To The New Game Masters

Let’s start with the best bit first:

“Never allow anyone, alive or dead, fictional or real, tell you how it is that you must live your life. Especially cowards on the internet. It takes no honor and is comepletely bereft of any meaning to tell someone their “fun is wrong.” It also takes nothing from anyone else to be more inclusive towards others, all it takes is a willingness to ask ourselves uncomfortable questions and answer them as if we are within a Zone of Truth spell area of effect. Don’t yuck someone’s yum, and don’t tell people what their yum aught to be. You look like fools. Stop it. Get some help.”

-DM Zemo

{Ya’ll need fucking therapy. For real. Has me doubting any of you ever played or truly understood a Lawful Good alignment. }

If you’re reading this, you’re probably like me and yes, that confirms you belong here. Sorry (not sorry) to break it to you. What I mean by that is please leave your insecurities at the door. May the door hit them on their way out as they leave you slowly. I am not the Gatekeeper, I am the Keymaster, which door would you like to open?

Enigmatic introductions aside, I felt a calling to pick the keyboard back up and continue saying something I think is worth saying. If you are new here, welcome, there is space enough for everyone that respects the sanctity of others. Elsewhere on the internet, I cringe to witness gatekeepers and dogwhistles and people putting horribly insensitive restrictions on a thing, that at its core, should be a wondrous exploration of the limitless human imagination. How we ended up with the “radical” notion of helping newcomers I’ll never fully understand. Gatekeeping the hobby hurts all of us.

I chalk it up to the inferiority complex all us Game Masters must have at our core. Some of our number hated being bullied, so when they found the one outlet that gave them peace they fiercely guarded it from any would-be pretenders. I myself have experienced someone feigning interest to then use my interests as a point of ridicule. I also chalk it up to many of us may have adapted the habits of telling stories, speaking in different voices, and imagining a fantasy world where we are essentially God becuase of some profound disappointment in the world, some pathological drive to prefer the world we create over the one we are subjected to, to dream of a better and different and more heroic world. I also chalk it up to probably every single one of us have had awkard failed social checks, where we thought we knew the rules and then suddenly we are critically emotionally injured. And so we compensated in other ways. With arrogance or humor, with cynicism or stoicism. We developed our own maladaptive social behaviors and these gatekeeping neckbeard grognards are the result of hurt people hurting newer people.

It occurs to me that because there is an exponentially growing number of new people interested in the hobby, that I would like to make an effort to cater to and address directly those new players and Game Masters. Very Specifically new Game Masters. There are many things I wish I could have told my younger self or that someone had told me, but most of my learning D&D and DMing was through teaching myself through reading 3rd edition books I purchased. I never got to actually run or play D&D until over a decade later, and I am so excited for every new DM to have resources already on the internet for them. But I think there’s room enough to toss my hat in the ring along with the already established Youtubers, Tik Tockers, Streamers, Discord and Forum Fiends. There are just that many new people daily that I think plenty will find me if I have something to say. And today I feel like I have something to say (check back with me on a day Anxiety & Depression have the wheel).

Rule #1

Do not worry about reading once and retaining with crystal clarity the sourcebooks.

Insead: Come up with a system that works for you but at the very least develop a habit of using the Table of Contents headers and/or the alphabetical index in the back.