Twine and Dungeon Mastery

Playing around with Twine reminded me a great deal of playing Dungeons & Dragons, particularly I am currently the Dungeon Master for one, soon to be two, campaigns. For those who haven’t played, the Dungeon Master is essentially the game world’s God, portraying all characters not under the control of the other players and arbitrating the results of the player’s decisions. Most Dungeon Masters come up with some degree of plot in advance, but never rely entirely on what they have planned; the players’ actions should always have the potential to dramatically change the story. This is why writing in Twine feels so similar; planning out a linear plot is unreasonable, because the player may want to take actions contrary to the writer’s plans. Just like a Dungeon Master, a Twine writer must take into account several viable actions of the player and allow for those choices to have significant consequences.

Image is from the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition book The Rise of Tiamat.

0 thoughts on “Twine and Dungeon Mastery

  1. I want to know more about what it’s like being a DM! What’s the hardest part? What comes most naturally to you? What is really satisfying about the experience?

  2. One thing that’s difficult is making combat interesting, both for myself and my players. Combat is the main source of narrative action in the game, and so I try to make it visceral and stylized rather than a hit-each-other-with-sticks contest. That’s actually really hard to do, because most of what the combatants will be doing will be finding the most effective action and rolling a die. My philosophy is that the less viable performing the same action turn after turn is, the better the encounter I have created.

    Developing the world of the story has been very enjoyable and probably the least stressful part; things tend to fit together pretty organically in the planning stages, and because I know my players well setting up plot hooks for them to engage with has not been too difficult. I think I do a pretty decent job giving their characters something to do that feels organic to their needs and desires.

    The most satisfying part is hearing my player’s reactions to some of the twists I cook up. There’s nothing better than hearing the reactions people have to circumstances planned months in advance.

    If anybody has more questions, I’d love to answer them. I’d also love to hear the perspectives of anybody else who DM’s or plays a tabletop game in general.

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