Inspiration and Pathfinder

This summer I started DMing a Pathfinder game. For those of you who are less nerdy than I am, it’s basically D&D- a table top roleplaying game. I’ve always wanted to do it, but was worried about the time commitment, or maybe more realistically, failing at it.

A lot of my favorite fantasy book authors say that before they were writers, they were the DMs for their gaming groups. They said it was a small step between DMing and writing their novels. I still want to be a fantasy author, and so this seemed a good next step for me. Plus, I had a great setting and some NPCs available to start my own campaign. I hoped the campaign would help inspire me for the novel I hope to write in this setting.

So far, it is a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It can also be surprisingly difficult at times. When things don’t go right, it’s easy to blame myself. I had a particularly thorny issue last week, where the party did approximately nothing for two and a half hours, which culminated in yelling and party in-fighting. It also included one of the players almost quitting. I was pretty shaken by the whole experience. It’s hard to tell as a DM how much of what happens in game is my responsibility. I felt I should have done something better. I worried my game was falling apart and that I was a failure as a DM.

This week though, the session was amazing! I was really proud- I had a cool idea and spent some time developing it. Importantly, I learned that it is much like writing a speech (I used to be really active in Toastmasters- a public speaking and leadership group). It helps to have the outline and idea of where you want to go. But it falls flat if you just memorize the words and what you want to happen. I found that sweet spot between planning and improvisation. I had a cool mix of combat and roleplaying. My players had fun, and so did I.

It made me feel inspired! I wish it wasn’t 11:15 on Sunday night and that I didn’t have to teach at 9 am tomorrow so I could write or plan next session. Or maybe get some writing in. Or both!

It’s a good feeling. Inspiration might be my favorite feeling. I hope I can keep it up so I can make good progress on my creativity month!

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