|Hasn't got me yet.|
[I'm also abstaining from both alcohol AND coffee this Lenten season, which has had a bit of an impact on my writing habits]
Still, I have been gaming. Playing Dungeons & Dragons, in fact. B/X only, for the moment...but it's always best to start slow. My children and wife have been my main players, though we have had at least a couple of my son's friends over and introduced them to the game (a third one...Caroline...is scheduled to come this Friday for a five hour session). All of these individuals are complete (or nearly complete) novices to the entire concept of "role-playing games;" hell, they're novices to most forms of fantasy adventure, outside the realm of Harry Potter (or The Lord of the Rings films, with regard to my wife).
The reactions to the game have been interesting, to say the least, with my spouse's perhaps the most intriguing of all. While she's never been a gamer (in any sense of the term), she does enjoy playing games with her children and their enthusiasm feeds her own. Joining our game in the third session of our Zenopus expedition, she took the initiative to map the dungeon (leading to much more efficient adventuring) and helped curb my son's rather Chaotic (evil) impulses.
And it's been effective...after eight sessions the characters have mostly advanced (except for the elf...she's still 433 x.p. away from 2nd level) and no one has yet died, though I did give one "mulligan" that prevented what would have been the one (and only) character death. To completely ease my conscience I'll confess that event here: the dungeon's ogre-sized spider had pinned my son's 1st level character, despite the party's precautions and lack of surprise; he managed to survive several rounds, stabbing it with a dagger while his compatriots attempted to kill it. In the final round of the combat, the spider beat my son's roll for initiative and would have struck him a death blow (from hit point loss...the kid had already made multiple, successful saves versus poison). Rather than let his heroic efforts end in failure, I allowed the party members to make a separate initiative roll against the spider, which they won, and then they managed to slay the plate-armored beast prior to its fatal attack on the boy.
|Frodo should have died, too.|
The party members (minus my wife's thief character) are currently locked up in the Portown jail awaiting execution anyway, so, you know, not a huge deal by any stretch...
Here's the thing, the really interesting thing (from my perspective): despite having NOT read the rulebook (yet), both my kids have already expressed interest in becoming Dungeon Masters. My son drew and annotated a dungeon map, made me roll up a character, and then ran me through his "adventure." Fortunately, I'm a pretty good player so my first level thief managed to avoid certain death on multiple occasions through a combination of deceit and cleverness and made out like a frigging bandit (I'll detail that in a different long-winded braggart post sometime).
My daughter did NOT draw a map, but also insisted on running me through an adventure of her own (while we were on the sidelines of my son's soccer match) that she spun from whole cloth and boy is she gonzo: evil clowns with poisonous claws, one-eyed killer robots, giant radioactive spiders with electrocution powers, and a room full of animal-headed humanoids that gave me a magic "wishing chest" of treasure before calling me a cab to take me out of the dungeon and back to town. Wow. If I wrote up adventures based on her imagination, I could probably make a small fortune in certain OSR circles...
[it's not just MY kids, by the way. One nine year old boy we had over was positively INDIE in his approach to gaming, suggesting all sorts of ideas, un-prompted, to incorporate into the game's narrative structure. Nicholas is one copy of Moldvay away from DMing his own campaign...]
Which is all to say: I have hope. I have hope these days that the type and style of gaming I want and crave and enjoy will not die off with my generation, or be subsumed and co-opted by 5E and the current styles/systems of gaming. I just have to get to people when they're young and raw and have no basis of comparison. Get them excited about the game that I like...at least provide them with a foundation for understanding the damn thing. After that they can pick up whatever monstrosity is the industry's "latest greatest" and make an informed opinion...with real, experiential knowledge in the back of their brains.
Yeah, I'm a pusher. And dammit, this is the hill I'm prepared to stand (and die) on. Well, this and one other...which I'll try to blog about tomorrow. Right now, I've got a couple things to do before I start prep for Friday's game.