Thursday, January 14, 2010

Let's Give this Another Try

It's been ages since I've last posted. I apologize for that. Things have become absolutely crazy at home and at work. The holiday season is obviously busy for everyone, but man, this year was nuts. Work became absolutely kooky. I mean really crazy. But I'm taking a breath and thought that I'd write a small post regarding something kind of close to my heart: Playing Dungeons and Dragons with my daughters.

We played a game last winter (about a year ago) that also, for the first time, included my wife. It was a great time. But...all good things come to an end. The girls decided that the lure of the outdoors during the summer was just too great, so we put the game on hold. My wife reevaluated playing and decided that, even though she had a good time, it just wasn't her gig. Sooooo...I was forced to figure out a bit different approach.

Short story long, my daughters (especially my youngest) kept asking when we were going to be playing again. I buckled but decided that the old model (more of a sandbox approach) wasn't really what they were looking for. You have to understand, they don't have a lot of RPG experience, and they're young to boot, so real-life experience is lacking as well. That's not to say that they're not bright, inquisitive and eager. They are.

Like I mentioned, the sandbox just wasn't working correctly, they didn't have the right mindset, as kids, to be bold enough, to just go and "explore". Maybe it was specific to my daughters...I don't know. Either way though, something needed to change. I found myself sort of "guiding" them in order to get things moving.

A story seemed to be the ticket. I didn't want to introduce any type of "rail road" elements, but what I did want to do was give the girls both a sense of purpose as well as the sense that they were "in" a story. I know that this is sounding rather lame, coming from and "old schooler". Either way, I thought I'd give it a try.

I looked around a bit. Looked through my shelves, which are bulging to overflowing with material and thought about a "story" that I'd like to tell, that I thought the girls would like to be a part of. I came up with Paizo's The Rise of the Runelords adventure "path". Yes, that's what they're calling it. A path.

When I gave up my subscription to Dungeon magazine because of WotC (Hasbro) yanking it from Paizo, I had some money left so they sent me the first two paths. I never really looked at them in any great depth due to my quickly waning interest in 3.5. This was right around the time that I started looking around for an "old school" game.

But I thought, "what the heck" let's take a gander at these and see what all the brew ha ha is about. I've got a friend who owns a game store called Enchanted Grounds, and he's been playing (and selling) these things for awhile now. He's an old school guy at heart, and has been playing 1st edition for years and years, so I trust his judgement.

Again, short story long, I paged through it and really liked what I saw. Now this isn't some kind of plug for Paizo, I have nothing invested in their company per se, in other words, what I found is not something I read somewhere, it's my honest opinion.

The writing is clear and concise, the layout is FANTASTIC, the art is's some of that manga-esque type stuff that just doesn't turn my crank. One of the coolest aspects of the way they do these "paths" though is that they add all sorts of background, support and flavor pieces. It's not just the adventure, it's so much more.

But the adventure itself, is very well done. I can see how some might call it an exercise in railroading, but they're set pieces, not based on any type of forced schedule. There's an overarching story behind what's going on but it's not pushed. In short, I liked what I saw, and had made my choice.

Now, to choose the rules. I had sworn years ago that I would never again run a game of 3.X Dungeons and Dragons. The pain point was just too high. And I certainly did NOT want to expose the girls to that type of rules-bound experience. We'd played Labyrinth Lord and Castles and Crusades, so they had some experience with some of the older style rules. I went retro, I decided that Swords and Wizardry was the way to go. Something very very basic, that doesn't run over the story, but it flexible enough to allow me to adjudicate on the fly.

In the end, we sat down at the table, rolled up characters that ended up on note cards, (they loved that) and introduced them to the town of Sandpoint. All in all it took us about 3 hours. Time flew by and we had a hoot.

From what I remember we've got:

Quicksilver: A female gnome adventurer. (Styled after the dwarf with a bit of druid thrown in as well.)
Coral: A female elven adventurer. (Now this isn't a "normal" elf, she's 1/2 standard elf and 1/2 sea elf. Her home is somewhere out west of Sandpoint.)

They've just entered town and are having supper in the Hagfish. They've been involved in the "yarning" that goes on there, have met a few of the locals. and have been regaled to some extent with a small portion of what's gone on in town over the last couple of years. They're hooked.

So anyway, I'll post the adventure write-ups as they happen. This is going to be fun.


Timeshadows said...

Cool. :)
--Glad to hear from you again. :D

REYGON said...

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