Session 01 – Accidental Heroes

WARNING. THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WIZARDS OF THE COAST’S “LOST MINE OF PHANDELVER” INCLUDED IN THE DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 5th EDITION STARTER SET

All in all, I think Session 1 went fairly well. I was really worried that I was going to be nervous and that this was going to result in me dragging the game to a crawl as I went through notes trying to find out what was supposed to happen next. But, as the clock started counting down I found myself becoming quite relaxed. I took a few moments to myself just to be sure and then we kicked off the adventure. I *think* I was much better than I expected to be.

In this I came up with a new advice that I’m going to mark down as Rule 2 – Relax and enjoy yourself.

Was it perfect? No, of course not. I forgot the rules for hiding and one of the group had to remind me. There was no judgement in that at all. It was just a friendly note that I’d missed something. I was not filled with shame as I’d imagined.

As a Dungeon Master you’re a rare commodity. It’s not an easy job and unless you’ve got one of those people in your group that is vying for the position of DM, your group will really be happy that you’re putting in this effort and they’ll respect that. There’s always a lot of posts on DM forums about “problem players” but I’m now quite convinced that the best way to deal with those people might be to let them try sitting behind the screen for a session. I didn’t have any of that to worry about.

This leads nicely into Rule 3 – You don’t need to know all of the rules. Your group will happily remind you. It’s a good idea to get someone to read out a new ability or spell as they use it. It’s less pressure on you and it lets the group know what to expect.

You just have to remember not to get defensive when somebody, inevitably, tells you that you made a mistake.

It’s also really important that you ask yourself what could have been better. The big point for me is that I lost track of time and it was past midnight when we came to a stop, nearly 90 minutes after we usually finish gaming. So as a tip – Set an alarm 15 minutes before you want the session to end. As soon as that alarm rings, bring in your creative skills and think – how do I end this? I’m not saying you pack up immediately but bring the session naturally to a close.

My party killed their first named mob. It would have been just as good to have them enter Klarg’s lair, set the scene and say “And we’ll continue this battle, next time”

We nearly lost a character in the first session. The party’s rogue got a very unlucky, max damage hit from a goblin and it was enough to incapacitate him. He failed the first death save and it was here I started to get just a little nervous. Was he aware that, if his next dice roll was a natural 1, he would have died? I honestly don’t know but, as I asked him to make the save I became acutely aware that this could be it. A very close call!

Scratchpad

  • What do I do if I’m not prepared for a death?
  • The party didn’t try to capture any Goblins. Need to find a way to stop them assuming every fight is “to the death.”
  • The party didn’t get as far as I’d thought they might. That’s not a problem – I just need to gauge this so I can work out how much preparation to put in.

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