There’s a silly joke I like to tell sometimes in D&D sessions.

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Rolf.”

“Rolf who?”

“Rolf er Initiative.”

I’m pretty sure I stole this joke from Elan of the excellent Order of the Stick, which should be required reading for D&D players. But anyway.

D&D, for those not in the know, is Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a tabletop role-playing game set in a fantasy world. It can be daunting because there are so many rules and so much lore that no one person can be expected to know all of it at one time. This can induce anxiety, because there’s one person in charge of driving the story forward and acting as a referee of sorts to determine what happens. That’s the Dungeon Master or Game Master.

Right now I’m the Dungeon Master for a campaign that’s loosely based on The Dragon Kaseraak Series. It’s fun. I’m finding that it is satisfying my need for a creative outlet, which is probably why I haven’t written any books in the past couple years. As a player, it’s fun to come up with characters and see their personalities develop within a system that tends to guide players along into a pragmatic, cooperative approach. As a Dungeon Master, it’s fun to watch players become intensely interested in not just playing in a world which you created, but also investing their time and energy in creating and shaping that world.

The current state of my campaign has the party traveling from one place to another. Pretty simple, right? To get there, they will go by boat, and they will have three choices of passage. The first is a small boat carrying unknown and possibly illicit cargo, for which the captain is looking to hire muscle to protect. The second is a fishing boat offering free passage in exchange for performing menial tasks during the trip. The third is a large ship ferrying standard cargo that will accept passengers for payment.

Theoretically this is a choice, but I have a pretty good sense of what the party will choose. Frankly, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t choose the one I expect them to. But we’ll see.