6 Hours later

And I was still ready to go.  Oh come on you sick people.  I’m talking about my son’s birthday party last night.  His friends showed up around 5, and I drove them all home around 11:30pm.  All in all a fun night.  What did we do?

We slayed orcs!

When I was growing up, I played D&D for several years with my friends.  Playing, making up dungeons, the works.  It was great until girls got more interesting than orcs, goblins, and bugbears.  About 6 years ago, I came across a boxed beginner set that was similar to the one I started with in the late 70s, early 80s.  I talked to Aidan and Gillian about it and they seemed to like the idea so we played.  And they loved it.

About 4 years ago, maybe a little more, Aidan asked me to have a D&D party for his birthday.  Invite his friends over, teach them all how to play, and play for a little while.  It was a sleep over so I knew if they dug it, we could play pretty late.  They were hooked as badly as I was.  They were all worked up around 11pm so I bribed them with “If you crash now, I’ll wake up at 7 and maybe we can finish the game”.  They were all asleep 20 min later and we enjoyed another 2 hours or so the next morning.

This year?  Oye.  He invited like 11 kids.  The sleepover was no longer possible, and for those who have never played D&D, a group of 11 is an invitation to disaster.  5 is pushing it.  We started around 5:30 because a few of the kids were a little late, but once we got moving, it went really well.  A bit of arguing about what to do and what order to do things, but it all worked out and he had a great time.  That’s what mattered.  My wife went to the pretzel factory and grabbed like 50 of them which they inhaled, had dunkin donuts instead of cake, and by 11:30, they were all home, sugared up and riled up from killing things and solving puzzles, and each of them trying to outsmart the dungeon master, me.

Me?  I had a freakin ball.  You have to understand, each one of these kids is smarter than the other so when they breezed past several puzzles, I made it a little harder.

Example: there’s a puzzle that sets a chessboard in the floor of the room and a plaque on the wall that says “8 fighting queens want to settle their own boundaries on the board.  To leave, you must help them”  In other words, find a way to place the queens on the board where none of them can take another using the Queen’s moves on a chessboard.  That was a difficult one, but they eventually got it.  Another is a grizzly little hole with spikes and grime and gross stuff around it with a sign, “put your finger in the hole to set you free”.  You have to stick your finger in the hole to push the button that opens the door, but I make it creepy enough that they all don’t want to do it.  So what does my son do?  He takes the hand of one of the creepies he just killed and puts its finger in the hole.  It pushes the button and opens the door.  Almost punched him for figuring that one out so easily. 🙂

Yeah, it’s swords and sorcery and killing the bad guys and gathering loot, but it’s good fun, it makes them think, and they had a great time.

Thank god none of them slept over. 🙂  I just woke up at 10 and for me?  that’s a miracle.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a good Dad.  How many fathers take the time to put all of that together and then do it all with a bunch of loud 14 yr olds?  Oh yeah, I wrote the dungeon maps, populated the rooms, found the puzzles and traps, wrote the background story, and ran the campaign.  Felt a lot better than paying someone else to entertain the kids, tho there were several times I thought it might have been easier to take them all to play Laser tag at the place down the road 🙂