The worst dungeon master

Is there a competition for the absolute worst dungeon master in the world? Because I would totally win that.

My Little Professor loves games – board games, video games, classics like chess and mah jong, he loves them all. So, when he discovered table-top gaming, which combines games with a nebulous mythology element – he loves mythology – he was hooked.

But he needed someone to play with; for that, he recruited the Sassy Saint and the Long-Suffering Husband (who is roughly 90 percent checked out, watching the sporting event du jour and must be prodded to remember his turn and pay attention to the game every single round).

Everyone wanted to be adventurers; no one wanted to be the dungeon master. Because being the dungeon master sucks. It’s hard work.

Don’t believe me? I need three different books – one for the rules, one full of monster statistics and a third listing all sorts of mystical doo-hickeys and dwarven-forged pig-stickers. There are charts upon charts upon charts – from charts listing how far the average adventuring type travels in a minute to the difference in difficulty between climbing a ladder and cliff.

You need an eidetic memory to run this stuff, and I’m lucky if I can remember if there’s something in the refrigerator for dinner.

Then there’s half a dozen dice and the math. Roll the dice, add another number and then subtract that number from yet another. Plus, there’s variable modifiers to be kept in mind. I hate math. I have to use a calculator.

There are so many things to keep track of, I need a legal pad.

So, keeping count, that’s three books, a calculator and a legal pad. But we’re not done yet.

There are maps. I’ve drawn some maps. Did I mention I’m artistically challenged? Trees and bushes have a vaguely cloud-like (or maybe sheep-like?) appearance. The LSH said I should have the kids color them, but I think he’s just trying to delay the next game.

All of this is only the mechanics and stage dressing for the adventures – which requires yet another book. Since it’s a more-or-less “choose your own adventure” deal, I’m stuck flipping back and forth.

You should see me; it’s awful. Almost every single turn is bogged down by multiple pauses to check rules and do math.

“Hold on, I’ve got to check and see what this guy is supposed to say. Something-something, you’ll never succeed, followed by an evil cackle. I’m not actually cackling, just imagine I did.”

“Can I throw a freezing burst?”

“I don’t know. Let me look up the rule. I can’t remember how that’s supposed to work.”

“What about throwing it around the corner?”

“No, wait there’s a rule about lobbing things around the corner, I’ve got to check … no, you’ve got to be able to see them.”

“OK, then, what about that monster?”

“Wait, I think it’s immune to cold. You can use that, but it won’t do anything. I can’t believe I wasted the time looking up that freezing stuff. I should’ve looked at this first. Do you have a fire spell?”


“OK, roll for damage.”


“Hold on, I’ve got to subtract it … where’s my calculator gone?”

Like I said, the title of World’s Worst Dungeon Master? I’m a lock for it.

(Wallace-Minger, as resident of Weirton, is the community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)