EDTC300, LearningProject

Podcasts, feelings, and DnD

Content Warning: I’m going to talk about some feelings here, so if that is uninteresting to you that’s chill. My feelings make me uncomfortable too. 

Though connected to my learning project, this post has little to do with the actual process of becoming a DM, and more about the inspiration behind my decision.

I am not a creative writer. I have a scientific mind that trusts in logic, math, and replicable results. My academic history is riddled with questionable English marks, starkly contracting soaring math and science grades.

A few months ago, a new human entered my life moving into the spare bedroom of my house. His name is Harvey. Since meeting Harvey, he essentially beat me into listening to this random podcast I was completely uninterested in, about a game I have never played, through a medium I have never cared for. After weeks of convincing, I buckled and started listening to The Adventure Zone. This is where my adventure began, and after the first few episodes, I was obsessed.

Now I have spent the last few months listening to more than 80 hours of the Balance campaign, the first of many that McElroy boys played through and recorded. They played DnD 5e rules, which is the most recent version of DnD to be published. Since Balance ended, these boys have recorded and released a series of live shows and 3 additional campaigns. I finally completed Balance, and I am so overwhelmed.

Currently, media is consumed with negativity and heartache. We are:

  • Waiting to see if there will be another government shutdown in the United States.
  • Fearing for the Muslim community of Edmonton in wake of a threatening letter being left at their mosque.
  • An accident leaving a worker injured at Evraz

I work to stay up to date on current events, and it often leaves me feeling upset at the state of our world. I know that sounds dramatic, but there is so little reminding me of any good. I didn’t realize until The Adventure Zone how badly I wanted something good. Not fluffy. But good, wholesome content.


The overarching theme of the Balance campaign was the importance of friendship and chosen families. The further we got into the campaign, the more difficult I found it to put away my headphones. I spent the last 5 hours of the campaign listening in 30 minute blocks, welling up in tears because of the amount of pure love and joy that poured from the story.

Unlike most high fantasy stories, this one focused on finding joy. There were no heartbreaking deaths, just unbreakable bonds formed between characters. There was no betrayal, just characters doing everything they could save their friends from heartache. There were no losses, just love. I have never had the opportunity to participate in content that was so deeply focused on love. I genuinely feel like this is what drew me in, and is why I am looking forward to being a DM. I want to find joy with my newly found family.

Fisher the Void Fish

EDTC300, LearningProject

Meadheaven Cultists and Zombies?

Hosted my first DnD session this past Friday! The session itself ran a little more than 4 hours, which from what I read online is pretty standard for a one-off session. It was AWESOME. I chose our quest a few weeks ago from the Dungeon Masters Guild, an online platform where DMs share campaign content for free with other DMs. It is an incredible resource, and is largely pay what you can! So you can support the content other DMs have created, and explore the worlds they have created. We played Death Pit of Moloch, where the adventurers were tasked with finding why travelers were going missing. Our quest included five adventurers: Galbaghore, Glimmer, Baldrick, Christina, and Quinreil! As the DM, I was responsible for all non-playable characters (NPCs): Olly the herb seller, six goblins, four cultists, Crassus the Cult Leader, and six zombies.


I was not prepared for how exhausted I would feel after our first session. DMing takes a significant amount of creativity, and being able to create complex situations and stories on a moments notice. Tracking the gameplay of the characters, overseeing situations, and playing NPCs took so much more work than I was expecting. As mentioned in my last blog, my interest in DnD stemmed from The Adventure Zone. Listening to DnD is a completely different experience than playing. It is similar to watching basketball on television, and then expecting to be able to play at the same level. I was not ready.

Once we had started, I realized how under-prepared I was. P Having played only once before, I really had no concept of how much work a DM does before hand to take a campaign from mediocre to great. Designing situations, flushing out characters- hours and hours of work must be done prior to playing. Our next session in on February 15th, and I have to choose a new campaign and ensure that I am better prepared. I need to look into critical misses and hits. I also need to research more into battle stories, and how to build more creative descriptions, for the fun of both the players and myself! I realize now that I cannot rely solely on the content that other DMs have created, and as a DM it is my responsibility to be a creator!

I also want to share how grateful I am for Galbaghore, Glimmer, Bladrick, Christina, and Quinreil, who willingly sharing their Friday evenings with me as I work on this project. DnD is not a short game, and required a significant amount of commitment! I am so grateful for friends who are willing to join me on this journey. We have a hashtag on twitter for those who wish to follow along on our adventure, feel free to join us at #DnDPowerHour!

Session 1 Tweets

For this upcoming week, my goals are to:

  1. Choose our February 15th adventure, preferably with vampires (as requested).
  2. Research how to better describe critical hits and misses
  3. Look into scoring, and better understand how rolling works.

Overall, I would rate my first session a 6/10! I had a ton of fun, and I believe the adventurers did as well. I look forward to improving, and strengthening my skills.


EDTC300, LearningProject

Late to the Adventure

This blog post is late, obviously. It’s late as I have been at a loss trying to find something to write about.

This past week I have spent time researching how to be a DM, and the more I read the more overwhelmed I feel. As a DM you need to understand the complex rules of the game, be flexible to how your players and the choices they make in game, provide creative and engaging dialogue for the party to engage in, all while knowing the stats of both the players and the non-playable characters (NPCs). theadventurezoneflat_86

I took a break this week from my research, and chose to take extra time listening to The Adventure Zone on spotify. I have been listening to this podcast for a couple months now, and it is what inspired me to play DnD and become a DM. It is hosted by my good good boys; Justin, Griffin, and Travis McElroy and their dad, Clint McElroy. These boys have built a media empire, and what I have found inspiring is their continued positive outlook and wholesome quality content. They continually make me cry happy, emotional tears. These boys have consistently brought me into their DnD stories with their sweet goofs, genuine love, and inclusive content. taz

Though listening to these fellas may not directly provide me with the skills to be a DM, listening to live game play does provide me with relevant examples and demonstrations on what to expect. I think my nerves come from Griffin being such an incredible DM and story teller. He is absolutely captivating, and I have a lot to live up to. I hope I can be half the DM that he is.

Our first campaign in February 1st, and I look forward to all I will learn!

Ps. If you are reading this Griffin I love you never change. You are killing it. 

EDTC300, LearningProject

DnD Power Hour

You wake up, and nothing around you is as it seems. The memories start to come back- at first slowly, then all at once. You chose to embark on a new adventure for #EDTC300. You agreed to become a Dungeon Master, to lead your friends on extravagant journeys through fantasy world of your design. You embark on this expedition, having only been an adventurer yourself for a very short time. Why you think you can succeed at this task after one short arch, you don’t know. Is it pride? Overconfidence? It’s to late, your adventure begins now.

Choosing my #EDTC300 learning project was difficult, because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to learn something fun, useful, or practical. I was torn between Dungeon Master (DM), cheese making, and learning Cree. Finally, I decided on DMing. Work is academic, and takes a lot of brain space. School is academic and takes a lot of brain space. So after much deliberation, I decided on DnD. It would give me a good excuse to take a step away from being “on” all the time, and force me into much needed laughs and socialization. I have friends who committed to meeting every other week to play, giving me time in between to research. An added bonus is that there are SO MANY online resources that learning this new skill should cost me very little.


I have spent the last week or so sorting through resources and building a clear “Things a DM needs” list. I have found some awesome online resources on WikiHow and GeekandSundry. Both sights took some reading, but where very informative. Both sites recommended locating a Players Handbook, A Dungeon Masters Guide, and a Monster Manual. So off I went…

After perusing Amazon, I found the books were $36, $58 and $58 respectively. One goal of this project was to complete it spending the least amount of money possible, purchasing these book was not an option. So to the library I went! The Regina Public Library has incredible resources that are all accessible online. So I searched their website and found all three books I needed! A couple clicks of the mouse, and they were ready to pick up the next day at my local branch. The fact that library cards are free to everyone who lives in Saskatchewan makes utilizing this resource so accessible for everyone!

My friends and I were able to get together and build characters, which in an extensive process, but necessary to do before you are able to play. Character are built by each player, and are so unique. We have a Dragonborn Paladin, a High Elf Druid, a Gnome Rogue, and a Dragonborn Bard. This diverse set of characters is well balanced, as any campaign should be. There are healers, people with strong magic, and the classic brutes. I can’t wait to see them work through the campaign I have planned!

Our next meeting is February 1st, and we will play our first campaign then. The adventures will travel to Hollow Rock, where they will meet a murderous group of cultists who want nothing more than to build their undead army. Will our adventures be able to defeat them? Or will they be doomed to join the party of the undead. Find out February 1st at #DnDPowerHour!