Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gaming with Children Redux

First, a little background...
I have two kids, whom I tend to call on the internet "Mac" and "Macy."  Mac is eleven and into comic books, CGI-laden movies, video games, and fantasy novels and tends to be a little, shall we say, "high energy" (in short, he's Mini-WQRobb).  Macy, on the other hand, is eight and possesses the attention span of a zen master and whose favorite hobby is origami.  Since Mrs. WQRobb isn't like that, I can only figure that a magpie put her in our nest when she was a baby.
Evan, the GM of my bi-weekly D&D game surprised me a few weeks ago by announcing that he wanted to run a game for my two kids and his two kids, "Zack" and "Abe."  I was surprised for two reasons.  First, I had run a game once for my kids and it was a fiasco.  I ran a milquetoast version of Labyrinth Lord using one of my modular dungeons, but apparently pit traps make you a bad GM and a bad daddy, even if the pit trap is already open and clearly visible.
But I was also surprised because while Zack is ten and another little sci-fi/fantasy geek (he and Mac are good friends), Abe is five.  Maybe he is an advanced five, I don't know.  When Mac was five he was running around the back yard in nothing but a cape swinging a length of PVC pipe and yelling at the top of his lungs, while five-year-old Macy would do things like come down from her room at 11:30 at night to where my wife and I were watching television, say "I am Sith!" and then skulk back to her room.
But we set aside last Friday for them to play, and I wished him well.

After Evan showed up with Zack and Abe in tow I greeted them warmly, got them set up in the Daddy/Daughter Cave, and then headed into town to meet with a member of my 40K club to discuss a tournament we were planning this summer.  About twenty minutes into it I get a text from my wife saying, "Evan is waiting for you to come back.  I think he thought you were going to play."

What will our intrepid hero do?  Click here to continue

So, I went back to my house, and plopped myself down at the table with four children, all in grade school, and picked up my pre-made character.  Evan had come up with some sort of home-grown system combining the latest edition of Gamma World, D&D 4E, some board game and a system he found online called Old School Hack.  This allowed for everyone (except me) to play whatever they wanted.  Mac was the son of Thor, Macy was a Eladrin Cleric, Zack was a robot, and Abe was a Saiyan pirate. I was given the role of tottering old human wizard mentor, whom I named Zachariah Alder.
One does not simply walk into Gamma World

I will say this for Evan, he planned well.  The adventure was pretty straightforward: my character had summoned the other PC's from across the Multiverse to help him defeat an Evil Wizard (tm) who had been terrorizing the countryside with his army of battle droids and skeletons.  My PC could lead the others to his underground lair.

Despite my reservations, I played my job has pseudo-NPC pretty well.  I would do things like say, "The door is locked.  Do we want Chad (the robot) to try to override the lock, or should Thorin (the demi-god) try to muscle the door open?"  I'd also just try to soften up opponents with spells but let them actually land the killing blow.

As one might expect, Abe was only good for the game for about three minutes before he decided that sending larger and larger toys careening down the stairs into the Daddy/Daughter Cave was infinitely more interesting. Evan seemed to possess remarkable patience, and later Mac rewarded me for my own contribution by stating that this game was "so much better than the one that I ran" because it was clear that Evan had actually thought about it.  Macy informed me that Star Moon the Eladrin cleric would never trust Zachariah again because he brought them to Gamma World without a way of sending them back.

Sure, blame me for the plot device.  At least it's roleplaying.

3 comments:

  1. "but apparently pit traps make you a bad GM and a bad daddy" -- LOL :)

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  2. Lol! Good article. My sons have both been gamers since they were about 7 or 8 but they really were keen to play "dad's games". My youngest daughter, who is 6 is more likely to role play a tornado in a confined space!

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  3. You fibber. You weren't even here when they arrived. Mrs. Witterquick

    ReplyDelete

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