My DM Journey Pt 1: Module vs Homebrew

My DM Journey Pt 1: Module vs Homebrew

My DM Journey Pt 1: Module vs Homebrew

Hey there! My name is Cross and I am pretty new to the D&D/TTRPG Community. I just started playing 8 months ago and I have been DMing my first campaign for the last 5 months. I wanted to write a little from the perspective of a first time Dungeon Master and my experience getting into TTRPGs. First let me tell you a little about how I got into Tabletop Gaming.

I grew up in a Christian home and always thought of D&D as a demonic game full of dragons and witchcraft, so it was always something I avoided but that all changed over the last few years thanks to the exposure of Dungeons and Dragons within pop culture and most significantly when a friend recommend I check out Dimension 20 from College Humor.


I have always enjoyed storytelling and immediately I fell in love with the roleplay and world building aspects of Dungeons and Dragons. The chance for DM and players to work together to tell a story and fully immerse yourself in these characters and this world you were presenting… I hadn’t yet rolled a die, but I was hooked.

In 2022, Nitro, my partner at Comics and the Cross, decided he wanted to try Dungeons and Dragons for himself. Before we knew it, our friend Tom was running an introductory adventure and Nitro, our wives, and I began a new journey!

Perhaps a few words here about that introductory adventure that Tom ran? Was it a single session? Several? Did you enjoy it?

Our first adventure was The Keep on the Borderlands. Tom had felt that this would be a good introductory module for us to get a feel for playing Dungeons & Dragons. We played for 8 sessions in total and it gave us chances to get used to combat mechanics while allowing for a little bit of roleplaying. We enjoyed our first experience with D&D but as much as we enjoyed it, we were all really craving a lot more roleplaying that just was not available in this initial adventure. We decided that in order to play more frequently and create the game we were craving either Nitro or I would need to DM their first campaign. My co-host bravely said “not it” and I stepped into the Hot Seat.

So I was now a Dungeon Master… the only problem was I had no idea how to BE a Dungeon Master. I had a little over zero experience in playing D&D and being guided by a DM so how was I meant to do it myself? I had strengths in a love for stories and being a natural storyteller, as well as being fast at thinking on my feet to respond to what my players may throw at me. All of which could serve me well in becoming a DM.  

However, I thought I should play it safe on my first go round and I decided that the best place to start would be to run a D&D module and use that to ease myself into the role before attempting to homebrew my own creation, which was my true desire. I looked at what was available and the top pick was Curse of Strahd. It was an intriguing story and seemed to be praised as a great adventure and enjoyed by most everybody who had played it. And, as I lead our players through the module, in the background I would be creating my own Homebrew world that I had come to title “Chronicles of Andriesia”.

Very quickly though, I found that I could think of little else but my world of Andriesia. I had come up with what I felt was a very interesting premise for a campaign, with an intriguing final overarching villain to face in the end. The more I thought about the concept I had come up with, the more I found myself naturally expanding the world in different ways and connecting plot points. Amazingly, I felt so happy and excited as I began to create the world of Andriesia. After a few weeks I knew there was no way I could take our Players through Curse of Strahd and just sit on this homebrew world that was quickly becoming a campaign.

I announced to the players that our game would be my own creation and gave them a blurb about the premise. As to not give too much away, the only caveat for Character Creation was that they could not play a Human, as this would be integral to the story.

The premise for our campaign was that 1,000 years ago the world faced destruction at the hands of Armageddon (my own take on the four horsemen). In a last ditch attempt to save the world a party made up of a Dragonborn, an Elf, a Dwarf, a Gnome, a Halfling and a Human faced Armageddon and defeated them. In the wake of their defeat, the races formed “The Union” and found Union City, in an attempt to further bring peace to the land and unify everyone under a banner for everyone's betterment.

Following the defeat of Armageddon however, there appears to be a gap in the historical records. The details of exactly how they were defeated remains a mystery. Simultaneously, all records of Human beings just stop. No mention of them in nearly 1,000 years and all traces of them having been in Andriesia are gone.

In those 1,000 years the world has moved forward, The Union has grown stronger and today celebrates Unification Day, the anniversary of the defeat of Armageddon and the formation of The Union. But what happens when the truth of what took place a Millenia ago comes into question and for the first time in nearly 1,000 years, a Human stands in Union City?

I felt I had a really awesome premise for our campaign and a great group of players that had created a great party of characters to go on this adventure! Now it was time to flesh out a world to the extent that it would be ready for a party. 

And I was absolutely terrified!


Paul “Cross” McLean is a full time streamer on Twitch with Comics and the Cross. Cross has been a self professed geek his entire life with a love for comics, sci-fi and fantasy. Cross is originally from Scotland but immigrated to the USA where he lives with his wife and 3 children.

You can find him at Comics and the Cross on Twitch, YouTube and across social media.