Day 23: Memory
I have a memory of my first time trying to be a Dungeon Master back in the early 80’s. I had the Basic Dungeons and Dragons set which included Module B2 The Keep on the Borderlands. My regular gaming buddies at my junior high school already had read through this book and knew of the dangers contained within. But I really wanted to DM, so who could I get to play?
My younger brothers. This could be their introduction to the game. Perhaps they would want to play more of this afterwards. I was able to talk them into trying out the game. We made some characters and they headed up to the Caves of Chaos.
And promptly got slaughtered in the first encounter they came up to. Total (but unintentional) party kill.
Needless to say, my brothers were not impressed. They never played again (however one of them did ask me to DM an introductory session to show the game to his kids just a few years ago).
When I thought about the session afterwards, I realized I had ran the game completely wrong. We were all so excited to get into a dungeon and start swinging some swords that we missed some opportunities. I could have explained the rules a little bit better. Not just the actual mechanics, but the additional items as well such as tactics. They were very young teenagers so they didn’t know about the option to run away (insert Monty Python and the Holy Grail joke here). I could have run a little role playing at the keep itself to give the players some rumors and allow them the opportunity to bring along some hirelings. As a DM, I also could have fudged the dice for newbie players. The dice were very savage in that particular session.
I had learned my lesson and tried to implement them in a game the next time I ran one (which wasn’t for quite some time after watching a few other GMs). When my brother asked me to run an introductory adventure I came prepared. I gave my niece and nephew their own set of RPG dice that I had just picked up from a local store. I had pre-made characters created before hand and allowed the two players to take first pick. My wife also played as a cleric in the party. As a veteran player, she would know when to step in and help and heal. I had the party get into role playing by having them approach a small village at the same time that a band of low powered orc raiders showed up. The raiders were quickly driven off, but the players found out (again through role play) that the raid was a distraction. While the town and party was trying to fend off the raiders, someone had broken into the village church and stole a sacred statue. A statue that the village believed they needed to keep themselves safe and was willing to pay the party to retrieve. They were able to quickly track down the orcs and enter the caverns that they were using as a base.
Long story short, my niece and nephew had fun. My brother loved watching them have fun. I heard later that my nephew had joined a gaming club at his school which allowed him to get involved with some social interaction.
So I guess things turned out all right in the end. But every once in a while, I wonder; what would have happened if I could have turned my siblings into participants of the RPG hobby? Think of the memories we could have made.
I was kind of lukewarm on the other suggestions for this date. “Innovation”, “Quick” and “Surprise” all had items that could have been talked about. But nothing was really coming to the surface on these three topics.