Thursday, July 1, 2010

Overcoming Stereotypes...Trying to Get those Folks to Play

Let's face it...I love Dnd. And it's a big part of my weekly regime (two nights of my week). And consequently I wish to share this love amongst my friends and comrades. Because one, I'd love to have them understand how cool it is to be able to cast a level 5 teleportation spell or why it isn't crazy to turn them down for a hang out because I'll be busy being a Dungeon Master.
One such individual I would love to expose to the game is my charming younger sister. She has participated in a brief 4.0 session (not a true indicator to what Dnd is), she has actually asked to play once upon a time but I already had 7 people in the group...and now when I remind her of that, she claims to not remember -_-
This phenomenon seems to occur very frequently. I have a couple of friends who straight up refuse to play. My other DM has been trying to get his wife to play for what is so scary about Dungeons and Dragons?
The most common reason I hear is that "it is too complicated", most people look at the character sheet and turn pasty white looking as if they are about to run. Then a careful explanation on my part ensues in which I have to promise only a little addition is required. And true enough it does take a couple hours for a newbie to make their sheet...and by then you may have lost them.
This is why I have come up with my sucker-punch strategy. I'll have a new player just roll up ability scores, health, and I'll give them a weapon. Then you play a gentle (yet sufficiently cool) encounter to let them catch their footing and slowly introduce extra rules. I find a rat-infested cellar is usually a good setting, though for my brother I made a fight-club located through a secret panel in a bar.
For now, I've given my sister a copy of "Confessions of a Part-Time Sorcerer," a personal narrative about how a girly 30-something woman gets involved in Dnd and totally loves it. I'm hoping the comical approach and easy to understand explanation of rules and look at gamer myths will do some good...otherwise I'll have to sucker-punch her


  1. Excellent roleplay evangalism! The hobby needs more thoughtful DMs like you!

    It's a fact the D&D, especially modern D&D, CAN BE pretty complicated. That's why a lot of people go for older editions of D&D which are super simple. Most of my players don't have a background in RPGs and don't own any rulebooks at all.

    BTW, don't hit your charming sister!

  2. I'm going to ditto Cyclopeatron on all counts. Kudos for the recruiting efforts!

  3. I posted a reply post on my blog, but for some reason I dont see the trackback here.

    Anyway, check it out! ;)

  4. I've heard it said that a lot of people resist playing because they don't want to be the n00b, and feel foolish because they don't know how to do anything. One possible idea is to have more than one newbie in a session, so they have that support, but mostly I think you need to reassure them that you can't really fail at it.

  5. Being proactive and managing the rules for a new player is a good way to teach any game - even something as complex as Advanced Squad Leader can be made fun if you present the choices and events of the game in layman's terms. Just say right out "I'll translate the rules, you just worry about playing your character and doing what they would do."

  6. Interestingly, my wife doesn't like to play RPGs because finds she becomes TOO invested in the game (emotionally) makes her feel "weird" to become so wrapped up/involved in game play and THAT makes her more uncomfortable than anything else!

  7. Not everyone has to like it. Some people might not like knitting, or football, or sailing, or hunting, or chess, or etc. Some people you ask will just honestly not want to and will not be interested.

  8. This is now officially one of my favourite D&D blogs. Good on you for encouraging new people to play.

    I got my wife to play after a bit of convincing (that and her best friend was into it), and she ended up loving the game. Plus it taught me a lot about being a DM.

    Shelly Mazzanoble's book "Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress" is also a fantastic little primer to the game. Good on you for suggesting it.