My Best Day

d and dThe day I’d dreamed about forever had finally arrived. The day I got the boys to play D&D.

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?”

“Ah, no.”

sad but socialPlus, I told them, it’s vaguely social. The best games are the best because of the people you play with.

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.

shrekTjackson's characterhe oldest chose to be a fighter. And an ogre. Like Shrek. Mostly I think he did this so he could say Shrek a lot which is some sort of meme which is some sort of something I still don’t quite get.

carters characterThe 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.

warhammer scenerySo I hauled out my old scenery from a table-top game (Warhammer for those who care). Lots of trees. A few big-ass rocks. And I bought some tiles that showed forest-like ground and buildings.

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.

More tomorrow.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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5 Responses to My Best Day

  1. gahrky says:

    Looking forward to reading more!

  2. gahrky says:

    Looking forward to seeing how this went!

  3. Alain Hargreaves says:

    Hope you have many successful sessions and get to run an epic multi-year campaign with them. Looking forward to your experiences, so I can learn and cannibalize.

    I’m enjoying DM’ing a “D&D lite” campaign with a younger group, by using story, puzzles, and any simple visual aids I can conjure up, with a downloaded freeware ruleset “Freeform Universal RPG”, which I’m beating with a largish stick to make work the way I want it to. So far, I haven’t been lynched, and I keep being invited back.

    Happy Gaming!

  4. Silk Questo says:

    Okay, I’m as clueless about D&D as the kids. Actually, more clueless, since I’m really not any kind of gamer (except that forgettable period of escapism starting one Christmas decades ago, when someone gave us a Nintendo and I lost about 2 months of my life pursuing Bowser … yes, I killed him). But I love the idea of adventures that actually come out of your imagination instead of a machine … like a home made meal versus a Big Mac. But I can see your challenge for sure. A home made meal can be spectacular or horrible, whereas a Big Mac is a Big Mac, and it seems a lot of kids think they’re delicious. I also empathize with the kids being underwhelmed by non-digital playthings. Imagine, for comparison, our reaction as writers if someone said “hey, try writing your novel longhand on these sheets of lined paper instead of on your computer … really, it’s fun, you’ll love it!” Good luck Joe — hope you all have a blast!

  5. Vonnie says:

    Very creative Joe. Looking forward to reading the next one.

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