Tag Archives: kids

August Blog Carnival Wrap-Up

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First off, thanks to everyone who contributed to August’s Blog Carnival Teaching the Game. This is my first time hosting the carnival; thanks for making it a success. This post is a little late, but I just got married last week and am only now getting the chance to get back to a regular schedule. We had some great posts this month:

Again, thanks to everyone who participated. I’ll be hosting the January 2011 blog carnival on Worldbuilding, so mark your calendars 😉 .

Teaching the Game: August Blog Carnival

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First off, thanks to Mad Brew Labs for hosting the July carnival on Growing the Hobby. It really got some great discussion going. This month’s carnival actually (and inadvertently) extends that discussion. Much of the consensus about growing the hobby focused on how we, as RPG players and GMs, need to teach our games to as many new players as we can. This month, I take that one step further and ask how do we teach them?

I’d originally intended to call this “Passing it Down” and focus on children and roleplaying, but then I realized that was only one type of new RPG player. So this month, I want to focus on the hows and wherefores of teaching RPGs to new players, whether they be adults or children, people just joining their first game or people who’ve been playing for decades learning a new system.

Here’s some possible questions to get you going:

  • How do you find new players?
  • How do you help them learn the mechanics of a system (and how much of the system do you require them to learn?)
  • How do you teach the non-mechanics part of the game?
  • How do you teach someone to GM?
  • What’s the best beginner system?
  • What’s the best system for teaching roleplaying to kids?
  • How do you run games for kids?
  • What was your first game like? How could it have been better?
  • Should roleplaying be taught in the schools?
  • Do you play with your own kids?
  • Are all-kid game groups better than adult-kid mixed groups?

And, of course, anything else you can think of.

I’ve always enjoyed teaching games and most of the convention games I’ve run have been designed to introduce new players the whatever system I’m running. Later this month I’ll post my techniques on running a teaching game. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts; just put the URL of your post in the comments section below and at the end of the month, I’ll do a wrap-up post listing everyone’s contributions.

Kids & RPGs: Passing it Down

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Just recently, I’ve started a new campaign. I think I’m more excited about this game than any other I’ve run (which is saying a lot,  given the fact that I practically live for running games). It’s nothing fancy: just a plain, vanilla, out of the box ADD3.5 game, using largely canned adventures. The adventures aren’t anything to write home about — many are old-fashioned dungeon crawls updated to 3.5 stats. It’s not the adventures, it’s not the setting (I haven’t really developed one yet). What makes this game so exciting for me is the players … well, one player.

You see — I’m teaching my son AD&D. At 12, he’s finally able to sit down long enough to make it through a game session. I’m not sure who’s more thrilled: him or me. Probably me.

As the child of two gamers, he’s been around RPGs his whole life. He actually played his first game when he was 14 weeks old; he played a changeling child in a World of Darkness LARP. He’s been playing MMOs since he was five.  He’s watched countless game sessions I’ve run and played in. He follows the AD&D game I’m playing in almost as closely as I do and always asks what happened if he’s not around during a session. But this is his first real tabletop game.

I’m not expecting him to play all of his games with me. Honestly, I wouldn’t want him to. I know for me, half of the fun of games was discovering things for myself, with people of my own age and skill level and that’s an experience I don’t want him to miss out on. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud when he asked me to run his first game.

I ran my first game when I was about his age. It was the B1 module In Search of the Unknown that came in the Basic D&D “blue” box. Of course, back then adventuring consisted of killing monsters, gathering treasure, and getting as much magic and experience points as we could.  We had only the most rudimentary idea of a background for our characters and there wasn’t as much role-playing as roll-playing. But it was the start which, 30 years later, led to our current games of rich character interaction, fully-developed game settings, and intricate plots and subplots where it’s almost as much theatre as game.

I’ll refer to my son as ‘Kraseus’ —  his character name. After all, when I was his age, I preferred my character name to my real one, too 😉 .

Kraseus is starting from a different point: he wants what he sees the adults playing. He wants a detailed character background and the sense that he’s playing in a world that could be real — something I never looked for until my later years of high-school. But he’s entering a well-developed hobby where as, 30 years ago, it wasn’t just us that were new: the whole idea of gaming was new. My son is a second-generation gamer (actually third, on his dad’s side), so his expectations are different from mine at his age.

It’ll be very interesting to see where his generation takes us.