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- The DM and the 'Roll with Advantage' crew

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

“We are all dying, every moment that passes of every day. That is the inescapable truth of this existence. It is a truth that can paralyze us with fear, or one that can energize us with impatience, with the desire to explore and experience, with the hope- nay, the iron-will!- to find a memory in every action.”
R.A. Salvatore

This quote is in my “absolutely love” category, it is one that rings true to me especially that second line. I identify with them, those words call to me in a way. Like described in the quote, I am the person that gets very impatient when I no longer feel I am getting anything out of a  particular portion of my life. I must feel that I am moving forward in my life and it has proven to be both a blessing and a burden. In my past, it has driven me to very exciting experiences and, on occasion, I have attempted too much in search for phenomenal memories only to realize I have no memory of the good and only memory of how crazy and hectic things were. I accept this and expect it to continue in the future.

Have you ever given a dog three of her favorite tennis balls and watched as she has a hard time figuring out which ball to play with at that particular moment? She will spend the entire time choosing and not actually playing. This a feeling I experience on a daily basis, one that keeps getting more and more predominant the older I get. I juggle between work, family, Dungeons and Dragons, social life, and this blog. Entirely by choice, mind you, and I do not expect nor want pity. This is a juggling act that I enjoy to some degree, otherwise I would not do it, but sometimes I fly too close to the sun and need to reevaluate my priorities. Sometimes I need to double check that my current path is one that makes me feel as if I am making the most of what short time I have.

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When my son was born (cliche warning!) my world changed dramatically, my priorities shifted, and that little man became the center of my world. I went from playing video games for hours to seeing how fast I can change a diaper, and from watching Netflix all night to reading R.A. Salvatore’s books outloud to my son. So my priorities shifted a bit to focus heavily on my family. I am a man of extremes, if I do something then I am full on into the subject. I study it, I practice it, I live breath and eat what it is that I am focused on. Consequently, for a time, all I did was spend time with my wife and new son. I spent as much time as I could taking in my family, and trying to make sure I capture every moment, but I found it wasn’t something that I could keep up. I did not want to be the kind of person that has a kid and subsequently neglects his friend. It is true that people get busy, but a busy person that wants to spend time with friends will find time for them. I started adding small things back into my life, like friends and D&D.

About a month after my son was born, I was struck with another story I had to tell. It came to me while I was making a one-shot adventure for my table. The one-shot was about a group of random characters who all met locked up in a hobgoblin dungeon, it was a jail break one-shot. After completing the design for the dungeon and fleshing it out I decided that the “Big Bad” for the dungeon needed a death sequence if the players where to kill him.

Flavor text from the adventure:

Guldi is struck by the final blow. He kneels to his wounds, reluctantly, and he starts to sob and beg. In Common, he speaks,  “Master, forgive me! Master, please forgive. MASTER!” Suddenly he is engulfed in a green, ghostly flame. It rages, and his skin and armor dissolves before your eyes, leaving muscle exposed. He screams a blood curdling shriek. His organs and muscle disintegrate to dust which is lifted upwards, then so does the skeleton. The flame then dissipates and the room is left sickeningly silent.

This death scene ended up inspiring me to write a campaign that told of lost friends, a tyrannical wizard, and a few solid encounters with said wizard. As with everything, I started dumping way too much time into this. I started writing and writing, and started spending less and less time with my family. My wife encouraged me to write, but also started expressing concerns. So I attempted to balance the two by doing both at the same time. I strapped my mini-Dungeon Master up in his björn on my chest, and we started writing standing at the kitchen counter, or I would prepare for the coming session with him strapped to me as I was hastily drawing maps and scribbling notes before a session. It just was not working though, having your cake and eating it too is quite hard, but there is an answer, moderation. Moderation, my good friend, seems to do the trick. It is something that I am still practicing with, but I am slowly getting better.

To help with moderation, I try to make sure I have designated times, for instance after 10 pm is writing/reading time and sometimes this goes very late or can start very early, but this is the life of someone with many hobbies. No matter how tired I was though, being a father, a husband, a DM, and some form of a writer gives me the feeling of fulfilment. Maybe because of the feeling of fulfillment that I get from my actions I am driven to move forward to bigger and grander things.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the read, I have a couple very cool announcements. First, my current table and I have all come up with the idea that it would be cool to record and produce a Dungeons and Dragons tabletop podcast. This decision took place after we had our first session so we will be starting off the podcast off with an introduction to the characters and a summary of the first session. The party is starting with the Lost Mines of Phandelver by WotC and then will be moving into The Storm King’s Thunder by WotC. We have recorded our first session and are in the process of editing currently. Follow The DM’s Table on Facebook or on Twitter @dmstable for updates on a release date and schedule. My other big announcement is that I intend to start publishing adventures and potentially large campaigns to the DM’s Guild, this is a pretty big step for me, and I am very excited. There will most likely be a few posts on this blog about what it means to write and publish adventures, a Writer’s Journey if you will. You will be able to find more information in the weeks to come on all things podcasts and adventure progress here. Thank you for reading.

-- The DM

My Writer's Journey Act 1

My Writer's Journey Act 1

Learning to Roll with the Punches

Learning to Roll with the Punches