Monday, March 16, 2015

Teaching D&D

            I always enjoy watching people learning to play Dungeons & Dragons for the first time – which is what I was doing tonight. A friend of mine works in a store that is going to start running the official Wizards of the Coast gaming sessions and tonight, in preparation, he was running a game for new players. He asked me (as an experienced player) to come along to help advise the new players.

            The important thing to know about D&D is that it’s a storytelling game, specifically designed to give the players as much freedom as possible. As such, it can be a little complicated to learn – but the hardest thing to learn, I feel, is that you’re allowed to think outside the box and bend the rules to suite your needs.

            The best story I have to describe this involves a game I was playing that was run by the same friend. I had encountered a door that, to get through it, my character had to will himself through – becoming part of the door before passing through. So, I asked that, if my character could will himself to become part of the door, couldn't he also will the door to be part of him? After looking shocked for a moment, my friend agreed. My character absorbed the door and walked around, able to manifest a door at will.

            That’s the sort of game D&D is – anything goes and, in a society built around such solid rules, that’s a hard thing to learn. This group of players did a splendid job, however. At first, they stuck to the mechanics of the game, but while they were in a room with what sounded like an army coming after them, they became more and more creative in finding ways to secure the area. They started with trying to wedge a knife under the door to keep it shut and eventually tried using an ice spell to freeze the doors together.

            The best part is I hardly had to suggest anything. All the players picked up the game quickly and flowed right into it. A lot of credit needs to be given to me friend running the game – he taught the basics and prepared brilliantly for working with new players (if I ever teach a new group again, I’ll take a leaf out of his book). The end result was everyone had fun and there are now a bunch of new people hooked on D&D.


            I bet we could get a lot more outside-the-box thinkers in the world if more people played D&D. Maybe we should teach it in schools. Ah, if only I were the ruler of the world...





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If there's any subject you'd like to see me ramble on about, feel free to leave a comment asking me to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Commenting on old posts again... oops. Just flipping through your D&D posts and came across this one. This is why I so want to get into the game and also why I was so afraid when I was younger. Because there's so much out-of-the-box thinking involved it really gives you a chance to flex your creative muscles in a social setting. It can be intimidating because, when you don't have rules to guide your actions, your actions really become a reflection of yourself. I think this is wonderful now of course, but at the time I was playing I was overly self-conscious. (D&D probably would have actually helped me break out of that).

    My husband loves the door thing by the way, he's laughing pretty hard right now.

    Total side note, but it's to do with your last statement about teaching it in school... because I agree! Part of the reason we want to learn to play is to be able to share it with Emmy as she grows up (we're also planning on home schooling). Not sure if I've ever shared this video with you before, but you might like it. About the importance of divergent thinking in education :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

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