With the resurgence in TTRPGs, which gained a big boost due to the COVID pandemic, as people discovered that they could spend an entertaining evening with friends slaying monsters over Zoom and other online platforms, this could be described as a “Golden Age” for gaming.
However, what if you’re new to the hobby and have had no experience of what is expected in these sessions? A new player, presented with weighty tomes setting out the rules that they believe that they must learn, can be somewhat daunted, especially if they’ve been nominated as the GM.
A search online can provide a plethora of GM advice, much of it contradictory and then there are those videos of “professional” gamers, such as Matt Mercer, that really don’t help that much, as you can begin to despair that you’ll never be good enough to actually run a game.
So, what makes the perfect game, if such a thing exists?
It’s actually very simple. The perfect game is one in which everyone enjoys themselves.
You don’t need to be the best actor in the world, characterising every NPC with unique voices, spent months crafting a fully realised fictional world for your players to adventure within or have memorised every rule of your chosen ruleset in minute detail – you just need to commit to the game, so that both yourself and your players have a good time.
Whilst it’s unlikely that your players will thank you directly, if you happen to overhear them later saying things like “Do you remember when we were trapped on that giant stone head in the jungle, surrounded by cannibal tribesmen, out of ammunition and we had to use flaming monkey carcasses to fend them off? That was wild…” then you know you’ve done a good job.
And that’s reward enough.
For those of you who still feel that you need further guidance, or just want to see what a proper game of D&D should look like, I would suggest you check out the TableTopNotch YouTube channel. This details a D&D campaign played by a group of friends who are actors/comedians who have never played a TTRPG before. It’s a truly entertaining watch and you can tell that everyone is having a lot of fun, even if they don’t always succeed at what they’re attempting to do. I came across it by chance and have been working my way through Season 1.
It’s rekindled my desire to actually play a game, rather than just talk about gaming, so I’ve been beavering away behind the scenes (hence the lack of regular posts here) putting together an introductory adventure for Romance of the Perilous Land. Once I start running this, I’ll be writing up these adventures and posting them here, but what format these will take I’m not yet certain. It will give me the opportunity to give the rules a thorough playtest, so at least we’ll find out whether they’re any good.
And on a final note, as I work for a haulage company and sometimes items genuinely “fall of the back of a lorry” and it costs more for the supplier to ship them back, I managed to score 5 full sets of official D&D dice this week. Result!