Middle School D&D

I’ve been talking about this on social media over the last few weeks but it’s time to set it down in a more meaningful setting.

For the last three weeks I have been hosting Dungeons and Dragons as an after school club for my daughters middle school. A general call went out early this year prior to school starting up again and I had the thought

“What if…..?”

First I asked my kiddo what she thought and she said she thought it’d be cool and she’d love to play. Done! An email volunteering and then waiting for that first session.

*note* there was actually more than that like a background check (which was in place as I am already a school volunteer and a nurse with a government clearance), a prep meeting and then getting my shit together. I picked up a copy of the Starter set and did a little reading.

it27s2bgo2btime

Session One was the scariest because I didn’t know what I was in for. The organizer mentioned that she had a lot of interest and that sometimes the Magic:the Gathering club had upwards of 60 kids in there. 60! Woof, not sure how I was going to get 60 kids organized and playing but I’m not turning away a kid that wants to play D&D.

Turns out I was hyperventilating for nothing. I had seven kids show up. One had played 3.5 a couple times and the rest (besides my kiddo) were brand new. We spent about half the time with some quick character creation and basic rules setup and then went right into it.

For those of you familiar with the Starter set and keeping score they finished the first fight defeating the goblin ambushers with minimal injuries.

FYI: for character creation I had them choose race/class and roll stats. Then we went forward with adventuring and I explained anything I needed from them in a roll. Afterwards I kept all the character sheets and fleshed the characters out at home. Yes I made choices for them but it’s not much different than a Pregen PC and they actually picked the big pieces.

success-kid-round-2-fight

Session two was the scariest session because I was worried more people would show up or that no one would show because they decided they had something more fun to do. Wrong on both counts. The same group came to the table and they proceeded to explore the Cragmaw Goblin hideout.

It is fun watching them play and discover their play styles. I have one know it all who has advice for everyone at the table. Another guy who is super happy to sneak around and get some treasure. Then there is the louder, attention grabbing kid who named their Fiendish Pact Warlock Trump (but has since revised that to Taylor Swift).

My daughter is the most experienced player and she’s someone I would want at any table. She’s quiet, pays attention and she knows what she wants to do. IMG_0969

I’m also having a lot of fun watching the only other young lady at the table. She is quiet, almost reserved and very soft spoken with zero D&D experience. She is observant ans smart though. She listens, she asks questions and thinks outside of the box. She’s going to be a sharp player very quickly.

The party cleaned out the goblin cave. They set up a double-ruse. Agreeing to aid Yeemic (whom they renamed Yum-Yum) in overthrowing Klarg. They were loosely bound and brought before the bugbear but then charmed Klarg and assisted him in defeating the would be usurpers. After some congratulations by the bugbear they quickly left for Phandalin to avoid being nearby when the charm wore off.

Session Three

nigel1

This was the scariest session because not only did everyone return but four new players joined us! Four more Pc’s means this party goes to eleven! To save time I handed out four pre-generated characters and they jumped right into the story.

With this many kids at the table it is going to be an effort to channel and focus their energy. WE made it through an encounter with the Red Cloaks. They managed to capture three, defeat five and two well, they may have gotten away.

I guess we’ll see what happens next time.

 

Advertisements

Religion in Dungeon and Dragons

Polytheism in D&D

Just what does it mean to live in a world with more than one God? In our very real world we struggle with the concept of one God versus many versus God having multiple manifestations. I’m not here to discuss real world religious doctrine or faiths (though that is a favorite topic).

For the purposes of many D&D and RPG game worlds there are many Gods present in the world. Think of the Greek or Roman pantheons we learned about in school. One God rules over one aspect of the world or perhaps many but not everything. “God of the Seas? You bet! But uh, I can’t do anything about your crops drying up…go ask her.” This means there is a great deal of diversity for players to choose from and almost endless role-playing and flavor potential.

In my experience however each character still acts as though only one God truly matters: their particular God. In fact many characters don’t acknowledge the gods at all. This I think, is a problem.

Let’s explore this from the perspective of the characters shall we?

There is an adventurer, lets say a fighter. A mercenary. She travels the world selling her sword-arm to the highest bidder. While in the north she meets a shaman able to speak with the dead! While in the south she faces a priest of the Sun God able to call down columns of fire on his enemies! During her time as a pirate (you know it) the ships cleric calls on the favor of the Sea Goddess to grant her the ability to breathe water and she swims to the hull of an enemy vessel and bores it full of holes!

All of these are actual events the character experienced and benefited from. Factual evidence of the existence and power of the Gods!  She personally experienced the power of all of them. How can the character in question support the existence and power of only one of these Gods?

She cannot. Each deity is as real to her as the other. So my main question in this: How  does a character worship in a world with multiple Gods? A la carte.

buddy_christ

They worship all of them in the situations that require it. About to cross the sea? Pray to that Sea Goddess. Pray fervently. Entering a maze/dungeon? Pray to the finder of lost souls. Each God or Goddess has a place and a role and the characters in that world must honor that. Yes a warrior would serve the God of Battle first and foremost, but he would pray to The Mother to watch over his family while he is away, to the Lord of Storms for favorable battle conditions and so on.

Now even if they are not your favored deity they are a deity and they demand worship. To use a D&D example look at what happens when Tanis encounters just the slightest shadow of Takhisis in the DragonLance novels. He kneels. She is the epitome of evil, the very thing he is fighting against and even the slightest, the weakest version of her demands his respect. He bows before her.

tak

So what’s the point? I think we as players are missing out on a huge role-play opportunity. Devoting oneself to one particular God does not negate the Godhood of the other deities, merely how you interact with them and their followers.

DM’s: encourage your players to utilize religion beyond the God the Cleric or Paladin follows. A rogue  or fighter or barbarian will have just as much need for divine guidance as a cleric.

Players: Think about how your character views religion? Are they religious? Very much so or a bit of a Sunday morning Paladin? Do they devote themselves to one God or keep their options open?

Let me know how it goes. I love hearing and sharing stories of our games.