Buzzsaw Introduces The Dungeon Masters’ Guild
*Names have NOT been changed to protect the identity of those involved*
In an effort to explore more avenues of thorough journalism after my bout of botulism, I thought I’d take a deep dive into the rich Tabletop RPG community here at Ithaca College. Since my own attempts of joining a D&D party have fallen apart due to “scheduling conflicts” (we all know what it was, Tanner), and me taking “eighteen credits” this semester (as if I’m attending half of them), I thought I’d leverage my tiny amount of sway as a Buzzsaw writer to infiltrate a D&D party who have conquered the beast that is Google Calendar. I caught up with the “DMG” or Dungeon Masters’ Guild for a series of interviews.
2/28 – Session 0
Connor: So what about the Dungeon Masters’ Guild makes it different from other D&D parties you might find around campus?
Braeden: The DMG represents a group of dungeon masters who rarely get the opportunity to play as party members. Many of us get caught up in ‘being the forever DM,’ or ‘always bringing the snacks,’ or ‘organizing the schedule since Marissa keeps canceling to go to Moonies even though it’s a fucking Tuesday.’ We wanted to bring together a group of people who have a deep understanding of the game to craft a richer story.
Connor: So what first introduced you to the game?
Marielle: Immediately the dice. I have a huge dice collection. I have ones with small candy in them. Liquid cores with glitter. I have D6s, D4s, D8s, D10s, D12s, D20s, D100s, percentile dice. I have metal dice, gemstone dice, dice I commissioned made from the bones of my great uncle Joey. I spent $326 in 2022, solely on dice. It’s the best part of the game! Every week I love rolling them and looking at them, and searching for new dice on Etsy.
Connor: What about the game mechanics itself?
Marielle: Oh. I’d have to say the fact there’s unicorns in it.
Connor: D&D is such a fantastic platform to utilize different types of fantasy storytelling, what would you have to say your style is?
Xavier: I think tabletop role-playing transcends the medium of fantasy. D&D is an outlet for emotion that goes beyond traditional methods. I think representing the brutality of life in a game is the ultimate catharsis. Processing trauma through simulated trauma is the best way to heal.
3/7 – Session 1
During my second visit, I realized that this game was unlike any other D&D game I had ever experienced. At the two hour mark I was brave enough to interject and ask my first question of the evening.
Connor: So when are you going to start role playing?
Louise: Oh. There’s no roleplaying. We just take turns explaining our worldbuilding to each other because the only thing that brings us real joy is infodumping to other people through dramatic readings of prose.
Connor: Are you going to start playing at some point?
Braeden: I mean maybe. Potentially. I think we’re the pioneers of something really special here and I wouldn’t want to ruin it by regressing to a sub-standard format. It’d be like playing…Pathfinder or something, ha ha ha.
Dear reader, I did not understand the joke.
Connor: So what are the major elements of your world?
Xavier: I’m so glad you asked. So in my world the Shadowfell has entirely bled into the material plane because of the interference of planar magic, so it essentially functions as a fantastical post-apocalyptic wasteland. We have rivers of blood and mutated zombies everywhere, the spirits of the humanoid races have been entirely broken and all systems of governance have crumbled. There is no community, no hope, just the endless rotted forests, battlefields of corpses, and ruins to traverse.
Connor: Marielle, what makes your world so different from a traditional fantasy setting?
Marielle: So actually in my world it’s very equestrian-focused. So in Pelantia we have a very pegasus-centric society that resides in the clouds, and they use their particular types of magic to create towers out of rainbow crystal. But they’re negotiating a peaceful alliance with Thelassos, which is a sub-aquatic slash amphibian society populated by merfolk. So far the treaty is going off without a hitch, so hopefully nothing goes wrong. But when the treaty is signed, they’re going to throw a massive ball!
2/14 – Session 2
When I attended the third meeting of the Dungeon Masters’ Guild, the only one in attendance was Louise.
Connor: So why do you think everyone ditched the second session?
Louise: I think we’ve decided to part ways over creative differences. There were some concerns brought up in the group chat over Xavier’s depiction of self harm and decapitation and desanguination, and he took that really personally. The reason Marielle left is that she actually really hates other people and she realized she could be spending all this time writing a fantasy novel. Braeden and I had a little fight about if we wanted to find other people to join the DMG, and he said if he wanted to listen to other people tell him about their worlds he would just watch Critical Role or something. I’m still here. But I really don’t care that much, I’m just free on Tuesday nights and think the Lord of The Rings was kind of cool.
And that my dear reader, is the end of the Saga of the Dungeon Masters’ Guild. A tale of hubris, worldbuilding, and the life lesson that talking at other people for two hours about various dragon breeding methods rarely results in enjoyment for your audience. Louise is currently in search of a new D&D group, you can find her at [email protected].
Connor Stanford is a second-year theater studies major who has been running a one-person party for years. You can reach them at [email protected].