Dungeon Master Reincarnation or Egos Don't Die They Hibernate


Thanks for checking out Beholder's Eye! I hope you're enjoying it.

The blog is where I'll talk about some things from the podcast, DMing and just some tangentially related stuff that comes to mind.

I figured today I'd talk about my experience with RPGs and how my under-deserving but over developed ego brought me to Beholder's Eye.

I played RPGs for a long time when I was younger. I'm getting to the age where the pre-teen/teenage years are all a blur and just fall under the category of "back then", but I believe I started playing RPGs when I was 11.

It started with a Dungeons and Dragons board game with a mat map and cardboard pieces. I don't remember the rule set but it was one of the early ones--elves were a class I believe. I ran games for my brother Ben (Magnjar) and it involved a lot of "and so you keep walking" while I tried to make up what would happen next. It was fun, but also...not really. We stopped after a little while.

Not too long later (though in tween/teen brain it was forever) one of my friends started DMing an AD&D 2nd Ed game. We were (mercifully) only a little way away from 3rd Ed. The game was fun, I lost a character, and saw the amount of work our DM put into the game and was very impressed. It was open world and very much a sandbox game (before that was a term). 

My ego was in full teenage bloom so I started my own game with the advent of 3rd Ed. Only instaead of a sandbox it would epic adventure with a Maguffin and everything.

Honestly, I couldn't tell you much about the game. I'm sure it sucked. I mean, I know it did. 

I'm sure I made all of the mistakes that any young DM in his teens made. I know I railroaded hard. It may have started in a tavern. I definitely went out of my way to never kill any characters. Every mistake anyone could make I did it:

  • DM PC? Yep.

  • Saying "no you can't"? Yep.

  • Saying "If you don't know that then your character doesn't know that?" Yep.

I sucked in the way that all DMs suck, which is my defense. Of course my friend with the sandbox game didn't make a ton of those mistakes so maybe I was just a turd...

I also ran games in GURPS, Shadowrun, a metric ton of West End Star Wars and played a few World of Darkness games. There was a lot of gaming and nerding out and I remember it fondly. In my mind it was epic and fun and overall awesome. I'm sure in reality it was more like the Dead Alewives classic sketch.

Our core group stayed together for a while and I ran games until my early 20s. At that point I was done with gaming. It just wasn't fun anymore. I ended my final campaign by saying that the last few months of game play had all been a dream and they woke up in Ravenloft. Everyone was pissed at me. I didn't care. I wasn't running anything again.

Needless to say, in retrospect, I am not a fan of how Past Alex handled that.

Flash forward 12 or so years. I'd been commuting 3 hours round trip for a few years. I'd grown a distaste for all music, and couldn't listen to the news (3 hours a day is suicide provoking). Comedy podcasts stopped being funny. In desperation I ended up downloading a podcast called Drunks and Dragons on a whim and from there was hooked. I listened to a ton of different actual plays.

Finally I decided I wanted to play again. It had been too long. I had moved away from my core nerdy friends, and no one I knew would even be a little interested in playing.

I had learned about Roll20 from a few different actual plays and decided to try it out. I did a one shot and it was fun. Too combat heavy for me, but fun overall. I died and frankly got most of the group killed. It was a good time.

Then I joined a group that was playing the Lost Mines of Phandelevor and then transitioned to Storm King's Thunder. It was more of what I wanted. The people were fun to play with and were open to RP as much as cutting some goblins in two.

After about a year of playing I asked Sam (Margrain) if he wanted to start an actual play podcast. He was on board and has been the driving force for us taking real-world steps to take Beholder's Eye from the idea stage to a reality. I'm an over planner and want everything to be perfect before we take a step forward. He's more about the act of doing.

We couldn't live without the British charm we'd grown so fond of in SKT so asked Ryan (Hibonite) to join. Ben (Magnjar), who had moved across the country and I rarely saw any more, randomly also got back into D&D on his own so it was perfect time for him to join and a way for us to have a scheduled hang-out. The rest is history.

My ego had not died, but only gone into hibernation. It was awake and going for a morning jog.

I was going to run a game for the first time in over a decade. And I'm such an ass i decided that my first game should be recorded and put on public display.

And that, dear reader, is Episode One of Beholder's Eye.