Ok, right off that kinda tells you what kind of nerd I am, but I loved playing D&D long ago back in the day – when we had pencils instead of xboxes and pieces of paper instead of iphones.
So, being me, I wanted to make it the BEST experience possible for the boys. If I buggered it up, then they would likely never want to play again. I learned this the hard way from the Magic card game disaster of 2014.
However, they were a little unsure of the whole concept. “So, like we do what? Write stuff on paper?”
Me: “No, you are taken on an epic adventure.”
“Like in your mind.”
“In? My? Mind?”
“Yah. You draw up a character and you enter a world of imagination and possibilities. Unlike your computer games, you can do anything. ANYTHING. That’s the bonus of having a human being leading you on your journey.”
“So it’s not a video game?”
They looked less than impressed.
But that’s enough for me. Once, two years ago, I would have needed the look of awe, of wonder, but now, I’m happy if they don’t just shrug and walk away. (It’s all about setting the bar low enough.)
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever played D&D or if you have, if you’ll admit it, but it’s not the easiest game to explain. There’s race choices, you know, the old dwarf and elf thing, and stats like strength and wisdom, and professions like fighter and cleric. Then there’s weapons and spells and armor and monsters and …
After a few more minutes of trying to explain all of D&D to them, I gave up and decided just to play. Hey, it’s simple enough to start and as long as I kept comparing things to either pokemon or minecraft, I would be fine.
Still, like I said, I wanted this to be the most amazing experience ever. Like my first game was. So, I enlisted the aid of a longtime friend, who agreed to come over and help me out. FYI, she also helped me buy the ring for the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world.
With her helping me, I hoped we could make the experience rock.
The Youngest chose to be a fighter as well. Not surprising. If his brother had chosen to be a wingnut, he would likely choose the same thing. But he took one look at a miniature that we’d bought, and decided to be a kick-ass crossbow assassin.
Ok, so D&D purists will cringe, but whatever, go eat some iron rations. The boys were happy. The Oldest was a big ogre. The Youngest looked like he would kill you for just looking at him the wrong way (something I greatly fear may be in his real-life future.)
Anyway, I spent a day making the adventure, creating maps and monsters, and trying to work out a good narrative that would appeal to the boys.
My guess was they’d be less interested about saving a princess, even though they play Mario a lot. My guess was they wouldn’t want to be involved in some extended mystery about who killed the Ogre with the crossbow in the bathroom. That’s more Clue.
Then I realized, based on my billion years of being a Dungeon Master (oh God, how that makes me cringe to say outload), that I needed to make this as visual as possible. Pencil and paper were fine in my day, but this generation has been raised on Call Of Duty graphics and HD visuals.
And I was set.
But, as in any game of this sort, I had NO idea what would happen and honestly, I never would have guessed in a million years.