Dungeon Mastering As An Organic Expereince

Perhaps I am a bit biased with this perspective, and I will admit that, as the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons that you play- your entry point into the game, be it 5th, 4th, or even something a bit older will lock in your feelings and experience about the game as a baseline.

The edition you start with will be and is your D&D DNA.

Technically I started D&D with the classic red box, kind of. My cousin visited and brought it over, we kind of played an adventure, but either he didn’t understand how to DM, or I had no idea how to play- probably a bit of both, but I was hooked on the idea of D&D.

The allure of what it could be.



Heroic deeds on an analog level.

Some time later in school I met D. who played Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and that started my entry into the D&D universe.

Over time I moved to 3.X since nobody wanted to play AD&D anymore, new and shiny syndrome. I enjoyed 4th (no really), and of course play 5th, but AD&D is my preferred version.

Compare the current presentation of D&D vs. AD&D.

From the perspective of the Dungeon Master, you are kind of on your own. Naturally everybody want’s to play, and not run the game- there are articles and posts to help along, I try and do my part, and certainly the intro sets do as good a job as they can- but it an academic process vs. an organic process.

When playing AD&D, in all the groups that I played in and with, there was a primary Dungeon Master. THE Dungeon Master. But over time, there would always be a player or two who was curious- often asking “what if”.

What if they had control of the monster?

What if something happened different in the adventure?

What was the real motivations of the NPC?

They became curious about the mechanic behind the screen, what could be, and gradually THE Dungeon Master introduced them to that side of the game. Part tutor, part mentor, and eventually, in time they became a Dungeon Master with their own vision and voice.

Why does it seem that in the Dungeons & Dragons of today there is no process to bring up new Dungeon Masters, it is just here is the book.