Suddenly I was a chicken.
I may be the only guy that ever played Dungeons and Dragons to try and impress a girl. The only time I recall playing was with her circle of friends with the explicit goal of gaining their approval. It was a low bar to be fair but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game. I just didn’t play much. But I always enjoyed the world building and storytelling that went into any tabletop RPG game.
I’d sit with the source books and flip through the rules of just about any game. Star Wars, Ninjas and Superspies, Heroes Unlimited. I even found a James Bond RPG somewhere.
A couple of decades later, my kids were asking to play so I started looking into it. Things have changed. I’ve verified with old friends that what we played was the second edition. The game is currently on the fifth edition and what was the $20 player’s handbook is now $50. I don’t know how money works for you, but I’m not about to drop $50 on something my kids might hate.
There was also the question of creating the adventure. I don’t know how time works for you but I wasn’t about to spend hours making up some crap adventure my kids wouldn’t play.
Enter the Dungeons and Dragon Starter Set. This thing was $15 and included a streamlined rulebook, a pre-written adventure and a few pre-made characters for the party to choose from. That may sound limiting to the purist but it was exactly what this family needed. All we had to do was sit down and play.
Both of my sons had played with friends once before. My daughter had heard all about the game and was eager to play. My wife’s only brush with D&D was the Intellivision game and the Saturday morning cartoon. This was going to be a new experience for her.
Our oldest volunteered to run the game.
His brother was a Wizard he called Winderin the Wise.
Our daughter was a Dwarf Cleric with a giant war hammer.
My wife chose the fighter.
And I chose the halfing rogue because the character came with a short sword, a short bow and a short complex.
With the characters chosen, it was time to begin the adventure.
Our party was hired by someone to escort a cart full of something somewhere. Deliver the cart. Collect the gold. It seemed simple.
Within one minute, I was a chicken because our wizard had a knack for rolling ones and the DM wanted to pick on me.
I eventually recovered from the chicken thing and the rest of the night was filled with goblins, thieves and more laughing than any of us could remember.
My eldest loved running things and had a blast doing voices for the different characters.
My wife loved hitting things with her sword and that didn’t surprise me at all.
My daughter needed reminding that, despite her wishes, her alignment meant that she was basically a good person and she wouldn’t be allowed to do such horrible things.
After turning me into a chicken, freezing one of my wee little legs, knocking out the Dwarf and Fighter and accidentally putting himself to sleep my son eventually renamed his character Winderin the Wise but no so Accurate.
But we all had fun. We got to play as a team. And we all got to laugh at Dad.
We’re going to play again. There is still a lot of adventure left in that box set. And if we finish that, I’ll even spring for the $50 handbook so we can play more.