Thursday, April 14, 2011
You Can Pick Your Friends And You Can Pick Your Nose, But . . .
"I search for traps," the boy smiled and picked up two ten-siders, his mohawk flopping from side to side. Each summer since he was very small, he has requested a mohawk. Now that he is home-schooled, Texas school haircut regulations need not be enforced, so he can hawk his mo all he wants.
"The DM rolls that in this version, remember?"
"Oh yeah," he sighed, his mowhawk drooping a bit. I rolled the dice behind a can of Coke Zero.
"You search all around the cold iron box and the lock and don't find any traps," I said. "What do you do now?"
The boy nervously looked around the table at the other players. One nodded.
"Okay, I try to pick the lock," he said, grabbing his dice again.
At least in 4e the boy would get to do SOMETHING if his thief was doing his job. He could at least toss a d20 around. Thieving by DM die roll in the old school just seems quite . . . unfun. The boy hasn't complained openly, but the drooping mohawk says it all.
There has got to be another way. He needs to feel empowered and involved.
I suppose I could have him describe what Ferrit is doing, and then add or subtract some percentage o the skill roll based on how good what he said sounded. I've done that a lot in the many skill based games of the past. It just doesn't seem right in this circumstance.
I had a thought, though.
Why not toss the dice. Not to roll them, just put them away. Then I could make traps and locks a puzzle for the boy to solve.
I'm not really sure how to do this. I envision something like . . .
"Okay, you see the lock has four tumblers that you can see from the keyhole," I say casually.
"I take a stick and wiggle it inside the hole a bit,' the boy says.
"Okay Mister Smartypants, you set off the poison needle, which stabs at thin air where your thumb <i>would</i> have been, were you trying to pick the lock with your tools."
"Boomshakalaka," the boy pumps his fist, his mohawk fully erect. "I carefully roll the first tumbler to the right until I feel resistance . . ."
Okay, something like that, but without the boy and I having to become experts ourselves in the art of ancient lock-picking. And not boring the rest of the party while we are doing it. I'm just not exactly sure how to pull it off.
Any ideas on this? Any pointers to someone who has already come up with something similar?
Thanks in advance.