7 Simple Rules for DMing my Teenage Players

I’m currently DMing 4 campaigns right now, and although the games are different, the groups are pretty similar. They are all biweekly or monthly for between 3 to 5 players who are mostly in their 20s and 30s with some roleplaying experience. I love running for all of them, but because I’m hooked on tabletop games, I think everyone should play, including people who aren’t so demographically similar to me.

And that’s how I found myself running a game for 10 teenagers, most of whom had never played before.

You can imagine how well that went.

To fill in the details, I volunteer for drop-in high school tutoring at a local community center. Over summer vacation this year, I instead ran a weekly, drop-in D&D game, including the session referenced above. Here’s what I learned.

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Skating Off Ice

I appreciate that the Bay Area has no seasons: I don’t have to shovel snow to get out the front door, and I don’t have to hide from mosquitos. However, no winter also means that no ice skating season, and after going a handful of times this past year, I was starting missed skating and wished that I could do it without ice.

I soon realized that you can skate without ice, and like all bad ideas, I asked myself, “How hard could it be?”

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Finding the Best Impossible Burger

I love the Impossible Burger. I advertise it on this blog. I recommend it to my coworkers. I have taken every member of Julie’s immediate family to try it. On those grounds, I would consider myself a super-fan except that I have met an even greater fan. My friend Alex, in 2 weeks, ate 10 Impossible Burgers.

10 burgers in 14 days.

My daily breakfast is oatmeal, and I eat it only 8 out of 14 days. I pack a sandwich for lunch every day, and I match that frequency at 10 out of 14 days.

Of course, the Impossible Burger isn’t just one offering: it comes in many different flavors. Alex had only had it at one restaurant, and we felt that we had to expand the experience because they’re easy to find. Although you can’t buy them at a grocery store, they are now widely available (at least in the US) thanks to a partnership with Burger King.

If you want to ruin fast food ads, watch a video on food styling. I can’t unsee it now.

Just like the beef burger, different restaurants prepare and serve them differently: doneness, condiments, topping, and buns all matter. With so many Impossible Burger options around the Bay Area and three super-fans, the plan was obvious: a progressive to find the greatest Impossible Burger. 1 evening, 3 restaurants, 3 burgers.

Or as Alex called it, Mission Impossible.

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No More Milk Pail

For the last few years, Julie and I have kept roughly the same routine for grocery shopping. On the weekend, we plan our meals for the week, assemble our shopping list in our shared Reminders list on our phones, then go shopping. Typically, we would first go to the Milk Pail, a local European-style market, to pick up most of our produce, then go to Safeway to fill in anything else that we couldn’t find. Occasionally, we would go to Trader Joe’s for tortillas or just pick up everything from Safeway, but we would end up at the Milk Pail at least every other week.

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Running Pugmire’s “The Great Cat Conspiracy” as a One-Shot

I run a lot of Dungeons & Dragons, and although I enjoy high fantasy with elves and dwarves, it’s nice to play in other worlds as well. One easy alternative for D&D 5th Edition (5E) players is Pugmire, a 5E hack where everyone plays as dogs. Set on a future Earth, humans disappeared centuries ago and left behind intelligent, bipedal animals, such as dogs, cats, and badgers. These animals have formed medieval kingdoms with swords and magic. Players explore the ruins of man, find ancient artifacts, and battle the “Unseen,” demons that humans could never see but dogs always barked at.

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The End of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has been on-air for eight years. Over eight years, I have attended or hosted dozens of watch parties and spent countless hours reading and speculating about what might happen. I remember being genuinely uncertain about whether every character would live or die by the end of the show.

Now, it’s all done, and in contrast to the internet, I enjoyed the last season.

Of course, spoilers ahead.

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6 Days Without Internet

When we came home on Wednesday evening two weeks ago, we noticed that the internet wasn’t working. Julie reset the router, and it didn’t work. Not that I didn’t trust her, but I also reset the router, and it still didn’t work. We shrugged, then went out to play tennis in hopes that it would be back on when we got home.

It did not, and reality set in.

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