A few days ago, I realized it had been 6 months, I think, since I participated in roleplaying games in any fashion. I shrugged. Would probably be another six months, or a year, or maybe never.
At the school I just returned to, I was conscripted into co-sponsoring the board game club. Among the hoard of games we have, there is a 5e Beginner Box or whatever it's called... you know, the one with the Lost Mines of Phandelver in it. At the activity fair, this box drew a lot of attention. A number of kids were asking about D&D, and even a staff member.
We had our first meeting last night. Only two of the D&D kids showed up. They'd played things like Elder Scrolls and other CRPGs, but had no idea what D&D was about. Two was hardly enough to start a game, but something made me not want to leave them disappointed.
I ran the start of Phandelver for them. One picked the human fighter in the box's pre-made posse, one picked the high elf wizard.
I have no great love for 5e. I think it's "fine," which is not a compliment. You know what was great, though? DMing for two young people who were absolutely fascinated by the game.
They tried weird shit. One of them wanted to scrape the pitch off of his torches and smear it on a scimitar to make a flaming sword. One wanted to lasso some goblins, mid-combat, with a rope. They searched a slain goblin and compared his arrows to the arrows found in the dead horses in the first encounter, before sagely proclaiming "They must be from the same tribe!" They used stealth and tactics to put a group of goblins to sleep. They threw torches ahead into dark hallways.
The kid playing the wizard was super into learning about his spells. The kid playing the fighter bravely put himself between goblins, the wizard, and the NPC bumpkin wagon driver.
It was fucking pure. There was no kvetching about editions and how things used to be. There was no talk about class balance. There were no hobby politics. One kid rolled a critical hit and it was like a miracle to him.
After we finish Phandelver, we're going to move on to the Essentials box, still wrapped in plastic and rotting away on my shelf along with the rest of my collection of rpg stuff. Then...who knows? Maybe I'll roll out a new campaign for them.