Not an ASTG meetup
I had an Indie RPG night planned, but due to various illness, busy-ness, and unresponsiveness (the horrible nesses), it had to be postponed. Kind of bummed because I was hoping to push that Dungeon World + Microscope madness, but now it'll just have to wait, and meanwhile the memories of all that fade.
Emerald Knights Comics and Games
I was already driving around the area, so went in to one of my larger, local gaming stores, Emerald Knights Comics and Games in Burbank. They have a huge collection of comics, and very nice collection of board games. The RPGs that are stocked are the main D&D and Pathfinder fare, with some sprinkling of other larger options, but no indie press stuff. They have a full wall of Reaper minis though, so you can shop and pick things that look fun.
I picked up a few comics, since my daughter is just now starting to get deep into graphic novels. Was looking for Ms. Marvel (heard good things) but it was sold out, and ended up with Captain Marvel for her (on good recommendations), and the first 3 volumes of Rat Queens (for me).
They have events various nights, and I've been here before to do some board game nights. The board game regulars are pretty much board game only. And Thursday night wasn't an RPG night (apparently that's Wednesday). The second floor sits in a circle above the store, so you can look down on the shop. It contains a set of tables used for various gaming, and tonight was wargame night. Lots of tables playing Inifinity (I'm not really familiar with it).
I tried to poach some people, and was looking successful in getting one or two, but in the end they got busy with other things. I did get to read a bunch of Rat Queens though, and that got my juices flowing for some gaming...
A group of kids
I ended up sitting next to a table with Richard (I'm guessing he's about 18) and his younger brothers and cousins (3 kids ranging in age from 8-10). They were all playing Magic, and it turned out older brother had played D&D before. Before I knew it, I had them create some Dungeon World characters (a Cleric, a Paladin, a Ranger, a Thief), and we had about 30 minutes to run through a quick adventure before the store closed.
I worked with each kid, during downtime in the Magic game, to create characters, since I knew we were running short on time. I was absolutely fascinated with how remarkably quick and easy it was for these youngsters to get a character in shape... all said about 5 minutes a piece (and of these youngsters had ever played and RPG; Magic being the closest they've gotten).
They had fun with the bonds, but we weren't really fleshing anything out in any deep way... it was more just to get the kids laughing, poking fun at each other, and having some silly ties. That sounded successful enough to me.
In the end I just did a little thing where they were assigned as a group to go relieve some soldiers from Keep Thornbrush. I figured they'd be on their way there, and possibly get there late, where creepy stuff could start happening.
I stole an idea I heard Jason talk about on the Discern Realities podcast recently: When Undertaking a Perilous Jouney, question the various players... What is the Scout worried about encountering? What landmark is the Trailblazer looking for? etc. It worked out great having them narrate prior to rolling, and got them immediately in the frame of doing things, rolling dice, dealing with consequences. We started with some fog... The Scout answered about watching for thieves in these lands, and of course, with the fog and limited visibility, they all got tense. They all loved it that the Quartermaster flubbed his roll, and therefore the ranger's bear got into the food supplies. The Trailblazer answered that he was looking for the mountain, the landmark which meant they were on their way up to the keep. Well, he also rolled poorly, and so they got lost in fog, and got there late, so had to use adventuring gear for torches.
And then zombies. And bites and debilities. And then a nervous transaction with the keep's guards when they got there. And the scared soldiers there ask, "Wait, aren't you the reinforcements that were sent to help us take care of the ghost?"
But 30 minutes rolls quick, and that was all we had time for... but the gold was the look in those kids eyes when they were playing, and the invariable question: "When are you coming back? When can we play again?" Awesome.
Their older brother said he could run it for them. I gave him the link to get Dungeon World for $10, and now it's in his hands. He's a bit heavy handed and seems a bit adversarial in style, but hey, weren't we all at one point?
At any rate, hoping the sparks will fan the flames for more gamers in future days.