Every DM is an author. So where are their books? A good DM is a special genre of writer, the kind that doesn’t just want to lord over players and force them to follow his story. The DM is the writer who wants his characters to break their textual chains and make their own decisions, to become better and more human than the many flat 2D characters who reside and have resided in books since the dawn of time. And this compulsion has a difficult time making the transition over. But it didn’t always.
I grew up on Dungeons and Dragons, immersed in a world with fan fictions whose writers were also DMs and players and all hung out in a godly place known as Lake Geneva. They hung out together and saved the world together, supported by an Adventurers Guild known back then as TSR. They gamed, they talked about gaming, they wrote their gaming adventures into books and novels. Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman, of Dragonlance fame, even later put out a volume documenting, side by side with their narrative, the in-depth game play, rolls, and even statistics of their fellow characters. I poured over the work, fascinated by the powerful transition of organic grassroots adventuring to mainstream popular sword and sorcery fiction.
Others followed at pace. Salvatore, Greenwood, even Gygax himself admitted many times to a dimensional gate between what they write and what they played. Whole worlds, famous characters, hilarious or heart-clenching situations were immortalized when these bards, the masters of the game, left their tables moved and excited, eager to tell it all to the rest of the world.
My younger brother and I talked about this all in the past, more times than is proper for even nerds like ourselves I suspect. “Why don’t we do it?” we’d ask. We’d chat, laugh and reminisce about Jeldorain the half-demon and the time he ate the whole party, or Thorack the minotaur and how he faked out the whole arena, then used a cyclop’s dangling loin cloth to swing up onto its back, to stab his way up to its head, and to kill it as it fell down upon him. And the memories began to fade, now interlaced with a desperate scream, “Do it now before it is too late!” And most DMs, well, they don’t have time when they need it so, unfortunately, a wonderful novel, a fantastic tome full of inspiring tales and exciting conflicts, dies forever with a silent scream.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. I wasn’t sure what I should write for this article. But this idea had rankled the back of my mind for years and finally came out as a desperate scream of its own. Finally I sat down, despite lack of time, despite tragedy in the family and struggles with my own health, despite desperate bouts of sadness and fatigue . . .
And so here it is. Take notes. Write down your story. Make a book. Tell us all the tales of your table. And message me when you do. I’ll read that book with a smile on my face, knowing that the tale of your table will never die.