Living in the UK and being a tabletop gamer can have its disadvantages (5th edition joke, Bazinga). While there are some gaming shops in larger cities, and there is always the chance that you’ll come across a gaming group that is looking for players (ha, fat chance), it is much more likely that you’ll end up never quite having your itch scratched and might even end up not playing ever again.
I have found myself in this scenario many times, tried several times to get a gaming group together rather unsuccessfully, tried to join gaming groups only to be turned down (“we don’t need any more players right now”, “you wouldn’t fit in” etc., etc.), and in the end resorted to solo playing methods, like the mythic system (if you didn’t know about this, then you’re welcome). However, nothing quite scratches the tabletop gaming itch like actually getting a group of players around a table to hack and slash their way through a solid adventure.
To this end, I have recently embarked on a few D&D games with my significant other, someone who hasn’t played a tabletop RPG in her life. I thought that it would be interesting to relay some of my experiences and learnt lessons here for other people who might be thinking of giving this a go.
Firstly, the major advantage of playing with my SO is the fact that she, by default, is around a lot of the time, meaning that I don’t have to worry too much about ‘getting the group together’. The second major advantage is that I can write an adventure that is very heavily geared towards the specific character that she is roleplaying, meaning that the story can be a bit more interesting at times.
Our First Game
The Powers That Bind – Quest 0.5: Smells Like Goblin
For our first game, I ‘wrote’ a very short quest. I added quotes there because I basically just bullet pointed a bunch of stuff to go through. The main reason for this was that it was her first time playing, and I didn’t see the point of putting a lot of effort into it if she wasn’t going to end up liking it.
So the story was very basic. Her character, Andraste Siannodel, an elven sorcerer, was hired to find out why a local town wasn’t providing her with their regular payments. The character turns up at the town, and my girlfriend is given her first taste of RPGing: The entire town is playing dumb about the lack of money.
Eventually, my girlfriend managed to convince someone, in this case the local barkeep/mayor, to tell her the story. It turned out that the mayor’s daughter had been kidnapped by goblin bandits who were holding her to ransom the town’s monthly payments.
As Andraste, my girlfriend decided she was going to sort this out and set off into the wilderness to track down the goblins at their base. Luckily, she found them pretty easily (let’s face it, it would have been boring otherwise) and sneakily entered the mouth of a huge cave.
Inside she found the mayor’s daughter suspended above a naturally formed arena where the goblins were fighting various animals for sport. She used this to her advantage. By climbing up the wall of the cave and landing on the roof of the cage, she had a perfect vantage point to shoot at the cage’s fragile, goblin-made locks.
At this point, she had managed to unleash all hell, mainly by freeing both a black bear and a dire wolf. Both of these animals were obviously less than pleased with their captors and proceeded to do most of the work by ripping them to shreds. This is good really, because as any regular player can tell you, being a level 1 spellcaster in a solo campaign can be a pretty risky business.
Following this first amazing feat, my girlfriend managed to grab the stick-like form of the mayor’s daughter and swung the chain-suspended cage over to the mouth of the cave so she could make a daring escape without even having to engage in combat.
This plan seemed good at first, but after a less than stellar landing (taking 3 damage), she was now face to face with one of the stray goblins who wasn’t too busy being mauled. Fortunately, the goblin wasn’t too bright and had his back to the huge bowl-like structure that made up the majority of the cave/arena. Needless to say, a simple poke sent the poor git tumbling over the edge to crash into the waiting mouth of the black bear down below.
With a short dash out of the cave and a quick blast from a carefully chosen magic spell (okay, so I may have made the spell more powerful for the desired effect, but I call artistic license on this), the cave was sealed and the town need never worry again about the dreadful might of the small group of goblins.
I had a lot of fun playing this game with my SO, and fortunately she had fun playing it as well. It looks like I might be playing a bit more regularly from now on, and the nice thing is that being already comfortable around each other makes the use of silly voices and bad acting just that bit more manageable.
Since I already have the next quest, or rather I should say the first real quest, in the campaign written, I’ll continue to document my experiences with this little experiment here for any other gamers who might be interested in giving this a go.