Saturday, 16 February 2013

Perhaps the Doctor will help us...

So this past Valentines Day I went out and picked up an RPG as a gift for my better-half, with the intention of playing it with her.

We've been happily together for a number of years now, and despite the shy interest my girl has shown at times in my chief hobby, I have been unable to coax her into any of the roleplaying games I've run or played in.

I've pondered upon this for sometime. I am convinced (or perhaps just hopeful) that she would enjoy partaking in roleplaying in-spite of her shy reluctance, as I see the great talent she has for gaming. I know a few couples whom game together, who seem to share a mutual interest in roleplaying. If this mutual interest isn't immediately apparent, could such a bond be cultivated I wonder?

I believe our situation isn't a case where one member has no interest in gaming, and the other is trying their best to bring their partner into that world. But nevertheless, there were degrees of uncertainty I felt on several points: Such as one being unsure of the degree or genuineness of the other's interest? Is your partner just humouring you, and/or trying to please you by going along with it? One might be worried about bringing their partner out of their comfort zone. Or facing the potential hard truth that they just aren't interested or comfortable in joining you in your hobby.

Such thoughts had arisen in my mind, but instead of spending my time worrying on the possibilities, I decided to find out once and for all if there may be shared interested in roleplaying.

As my girl has alluded to, she believes the prime reservation she has for joining us gaming is that she is worried about not knowing what to do/how to play. I've explained the general tenants behind most RPGs, and I believe she's seen and heard us play enough to know the basics for sure; so I believe the other, possibly larger reservation is the social nature of the game. This, too, I wouldn't initially think as a huge concern given how familiar she is with many of my fellow players; this isn't the case where she'd be playing with complete strangers.

But despite such reservations seeming somewhat unfounded or absurd, one needs to remember that these are thoughts coming from someone who hasn't played an RPG in their life, and has yet to work around the personal/social barriers that experienced gamers take for granted.

So I decided the introduction to RPGs should be personal; just the two of us to ease any concerns. This is a new concept for me, as I prefer running games with several players. Heck, I can even play/run games with a group of total strangers. But a 1-on-1 game is different. With multiple PCs, you have a certain table dynamic with input from other players; whereas with a single player and a GM that table dynamic is sort of lost. Sure the GM could run a PC alongside the player's, but essentially that's just another NPC for the player to interact with. It feels like the focus is still greatly on that one player given there is no other input except for the GM.

Mind you, I'm not saying this change in dynamic is a bad thing. I'm sure there are many successful single player and GM RPGs out there. (Macabre Tales has caught my eye.) My concern is that it doesn't feel like you're giving a player new to RPGs the full/correct experience when there aren't other players available for them to interact with.

But perhaps introducing them to RPGs singularly is a good way to introduce shy players to the game. If they take to the personal sessions, perhaps you can introduce them to other players later on.

And that's what I'm going to try with the Missus. :)

Anyway, to get down to it, I mulled over what RPG would be the best to introduce her to. In the end I settled upon Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space by Cubicle Seven.

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Core Set

This seemed a good fit to me for several reasons:

  • First, I read it was a fairly simple system and easy for novices to pick up and learn. 
  • Second, it seems like the system and the setting effectively supports single-player-and-GM play. 
  • Third, it has pacifistic bent to it that I believe supports roleplaying and clever thinking better than say the way D&D and several other RPGs use violence as a chief means to solve problems. 
  • Fourth, the set contains pretty much everything a beginner needs to play or use: dice, pregen & blank character sheets, introductory adventures, tokens, etc. 
  • Fifth, and perhaps the most important, my girl is a huge fan of Doctor Who, particularly the Tenth Doctor. (Which is why I passed up the more recent release of Eleventh Doctor set for the older one featuring David Tennant.)

When I handed her the box set, with a degree of trepidation on my behalf, my fears were swiftly swept aside by her excitement and enthusiasm.

The Two Main Rulebooks

This looks to be quite promising. :) I'm in the process of reading though the gaming material and sample adventures, and catching up on my Doctor Who lore.

A brief overview of the contents

Allons-y! ;{١

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