Today, with a group of my friends, Liam and I played Basic D&D. Yes, it was old school, red box D&D, and from all accounts, everyone had a good time.
My good friend Ben thought that, since we were all in quarantine, we might as well make use of video conference tools and do an online, pseudo in person, D&D session. And, since it was Liam’s first time, and Ben’s girlfriends first time, what better way to start than with Basic. It’s a system that we all know pretty well, the rules are boiled down to make it easier to digest, and it’s a snap to pick up.
Liam was a Fighter, I was a Cleric, and our party rounded off with a Magic User, a Thief and a Dwarf (yes, Dwarf is a class in Basic D&D, as are Elves and Halflings). We jumped right into dungeon crawling, forgoing any of that silly back story that just get’s in the way (and to be honest, I was never very good at that anyway). After 90 minutes, we were all still alive and at a dead end. That’s about as long I figured Liam would last anyway, and it was a good point to just hit pause and pick it up another day.
To keep Liam most engaged, we made him the mapper. It seems that in Basic there’s a requirement for a Mapper and a Caller. The mapper, well, maps. And that was Liam’s job, and while he tried his best, I’m afraid we might be lost in the dungeon forever 😀
I was the Caller. It was my job to rally the troops to a decision and express that to the DM. Normally this would have been called the party leader, but Caller makes about as much sense.
Whilst going through the twists and turns of the dungeon, we only had one encounter. It was 4(them) against 5(us) and we killed two of them easily, with Liam getting a good kill in. I hit one, and did one damage. Not super helpful. But they turned tail and ran! So we lived to fight another day! Then we got lost and ended up at the end of an ever shrinking maze. That’s ok, all we have to do is turn around and go somewhere else. 🙂
Next time I think will be a little easier as we’ll all have our D&D hats on and know the rules a little better and be more into it. I’ll poke the DM to see if he can throw some more encounters in there. I do feel for him, level 1 characters a pretty frail, and sneezing wrong could kill the group.
I think we’ll keep Liam as the mapper, at least in spirit, so that he’s more engaged with the game. Being part of the instant/always on generation, it’s hard to keep him going some days unless the entertainment is visual. But we’ll keep at it and see how much he’s enjoying himself. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what really counts.