I ‘m a seasoned DM. I know how to run a game, I have D&D 3.5 Edition and 5th edition under my belt. I know how to coordinate an adventure, create maps, and most importantly how to be approachable and helpful towards my players. I was DM of Reddit’s D&D group since the beginning of the year, and I had to make some changes to how I run my games, so I could help my players enjoy themselves .
The day started out uneventfully enough, when we departed from the Castellon Community Center, as we were headed to the West Marches of the Forgotten Realms. We had just met up with some of our fellow D&D players at the Starbucks on Chestnut Street, and were ordered to do a little guard duty. We don’t really know why, but we were.
With the D&D world returning to West Marches in March, I was able to participate in one of the West Marches D&D games. I was asked to help write the game’s intro and this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it.
The West Marches is a style of D&D game where there isn’t a set group who goes on adventures, instead players will organise with the DM and set out from a central town to find adventure in the surrounding area.
In the words of Ars Ludi:
There was no set plot: the participants choose where they went and what they did. It was a sandbox game in the sense that the term “Grand Theft Auto” is currently used to describe video games without missions. They weren’t being sent on missions by a strange old guy. There is no overall narrative; instead, there is an overarching atmosphere.
As someone who leads a few D&D games (as well as the Star Wars RPG), I felt this would be a wonderful chance to play, particularly if I could fit games into my schedule. If you’re interested, I suggest checking out the subreddit.
DMs do not give a map; instead, players sketch what they ‘remember.’
The following is the story of my character after he returns to ‘Haven,’ the town in the heart of the West Marches. Ostarin ‘Rin’ Saicin is a Half-Elf Bard who recounts tales and talks in an outback Australian accent.
Rin’s First Adventure in the West Marches
Okay, okay, okay. Drongos, pay attention.
When you’re face to face with a Croc who is staring you down because he’s standing on two legs like a man, and none of your weapons appear to be piercing his scales, you’ll wish you had listened to your buddy Rin when he told you the tale I’m going to tell you.
Which of you believes you know what a ‘Wet Lands’ is?
Because I’ve been there, buddy, and you can bet I’ve returned with a few tales to tell.
I’m referring about the REAL wetlands, which are located in the southeast.
You’ve all heard of me, your old pal ‘Rin.’
And you can take my word for it, since it’s as wonderful as the beautiful music Dupont normally plays in these halls.
Roll a Wisdom Saving Throw – If you succeed, you laugh at Rin’s fantastic stories… but you keep listening nonetheless since it’s your close friend Rin.
So pay attention when I suggest there’s a Gnome you should all be admiring.
Burlo Thriftkin heard a rumor that some Crocs were creating havoc in the Wetlands, snatching youngsters from their beds, converting liquor into pee, and worshiping Corellon knows what.
I informed him that some of you enjoy a little ‘Piss Whiskey,’ but Burlo felt you deserved better, so he assembled a special squad to put an end to these atrocities.
Charlotte, the young prodigy, Sir Wilheim Geist, Xanthar Seeker ‘The Hammer,’ and your old friend Rin went off early in the morning so that you wouldn’t have to sleep with a Light Cantrip on for too long.
We go east after Jokut’s encouragingly scary remarks and a tip in the correct way from one of the city’s finest.
Those of you who have been out that way, or who have talked with others who have, may have seen or heard stories of a Giant Glowing Elk down in The Orchard to the south east.
You see a tiny version of the Elk hovering and shining gently above the storyteller as Rin talks and explains it.
I can testify to the fact that he is genuine… Pay attention to what is essential now and what will be vital later.
We come upon a field of flowers early the next day. This is no ordinary field, and you wouldn’t want to select these flowers for that attractive serving guy you like.
Sleeping pollen is released by these blooms, and it is very effective. If we were just ordinary adventurers, the tale would end there, but Burlo knows how to select them, and we watched as live vines evolved into shambling men. They were preoccupied long enough for us to skirt south east around the Flower field thanks to Charlotte’s fast thinking and rapid magic.
East-south 42 miles We set up camp atop a strange cave, as far east as the crow flies.
“Normally, when I do something, something bad happens.”
Rin flicks his fingers, and the fictitious Elk vanishes.
For a little time, there is quiet.
Inside that cave of wonder, however, no deity, magic, or song could erupt. There was a field where magicks were dampened or perhaps devoured.
We found a word of power written a thousand and one times on the walls thanks to Xanthar; I won’t say the name here, in this place, but know that the Cart parked in front of it is mine, and you’re free to take it if you fill it full before returning it.
Of course, the Elk’s cry may be heard to the south-west of us again tonight.
The river is visible to our south east the following morning. We’ve visited marshes, mangroves, and even a recently deceased dwarf.
The omens start to align at this point. You’re probably in over your head when Jokut says he sees Scales, Teeth, Blood, and Gold. We, on the other hand, have a Geist on our side, and Sir Whilheim is one of the finest.
Sir Whilheim Geist assesses the scene in the time it takes a hare to blink, and realizes there are Were-Crocs in these marshes, but terrible dark rituals have contaminated the region, giving them tremendous power. He flings a javelin into their desecrated shrine of bones and hits it square in the face.
Bastards are all bastards, but these werecroc bastards are the worst.
Xanthar and Whilheim take the lead and keep Man and Crocs at bay, despite the fact that no steel can penetrate or cut their tough scales.
Burlo, calm and collected at all times, ignites a holy flame, unleashing his god’s fury onto these terrifying monsters. Charlotte, sensing the presence of evil magicks in the air, desecrates their altar of sin and death, thus making the world a safer place.
Whilheim and Xanthar are able to knock down one of the scaled attackers and force it back into its humanoid shape through ingenuity and cooperation. Two of these snarling sacks of fangs and scale are eventually restrained.
We bring these wretched cretins back to Haven to face the guard’s judgment, believing in compassion (and reward).
We filled my cart with our captives and took turns pushing it to the Anti-magic cave.
Things start to ‘come a gutser’ at this point. That night, we hear the Elk’s voice dead on. Like a terrible hangover, it’s pounding through our heads.
He’s chastising us for bringing these Werecrocs too near to his prized piece of land. Meanwhile, it turns out there’s a huge Snake Lord in the swamp who isn’t pleased we stole two of his snakes.
The Elk takes one look at me and knows I’m unfit to pass; you all know who I am, and this Elk is a little ‘Iffy’… mate… He had the ability to see straight through a guy, if you know what I mean.
She’ll be correct, but don’t worry; with this squad, we’ve got enough of merit, and I persuade old pal Elk to keep the snake off our tails.
As the Elk and the Snake begin to battle, the devout and calm Burlo realizes that staying there would cause us to ‘cark it,’ so we flee into the darkness, leaving our new friends behind.
We keep running all night, and by the time we pause to recover our breath or get our bearings, we’re inhaling huge amounts of sleeping pollen, and everyone but Xanthar is fighting to keep his eyes open.
Xanthar, Whilheim, and Burlo eventually grit their teeth and battle the slumber to bring Charlotte and Me to Haven’s protection.
Overall, it was a pleasant weekend.
Who wants to buy a drink for their good friend Rin now?
Good luck, lads.
How Do You Get Involved With The West Marches?
If you’re having trouble finding a Dungeons & Dragons game in your region, try joining /r/West Marches. It’s a lot of fun to meet new individuals every session and experiment with all sorts of odd party combinations.
I’ll be continuing running my D&D games and posting any Dungeon Master tips that I can come up with. Until then, I hope all your dice rolls are critical hits.
Earlier this year, I was asked to facilitate a game of Dungeons & Dragons in my town. A bunch of people came together in the lobby of our local library, and we all started off in the same place—a small library in the middle of a small town. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous leading up to the game.. Read more about west marches rules and let us know what you think.
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