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Relevant To Your Interests: Outfit Your Dungeon Master

It’s no secret: I play D&D once weekly (gnomish rogue!) and I think you should too. If you’re my brand of geek, if you think drinking beer with your fellow queerbos and slinging spells and making shit up sounds really appealing, you should get a group together and do the thing. If you already have a gaming group together and a Dungeon Master to shower love upon, huzzah! I think you’ll find this list pretty awesome. But I also think you’re not the norm — I don’t generally catch wind of Dungeons and Dragons games with a high percentage of queer-lady-type-beings. I feel like there are a million reasons why I don’t hear about more queer lady groups. Probably everyone thinks this is teenage boys stuff — it’s not! In the immortal words of Ari, one of our resident Grease Bats illustrated by Anna, “I’m not about to let a bunch of fourteen-year-olds take up all my space.” The more us queer dames and non-binary geek-stars represent in the nerd community, the more we can dilute the toxic masculinity perpetuated by the violent few. Which is another reason I think I don’t hear about more homo-normal D&D groups — we feel like it’ll always have to be a crusade, or “mean something” (interfacing with the nerd community so often is like that, alas) when in fact sometimes it’s just playing pretend for funsies and there’s no greater point to be made. Most of the time, actually. My group is perfect — half queer, and all awesome. I wish the same thing for you. And the last reason I feel like we, as a community, don’t necessarily do the D&D often is because it’s got a learning curve and someone has to jump in to be in charge of the whole experience — that person is called a Dungeon Master, and you don’t have to be perfect to give it a go. Whether you’re gifting someone the tools to DM your game or you’re jumping in yourself or you know a lot of fabulous geek monsters who would get a kick out of it, here’s a list of cool kitting for your resident cloaked mystery human. Happy dungeoneering.


Getting Started

Getting Started D&D

There’s one book every player needs access to, and that’s the Player’s Handbook ($27). This tells you all the rules of D&D, how to make a character, what each dice roll means, etc. A DM should also have two other books, The Dungeon Master’s Guide ($28) and The Monster Manual, ($31). To minimize expenses, our group members are kind enough to share, like, two or three Player’s Handbooks with those of us who don’t have them whenever we need to look something up. Some people like the D&D Starter Set ($13), but I think one of the most fun aspects of D&D is creating characters and these come with pre-fab characters, so I feel pretty meh about it. I’d personally recommend getting those three books and then choosing a beginner campaign — we’re playing Hoard of the Dragon Queen ($22, only the Dungeon Master should read this book!). The DM can also “homebrew” a campaign, and for an example of this I recommend watching Geeky & Sundry’s Critical Role.

Dice are pretty important. Dice are also pretty. You should check out the website with the simplest name, D&D Dice. They have loads of pretty sets and the ability to customize your own set (for example, I play a rogue, so I need a lot of d6s, but rarely a d12).

I’d put down some fun minis, but to be perfectly honest, our group plays with a set of cardboard squares with our names written on them and that’s been working out fine for us. When you’re just getting started, best to have a Gaming Mat ($22.50) that the Dungeon Master can draw on and erase with some wet-erase markers ($7).


Advanced D&D

No, not the game set. Just a couple things to take it one step further, if you’re discovering you’re into it.

DM Screen

dm-screen

This is because the Dungeon Master often rolls a dice or counts down the hit points of an enemy or has a bunch of miniatures lined up for monsters you haven’t encountered yet and doesn’t want their players to know any of this information. You could just make rolls behind your hand, you could get the default screen for twelve bucks, or you could give yourself a nice set up with this solid oak DM screen (complete with a place for the DM’s pencil, $80). By the way, they’ll carve guild names and thank you messages and all sorts of things in it, so definitely check them out.

Dice Accoutrements

dice accoutrements

I found a cute little dragon dice holder, for when you’ve got a bit of an escapey die ($42). And if you, like me, are an enthusiastic roller, Wyrmwood Gaming makes a handy dice tray ($60) to contain your excitement and your wood-be errant d20s. And as an add-on, they also make a collapsable dice tower for rolling large handfuls of dice at once. So pretty.


Literally Outfitting Your Dungeon Master

Did you know there were so many accessories? I sure didn’t. Here’s a collage of all the cool stuff I found!

Outfit Your DM

Elven D10 Dice Earrings, $10.61 // Dungeons and Dragons Manual Earrings, $16.85 // D20 Scarf, $44 // D20 Cufflinks, $35 // Dragon Tie Clip, $25


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aeosworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 529 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. This article is so relevant to my interests!

    I’ve played a bunch of D&D (playing mostly Rogues), but I’ve never DMed before. I got the D&D Starter Set as a gift for the holidays, but the idea of being a DM is intimidating. I think I’ve just been spoiled by having a lot of awesome DMs in the past. I don’t know what kind of magic that happens behind the DM screen!

    I’ve never played with a majority queer D&D group before, but I’d like to one day.

    One of my co-workers has a dice tower like that one. It’s so sweet! Definitely a luxurious geek item.

    • You good at making shit up on the fly?
      And/Or you good at being able to set aside time to make shit up before hand?
      You too can be a DM. Promise. (I can do the former, I’m…lazy about the latter. Either/or means success as long as you and your players keep rule 1 in mind: Its all pretendy fun time, when in doubt, make some shit up and roll on.)

      Plus do a bit of google searching, there are all sorts of reviews for ‘hey, this pre-generated mod is pretty good for first time players/DMs’. I personally am world building as a collaborative effort with my players, but since I haven’t run Pathfinder before used pre-gen modules and swapped out the flavor text to get a handle on how it all worked.

  2. Hey Ali!! Loved the article! I started DnD’ing about six or seven months ago with a bunch of guys I knew through work and absolutely love it. Really think more people should play (and wish they would) but it does seem to have some pretty high-seeming barriers to entry (nerdy, a lot of math, as you said it has a reputation of being a ‘boys only’ game, TONS of material to read and memorize, etc). Do you have any advice for how to draw new players into the game?

    Would love to read more on DnD and board-gaming in general! Check out http://www.shutupandsitdown.com if you haven’t yet, three English guys review (and act out) board games; I’ve found some absolute gems that I’ll continue to play for decades (Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Resistance: Avalon, Codenames, and many more).

    • Awww, hi Dave! I haven’t seen you in forever—I think the best way I’ve seen to draw new players to the game is to introduce them to Critical Role on Geek and Sundry? It’s just such a compelling game with a compelling group of actors and characters.

      Also, I’ll have to check out that site—I’ve played Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and Resistance, but I’ve never played Codenames.

  3. Ahh, this brings me back (3rd Edition for life, yo).

    I’d love to play with a bunch of queermos- I think it’d be a lot more fun than the testosterone-laden gaming sessions I experienced in high school.

    (Also, I’d actually be able to play as a female character now, which, oddly, it never occurred to me to do so, back then).

  4. I love these!

    I’ve never had the opportunity to be in a primarily queer D&D group. At least the game I’m starting tomorrow (homebrew, DM based on the world of Shadow of the Colossus) will be half and half women to men. That alone is unique.

    Also I’m a cleric player, always have been and probably always will be. I’ll try other classes, but I always come back to healing, support, and occasional holy vengeance.

  5. Yesssss, games with a bunch of queers is the highlight of my week!

    Our gaming group is all queer albeit not all ladies, we have one dude and one enby person, and we’re about half trans. We’re playing Scion right now, but I’ve got a D&D thing going on the side with my wife.

    If you’ll permit be a bit of LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY CHARACTER, we made a pair of queer ladies with a history together, a half-orc monk for her and a half-elf rogue for me. It’s been a blast doing the “will they or won’t they” thing while we kick kobolds around.

  6. I actually just started my very first Pathfinder (esque… it’s actually a forum rp, but we are using the Pathfinder system) game, and omg I’m so excited. I helped design part of the lore (homebrew setting), and we got a nice group together… I also have a totally awesome character concept that the DM approved and I’m so ready to use her!

    I’m playing this centaur-cat girl (homebrew race we are calling the Taltaros), but the DM approved that I could play her as a cavalier, as in, she is her own mount. She’s also just this bartender who grew up hearing stories of adventures from all these bards that played in the family tavern, so she saved up her money, bought a lance and armor, and is totally just going on an adventure for adventure’s sake.

    IDK, I’m just so excited xD

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