These Videos Help You Go Inside the Creative Mind of a D&D Dungeon Master

Jorphdan has been doing insightful post-play video diaries for his D&D campaign.

Jorphdan has been doing insightful post-play video diaries for his D&D campaign.

Cameron Kunzelman

We're in the middle of a massive surge of popularity for tabletop games. Whether it's the hugely popular The Adventure Zone, the extensive list of Dungeons & Dragons streamers on Twitch, or even the Waypoint team roleplaying it up, it seems like there is a constant stream of content that you can find if you want to listen to people playing some kind of tabletop game. Better yet, if you want to run them yourself, you have ample tools to do so in things like Roll20 and D&D Beyond.

I'm less interested in listening or watching people play a tabletop game, but I am fascinated by the act of running those games. Dungeon masters, game masters, and facilitators have an incredibly difficult job, and learning how to do that well is a skill that is much harder to acquire than many people think.

All images courtesy Jorphdan

That's why I have enjoyed the YouTube videos of Jorphdan (the "ph" is silent) over the past couple weeks. Jorphdan has been doing post-play video diaries for the D&D module "White Plume Mountain," an adventure that was originally published in 1979 and updated for the 5th edition of the game in the recent Tales from the Yawning Portal.

Since it was originally designed in the 1970s, it is an adventure that is hard as hell, and it's basically just a murderdungeon designed to destroy players. This means that it is both difficult for players and for DMs who are attempting to run the module. After all, they have to be the person making that difficulty happen, and sometimes it's very hard to figure out the exact order or way that a monster, a trap, and a magic spell are supposed to interact with one another.

What's so great about Jorphdan's diaries, though, is that he's very honest about both decisions and mistakes that he makes while running the game, and importantly, he runs viewers through how he papered over or fixed those mistakes. This kind of critical reflection in a DM is really important, and it's also the most interesting content to see from someone running the game. In that way, Jorphdan's videos are both entertaining and legitimately educational in that they can help anyone, from experienced DM to brand new novice, figure out how to get themselves out of difficult situations while running tabletop games.