D&D: Storytelling in Realtime

Sunday, August 28, 2022 2:09 PM

As a writer, I've always prided myself on having a pretty vivid imagination. But I've recently been humbled by the incredible creativity of the Dungeon Masters who shepherd their friends through Dungeons & Dragons adventures. My middle son is the DM for a D&D campaign on a flooded water-world, sprinkled with mysterious islands each harboring a treasure (and deadly menace) of its own. The rest of the family (me, my wife, and our other two sons) and a family friend are questing to find the arcane secret to restoring this planet to its original, pre-Flood balance and saving it from an infernal menace. I'm absolutely amazed by how my DM son comes up with an absorbing new challenge for each session, ratcheting up the complexity and fierceness of opposition every time. And he thinks on his feet so well, dynamically adapting his storyline to accommodate the unpredictable roll of the dice.

I was pretty much a "D&D virgin" going into this. Didn't know what to expect, beyond watching some Critical Role videos on YouTube and The Legend of Vox Machina on Amazon Prime. I had no concept of how much effort — from the DM and the participants — goes into creating characters, backstory, plot lines, subplots, etc., much of it evolving on the fly. What a rush! Over time, the characters become more real, the camaraderie stronger, and the satisfaction of solving the next puzzle or defeating the next monster ever sweeter.

To all you D&D vets out there: if's a wicked buzz to be part of your community. May your rolls overflow with Nat-20's!!!