Friday, November 27, 2009

Gaming with Kids: My Nephew's First Quest

On Thanksgiving my nephew, 7, brought Risk with him so I could teach him to play. As expected it started out fun but eventually devolved into mindless dice rolling as giant armies clashed in lopsided conflicts. By halfway through the outcome was obvious and he was getting bored. He insisted on playing on to the bitter end, but was ready for adventure.

In the past I have played Descent with my nephew and during our vacation this summer we played through The Lord of the Rings Adventure Game. This is an introductory RPG that follows the plot of the Fellowship of the Rings through three battle scenarios. We completed it and he even explored deeper into Moria. I did not have Descent with me and since playing another made up adventure in Moria would basically be playing D&D, I drug out the D&D 3.0 starter box. Sir Kevin was born!

Sir Kevin was hot on the trail of some unicorn stealing goblins when he came across their cottage outside of town. He crept up to the splintered wood door and pressed against it to listen. He could hear the sound of goblins talking inside. Kevin stepped back and charged the door, intending to break it down with his shoulder. He bounced off and was knocked off his feet into the black mud.

As Kevin struggled to his feet, rubbing his shoulder in pain, the goblins pored out of the house. He took off running with the goblins in hot pursuit. As the goblins gained on him, spears clattering of the path, Sir Kevin saw an abandoned farmhouse with a well ahead. Putting on a final burst of speed he dove head first into the well.

Kevin knifed into the cold, dark water far below. He started to struggle, his heavy armor was pulling him down! As Sir Kevin sank to the bottom he saw an opening off to one side with a strange glow. He pulled himself into it. After pulling himself up the side passage he found the water was not deep here and stood up into a strange chamber.

The walls were rough hewn rock and firelight sparkled off crystal shards in the ceiling. There was a small campfire off to one side and an old man was cooking a rat. Kevin called out to the old man. A brief discussion revealed that the old man had fallen into the well over 20 years ago and had been surviving on rate ever since, he could not find his way out of the maze like cave. Politely declining the offered rat, Kevin set out into the cave with only his sword and a torch.

As Sir Kevin ventured deeper into the cave, he became sure that something was following him. He could barely see some glowing eyes just out of range of his torch. Before long the cave opened into a large chamber, there was a fountain with a statue of a mermaid grasping a spear. Kevin carefully approached the statue and slid the spear from its hand. Suddenly the eyes were closing in on him, there were hundreds of them.

A strange figure stepped into his torchlight. A mushroom with legs, eyes, arms, and a mouth. It lowered its spear at him and said "Glarspink!"