Power and Authority in Dungeons and Dragons

I recent tweet by @DungeonCommandr on the ties between colonialism and D&D spurred me to post something separate so I could respond comprehensibly, I have trouble following responses to tweets that are multiple posts long.

I agree with his assertion that there is a power relationship in the game that mirrors that of colonialism, that it is baked into the game, and that for the most part DM’s do good for their players. I also agree that this doesn’t excuse us from looking at the imbalance in power.

The way I deal with this asymmetry is through:
1.Transparency 2. Agency 3. Responsibility and 4. Bounded Randomness.

I also deal with race and gender issues explicitly by discussing:
A. Race non-specificity and
B. Gender openness

I’ll deal with each individually.

1. Transparency: I discuss everything I will discuss here with the players before we game, so they know the score from day one. It takes some time but its important.

The very first thing I …
Art Imitates Art – Gaming and Fantastic Stories

So a few years ago I decided to write up the adventures in my home game for a campaign journal that I hosted at I am reproducing selections from them here, cleaned up and reorganized, to showcase the games I run at Black Dragon Games.

I run first edition Dungeons and Dragons, which has a particular flavor that is worth highlighting with a bit of narrative. 1e was meant to emulate the sword and sorcery literature, and I find that the game sessions do so fairly well, they are lethal and fast paced, and magic users are a big part of the story. Magic itself is in the hands of warlocks, otherwise it is relatively rare, and monsters tend to the horrific side.

I decided to start with a session that I did for a player that was starting a replacement character (his old character died and this was the replacement). I run a solo adventure for replacement characters where possible as it allows the player to get a handle on the new…