A year ago, when I was first getting started with the boys game it was after a long lay off of most gaming. I had been playing in a Blood Bowl league, but that required all of one case of figures, and one box of rules. So I didn’t really know where things were. And I didn’t really know the rules of D&D all that well.
Since then a few things have happened. I learned the systems through pure experience. I refreshed my ability to deep dive into a rule set and really figure out how to play a game. And I got back into painting miniatures, so I could use them. Last, I really began to absorb some of the resources on the Internet. It is only now, a year later that I think I am really beginning to get the hang of being a Dungeon Master.
Nothing helps learn a system than to just play it, and try to run a game with it. When I got all my books last year I was marveling at how good they all were. What a great resource and how happy I was with the game. But I didn’t really begin to dig into them. They were resources that I referenced during a game, not something that I absorbed. And it took me a while to begin to really absorb some knowledge from them.
Then I started playing up in Denver, playing Pathfinder. Which I admit satisfied my thirst for ‘crunchy’ rules versatility. You can really do just about anything in Pathfinder, and there are rules for it. So I switched the boys over to that for the remainder of that game. Which was not universally enjoyed. But that time did do one important thing for me. It reawakened my latent skills for absorbing game mechanics. At one time I could pick up a new rule book and grok the mechanics pretty easily. But that skill was dormant a year ago, so there were a number of things that I did not catch or grasp. But that ability is slowly returning, mechanics are beginning to come back to me.
When I started to introduce miniatures into the boys game I just kind of rummaged around in my many boxes for what I wanted. And I confess to spending a lot of time looking in case after case, sometimes looking at the same case multiple times for the same miniature. Then I decided to take the plunge and really start painting again, if only for role playing. That spurred me to move my miniatures to a location that was easier to access. And then this past weekend I finally went through each case, figured out what was in them, labeled them correctly, and then stacked them correctly. Now I can find the miniature I want, when I want it.
Last, I began fumbling around the Internet for blogs and articles on role playing. I found a number of resources. Read through them. And gradually winnowed out what was consistent and what wasn’t. And now I can really begin to get good information from them. Those posts are often best at helping me understand things in the books that even I cannot quite put together. In particular I have to thank @TheAngryGM, who is very good at making things clear, and pulling together the big picture in ways I am slowly beginning to grasp.
I’m not saying I have it all together perfectly yet. No one really does, if they did they wouldn’t need rule books. But I can say that I at least know where everything is that I need to design and run a game. And I can better grasp how the pieces can fit together to make a complete game. And with this new campaign for the boys I will run a much better, more consistent, and enjoyable game for all of us. And that is really all I can ask, it has taken some time and work to get here, but I am pleased with the result so far.