Tuesday, December 24, 2019

And Now, Something Completely Different: Being a Dungeon Master

About a year ago, I applied for several writing jobs at a video game company I really admired, whose stories and quests always managed to surprise me. Unfortunately, halfway through the final application process, my grandmother passed away, and I had to turn in an unfinished campaign because I was grieving. I didn't get the job, and it absolutely crushed me. Since then, it's been really hard to work up the...I'm not sure what the right word is, the interest, the oomph, the courage, to start game writing again. But I'm getting there. This Friday, I'm going to be the Dungeon Master for my first ever Dungeons and Dragons group, using a campaign I wrote myself!

If you're not familiar with DnD, it's a tabletop role-playing game where adventurers (the players) make their way through a campaign (a series of interactions, battles, and investigations) to achieve some specific objective (rescue the princess, retrieve the ancient artifact, defeat the dragon). There are pre-published campaigns, but I've decided to write my own (also known as a homebrew campaign). Nobody tell my partner, because he's one of my players, but they're going to get sucked into a pyramid scheme that's trying to bring about a dragon attack. It's good stuff.

Image result for dungeons and dragons
A little something like this
Game writing can be a fun way to interact with your own stories and see how other people interact with them as well. I always wanted more "choose your own adventure" books when I was a kid, so I love the idea of branching storylines. If worldbuilding is your thing, or if you're a chronic overwriter, game writing may be a fun thing for you to try! You can work within an existing world that already has rules and maps and bad guys, or you can create your own. You don't have to use DnD, either - there's Trail of Cthulhu, Night's Black Agents, Pathfinder, and so many more.

If you want to try game writing, or writing for branching storylines, there are a few good resources to check out. One is Twine, which is a free open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. You can download it or use it online. It's pretty easy to use, and I actually had to use it for my game writing applications. Choose Your Story is a good place to get feedback on your work. And of course, you can always ask for feedback on Twitter, Reddit, and other writing communities (including this one!). So go forth and be adventurous :)


Kim said...

Good luck on your first campaign! I'm a Bard/Sorcerer main myself. (Charisma is NOT a dump score). Hopefully you'll have a group of players that won't try to completely destroy your narrative. :D

J Lenni Dorner said...

Freaking sweet! That's at least two DMs on the OA Team now. Muuhhaahhaaahhhaa.