D&Deviations: oddities in the life of a semi-professional DM

Ep 1. Spectres of sleep


Accipiter G. Goshawk

For those of you that have been paying attention, I have recently set up a business, which provides Dungeon Master services. It’s a fun gig and it has the unique benefit of keeping my insatiable thirst for all things D&D under check.

Some of you may have never played Dungeons&Dragons (and if you haven’t you should really try it someday), so you will never have experienced the weird mix of confusion, elation and hilarity that inevitably bubbles up when someone discovers the game for the first time. For the veterans: you know what I mean 😉

A peculiarity of new players is that they have no idea what they can do. This means two things:

First, they are often hesitant to get their feet wet and move about the game as if they’re in a glass shop.

Second, they are not bogged down by rules and so they do incredibly brilliant things that leave the DM speechless.

These are the kinds of moments I’m going to try to record in these short little posts.

Enjoy 😉


The party crept through the dusty catacombs, unseen.

Although unharmed, they were somewhat shaken: they had just fought their first wave of undead and for some of them, it was a horrific new experience.

The dwarven barbarian crept stealthily along the dark tunnels, followed by a Halfling rogue, a demonic warlock, a small gnome wizard and a grizzled half-orc soldier.

Cautiously, they emerged into a wide hall lined with columns. Nothing stirred, so after a moment they shuffled towards the central altar, glaring at the shadows as if daring them to conjure a new group of shuffling horrors.

At first, they didn’t notice that the shadows themselves had started to move.

Suddenly, the young Halfling girl let out a shrill shriek, prompting them to ready themselves for combat.

Darkness swirled around them in a terrible maelstrom, as more shadows detached from the walls, swarming towards each of the companions, intent on sucking their life force.

Soon, they were each facing off against their own shadow. Bolts of fire blasted from the wizard’s hands, as he ducked beneath the terrible apparition’s spectral fingers.

All of the sudden, the battle stopped, as everyone –monsters included- turned to look at the half-orc rummaging around in his backpack.

“You would like to what?” asked the DM, amusement, glee and wonder tingeing his voice.

“I would like to try to stick the shadow in my sleeping bag!”

“Brilliant! Ok…uhmm…Ok, please roll a dex check. How much did you get?”


“…sorry, the shadow rolled higher. It evades your attack.”

But what would have happened if it hadn’t?

In a moment of pure inspiration, the half-orc snatched the vaporous creature and with a flourish, smashed it into his sleeping back, pulling the drawstring tight.

Inside, the shadow writhed and clawed at the tough fabric, trying desperately to escape, but to no avail.

Witnessing the defeat of their comrade, the remaining shadows dissipated, not wanting to end up trapped in somebody’s water bottle, or worse, old sock.

“What are you going to call it?” murmured the warlock, staring at the bag in amazement.

“I think I’ll name him Night-Night,” rumbled the half-orc happily.-

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