I posted this over on DF
earlier today, but wanted to make sure I posted it here as well so that the creators could soak up some of the good feelings I have today about bringing a new generation into the fold:
An old friend from Ohio (I'm now in California) contacted me via Facebook and asked what a good entry-level tabletop RPG was. She has a group of kids -- 2 of her own plus their friends, boys and girls, ages 10-12 -- that heard about roleplaying games and wanted to try. But she had no idea where to start, and what would be appropriate in terms of content and complexity for this group.
I'll leave out the details of my own hand wringing over what to recommend. It wasn't easy for a number of reasons, and there was the issue of who would "teach them", not really an option. In the end, I recommended she download and review the Swords & Wizardry Quick Start Module
. It seemed to me to be a perfect introduction to D&D (yes, I said it), certainly moreso than what WOTC offers in their box. I quickly sent off a package with a bunch of dice for everyone and a pack of genuine Armory graph paper (old school!) so that it would be there by the weekend, just in case, no matter what she decided. I told her she might have to teach them and play as DM the first time (she knew just enough to know what that would mean). She looked it over, said it seemed exactly like what the kids were looking for, and she was pretty sure her oldest could figure it out with her help, and lead the group in their first session.
Which was yesterday. And apparently a smashing success
! They're bummed they didn't know about this over summer vacation (she's thrilled, else she thinks they never would have gone outside!). I've yet to hear the details, but she said that they had no problem picking up the rules and that the sections of Adventuring and the Referee Quick Start did a perfect job of making up for the fact that I wasn't there to teach them. They figured it out and ran it all on their own using the Dungeon of Akban
adventure. They didn't finish but are planning on doing so next weekend, and already asking me "what's next?!?!".
What could be more perfect than that? 5 new pre-teen players who managed to enter the hobby all on their own, simply because of Matt Finch's great game, Michael (Chgowiz) Shorten's efforts to produce the perfect Quick Start document, and Phil (ChattyDM) who hosts it. Yes, I could have told her to purchase something like Pat Sweeney's Faery's Tale Deluxe
(and still might), and they'd probably be fantasy roleplaying. But as far as I'm concerned, I just helped introduce new blood into the hobby, playing virtually the same D&D I played when I was 13 three decades ago. Where they go from here is up to them (but I'll be sending them print copies of more S&W stuff for her son's birthday at the end of the month).
To Matt, ChattyDM and especially to Chgowiz for this specific effort and success, THANK YOU!
At a time when I see so much fretting over things like OSR, losing a generation to the internet and "simming" instead of roleplaying, and version wars, it was so great to be able to point of group of kids to a doc as tight as SWQS and start the cycle for them. Just wish I could have been there to see it!