No matter what anyone tells you, DMing ain't no walk in the park. There's a lot of prep work to be done and when you're a guy who tends to lay out plans A through tripple Q, you definitely find yourself worn out. But don't let all this complaining fool you though. I actually enjoy the pre-planning and meticulous crafting that goes into making a solid experience.
Finding a good gaming store can be a daunting task. I've been treated badly before from various stores that tend to, how should I say this... make you feel like an outsider. For a group of people who are often marginalized for their love of gaming, I never understood why they'd do the same to someone else. That's probably the reason I didn't get into D&D sooner.
Lucky for me, Googling for local shops revealed perhaps the best store I've ever been to. The folks at Red Castle Games not only provided a welcoming atmosphere, but they outfitted me with some free stuff to get me started with my "quest". They mentioned that if I enjoyed DMing, I might be interested in running their Encounters night and they'd give me a 20% discount on stuff in the store. Woot!
After purchasing the Red Box, a box of Demonweb minis, a DM screen, and some dice for my fellow newbies I headed home to plan out the adventure.
Now we touch on a subject that's probably the source of a lot of discussion in the D&D community and that's whether or not to pick up the Red Box. The general consensus seems to be that it's good for new players (yay!) but not good if you want to continue on with full on 4E D&D (aww!).
Here's my take on the issues; why not have it both ways? Is it possible to modify the Red Box in such as way that makes it easy to get into but can also be used for future D&D encounters? I intended to find out. Armed with the D&D encounters materials and a subscription to D&D Insider, I went about crafting a modified version of the built-in Red Box adventures.
In my next post, I'll talk about how I handled this. Feel free to bring up any questions or comments you may have as a new DM or even a veteran of the game.