As games for computers and consoles get more and more advanced, it is easy to forget our roots. I remember playing pixilated games on the Atari (and yes, I did have the ever so famous ET game that was buried out in a desert somewhere), moving up to the 8bit Nintendo, and upgrading every few years as the new systems came out. Today’s post, however, is not about that. It is more about bringing us back, before consoles, before graphics, to our imaginations.
Dungeons & Dragons is usually known to be the Granddaddy of the tabletop role playing game (henceforth known as rpg). First published in the 70’s it started with a trio of booklets and that was pretty much it. You can make maps out of pretty much anything to help with the visuals, and pieces for players and/or encounters can also be pretty much anything (we used bottle caps yesterday to fill in for our pieces). The premise is simple, as a group of adventurers you shall wander about and encounter countless adversaries while embarking on dangerous quests. You can wander into villages, help townsfolk before moving onto your final destination, relax in a local tavern waiting to be hired. The possibilities are only as limited as your own mind (and your GM!).
You shall not pass? Egads!
Within the last couple of months I have ventured with Girl 1 and Boy into the realm of Dungeons & Dragons (henceforth known as D&D). It’s something I have always wanted to play, however, I was always unable to find people that were able to play or run a game. I would look at the books, try to find things online, but you really can’t have much of an adventure when you are the only one playing. A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a hole in the wall gaming store in Massachusetts. I felt after wandering around in there that I had to purchase something, so I picked up the red beginners box for D&D. I tried to play with the kids, but I really didn’t know what I was doing and having no background in tabletop rpgs, it was a bit daunting. The red box and it’s two adventurers ended up in a corner of the dark closet, never to be seen again.
One of my good friends has been playing D&D for quite some time and graciously offered to help us on our way to fame, fortune, and another notch in the geek belt. She asked us some basic questions before our first adventure, built our character sheets prior to coming (which was a smart move with a 13 and 11 year old. We can go over full character creation at another time), and took care of all the preparations for our journey. She came over and we got to name our characters, come up with back stories (Boy really has quite the imagination) and physical descriptions. Once that was all set we were able to begin and I finally got to experience tabletop rpg’ing.
Fancy meeting you here!
I have to say, there is something to be said about sitting around a table, looking at grid or gaming paper, bottle caps or miniatures and just listening to a story. For a little bit, Girl 1, Boy and I didn’t have to be just parent and children, we were travelers thrown together to solve the troubles of a small town. We worked together, planned out strategies, guarded each other if someone fell. We hung out in a tavern and drank some ale (which had the same taste and coloring as Mountain Dew). It is a few hours for each session and we get together twice a month with our lovely GM. I really look forward to these sessions, and it makes me quite happy that the kids are as excited as I am. It’s a pretty big gift to me that I can do something with my teenage and almost teenage children, that they want to spend time with me, even if it is killing imaginary dragons, or solving riddles for cursed ettins.
That’s some mighty fine ale!
So now, I bid you adieu until we next meet. May your purses be full, your cups always filled with ale, and your hearths be warm!