Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gaming Without a Net

This afternoon was a lot of fun, kids. It started off with my friend Z teaching me how to play Magic: the Gathering (totally going to be playing more of this in the future), followed by a few rounds of Are You a Werewolf (which I recommend), and then glorious D&D. This game of D&D was unusual for me in that I was playing with three players I had never played D&D with before and none of my regular players were there. What's more is that two of the players were relatively new and the third had never played before. Talk about wanting to do a good job for them! I mean if I fuck this up they might not want to play with me again (which would totally suck a whole bag of dicks) and the new player might never want to touch the dice again. 

So I throw them into my wheelhouse: Greyhawk. I avoid putting them into Dyvers or Greyhawk city right off the bat since that tends to take away their incentive to explore and the game is always more fun in my opinion when you're getting to do and see new things. We start in the state of Furyondy, in the city of Libemen (which I kept calling Lieberman so that's what it's called now). Anyway, since I had never gamed with them it was hard to really know what they were into so I offered them the opportunity to kind of do their own thing or go straight to a dungeon. They chose dungeon because these kids rock.  Now I've got them at the dungeon and it's clear that they're not really sure where to go so I throw a kobold at them expecting them to kill him fairly quickly. Not only do they not kill Thomas the Kobold but they talk to him and even attempt to find a way to pay him for entry into the dungeon. 

To say I was shocked is to put things mildly. Most of my old groups would have just killed the kobold; and then there are some of them that would have killed him and used his head as a hat (Shout out to John!). It was clear that I would have to adjust my strategy early with these guys and provide them with lots of opportunities to talk while still giving them the option to stop the words and unleash hell on these imaginary monsters. So I figured that I'd try something new with them since they were something new for me. 

Over the last few years I've toyed with the idea of a dungeon casino and this afternoon seemed like a great time to test it out; so I introduced them to the dungeon casino of Roth-Ron-Dar (said with a flourish of the arms). The idea of Roth-Ron-Dar was to provide the players with an environment that had lots of opportunities for mischief. There was gambling, creepy robotic waiters; a den of depravity that would have made Sodom and Gomorrah say, "Maybe you're taking things too far;" a steam room with ogres and trolls wearing tiny towels; rampaging, undead warriors; passage into the Underdark; and a devil named Bo-bob-bildering who wanted a Shadow Dragon for his lobby. Along every step of Roth-Ron-Dar I kept expecting them to fight someone, but they surprised me as it never happened, and as long as they had fun that's fine. 

See that's the thing that's most important when you're playing D&D: that everyone is having fun; and it's the thing that I worry most about when I play - and the thing I agonize over after it all done. Did I give them enough options? Did they have fun? Did they laugh enough? Do they want to play with me again now that we're done? Was it too weird for them? Not weird enough? Did I hold their hands too much and make them feel like I was babying them? Did I leave them out in the wind too often? Did they fight too much? Are the combats going too long? Or was there too little combat? Do the enemies feel like they're a challenge or does it all feel too easy? Insecurities abound in my skull kids. 

Anyway, hopefully next time we play Biggboy can join us because he needs to have more fun and these cats are our kind of people.


  1. Sounds like a great time. The awesome thing about players who are new to the game is that they have to preconceived notion of what the game is "supposed" to be about so the potential for fresh ideas and approaches is huge. As for the insecurities, I've had GMs who confided in me that they were worried about how this or that session went even though they had gotten positive feedback from their other players. My best advice is listen to your players. They'll let you know when you are on the mark & not. Also, hat tip for confirming my suspicion that gaming and fun are not incompatible despite rumors to the contrary.

  2. Sounds like a great game.
    I love the idea of a casino for humanoids locked away in a dungeon someplace.
    though I agree the group I play with would have started a faire at some point.


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