Introductions are in order…

I’ll never forget the first time I played Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

I was only 11 and I was attending another long summer at camp, which was meant to keep me actively busy while my mother worked.  Summer camp was…ok.  I mean, there were lots of things to do, but mostly it was things that I wasn’t particularly interested in, like crafts or soccer; plus they didn’t have archery…seriously?  Anyways, it was bound to be another boring day, until something utterly grand happened.  One of the older kids in our group was sprayed by a skunk, when venturing too close to the woods edge.  This required the attention of all of my group’s camp staff and so we were given free time to do what we pleased for the rest of the afternoon.

That was when my friend Jeremy told me that some of the older kids were going to play some Dungeons & Dragons.  I had no idea what it was, but it sounded awesome, so I said I’d join him.

Jeremy’s older brother was the Dungeon Master (DM), which ensured me a spot as one of the player characters (PC).  I played a Halfling, from the Red Box Set and it wasn’t too long before I was in complete awe, as Jeremy’s 13 year old brother weaved a tale so deeply descriptive and elegant, that it seemed to be written by Gary Gygax himself.  (Not that I knew who that was at the time) Again,  I was 11 and extremely impressionable, so it could have been total crap and I would have most likely felt the same way.

I don’t remember much of that adventure, as it was well over 25 years ago, but when I got home that night, I was inspired in a way I never thought possible.  Something clicked and I knew D&D was the hobby I’d been searching for.  (As much as an 11 year old searches for a hobby)  All this despite the fact my Halfling became nothing more than a bloody paste on the end of an Ogre’s club.

Anyways, the name’s Jinx.

Over the years, I’ve been both a PC and a DM, though I don’t necessarily have a favorite.  I love being a player, because to me, there is almost nothing more enjoyable than experiencing the path and story set before you…a new adventure to be undertaken.  I’ve talked about this extensively with Ness, one of the other authors of this blog and it’s very similar to playing a new video game for the first time (especially a fantastic one like BioShock); it is nothing short of AWESOME.  It’s all about how the environment and details are presented.  Whether it’s the ambiance, the story, (or the unbridled fear when you met your first big daddy in BioShock), the mystery…it all ties together to make the experience amazing.  I see D&D in much the same way, when I play a character.  Every time I play, it’s a new quest, a new adventure or environment to explore or new people to meet and interact with.  The best analogy I can think of, is that D&D to me is like being able to play BioShock over and over again, just like the very first time.  (By the way, if you haven’t played BioShock, PLAY IT NOW…find it here.)

Now on the other side of the coin, being a DM means I am the one who gets to create the experience for my fellow players, which have generally been close friends or family.  I spend more hours than I’d like to say on my campaign, fine tuning the experience and trying to make it challenging yet rewarding, fun yet thought provoking, with deep immersion between all elements of the game.  It’s not an easy task and takes a lot of work…but the satisfaction you get when you see your players immersed and enjoying the game as much as you are, is all the satisfaction you’ll ever need.

I’m 36 now, and through those many years, I have also been DM’ing on and off; I’m happy to say it’s been more ON than off recently.  I’m lucky enough to have a sizable group, consisting of 6-8 reliable players, one of which I co-DM with.  It’s an almost ideal setup, where we switch off DM’ing responsibilities, so we can both get some player time in as well, with the only flaw being that we generally only meet once every month or two.  It is however for a full day of gaming, which is pretty spectacular, so I can’t complain.  Needless to say, recaps from the previous game are a must.

I run 2 separate campaigns, one of which is called, “Deceptions Finest”, a standard D&D 4E setting, with lots of mystery and intrigue (I hope) and “Upheaval”, a post-apocalyptic D&D 4E setting, where everything is just in complete CHAOS.  My co-DM has a couple campaigns as well, so between us, we have about 4 different campaigns running.   It sounds exhausting I know, but in reality, by switching it up so that we’re not always playing the same characters all the time, keeps it fresh and interesting.  Plus, the group decides as a whole when it’s time to switch it up and we do so generally after about a year of gaming in one particular campaign.  Granted, with our frequency of play, you probably think us nuts, but surprisingly, it works.   We’re a flexible group and it’s nice to have options…and I’m ALL about the options.

I’m a power gamer at heart, and though I don’t actively seek to exploit loopholes (some of my DM’s may disagree passionately about this), I enjoy the art of poring through the options to synergize my characters in every way possible.  Of course, it helps that I’ve been on both sides of the fence as a DM & PC, as it broadens my scope of knowledge, helping me to achieve the right feel for my character, as well as the right balance. The story is important, don’t get me wrong, but I tend to physically create the character in my head through stats, feats and class, then come up with his background. My fellow author Ness on the other hand is completely the opposite. He envisions his character, writes a 12 page background and then gets around to making the stats fit the background.

Just recently, our group has decided to mix things up by taking a break from D&D and give Shadowrun 5th Edition a whirl. I decided to go with an Elven Decker (Hacker), who I’ll be talking about more in depth, in a future post. However, my next post is going to give a rundown of some of the topics I plan on discussing, some with recurring theme’s (like how to build a better 4E Bard or Rogue or Battle-Rager) and what you can expect from my contribution to 3-Sided-Die.

Artwork above was found here.

Anyways, thanks for reading and look forward to your feedback!

About jinx_the_bard

Longtime Dungeon Master, tabletop and video gamer. Been playing D&D and Shadowrun on and off most recently. Ran a post apocalyptic, paragon, 4th edition D&D campaign for a couple years. Running a 5th edition campaign now called "The Fall of Astia". Enjoy Borderlands 1, 2 and even the Pre-sequel (which I tend to play with fellow author Ness), Fallout 3 and 4, Bioshock and Skyrim. (Games this good never get boring) I also indulge in Magic The Gathering, mostly in the Legacy and Modern formats. Please feel free to contact me at dungeonmaster.bm@gmail.com for any questions, thoughts or things you'd like to see featured on our site.