Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grand Prize

The Boy made this for me last night on his old Crayola Color Explosion Glow Board.

I am very honored to receive such prestigious award.

For a while now, I think the Boy hasn't been having the best of times gaming.  I mean, he's there and he interacts and he has some fun - but beyond that - not much.  But he's been interacting a lot less than he used to - you know - he's been in that kind of 'spectating' zone.

Our gaming group has some big personalities.  I mean big.  When The Boy was younger, his self awareness was much lower - so he blasted out his personality for all to see.  That pre-pubescent hormone rush stage has gripped him lately, so he's a lot more self-conscious and cautious in social situations.  Trying to find your place in a pack of loud ne'er-do-wells can be difficult.

Add to that the fact that his characters just haven't been working out.  He's been crafting warriors and assassin types, while the group has been moving away from combat-centric play into more cerebral stuff.  Despite his and my efforts, his character concepts haven't meshed will with the other characters or the adventures.

I've tried giving him advice and pep talks.  Nothing I could think of was really helping.   But then I took a look at his shotgun cop Traveller character using the Traveller Skill Matrix.  In comparison with the other characters, none of his abilities stood out except his abilities with a shotgun - and the last session had contained exactly 6 seconds of combat - the session before that 12 seconds.

But the matrix showed that the party was missing things like stealth and recon and generally sneaky kinds of stuff.  I sat down with the Boy and mentioned that if he shelved shotgun cop and made some sort of thief-type, he might enjoy that better.

The Boy was resistant, but I explained my reasoning, and then I think it clicked and he began to smile.  We began rolling up his Traveller thief.  One term, two terms, three terms - his character was looking good and then suddenly - WHAM - he was betrayed and had to leave the thieves' world.  I became somewhat worried, but he changed tact and became a secret service agent.

He was brimming with excitement.  "I'm just like Slippery Jim DiGriz!"  I smiled.  Yup - he was turning out to be quite a stainless steel rat.  But his character dug too deep in the wrong place and was kicked out of the service.  Both of us became worried.  What was he to do?

I thought for a bit.

"Well, he's had quite a run.  Perhaps he should take all of his experience and figure out how to take advantage of it," I said.

"How?" he replied.

"There is a Merchant path called a Broker.  They sell stuff - directly.  If you are running around stealing stuff, knowing how to sell it might not be a bad idea."

He got it and smiled.

Last night, The Boy's new character was a tour de force.  In a sale of illicit anagathics, his character not only rolled well, but Tim, Adelaide, Merwyn, and Kaye taught him how to role play bargaining techniques to squeeze out as much money as he could from me.  He - even with a low computer score - hacked the recipe computer in the kitchen of a mansion and acquired unexpected secret blueprints.  His fast talking to security guards saved half the party from incarceration and torture, and he even convinced the security guards that they were in the wrong for starting trouble.  And he pro-actively swept a concert area for potential dangers, providing security for the group's Legendary Singing Idol.

I think that was the most fun he's had role-playing in a while - and he didn't fire a single shot.

So, I'm very happy with my prize. Not necessarily the flashing glowboard - though that is very nice.  My prize is his ear-to-ear smile.

- Ark


  1. That is very very cool. I like how it moves too, I've never seen one of those before.

    Neat stuff.

    1. Whisk - he got me one that opens up like a book. Pretty cool.

      - Ark

  2. As another father pulling his son into his own RPG hobby, I gotta say this choked me up some. Very nice.

    1. Dave - Gaming whit kids can have it's ups and downs - but primarily they are big ups. :)

      - Ark

  3. The fact that your boy knows who the Stainless Steel Rat is makes me smile. Quite frankly, there are a lot of adult S-F readers these days who are sadly ignorant of that classic character.

    1. Knight - He's read ALL of the Stainless Steel Rat books. Multiple times. He keeps on coming back to some of them, over and over again. I figure I'm finished as a parent and can now retire. :)

      - Ark

  4. Love this! And I am with Knightsky in being warmed to my core that your son is familiar with Slippery Jim.

    One question - A Merchant with a...Broker Path? Is that something from Mongoose Traveller?

    1. BA - I'll let him know. :)

      Each career has three specialization that have different Survival and Advancement rolls, as well as a separate skill table to chose from during advancement in the career, ie . . .

      -Merchant Marine
      -Free Trader


      - Ark