I get paid to play Dungeons and Dragons.
Ok, that’s a bit of an overstatement. The summer camp I work at, Greenwood Trails, in Winsted, CT, is letting me run a D&D activity with several kids a session. Regardless, it’s still pretty awesome.
I ran the activity last week with a group of the older campers, ages 13 to 16. We were using Fifth Edition and it went about as well as could be expected with nine kids who’ve never played a table-top RPG. We spent a day making characters and the next few running an adventure set, where else?, at a summer camp for aspiring adventurers! They didn’t get all that far in the four days, but they dealt with a giant rat infestation and a sahuagin problem in the lake and a good time was had by all.
This week, though, I have seven kids ages eight to 12. We are using a HEAVILY modified version of F*cking D&D, mostly to simplify it even more and remove the gratuitous profanity.
We’ve only been through one day, and it’s already one of my favorite activities to run. The kids have made their characters and started their trek through a mysterious forest to find a group of missing villagers.
We have a party of three rogues, two rangers a wizard and a druid. They all started out kind of clueless, as we all do with a new game, but only an hour in, they’re starting to utilize their character’s abilities and work as a team. One thing I was pleasantly surprised at was the level of role-playing they got into. Instead of just blindly smashing forward through the enemies, they utilized the rangers’ tracking abilities to scout out an abandoned camp and the druid’s shape-changing to scout ahead. So far, they are doing okay against a few skeletons and giant spiders.
It’s awesome seeing them work together and explore a creative new hobby. Dungeons and Dragons, and other collaborative story-telling games, are a great way to get kids to explore lateral thinking, problem solving and creative writing. Many of the kids playing in my games this summer have begun developing backstories for their characters outside of the game.
It’s awesome for me to see a group of kids getting into a hobby I enjoy so much, and doing it at a place like summer camp, where the whole point is to try new things and learn from each other, is just the icing on the cake.
Hopefully the boys make it out of the lair of the Weaver Queen and her hoards of spider minions with a fun new hobby to bring home to their friends.