At some point after dinner last night I pulled the “Dungeons and Dragons” starter set out of my work backpack, and asked the kids if they would be interested in reading through the book with me. Quite unexpectedly everybody dropped what they were doing, and followed me into the lounge.
It’s worth noting that I have never played any sort of tabletop role playing game before (unless you include the likes of Risk, Settlers of Catan, or Carcassonne), so had been hoping the children would be happy just to sit and figure everything out with me. Of course I was wrong.
Within five minutes we had started playing (at first their insistence, and then my other half, who wasn’t even playing).
The guide book suggested that each person playing should choose a character to play (the starter set comes with some pre-defined characters, which made this much easier), and to get each person to introduce themselves to the party.
And this is where the children took over, because they’re children – and their imagination knows no bounds. Suddenly we had “Bob” the Dwarf, who’s a little light fingered, but good at threatening people. We also had “Sam” the Halfling, who’s good at figuring things out, and “Romeo” the Elf, with wonderful dexterity and great decision making skills.
I read the introduction to the story – about a motherlode of gold hidden in a far away cave, and a race to reclaim the treasure after Orcs had discovered it. One of the three Dwarvish brothers – called “Gundren Rockseeker” had gone on ahead, and we were following behind with a wagon full of supplies.
I read some more tips from the guidebook…
“So how do each of you know Gundren Rockseeker?”
The children responded immediately.
“He knows my Mum”
“We went to school together”
“I met him down the pub”
For the next half an hour we began playing – with no map, no figures, and just using one dice. I don’t know how to run fights yet, so we kept things very simple – rolling a 20 sided dice to decide on success or failure at whatever was going on.
Of course the kids walked straight into a Goblin ambush, but they also threw some of the most spectacularly lucky dice rolls I’ve ever seen – causing me to make up some pretty fantastical fight scenes. They very quickly realised who had ranged, and who had melee weapons – and took turns in order to take advantage of that. As the goblins sprinted down the hill towards them, one had an eye taken out, one lost a leg, and various other comical injuries occurred – all in the interests of keeping it fun.
Our first encounter came to an end with Miss 12’s “Bob” standing toe to toe with the last Goblin, hurling insults at him before smashing him on the head with her impressive sounding “War Hammer”.
And that’s when I said “Time’s up for tonight then!”, and everybody drifted off in search of milk and cookies before bed.
I guess I should really go and read the guide books now.