Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vindication (For Me, At Least)

I'm starting to see there's some commercial value to elves.

So, it appears I've managed to corrupt yet another of America's youth with the lure of Dungeons & Dragons. This time a teenage girl, age 14.

I should explain that while my wife and I don't have any children of our own (yet!), we have many friends that do, for whom we often act as surrogate parents, baby sitters, or "uncle and aunt." This comes about from knowing our friends for a long time, and their kids since they were just wee little ones. My "nephews" who I've blogged about before are not actual blood relations, though they do call me Uncle even when talking of me in the third person. Hey folks, it takes a village, right?

So yesterday, yet another kid we know and love spent the day with us (well, and the night, too...she's sleeping upstairs as I type) to hang out and be merry and practice her Spanish with my in-laws. One of the reasons we haven't seen a lot of L. (as I'll call her) in recent years is she and her fam moved down to Argentina for a year...but they didn't like it too much and eventually returned to Seattle. Their two daughters (both teenaged) enjoyed it a bit more, perhaps, and did pretty good at picking up the language, but they don't get as much opportunity to practice here as they could. ANYWAY...

We had a great time and stayed up long into the night after a day of exciting fun for the whole family. However, what is pertinent to this post is L. saw my Companion project on the ol' Mac and wanted to know what I was writing. A game, I explained, which completely piqued her curiosity (L likes games) as she had never seen such a weird looking game.

So I explained to her what an RPG is. She knows of World of Warcraft (she has a friend she thinks is silly for the amount of time he spends on it), but she prefers games like Rock Band and Halo, being an active kind of kid (she doesn't tweet, she plays basketball and soccer, and the latter at a high level having gone to the State finals this year). And she's HEARD of Dungeons and Dragons...apparently there's a commercial on TV for the latest version?!!

So I showed her B/X and explained how the game is played as well as the difference between B/X and the current edition and its craziness (I find my old 3rd edition hardcovers are making great visual aids for these kids).

And she's down. Oh, she is totally down. She thinks B/X is super cool, thinks my Companion project is super cool, says I should try to get black and white interior art but do a cool color cover in the style of the original Erol Otus drawings (yeah, kid, we're already on the same page).

AND she wants to play. Hell, she wanted to know if we were going to use props, like costumes! She TOTALLY wants to play an Elf...perhaps with a pet faerie. But the idea that she can play any character (and play a different character every session) and explore a fantasy world has her totally intrigued. The imagination part is what's charged her batteries.

Well, my wife's input about her elf character helped. What is it about girls and elves and fairies anyway?

So now it appears we will be organizing a game with L and my nephews sometime in the coming months so that she can have a chance to play Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe I'll have to buy her a copy of Labyrinth Lord as well.
; )

By the way, quick note to Hasbro/WotC: America's youth does not seem to have the patience to learn to play 4th edition D&D. It is too damn big, complex, and intimidating. If they want something like a video game program, they'll just play a video game. Sheesh!


  1. Just picked up Labyrinth Lord today; because, you know Santa's a busy dude these days, figured I'd save him the trouble.

    It's very pleasant.

    If Pat does get the Skype game going again, I wouldn't mind using LL instead of B/X. Not that there's much difference. It just feels more ALIVE to me than B/X. Current CPR efforts not withstanding.

  2. OK. I veered off my point rather sharply.

    Get her a copy of LL. She'll love it, based on your description of her reaction to your Companion project.

    Yeah, That's what I meant to say.

  3. I think TSR had the right idea back in the early 80's of having two D&D game systems.

  4. @ Matt and Stu: I think LL is great, I just prefer the original. However, since the original is no longer available LL is just fine. I'll give her a chance to playtest the game (as I did with the boys, before gifting her with a copy...I know the nephews are still digging it.

    @ Pal: Man...that such a loaded statement I don't know how to respond...many, many mixed feelings on the subject for me.