This is the first installment of the story of how I got into leading my nephews through some 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons adventures.
First, some backstory.
Earlier this year I got roped into playing the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons (5th edition, also called 5E). It took a fair amount of arm twisting but eventually I agreed. Those first few sessions took me back to my original days of 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons(or 2E) at the local comic shop and I realized that I wanted to start finding some of those old 2E books and build my library.
This was around January.
When I went back home to Virginia this summer to see my family and generally relax. After an adventure to a used book store I found out from one of my nieces that their father, my brother-in-law, had a “big box” of books like that. She was referring to some 2E books I had bought. This really intrigued me because I knew he played 20+ years ago when I was playing and thought this should be investigated. When I dropped my nieces off that evening I asked him about this “big box” of books. He went and grabbed the box and I looked at it like it was made of pure gold. I really wanted the books but didn’t know if he would part with them. When I asked him he said yeah he didn’t have a problem getting rid of them. When I asked how much he wanted he said I could have them. I thought, “How awesome is this?”. I thanked him at least four or five times and confirmed more times than that whether he was okay with giving them to me. His response was, “As long as they are going to someone who will use them then that’s all that matters.”
As I walked into my parents house with my new treasure I was thinking about getting the stuff back home to use in the throwback campaign I had ran a few weeks prior with my group. My oldest nephew, William, was sleeping over with me that night and when I walked in he asked what was in the box. When I told him books he shrugged, he’s not much of a reader, and went about playing with a random toy. As I set the box down he looked over and saw the Monstrous Manual, ran up and grabbed it out of the box and asked me what it was about. I told him it was all of the monsters that he could fight if he played Dungeons and Dragons. “What’s Dungeons and Dragons?” he asked. “It’s a game where you go on adventures and fight dragons. There are wizards and magic. It’s a lot of fun.“ He put the book down and we started to talk about what we were going to do for the night. I suggested watching a movie, or playing some games, maybe some TV. He said “I want to play Dungeons and Dragons.” “Are you sure?” “Yes! I want to be an adventurer!” “It takes time and we’ll have to sit for hours and not run around. This isn’t something you just do we’ll have to make you a character it will probably take us all night long. Are you sure?” “Yes let’s play!”
Over the next 30 minutes or so he rolled is ability scores and I helped him figure out his race and class. He eventually decided to be a Gnomish Fighter named Optimus Prime (He’s a huge Transformers fan). Knowing what I know about the game I couldn’t just let him pick his class. Wizards and clerics are hard to play if you are an adult and haven’t played before. So I helped him realize he wanted to play a fighter. While we were rolling up his character I decided to run him through the same module I ran with my group a month before. When he was done picking out his equipment we were ready to get started.
The module I ran him through is TSR 9106 B8 Journey to the Rock it’s a Basic Edition Dungeons and Dragons module I had converted to 2E. Very simple with plenty of bad guys to keep him busy. To assist my nephew I gave him three Non-Player Characters (NPCs) to assist, a fighter, a cleric, and a wizard. He was very excited about having other players to work with. When starting I had to fully explain the nuts and bolt of every roll. I was very patient with him and it didn’t take long for him to know what die to roll for initiative, attack, and damage. Another thing of note: because my nephew is a little young for D&D I kept up with all of his information, had his character sheet for him and I would warn him when his hit points were low. This also allowed him to just role play more freely and act out some of his best and worst moments. Roughly 5 hours later we finished the module and William was so excited. He had so much fun he asked when we could play again.
After this first night I realized a few things. One was that my nephew role-played his butt off. There was a part in the adventure when a the group ran into a gnome that needed some help he immediately decided that because they were both gnomes they must be cousins and provided him with all of the the group could afford to give. Two I was way more comfortable running this with him than I was with my gaming group. There are many reasons for this I think the main reason is this was his first time playing the game and he had no preconceptions of what it would be like how it would work. He just listened and followed along. The group had been playing 5E which as was stated in the podcast has very different rules then 2E. The differences were hard to work with at times for them and since it had been a while for me I wasn’t always a 100% on the the rules. Three with William it was the second time I had ran the module and he is so much younger than me it was easy to just let it all go and have a good time.
In the next installment I’ll talk about bringing my other nephew, Drayton, in and how that changed the group dynamic.