Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Hope Lead Is Tasty, 'Cause IT'S BULLET-BITIN' TIME

Sittin' here at my desk, at work, right?  Bein' a cool little Fonzie.  Door from the tooling room opens and in steps Jim.  "Okay," he says, "who in here has played Dungeos & Dragons?"

Wellllll...  "Pwaaah, dude", I say.  "I -- here."  I open up a desk drawer and flash my work dice.

Jammin' Jim's in his early 50s, and he sculpts dies for a living.  Dies, as in tooling dies -- here at work, we make stuff outta metal.  I have no idea why Jim's gotta know what about D&D, but, hey -- I am an ambassador.

Hey, old buddy!  How ya -- wait -- GET OFF MY LAWN!

"Okay," he says.  "I was tryin' to play it with my grandson and one of his buddies, 'cause we got him the starter set, and I was flippin' through the books and I couldn't figure out how to get the second player in.  It comes with two books..."

"Ah!"  I say.  "Red box, got the dude fighting a dragon?"

"Yeah, yeah," says Jim.

And I think, Damn.  'Cause he's teaching his grandson to play from a 4e product which I've never even seen and I don't know what advice I'll be able to give, that's why.

So anyway, Jim describes a bit more of his dilemma and I do my best to grok him.  From what it sounds like, the intro scenario in the new red box is a programmed adventure for one player -- but it's probably not for one player, it's just that Jim's not sure how the paragraphs relate to a group and not just one player -- and when it would be another player's turn.

Okay.  Okay.  I'm gettin' Jim's problem, now.  I try to explain the difference between such a programmed adventure and regular play, and about combat rounds and initiative and stuff.  But then I say, "Look -- you wanna bring the game in tomorrow?"

"I can bring it in later today," he says, "if you wanna have a look at it and see what I'm doing wrong."

"It's a newer edition, and a lot of us grumpy old guys are real 'Nyarrr, raaaawrrr rawwwrrr!' [you know grumbly noises] about these new rules," I caution.  "And I don't know a lot about the new edition.  But let me have a look at it and I'll see what's goin' on."

And then -- then.  Then, my spine stiffens, my jaw squares, my gut steels and dammit, I know What Must Be Done.

"You'd do it for Randolph Scott."

"Do the boys still wanna play?"  I ask.

"Yeah," says Jim.  "If I tell them I figured out what was wrong, they'll try it again."

"Say, Jim...why don't we get organized and I'll run a game for the three of you."

"Okay," he says.  "Yeah, we should arrange that."

So today, my friends, today...I will be looking at the 4e rules.

'Course, I could just run S&W and say, "This is how you game", and let 'em play their own choice of rules...