Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Newbies

(YAY! I made it through "Hell Week" without missing a post!
... what's that? I will be out and about two more days next week?

I am at the point in my gaming career now where, living in an isolated small town, I don't have an especially large pool of available players. So far, the only playing I get done is when I come back to the big city, and play one-offs with my old friends. Hence, I've been thinking of how I can get a new generation of gamers started in my small town.

One of the problems I find with newbies today is lack of focus. THey have become so used to the constant action of video game RPGs, that they expect a similar experience with a PNP RPG. And THAT... is not something I am willing to do. My games have always been part story-telling opportunity, part game. The story is just as important as the game itself, as far as I'm concerned. So, my struggle is trying to make the game interesting enough to keep their focus, without moving along at a breakneck speed which sacrificies some of the descriptive elements. (And yes, this is why I ABHOR 4th Edition D&D... any time they TELL you to handwave over all the stuff between encounters as unimportant, I start getting antsy. Some of the most fun I've ever had in games has been the little vignettes in between the action. Also, if I WANTED video game mechanics, I would PLAY video games. End rant.)

The other thing I find is, they have very little patience for learning new mechanics. That's why I have gravitated back to B/X D&D / LL for campaigns... rules lite. I suppose if I REALLY wanted to make it simple, I could go for MicroLite or something like that, but at least I have some familiarity with B/X. Conversely, I don't think I could ever run a Greyhawk campaign with B/X rules.... it's just not the same flavour. Using B/X makes for a much more simplistic set-up, so to me, that means a much more simplistic style of campaign. Very black and white, not much shades of gray. Villains are VERY BAD PEOPLE.... heroes are very GOOD people, not the tortured anti-hero. Maybe once I have them trained through D&D, I can start working in AD&D elements, and switch to Greyhawk. For now, though... sandbox it is.

I think the idea of focusing on making the experience meaningful for noobs helps in a way. It makes the "just in time" planning concept I talked about before much more meaningful - there's no point in making grand, elaborate plans if the characters won't get to them because they're still learning the simple mechanics. It also makes sandboxes a much better idea, I think.

Hopefully, I'll get to put this into action some day soon. I have a few candidates coming up through the ranks as possible players in the near future... one very adventurous, very smart little boy in grade 5, and another brainiac girl in grade 5 who is a complete Star Wars NUT (I think she's read my copy of the STAR WARS ENCYCLOPEDIA cover to cover 3 times... she can QUOTE TEXT VERBATIM from that book), which means I might be thinking about how to apply these ideas to a STAR WARS d6 campaign in the near future....

No comments:

Post a Comment