Calfgrit10 has shown interest in a lot of my D&D paraphernalia laying and hanging about my home office. I’ve given him some vague descriptions of D&D, but I’ve never played it with him nor given him a rulebook to read about it. Not that I haven’t wanted to, I’ve just been waiting for an appropriate level of maturity. I think he’s reached that maturity, now. So I told him to think of who he’d like to invite over for an afternoon introduction to the wonderful world of Dungeons & Dragons adventure.
He immediately had one particular friend in mind, so I noted him. Then he thought for a minute and gave me another friend’s name, and I noted him. Then he thought for another minute, and this time I suggested a friend’s name, which he agreed to, and I noted him. That would be four boys in total — a good number that maybe I could handle. I’ve run a D&D game many times through the years, but it’s been since never that I’ve done it for a group of 10 year olds. Especially a group of 10 year olds who have never been exposed to a table-top role playing game.
The boy whom I suggested, I know his father is/used to be a gamer similar to me, (we’ve briefly talked about it when our boys were hanging out together). I knew before I asked Calfgrit10, that I wanted to invite that dad and boy to join us. Not only would another classic gamer be sharing in a little nostalgia with our sons, but maybe having another dad present would make it easier for me to control the game. And I was glad that CG10 immediately agreed.
Once I got Calfgrit’s list of friends to invite, I gave thought to what edition of D&D did I want to run for them. Third edition is my personal preference for D&D gaming, but it’s too complicated for what is essentially a simple pick-up game. D&D3 is great for campaign-length gaming, but Basic D&D (1981 edition) is probably better for simple, introductory one-shot games. So I decided to run Basic D&D. And I’ll use the classic adventure module, In Search of the Unknown — the adventure module that served as my own personal first introduction to the game. The more I thought about this whole thing over the next several days, the more excited I got about it.
- I’m Going to Run a Basic D&D Adventure
- Basic D&D Game Session — Creating the Characters
- Basic D&D Game Session — Enter the Dungeon
- Basic D&D Game Session — Re-entering the Dungeon
I sent emails to the three boys’ parents, explaining my plans, and waited for the responses.
I’m in the planning stage of having a game day where I’ll introduce [Calfgrit10] and some of his friends to a classic game of Dungeons & Dragons. (Basic D&D, 1981 edition, if you are familiar with the game.) We want to invite [boy] to join us, if he’s interested. It’s looking like the best date would be July 23, for about 4 hours in the afternoon.
Please let me know if [boy] would be interested, and if that date is workable.
The first reply was an immediate and positive response from the dad whom I was hoping would join us. The second reply didn’t come until I had sent a follow up email several days later.
I got a phone call from the boy’s mother. She was “concerned” about the concept, as she didn’t have positive knowledge of D&D. “From what I remember about it, it was something that studious kids avoided,” she said.
Her husband had played D&D some time in the past, but she had no firsthand experience with it, herself. She said her son tended to get somewhat obsessed with video games he played, so she wanted to think about it and talk with her husband about whether D&D would be appropriate for their son. I supported her wanting to talk it out, and made no defense of the game other than to point out it is more social than most video games — he’d be playing with three or four other boys at the table.
The idea that some of the parents might have memories of the old 80’s urban myths about D&D being related to the occult, and players going insane, did cross my mind before I sent out the emails. So I had already given thought to whether to, and how to, defend it if I needed to. My decision was that I would not defend the game in an effort to get some parent’s permission for their son to play. I didn’t want to talk anyone into letting their child do something they weren’t sure about, even if their concern was based on completely untrue old scary myths. I figured the most defense I would give would be to invite the parents to join the game day if they wanted, even if they just hung out in the room with us and watched.
But even as I considered how to handle mythical worries, I thought, (read: hoped), that such silly ideas had already been sufficiently debunked just by the number of modern dads, (and maybe moms), who probably played the game in their younger, (or even current), years. But then, I should have realized that people who have not experienced D&D in any way, directly or indirectly, really have no basis on which to personally debunk any of the myths. I mean, unless you’ve swallowed Pop Rocks and Pepsi at the same time, how would you know the mixture wouldn’t kill you?
So, anyway, a few days later, the mom called back and explained that, although her husband backed up the fact that D&D is just a game, and nothing sinister in any way, their son won’t be participating in our game. They don’t want him obsessing over it like he has shown a propensity to do with video games. Fair enough. I have no problem with their decision.
The third boy we invited, I’ve had a hard time connecting with his mother. Her email bounced, and she hasn’t returned our phone call, yet. So we’ve got just one boy and dad so far planning to join our adventure afternoon. Calfgrit10 has given me another friend to invite, and I’ll be sending his parents an email tonight. I hope we can get some more takers. D&D is much more fun with a group of friends. Without the group dynamic, it looses a major enjoyment factor.