So, I'm hanging out at the in-laws place for the holidays, across the country from home, and my brother-in-law (let's call him Pear Bear) asks me if we can play D&D. Wow. I've taken crap from my in-laws for so long for my geek habits, and now, after some bonding over a skiing trip, he's ready to get down. He had never played before. We gather my other brother-in-law, who's played with my geek buddies once before in Chicago (let's call him Fartin Martin), and my 78 year old Dad (who's also in town, never played before, but has seen my play since I was wee).
I had just DM'd Against the Giants the night before I left town, and I had sufficient equipment with me to rock the game again. And rock it we did.
After using some pregenerated characters and a *very* brief explanation of their stats and items, we started the scenario. Against the Giants is a classic D&D module that kicks off a series of modules, and it's very "old school." Pear Bear, Fartin Martin, and Dad started at a cave entrance overlooking the Steading of the Hill Giants. They were basically supposed to check it out. After I described the scene, they automatically slipped into classic D&D mode without any prodding: Bickering over plan of attack. This lasted for at least 25 minutes. Persuaded by some of Dad's military tactics (he was in the army back in the day), they decided to let Pear Bear (the thief) skulk around to gather intelligence. He successfully did so, and upon returning, the group decided to have Pear Bear set a diversion with a fire to let the group sneak in. And somehow work in a pincer movement to trap the giants. Shit quickly hit the fan as Pear Bear climbed a wall, terribly missed a pack of dire wolves 4 times with flasks of flaming oil, and was then spotted. Pear Bear eventually used some dust of disappearance on himself, snuck around the other side, and opened the back door.
By the time we quit for dinner, giants and dire wolves were swarming everywhere. Pear Bear was still invisible but retreating. Dad was getting his butt handed to him by a horde of hill giants (especially after I rolled a couple crits), and Fartin Martin was levitating 25 feet up in the air and blasting down spells but pretty trapped.
The final reaction: Dad was completely engaged by the planning but bored by combat (and fell asleep in front of the tv shortly thereafter). Fartin Martin had fun, but longed for the fast insanity and character-based decisions that he experienced before with my buddies (we played a fast indie game called Cold City, which is about monster hunting in creepy post-war Berlin). And Pear Bear was hooked. I mean completely hooked. He couldn't stop talking about it. He desperately wants to finish the scenario, and he told me to bring my dice to our football fest tomorrow (which isn't happening, because the Eagles are playing a big game across the Broncos. Go Birds!!!!). So, he's now trying to schedule some time for Friday. And he even started talking about the possibilities of gaming in, say, a 30 story building with aliens.
Wow. I mean, Pear Bear is one of the most grounded people I know. It was pretty cool to be part of such a quick conversion. If we get a second game in, I'll keep you updated.
And I'll definitely post a picture that Pear Bear's wife took of gaming. Good times.