Geek Life

Tips for Hosting D&D Night

cat dungeon master

"You fail your roll"

Now that Rick and I are settled in the new place and no longer live in the Horrible Pink Bunker of Doom, we’ve started having people over on a somewhat regular basis. So it was just a matter of time before the nerds came a calling for a little D&D action and knowing that his D&D buddies were eager followers of this blog I knew I had to step things up a bit and offered to cook dinner for the entire party. All in all things were a roaring success, but I figured I’d share a few observations:

1. Evaluate your space and plan accordingly. Need extra chairs? Run out of graph paper? Try to arrange as much as you can beforehand so that everyone can focus on rolling natural twenties instead of what coffee table you can repurpose as seating.

2. Keep things simple as far as food goes. People are there to socialize and fight orcs, not quibble over which fork to use when. One dish main courses work well & serve them buffet style if you can.

3. Snacks & drinks. Especially if dinner is going to take a while, make sure there are munchies and fizzy caffeinated beverages for those on hand. More likely than not your party members will bring their own, but don’t be afraid to arrange things in bowls etc. so everyone can share.

4. Vocalize bed time (if there is one) before the game starts & don’t be afraid to give polite reminders. It’s easy for hard core role players to get so caught up in their adventures that they’ll go for hours on end, but for those of us with day jobs a table full of caffeinated nerds, no matter how polite, can create quite a racket. People living in a space large enough to isolate the chaos can ignore this, but we’re in a 2 bedroom apartment with rather thin walls, so a clear curfew is a necessity. Don’t worry about sounding too much like their “mom”, it’s your space too and you deserve some shut-eye.

Obviously, none of these suggestions would be considered crucial to hosting a night of table top role playing, but personally I found they tend to make things run a little smoother. In fact, the only reason I included number 4 was that I had forgotten to do so and hard to drag my fatigued ass into work 15 minutes late. Certainly most nerds would be just as happy with whatever take-out they could find on their way as a home cooked meal, but I love cooking and playing super-hosted so I relished the chance to show off. And you can too.

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  • Reply
    Tom's friend Nic
    November 18, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Sorry we kept you up! I think we all assumed that “by the last metro” would be early enough for everyone to be happy. Thanks again for amazing food!

    • Reply
      November 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      No worries! I meant it more as a reminder for myself for next time, but it was a joy having you guys over.

      • Reply
        Tom's friend Nic
        November 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

        The other problem, of course, is that even the most well-intentioned nerds, once sufficiently caffeinated and immersed in a story that is partially of their own creation, have as hard a time stopping as they do being quiet. So setting terms AHEAD of time might not be as helpful as you think, at least not without frequent and insistent reminders, unfortunately.

        • Reply
          November 19, 2010 at 10:43 am

          Still, I think with clear time limits established there’s going to be less quibbling when requests to “shut ‘er down” are vocalized. At the very least it becomes the DM’s responsibility not to start too many intense battles too close to bed time.

  • Reply
    BJ Summers
    November 19, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Does the spinach have to be frozen?

    • Reply
      November 19, 2010 at 10:44 am

      Of course not, but I’m lazy and spinach isn’t exactly in season right now.

    Penny for your thoughts...