Monday, December 28, 2009

The Joy of Newbies and the Process of Initiation

I neglected to mention that one of my players, the one who plays remotely via Skype, asked me if his son (who I think is 16-ish) could join the game. Obviously, he would also be playing via Skype, but it has worked out so far so I said yea.

I forgot how enjoyable it can be to game with someone who hasn't done much, if any, gaming. When one of my players was explaining the usefulness of the shillelagh spell, I couldn't help but crack a smile.
"Some monsters can only be hit by magic weapons!"
Everybody seems to have the new player's back. I like that. I also found his proposed backstory to be quite interesting. (Backstory rarely, if ever, comes into play in this campaign, but I appreciate any fleshing out that a player is willing to do, particularly when they aren't asked to.)

Having a new player who is new to the game and not just new to the group has refreshed me, in a way. It almost makes me want to go out and introduce new people to the hobby, an endeavor that I previously had no interest in whatsoever.

While I'm on the subject of people new to the game, I have realized that I might be something of an oddity in that I had no gaming "mentor," that is, nobody introduced me to or taught me the game. I discovered D&D quite by accident because I started reading Dragonlance novels. I reseached it myself, somehow persuaded my mom to get me a boxed set despite my grandmother's insistance that D&D was a gateway to devil worship, taught myself the game, and proceeded to teach my friends. Most everybody else I know was initiated into the game by a friend or relative. How curious.


  1. Those kinds of moments always bring a smile to my face as well. :)

  2. I like reading posts like this. I'm also having a good time initiating my Korean friends into the game. They're surprisingly good at looking at situations and acting with common sense, rather than looking at their character sheet and making a decision from the stuff listed there!

    BTW I'm also a self-taught gamer. I'd seen the books briefly one summer, had some Endless Quest books and was watching the D&D cartoon, and then asked my parents for D&D for my birthday. Got it, read it, taught my friends and brother how to play. Never had a mentor, but I enjoy being one now!

  3. i've wondered a lot about the old school's members' initiation into d&d (whether they were the pioneer themselves, or jumped on someone else's wagon, so to speak). i'll have to post this as a poll sometime...

  4. The early to mid-90's was my hayday of getting non-gamers into my games. I guess I have the advantage that I don't go to cons and stuff, and had to cull players from friends or friends of friends. It was a great feeling to have them try something new, and come back for me.

    One of my newest gamers is a young guy who only had experience with Warcraft and other video games like that. He so completly seems to enjoy tabletop now, it's a trip. Over all my players, he is the most eager to try anything I want to run. Very refreshing!

  5. I love gaming with newbies.

    They rarely meta-game, and often do completely unexpected things, which makes for fun gaming sessions.