The time and moment I was waiting for has finally arrived. Jimmy is talking about running a game for his buddies. That truly is a big moment in a Geek Dad’s life, when you know that all the work, all the time spent playing, the talks in the car, and the teaching, are really worth it.
Obviously this is not something that I could have shared with my parents, they didn’t play D&D, or have any desire or interest in it. I think I tried to run a game once for my Mom and my older brother, which did not go well. But that’s okay, the important thing is that I get to pass it along.
I have passed along the joy of the game. He has really absorbed that, and wants to play more than we already do. I cannot ask for more than that.
But this is a crucial moment. I could just hand him the dice, show him the rule book, and walk away like a dealer leaving the table at a casino. But I choose not to do it that way. I will be there each step of the way. I’m not going to play, because I think that would be too much pressure for him. But I will help him with all the prep work.
I have read all the articles. Listened to the advice of those I respect. And here are the big things I will pass along. First, he will make mistakes, he doesn’t know his own style yet, it will take some time to absorb and figure that out. Second, he is starting with a tough group: his buddies, who may not show him as much respect as a more formal group, but he needs to know that going in and not rage quit. And last, start with a module, not try and make it all up on his own.
Because a role playing game is like most things, the devil is truly in the details. And balance is really hard. There is a lot of work behind the scenes to make a good balanced game. And by starting with a module first he won’t have to worry about that balance in advance. Instead he can focus on learning the skills involved in managing the session without thinking through the balance part first.
After a couple of modules he can then start to develop things on his own. Because if he pays attention to how the modules run he will realize how that balance works.
I am excited for him though. This is a big step. To try to take charge of the table is not easy, and not for everyone. I think I would have a hard time working with adults at this point, with my peers. So more power to Jimmy on making this step.
And on that note I have resolved that over the holiday I will create a one or 2 shot adventure for Danny and Jimmy, to teach Danny the ins and outs of the game. Because it is time to start on the next child! I think Danny would really enjoy the game if we can get him started. I just need to create that first session in a way that will be focused on the simple fun, nothing complex. And once I get him started I might gradually work Danny into the boys game as an occasional player, until we have enough time for him to develop his own group.
In the end, I am doing what I hoped. And following the age old advice of teach your kids to play and you will always have someone to play with. That might have applied to sports with some families, and applies to mine as well, but I choose to stretch it to include my games too. And yes, that means Emily will get her turn too, because role playing should be gender neutral like everything else.