Some notes from the DM

  By Shamus   Nov 21, 2005   9 comments

I’ve been reading back through some of the past sessions and I’ve noticed they seem a bit flat. This is not Heather’s fault. She does a fine job of recording events, but once she’s done I have to turn the notes she takes (in real-time) and turn them into a narritive. Obviously the more detail I add, the better the post will be. I can just post her notes, and be done in 10 minutes, or I can spend days converting the play-by-play into a proper story. As I’ve fallen behind schedule, the posts have become more the former and less of the latter as I’ve tried to catch up.

I would like to point out that I’ve written a book. I know how to write. If I found a chapter of my book wasn’t working, I’d trash it and start over. If it was large and detailed, I’d spent a lot of time on it until it was done.

But now I’m working on material that arrives at a fixed rate. Sure, I can spend a week and a half writing the most recent session, but by the time I’m done I’ll have yet another session in the pipe and I’ll be even further behind. It’s like working on parts on a conveyor that travel at a fixed speed: Spending more time on one unit eats directly into the time I can spend on the next one.

The trip I took two weeks ago only made things worse. I got caught up a bit by skimping on session 6, and it shows. The session is a bit lifeless, lacking in color. Of course, it was fun and interesting for the players, but reading my narritive makes it sound dry and dull. Sorry about that.

So, what we’re faced with now is the fact that I’m working a full two sessions behind schedule. At the moment, I’m transcribing session 7, we just had session 8 last night, and I’m working on preparing to run session 9 for next sunday.

My point is that transcribing a D&D campaign is turning into a bigger challenge than I thought. I suppose if I was some sort of uber-writer I could churn out quality material at a steady pace, every day. But as it stands, the sessions happen just a little faster than I can handle them.

I hope you can enjoy the story anyway. Thanks for reading.

9Nine comments.


  1. Jeff says:

    I mentioned earlier (See D&D campaign at the start of this blog) that we have an ongoing record of our games as well… that our players take turns doing the “recap”
    Basically, the members take two-session “stints” as note-taker and writer. (with our full table compliment, this is about once a year)
    Players are allowed to write the recap in any fashion they choose – some have chosen to write it as a story… others have written it much like a letter home to family… still others write it like a “spy” observing the group in a third person.
    Some are more talented then others. (I tend to be the most detailed about it… go figure) But at least there is recorded history…

    Keep up the good work… even if it comes late, at least you have it!

  2. DMDonPablo says:

    I just started reading it and I’m enjoying it no matter what your format. As a DM and detail zealot, I can both relate and empathize. Keep up the good work, please.

  3. Ed says:

    I’m loving it! Granted, I’m a year behind your posts, but it’s engrossing. Makes me wish I had half your DMing/storytelling skill, I tells ya.

  4. Seve says:

    I recall someone saying that Forgotten Realms was originally someone playing characters of Drizzt&friends and later converted to books so idea of writing histories of gaming sessions is not that far fetched.

    P.S. Not big fan of Forgotten Realms so I won’t bother to check that one out tho.

  5. Robel says:

    I find the story to my liking. Simple as that.

  6. Ross says:

    thank you for transcribing this campaign. I played a d&d campaign briefly in high school and it was great. However reading what you do as a dm makes our game pale in comparison. Anyways I know you did this a few years ago but just wanted to say its an enjoyable read!

  7. Moridin says:

    #4: It wasn’t, but Dragonlance Chronicles was written that way, I think.

  8. mistercoffee says:

    #4 and #7 you’re both wrong to a degree.

    #4, FR was Ed Greenwood’s personal campaign setting, years ago he licensed/sold it to TSR for publishing and it was their flagship setting (after greyhawk) for most of AD&D. Elminster is an actual character that he plays, or at least has played in the past.

    #7 I believe that Dragonlance is total fiction by Weiss and Hickman. Quite frankly I don’t care for their books or setting in the least, but I am fairly certain that the setting started as fiction and became a game setting not the other way around.

  9. CriticalFumble says:

    #8 – To correct you, DragonLance also began as a game setting, not as a pure straight-to-page novel series. Weis and Hickman were both salaried employees at TSR, and they worked together to see if they could create a compelling epic story within a game. The first book was written as the first 4 modules were going into production. The original plan was to play the game and then transcribe those events into the book but I think just about everyone can understand that what plays well may not exactly read well, and so the story was modified. It was actually player Terry Phillips, a friend of Tracy Hickman, who gave the mage Raistlin his trademark slithery voice and coughing, ill disposition, playing him that way as the first module was played through.

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