The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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9:15am on Tuesday, 15th August, 2006:
I've been teaching my children D&D.
Well, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, edition 3.5, but D&D. I'm the dungeonmaster, and I designed a campaign world especially for this. Yesterday, we finished our first adventure, The Death of a Priest of Auneshirna.
All the characters went up a level, except the paladin (who died, but they had enough loot to get her resurrected — 6,000GP seems a pretty good deal there). They comprehensively looted the dungeon, which was split between a section occupied by that first-level staple, kobolds, and a group of bandits. The leader of the bandits got away, but the party managed to expose the plot of a city guard officer to cover up his own foul deeds by blaming the bandits for something they hadn't done.
I was expecting my elder daughter to get into the game the most, as she likes acting. I thought my younger daughter would maybe get bored because her sister would be making all the decisions and she might not get what the game was about. In the usual clear demonstration that parents know nothing about their children, it was my younger daughter who dived head-first into the role-playing; she was the one begging to play the game in the evening, and getting frustrated when we had to stop because it was bedtime. The elder one, while enjoying it, wasn't anywhere near as keen. This is a shame, as I was hoping she'd go off and read the rules (I'm sure we've been applying combat bonuses completely wrong!). It's inspired her to go off and play Baldur's Gate, though, and she's painted about 15 lead figures for me (just another 200 or 300 to go).
Tabletop games are not the same as computer games; when my younger daughter asked me whether they could save before going into a very tricky battle against multiple opponents, she learned an important difference (and, incidentally, got more excited in the battle as a result). It's easy to see how people who play a lot of computer role-playing games might have too many preconceptions when it comes to tabletop games, and this is precisely why I'm showing them D&D now — before they get anywhere near the likes of World of Warcraft. I don't want them to miss the magic.
This may seem an odd comment, coming from someone who co-wrote the first virtual world. Why wouldn't I want my children to play one?
Well, other than the time it takes — a big problem for today's homework-enslaved teenagers — I'd be rather pleased to see them playing (and, indeed, to play with them). However, I don't want them to miss out on an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed myself when I was young, and I'd much rather they had a grounding in D&D before playing WoW than the other way round. It's just more, well, special.
Now I suppose I'd better go off and design adventure #2.
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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (firstname.lastname@example.org).