As a preface to the post, I’d like to explain where I’m coming from. I’m T.R. Knight’s daughter, Emily (Blog, Twitter, #GamingGastronomy Post), as you probably know if you’re reading his blog. I’m currently the Dungeon Master for a small crew of my high school friends who I’m dragging (willingly) into D&D via 5e. It’s my first time DMing for anyone except my dad for practice one-shots, and I’m having fun. This post is kinda about my experiences DMing, bringing people into roleplaying/D&D, and being a young woman who was introduced to roleplaying via D&D 5e when it came out.
And now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the main body of this thing.
I have played Dungeons and Dragons for 4 years of my life (and it’s the only RPG I’ve ever played, although there’s a pile my dad owns that I want to play). Before this year, my family probably managed to have around 6 sessions over 2 years, and now I’m having weekly time with friends. I prefer the weekly. I also have DMed for 2 months now, creating an original campaign for 3 friends who I’m dragging wholeheartedly into D&D. (The end goal is to fight dinosaurs, because we’re the coolest kids around.) All in all, I 100% love what I’m doing and want to join another RPG group in college, partially to make friends via the social aspect and partially just because I really want to be a player in a group also.
I originally got dragged into being interested in this weird D&D nerd thing because of my dad’s gaming group. Ever since I was around 8, they met at my house on Thursday nights and played RPGs. After dinner, because our house is built pretty openly and isn’t gigantic, I could hear the GM explaining the scene, and everyone being their characters and reacting to rolls. Hearing the guys play was part of the background of my life and why I thought dice were pretty and knew what a natural 20 was before even rolling one. I knew that NPC voices were a thing you could do, and taverns were the ultimate meeting point. Once my sister and I were old enough, we could even convince our dad to tell tales of his past characters, including the half ogre with the chicken on a stick (if you all want to hear that one, mention in the comments and he might write it).
I started wanting to be a DM as I ended high school. I started with a test run for my dad, where as per normal, he skipped parts of my carefully crafted castle and did stuff all not as intended, but it went well. Then, as my friends and I all graduated, I wanted to play D&D with them and figured that if they all hated it, we weren’t all forced to be in the same building for 8 hours a day, so it couldn’t go that badly. We ran a test one-shot to get the grasp of rolling a d20 and adding numbers to do stuff, and then went into a campaign. So far it’s going well, although my three players are all going to one college and I’m going to another, but the Internet is now a thing and video streaming/online platforms exist for a reason. We’re all learning stuff here. As my first time running in a city, I’m learning that I just need to prep around 10 tavern names per session, just in case they run around on a bard hunt again, and they’re all learning how one actually does stuff in character/90% of what you do is just rolling a d20. As someone who hasn’t played infinite hours but has listened to probably the equivalent of days of playing, I’m not having a problem explaining stuff like Charisma checks or damage dice. Occasionally I have to look things up, such as the price of various common goods so I can create prices for semi-obnoxious fancy hats, but I’m learning more about the mechanics and how stuff works in game as my players learn.
I personally haven’t experienced anything negative about gaming so far in my life. I mean, my twelve-year-old cousin just said that it’s a weird nerd thing when I was talking about it at summer vacation, but that’s not really insulting. Part of the difference for me could be that I only started recently heavily playing, and I don’t interact about it much outside of my gaming group and my family. D&D, especially with the advent of 5e, has also become more of a mainstream concept, with the Stranger Things kids playing it and the release of the starter set. I mean, I went to a small school surrounded by cornfields and woods, and I saw a guy with the starter set playing a little at lunch. Even people who don’t 100% understand D&D in my church are nice about it, or are just confused at my d20 necklace. I’m aware that there is a segment of the population who thinks roleplaying games are evil, and a section who thinks that girls don’t belong, but no matter what they think, I’m going to keep playing my buff halfling barbarian lady and trying to find a way to create a cleric of the tempest, too.