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Lessons from a first year female D&D DM: One: Learn from the past so as not to repeat it

My Trials and Tribulations as first year female Dungeons and Dragons DM

Lesson One: Learn from the Past


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As a female, when you first tell non-gamers that you're a dungeon master, the first question they typically ask is, "Like with whips and handcuffs?" Which, oddly enough, leads to the more embarrassing reply of, "Umm, no. Like with dice and character sheets and mini figurines."

Queue the awkward silence.

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Sixteen years ago a friend of mine took me to a small, musty apartment cohabitating three men, to meet a friend of hers who introduced me to my first table top RGP: Shadowrun (3rd edition). I remember being completely frustrated at my soon to be DM (Dungeon Master or Game Master) as he handed me a character sheet and a huge book saying, "Okay, make your character." And he proceeded to go watch something on TV.


For any experienced player, this isn't a huge deal. It's expected even.


However, as a first time player with zero table top experience, this was a very intimidating demand. I spent hours - HOURS - making my first character and when I had questions for my DM, he was very flippant and pretty much ignored me. Now, anyone who played Shadowrun 3E knows how insane that system is! It's not something you throw an RPG virgin into with no life preserver and suddenly demand that they start swimming.


In a nut shell: I had to hit the ground running and teach myself quite a bit. It felt like I was studying for a college entry exam, not getting ready to play a fun game with friends.


(In hindsight, this was probably my first brush with the trials and tribulations I'd face in the future with being a female gamer.)


Despite the rocky start though, the game our group began turned into a long running, epic campaign that I have very fond memories of. Sixteen years later, I still find myself quoting that campaign, though all of our players have gone their separate ways into the wilds, and there is no one around now who gets my little jokes.


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Fast forward to November 2018 in Prescott, Arizona.


After a day of drinking at Superstition Meadery, and as our groups designated DD, I’m wrangling four overly happy drunks to the truck so I can safely drive them back home to Phoenix.


And when I say overly happy, I'm not exaggerating:


· Kira becomes a, "Everything is wonderful and I adore everyone" drunk with a perma smile pressed into her Cherub face.


· Rachel we call the dark hippie drunk: She starts off talking about something happy and bright but her conversations typically end with, "but then I remember that we're all gonna die," vibe. She's precious and I adore her.


· Tom is a social butterfly when sober and becomes super powered social when drunk.


· Then there is Will… Who becomes Fred Astaire when drunk. He literally dances down the street and swings around light poles.


So to paint the picture of how I finally decided to become a D&D DM, let me set the scene here for you:


Imagine me trying to wrangle my friend Will off a light pole in Courtyard Square like a frustrated zoo keeper trying to get a monkey out of a tree. Said monkey finally comes down, dances up some stairs and suddenly throws an arm around my shoulders, gleefully yelling, "SID, YOU NEED TO DM A GAME FOR US!"


As any good DD does, you placate the drunks by agreeing to anything they wish so long as they GET IN THE DAMN CAR AND DON'T PUKE.


Little did I know that I'd be held to my word. . .

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