Saturday, June 14, 2008

Playing D&D with my Dad

My dad was always indulgent with my D&D hobby. He surprised me with the Player's Handbook one day after work, and later the Monster Manual too. He sighed and shrugged his shoulders at the art project I made of my monster books. And though I have no clear memories of it I am certain he listened dozingly to many a character background and adventure idea.

I always bugged him to play, but it never came together. Sure, he took me to face the harsh mercies of our D&D playing parish priest, but as I recall Dad deferred to me as I metagamed my way desperately through a few rooms of the pater's dungeon ("The old woman offers you bread and salt." "Don't take it! She's probably a night hag!"). As much as I pestered him, we only sat down to play once.

Looking back, I was outmatched from the start. I was a nine year old daydreamer. My dad was -- and is still -- smart, intuitive and pragmatic. At one point he found a map written in a substitution code which I had laboriously devised. He glanced at it and said, "Here be treasure?" One of the characters I had made for him was a wizard, a homebrewed class based on Ged from A Wizard of Earthsea. I had thought nothing of giving the wizard the power of telekinesis at first level. The first and only combat of our game ended abruptly: "Ok, I use telekinesis to spray the orcs with all of the arrows in the fighter's quiver." My father, powergamer.

We never played again, but I'm thankful for that hour or two, a summer evening many years past, sitting on the porch after dinner playing D&D with Dad. Happy Father's Day, Pops.

1 comment:

trollsmyth said...

Heh... My father is a chemical engineer. He asked what the black striations in the walls of the Caves of Chaos were. I wasn't sure, and he suggested they could be coal. When I agreed, his characters powdered it, blew it into rooms, then tossed in a torch to blow everything in the room to smithereens! ;D

- Brian