Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dungeonspiration: Bloggers

I'm going to take a different tack here on this week's column.  Rather than presenting something that may be inspirational at a game or campaign level, I'm going to focus on something that inspires me at a DMing level.

When I first began to look at blogs for information on RPGs, I ran into Philippe-Antoine Menard and his blog, Musings of the Chatty DM.  He was writing very interesting articles about the 4e games he was running, including his tinkering with the rules.  One of the things that I noticed was that 'Chatty' was very emotional about some things - seemingly too emotional about things that happened in his game, and he was almost OCD about preparing for games - setting up incredibly complicated and obsessively thought out encounters.

I wondered if there might be something wrong with him.

As I continued to follow his blog, I realized that if there was something wrong with Chatty, then that same thing was wrong with me.  I think about RPGs a lot.  I think about campaign worlds and encounters and PCs and rules quite a bit.  I can get pretty emotional if a game is tanking - or some corporate idiot is screwing with a system I enjoy.  Here was a guy who really cared about his games, like I did, and he was spewing all of his feelings - his highs and lows and inbetweens - all over the internet.

I had really never seen anything quite like it.

My formative RPG years were spent out with the tumbleweeds in West Texas.  Not a lot of gamers, needless to say, and even less DMs.  I taught myself how to play from Holmes, and my players learned how to play from me.  There wasn't really anyone to talk to about being a DM.  I would start talking about it to the players, but they would look at me like a restaurant patron would at a cook who came out, sat down at the table, and began to moan about how hard it was to cook the steak. 

"Get back in the kitchen, ya bum!"

So for the better part of three decades I've sat alone it my kitchen, serving up piping hot adventures to the lunch crowd.  On rare occasions, I'd go eat at someone else's restaurant. Normally I'd be disappointed at the flavor (not enough care liberally sprinkled throughout the meal) and skulk back home.  But I never talked to other cooks about cooking.  I mean DMing. :)

I began to read quite a lot of gaming blogs.  I found that I was drawn to the OSR Blogosphere and its fringes - not just because of the gaming subject matter, but where the bloggers were coming from.

So many OSR bloggers open themselves up and talk about their dreams and feelings and triumphs and disappointments.  In exploring the way other DMs are, I find similarities in myself.  Finding that I am not alone in a lot of my little quirks and big personality features is comforting, but it also helps me look inside and investigate more deeply into my psyche. 

By looking at you, I am more able to learn at myself.  In seeing how you handle problems, prepare for games, and think about your campaigns, I am better prepared to succeed as a DM.

I'd like to thank all the bloggers who expose little bits of themselves to the internet.  I know it can be hard.  Revealing yourself can drawn the folks who like to thow tomatos.  Sometimes those tomatos are full of razor blades and can hurt quite a bit.  Learning how much to show is an art.  But I want you to know that your efforts are appreciated, and I try to follow in your footsteps and share myslef with other gamers through this blog.

So keep on sharing and inspiring! :)

- Ark


  1. I'm a firm believer in stating my faults and failures, not just in gaming but life as a whole. That way when the haters target you, as they inevitably will, they really haven't got any ammunition since you've already confessed. It really blunts those razor blades. :-)

  2. I am inspired by your flying spagetti, Ark

  3. @JP - Well cool! I may have to do more then. :)

    @austodavicus - That's a good philosophy there. Stripping butt nekkid takes a whole lot of backbone.

    @Greg - May you be touched by his noodly appendage. rAmen.

    - Ark

  4. Stripping butt nekkid takes a whole lot of backbone.

    Or stupidity. I'm not sure which, probably the latter. :-)