Dungeon Mastery is a site dedicated to my love for all tabletop role-playing games but, specifically, the one that started it all, Dungeons & Dragons. On the site you’ll learn about me, about the game, and about my journeys within this truly unique and magical medium. You’ll also find out how to hire me if you’d like me to run an adventure for you and your friends.
Chances are you’ve played a role-playing game without even realising it. A role-playing game (or RPG) is any game where the players take on a specific role in a shared story and act out their parts within it. So in primary school, when you and your friends used to pretend you were superheroes and ‘fly’ around the playground, you were actually role-playing. Tabletop Role-playing Games (or TTRPGs) add rules and a referee (called a Game Master or Dungeon Master) to add structure to these games. This eliminates the age old “I shot you!” “No you didn’t!” arguments... but at its core, tabletop role-playing is simply make-believe with your friends.
Dungeons & Dragons, released in 1974, was the first mass-market TTRPG. It has proved so popular that it has gone through four different revisions up to date, 44 years later. D&D’s current incarnation, 5th Edition, has become a phenomenon both in the gaming hobby and the wider world, with many high-profile public figures from sport, media and entertainment ‘taking up the dice’. It is a game which is easy to learn, easy to teach, and a blast to play.
Quite the opposite! The game works best when all the players are working together for a common goal. While it’s true that the Dungeon Master often acts to challenge or oppose the players in their quest, the primary objective of the DM is to create an engaging story so that everyone can get involved and have a good time.
A Dungeon Master is your doorway into a fantasy world. They are story-tellers and narrators. They describe your surroundings and set difficulties and parameters for the actions you choose to take. They keep track of the enemies you battle and take on the roles of any non-player characters (NPCs) you may encounter in your travels. In short, they bring to life the world in which your adventures take place.
That'll depend on your DM. Personally, I take care of the source books, dice, paper, pens and everything else my players might need. Most DMs will do the same. But, if you want to do your bit, role-playing sessions are always more fun with a good selection of snacks on hand...
No, you don’t. You may have seen YouTube videos of people playing Dungeons & Dragons whilst dressed as their characters, but most don’t. It’s far easier to get into character if you’re comfortable and not feeling out of place. And as for the accents, that’s completely your choice. But please don’t worry about it - your DM may be doing enough silly voices for everyone!
You certainly will. That’s the great thing about D&D; everyone can participate. So long as they have the ability to communicate with the DM and fellow players, they can be a part of the action! There are no other requirements. A good DM will always put tools in place to make the game easier to access rather than harder, even for people who may have issues with reading or writing.
Dungeons & Dragons is, at its heart, an adventure game. It is full of daring scrapes, tense standoffs, dangerous monsters and heart-pounding battles. At my table, you'll rarely find anything more extreme than you would in a 12-rated film, but if there is specific content you don’t want the adventure to contain, or if you want the violence toned down (or removed altogether), speak to your Dungeon Master. Trust me, their primary concern is that you're having fun.
As a survivor of the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, I can assure you that there is nothing inherently occult, evil, satanic or pagan about D&D. There are some images in the books (and some monster names) which reference demons or devils, and the choices a player makes in-game can lead to interactions with supernatural or evil forces. But, in my experience, player characters usually choose to oppose these forces rather than aid or serve them. It is all done in the understanding that this is entirely make-believe, of course. If this is still a bit too 'occult' for your taste, again, speak to your DM!
As long as there has been language, there have been stories.
Some of the oldest human writings ever discovered tell tales, and not boring ones either. There are deathless beasts and shape-shifters, flaming swords and bleeding trees. Not to mention gods getting their phalluses chopped off. They are, in a word, fantasy.
As a species we are drawn to the fantastical, the magical and the mysterious. Our heroes are daring adventurers like Gilgamesh, mystical shamans like White Buffalo Calf Woman or enchanted tricksters like Māui. These stories are in our blood. They bring us together and remind us we are all one people with the same hopes, fears and dreams.
Let’s be frank: the world can be a grim place. Even if you are fortunate enough to have all your material needs fulfilled, you’re still subject to a steady bombardment of “suck” from every angle. You’re too fat. You’re too thin. Your skin is the wrong colour. Your eyes the wrong shape. The ever-present media thrives on this negativity, and it can leave us feeling sad, stressed and hopeless.
But imagine if, for just a few hours, you could stop feeling this way? Instead of living by the world’s rules, what if you were making your own? THAT is the magic of role-playing games. For a few short hours, you can be whatever you want to be and do whatever the heck you like.
I speak from personal experience when I say role-playing, and Dungeons & Dragons in particular, has seen me through some very dark times in my life. And I’m not the only one. Literally hundreds of psychological studies have been performed on players of role-playing games and nearly all have concluded that these games encourage critical-thinking, help people break down social barriers, and reduce the overall stressors of day-to-day life. So much so, in fact, that RPGs are currently being studied as a possible treatment for military veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What have you got to lose?
The make-believe of your childhood years may seem a distant memory, but you will be surprised at just how quickly your playful mind and its boundless realm of possibility comes roaring back to life. Role-play is therapy and role-play is fun. It's sitting together, sharing a story like our distant ancestors did. It’s a shared fantastical experience that creates memories so vivid, you’d swear they’d actually happened.
Welcome to your other life.
Hi. My name is Kevin and I am a dungeon master/ game master/ referee with thousands of hours experience in dozens of different game worlds. Though Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is my weapon of choice at present, I have run campaigns in all of these systems.
I have also been an actor and director of amateur dramatics for over 30 years. This gives me a unique insight into creating engaging characters and memorable scenarios which will stay in your memory long after the game is over.
Finally, as a graphic designer, I bring an eye for aesthetics and imagery that will help you feel as though you are inhabiting a living, vibrant world of colour and spectacle. My goal is simple: get together with a group of people and have a good time. Experience level or ability level are no hindrance; at my table you will be welcome and will have just as much fun as everyone else. Guaranteed.
Like what you see here? Listened to THE SESSION TAPES and want to try role-play for yourself? I offer DM-for-hire services both in person or online. Get in touch for more information!