Colin Y.J. Chung

No, seriously, I mean it.

I hate playing Dungeons & Dragons.

There's nothing worst than sitting around... waiting for your turn... just so you can roll a d20, hope you hit something, and then wait for your stupid teammates to make their move.

Truth is, I'm not a good team player. I like winning. I'm a control freak. And watching people make dumb decisions that affect your outcome is just not my jam. It could explain why I haven't had a "real job" for over a decade now.

But... I wanted to like D&D. Here was a hobby that checks off everything I like. Storytelling. Complex rules. Imagination. Tons of tables and charts. World building. All smooshed together. I love Final Fantasy. I beat all the Zeldas pre-GBA. I played HeroQuest for hours on end with my brother. Why can't I like this game?

And believe me, I've tried, on and off since 2001. And yet, every time I played, I just got majorly bored. waiting. for. my. turn.

So I gave up on it

But then... my son started asking me about D&D.

I'd gone to a few sessions for 5e and he wanted to know what it was all about. My wife told me to take him to one of my games to watch. He was fascinated. Wanted to play it. So I asked the DM to run a session for his ninth birthday.

The kids? They freakin' loved it. Couldn't stop talking about it afterwards. One of them said it was the best birthday party he'd ever been to. Better than Star Wars, even! They wanted to play again.

Problem was... I couldn't keep paying some guy I barely knew to DM. That felt weird to me (and expensive). So I decided to do it myself.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I'd never DM'd before. I read the PHB backwards and forwards. I harassed my brother a lot (he was running/playing four ongoing campaigns). I watched Matt Colville. Read the Angry GM. Studied Sly Flourish's "The Lazy Dungeon Master".

I prepped like hell and then dove in. And after just one session, it was clear to me. While I hate playing the game...


Running Dungeons & Dragons is overwhelming...

It's session prepping, bookkeeping, voice-acting, improvisation, map-making, on-the-fly rules adjudication, DJ'ing ambient music, and tactical thinking... all rolled into a fragile, tightrope-walking two-to-three hour performance...

It's stressful. You're juggling a million things. And that's exactly why I love it.

DM'ing is what an impatient, (possibly ADD) multitasker like me craves. The sheer pressure of it all. The constant anxiety. It's a beautiful thing and there's nothing else quite like it on this big blue planet.

And that's how I finally got into D&D.
Running it for my kids.

And now -- I also blog about it because... I can't stop thinking about it. Not just the art of running a session... but also everything else that inevitably comes with being a Dungeon Master.

You can't help but start thinking like a game designer. You break down the rules. You get these wild ideas to improve the game. You get addicted to reading every other RPG system out there. You have absurd dreams of kickstarting your own rules and publishing modules on DMsguild.