I was looking back on the adventure notes of the last few games I ran, and I was a little surprised at how challenging they were. Not so much because they were written to be especially devious, but rather because many of my players were sort of thrown in to the middle of an ongoing story. There just wasn’t a lot of time to really TEACH the game properly. I’m proud that they all made it through on their own creativity and teamwork.
That said, I probably owe my group an apology. Sorry guys! There were some problems they solved with mundane ingenuity that they COULD have solved with a special ability or a spell. I’m certain the main reason they didn’t use any of these special abilities is because they didn’t know they could. In the end everyone had fun, and they succeeded, but I didn’t do my part in teaching them. I taught them how to play, but I didn’t teach them how to play WELL.
Our game has been on hiatus for a while, and many of my players have been away at college. I’ve been using the time to prepare the next chapters of their adventure. With this latest realization of how terrible a teacher I’ve been, I’ve taken the opportunity to give them a slow reentry into the game. There will be some challenges below their level that are meant to teach some fundamentals they didn’t get the first time around. I’ve decided to blog about the process here, in the hopes that it will help new DM’s learn how to teach the game to other players.