barn. Got the horses and had their new rest spot. The tower became the home base throughout the first level and into the second level. The tunnel offshoot that the party didn't explore came into play when they got to the third level. DOH!

    When the party first encountered the fire(i think) temple on the second level i forgot to involve the rope of entanglement. Probably a good thing for the party. On the third level when the party was fighting the assasin and MU i forgot that the MU had cast a minor globe of invulnrability before engaging. Doube DOH DOH!

    Hoping to be better this season:)
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