Sunday, November 17, 2013

He's at the plate, he swings and he....

Hits a double. First time out, I don't think that's a bad thing at all. Pretty darn good for a kid taking his first crack at DMing an AD&D 1E game.

For those not in the know (Gasp, you haven't been following this page faithfully?!) my 12 year old son is taking up the reigns of DM for the first time.

He started with a simple dungeon crawl last week generated at DonJon random generator and got his toes wet. He did OK. It made him realize that he wasn't nearly as well prepared as he thought he was, despite ole Dad trying to give him some pointers on game prep. Gotta let them walk or fall on their own, can't do it for them.

Then we printed out a first level module from DragonsFoot called "DragonMount". He selected it himself. I figure he would pay more attention and invest himself in it more if it was something that he chose on his own and was interested in personally.

We played for about 3.5 hours yesterday in one long session. We didn't finish the adventure in one sitting, we'll try to do that today if possible. He seems to think we got through most of it yesterday.

I'm not looking over his shoulder or anything like that. I do let him call a "time out" when he feels the need so that I can put on my "DM Hat" and help him to figure out or understand something as he goes along. So far, he feels pretty good about it. Thinks he wants to keep on DMing beyond this. This is a good thing in my opinion.

My 14 year old daughter takes her turn at DMing next week. After watching him do it, she is raring to go.

Here's how I see it. Learning to play AD&D 1E is one thing and it can slip away easily. I have known many, many people who were players at one point in time then got away from the game and never went back.

When they learn to be a DM and run their own games, you have then actually "passed the torch" and they are more likely to play the game much longer going forward. I'm an example of that myself.

Them learning to be a DM is actually giving them the whole game. They no longer "need" you in order to play anymore. They can take their experience and maybe find other kids or people to introduce the game to on their own. Hopefully, though once beginning to DM, they may no longer "need" me in order to play, they will still game with me anyway for a long time to come.

Personally, this is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my kids. Everybody is working together, having fun, laughing and engaging in a little friendly competition. I get to use the game as a teaching tool at the same time. How to think, how to strategize, how to use reasoning skills. How to safely and in a healthy way blow steam off from the "real" world without getting drunk, getting stoned or getting in trouble.

I have also given them a hobby instead of just a game. Once you begin to DM, you can spend all kinds of time with just a pencil and paper inventing new dungeons, planning out encounters and future games.

I can also say I've given them a new appreciation of "story" and reading. They have, since beginning to play, been hitting the public library up almost non-stop for two years now reading some great books like, "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings", The original Robert E Howard books of Conan and so many more. They are reading mythology and folk tales from various cultures. Why? because it all helps them to get a better understanding of what they are up against in the games. It gives them some perspective.

I love this game.

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