D&D as a DM

I should have said this a week ago. As of 26 June I have been DMing D&D for 44 years folks it has been a fun ride so far. Please forgive me for tooting my own horn folks.

Greenman 6220


Also I would be interested in how long any of you have been involved with D&D, NWN 1 / 2, AD&D and so on. Especially as DM’s. It can be you just started or you have been in it 40+ years like I have.

Thank you for your reply. Greenman

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Well, I started with the first edition (red and blue boxes, which I still have), but I can’t say it’s been continuous. Basically, I’d say I played and DM’ed quite regularly for two or three years between 1984 and 1987, then quit for lack of time. Again two or three years, but this time only playing (and on a computer: Ultima series) in 1990-1992. After that, a great void till I received NWN (Christmas present!) and mostly stopped working as an expatriate.
Now, it’s mostly NWN/NWN2 as a player/builder, and a few DM’ing sessions (still with the 1983 edition of the rules!) with the kids and brothers.



Well, I must have started DM’ing around 40 years or so ago. All pen and paper until NWN1 came along, and then I used my own unique NWN designed TB Combat system to carry on DMing my game through modules designed there. (It was a unique turn-based gaming system - never released on the Vault, but used by my group of players.) (*) Sadly, all but one of my group of players had moved on by 2007, just before I managed to have Soul Shaker ready. So I was DM for that module with only one remaining player and my wife who had started to take more interest in the game by then too.

Since then, I still have these two players who having played through Soul Shaker and The Scroll in MP (with me as a DM), eagerly await the next release. So, like others, I have been a DM all the while I have material to play with my group, but I do not have the time to DM other material as I have to spend this down time creating new material for my own campaign. (Which takes me longer to do nowadays.)

Although I was around during the basic box series, I jumped straight into AD&D for my campaigns. Althéa was my second campaign, which I have noted its inception as 30 July 1989. It’s the same campaign I work on now.

As the years went by and I developed my campaign and accompanying mechanics, I found it interesting how editions 2 and 3 grew closer to my own designs as they released, so it was great to be able to jump straight into the later editions as they became available. (And I no longer had to refer players to my own notes.) Edition 3.5 was the definitive edition for me, as it encompassed almost every aspect I had also come to consider. I did buy a set of edition 4, but it sits as a “completion” for me … although that was the last set I ever bought, recognising the cycle would never end if I did not draw a line.

(*) I still have the manuals I wrote at the time. I will upload them for people who may be interested in it. I believe I even have the last revision of code I had written for it. However, as my group effectively disbanded, I decided to start writing modules for standalone (SP) too. Hence, Soul Shaker has remnants of this original turn-based system within its code, but by the time I wrote The Scroll (in NWN2), I opted for a hybrid auto-pause system instead of true turn-based. i.e. As time has passed, the role of the DM appears to have dwindled for me, becoming more of an in-game referee and potential fixer than as actively involved as I once was.


Thanks for posting.


I’ve played the swedish tabletop version of D&D since about…1991 or so, I think. I’ve almost never DM’d D&D, I have however DM’d the swedish version of the Star Wars RPG. It’s been on and off throughout the years, just like with 4760. At the moment me and two friends play tabletop D&D and SW on an online forum, since we live in different cities and can not meet that often anymore. It can be one or two months between posts sometimes, but the beauty of it is we can go back and read what happened in the adventure last time. It’s still fun. At the moment we are about to start a Cyberpunk adventure (I am not DM-ing that either though).

I’ve been playing NWN since a year after the release, I think, and NWN2 I bought on day one it came to the stores. Never played NWN online though (and thus never been a DM for that), never been into multiplayer games, and only played the campaign, the expansions and loads of single player modules. The same goes for NWN2. And on NWN2 I never played SoZ, but bought it when modules I downloaded required me having it.


Got my first set in 1979. Really didn’t play until the next year. DMing for the most part, but some playing characters, too. Guess that’s 40-ish years.

Here is my first set I recall playing from - D&D box with “In Search of the Unknown”.
Still have my incredibly worn 1st ed AD&D books along with my 2nd ed and 3rd ed. Stuck with my own campaign amalgam of the whole lot for many years. Even have some incorporated Expert Edition rules thrown in, along with Chainmail and Spelljammer. The old players have moved along, but my kid and her friends have played a few games with me. The spouse enjoys the Halloween games we have had, as well.


I started playing with the White Box OD&D set + the Greyhawk Supplement I in the autumn of 1977 and took over as DM in January 1978. That makes approximately 42 and 1/2 years, my fellow grognard!

I’ve DMed OD&D, AD&D, AD&D 2nd edition, and 3rd edition. I’ve never DMed a NWN game and I have no desire to either. I find all video games very restrictive as my style of running games is extremely extemporaneous. Likewise, I dislike running convention games despite having done so at two GenCons back in the '80s. My style is to get to know the players and work with them to understand their characters. I like to draw out their strengths, weaknesses, and phobias in addition to having the world react to them. Consequently, I spend my prep time thinking about the world, NPCs, factions, interesting places, rumors, etc. The result is a wild ride because neither the players nor I know what’s going to happen next. Well, actually I know what will happen before the players, but not much more. Which is a nice way to say that I suck at module design which is why I’ve never released one here at the vault.

Thanks to the pandemic, I now spend my Friday afternoons playing D&D with my 13 year old son. We use a lightweight version of the 3e rules – ability checks instead of skills, no feats – plus AD&D morale rules.

Next Friday is my birthday and my wife & daughter agreed to join us for a game. We’re going to play “N4 Treasure Hunt” but with 1st level rather than 0-level characters. Getting my entire family to play is a dream come true for me.


Due I was born in 1978, I couldn’t keep up with you. But I started as player at the 1980’s with AD&D 2ed and an own setting. Some years later, my group and I went forward and some of us DM’d in other Realms. One on Ravenloft, one in the Forgotten Realms and I in Dark Sun.

So we switched from one session in RL to FR and then DS and back again. Then was Baldurs Gate released. That was the best year of our life! And as NWN was released, we went to building our own world to get it to life. In local network sessions, we played and DM’d together.

Yet, only I have a pw online to play. So my little dream became true in the year 2013. Since then it evolved and now at the end of the last year, I ported it to EE. It is one of the four german PWs.


I feel so young :smiley: . I started back in 3rd edition and DMed immediately for my friends with the starter set. I skipped 4th edition and now I am DMing again in 5e. That would make about 25 years with some breaks in between :slight_smile: .


A friend had the original boxed set in around 77-78 I guess. That got me into not just D&D but gaming and simulation in general. I wrote up a set of scifi rules along the same lines but of course at least half a dozen such rules were published at the same time. What really got me into the CRPGs were the SSI Gold Box series games starting with Pool of Radiance which I had read not long before. So I’ve been at this on-and-off for a bit over 40 years as well.


I started back in 1980 with the Basic Box set and AD&D until college in 1983. DM’ed in 84 - 86 in college. Started With the Gold Box SSI game (all of them including Buck Rogers in the 25th century), then NWN and NWN2. I did DM and teach may 4 boy’s to play 3.5 around 2010 but due to real life had to stop but a couple of them still play with college friends. But my main stay is NWN2 solo, I haven’t had the time and not sure I would like PW playing for either NWN/NWN2.


In my opinion your modules make you a DM, sir.


I bought Pool of Radiance for my youngest cousin. It was a birthday present, he is 11 years younger then I. He turns 50 this year. It is amazing how far the video games have come. I still remember playing pong on a Magnavox console in 1974.


Your a very lucky person I have been married twice and neither ex-wife would get involved in my gaming. My daughter did from 11 - 14 and hasn’t since. My son has been playing off and on for almost 27 years. I’m working on the third generation now. My grandson is an off and on player over the last 8 years.

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In my case you would have to add Krynn and Oerth to that list. I’m still more partial to my first 2 Oerth/ The World of Greyhawk and Toril/ Forgotten Realms.

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Wow, so many old timers here. I must be in good company then. The Company of the Grey Beards.

I began my journey back around 1979. Many of you may recall the Basic Dungeons and Dragons set with the Keep on the Borderlands module. Followed closely by the blue boxed “Expert Set”, which contained the notorious Isle of Dread. And then the Advanced material came out, and I was drawn to things like Greyhawk Gazetteer (this had to be around 1982). And then came Dragon magazines with all of their mini adventures and stories whose settings were often in locations in what is now Faerun (the milieu which at the time was still a gleam in Ed Greenwood’s eye but if you read the Dragon one could piece it together over the years.

By 83 I was 13 years old and had my own group that I DM’ed for. I had created my own world but I often would be drawn back to Oerth (World of Greyhawk) or Faerun. There were times when I had several campaigns cooking in 3 different universes. It was good fun.

Now, I have more friends below ground than above ground who role-played with me back in the day. Those of us who leered at each other in dim light with mad dice, zany character sheets with outlandish names, trapper keepers and notebooks, graph-papered dungeons, Larry Elmore artwork, empty bottles of soda and pizza crusts, and the stern rebuke of a parent, “How long are you guys going to play that game?” I should have just said, “Forever.”

Yes, now that I think back on it, there are more below than above.

And now I still DM, but in a different context. I have worked to bring Oerth alive through a PW server I run and maintain. I have attempted to bring many of the old Pen and Paper modules from the 1980s to life. It is a labor of love. Doing so connects me in a way, almost spiritually, to all of those I have DMed for in the past who are no longer with us.

Thank you, Greenman, for posting this and making us all pause and reflect on where we’ve been. And where we are.


I started D&D, in maybe '84 or '85.For the first year it was mostly playing but I soon gained a love for running and never looked back. I was a storyteller at heart. Since then I have worked my way through AD&D, 2E, 3E, 3.5 after some protest and waiting a few years, and Pathfinder. The marketing of 4E and many details of 4E itself turned me to pathfinder since at least one of the developers was making it clear often and publicly that it was not for D&D players and that they were not welcome. Been curious about 5E but haven’t looked into it yet.

During this time I played and ran many other games. Probably my longest standing was actually a heavily customized Rifts game that spanned more than a decade.

My father used to take me and my brother for long walks and tell these wonderful completely spontaneous stories. And he read us sci fi and fantasy were too young to read yet. I think this imprinted a love of oral storytelling. And running games was a natural progression from this. I mostly computer game now but tabletop is still my one true love.


The Company of Gray Beards and Little Hair fits too.


Well, my DMing and role playing story began circa 1981. After trying a few D&D games with a friend’s computing teacher who got the starter pack somewhere, i was enthusiastic. Role playing was the wave of the future ! That year, i arranged with my sister to buy all AD&D manual books she could find in a travel to London (i live in Paris). Promptly, a whole role playing group of friends aggregated (all microcomputer freaks ! my own Acorn Atom was made from a british kit, and we had strange machines like the Spectrum, the Oric, Amstrad CPC or Thomson To7 in those remote times). I mastered/played AD&D maybe 15 years, before my friend group split. After that, i tried a lot of other RPGs: Paranoia, Space Opera, Warhammer, etc. In parallel, my role playing obsession worsened and i went the LARP way, bashing human undead squeletons with foam swords at the wee hours, in deep forests just lighted by torchs (there was a very very active LARP community in the 90ties in France). I stopped doing live role playing around 2005, and now here i am, since 2011, trying to adapt my first AD&D P&P module and doing SpellJammer things :sunglasses:


What! No Dragon 32?..