I’ve got a couple of things to talk about today regarding role playing. First, I came across a great blog yesterday that presented a solution for the problems that plagued my old role playing group. Second, I am getting excited for my Denver game this weekend (weather permitting) and am slowly seeing that arise in the boys.
Please go read the original article for correct attribution (if you are interested.) But this article really gave me a good solution for a problem that plagued my old group, I even sent the link to some of the players. The problem was that due to a variety of life related issues people could not always show up for every session. These are not teenage kids like the boys, or hard core gamers like the Denver group. They have active lives outside the games: relationships, kids, illnesses etc. can all affect attendance.
But this article presents a solution to that problem. Rather than approaching the games as an ongoing story, which becomes a problem if people miss an episode (think how hard it would be to create a cliffhanger end to one session, only to have someone gone the next time you play.) Instead think of it like the old Mission Impossible TV show, or some other shows with revolving large casts. Each night is a self contained episode, and the DM just has to create a hook behind whomever is there that week.
This ties into what I think would be a very interesting role playing scenario with the right group. The game would involve a group of people in some agency, but living in the world of the TV procedurals, like NCIS, CSI, etc. A world where terrorist attacks occur every week on US soil, or where every town hides a serial killer (or 2 or 3 or more.). Where shadowy government organization staffed by a collection of near geniuses with extraordinary legal powers act to defend the country (or at least wreak vengeance when an attack occurs.) All you would need is to have the entire group create their characters, and then each week there is a new case, which is investigated by a potentially revolving group of characters. This would even make it easier for the occasional drop in player, someone came in from out of town and wants to play? They are this weeks guest star from another part of the agency.
Learning to get excited
At the end of the last session I gave the boys the challenge of deciding what they wanted to buy for their characters. And James at least took it to heart, thinking of how to use the party money to hire more soldiers and build his own army. I did this in part because for me at least that is one of the best parts of role playing, and definitely something that D&D handles better than other systems. The idea of advancement, my character can now choose new skills, spells, acquire new magic items.
Because I want the boys to learn how to get excited about their characters. Leveling up doesn’t just mean another attack, it can mean so much more. I know that when my character in my Denver game leveled I couldn’t stop thinking about all the potential things I could do. It is not for everyone, not everyone geeks out on this like I do. But I want them to learn about the potential at least, get them to appreciate it so they have that chance to develop that interest.