Friday, August 1, 2014

Horror on the Hill: Sharpening Skills

This week I got to run three sessions of my Homeguard B/X campaign as the kids, ages 7 to 13, continued to play 1983 TSR module B5 Horror on the Hill, battling the odious minions of the Hobgoblin King.

One of my players is pretty shy and so, when the party got bogged down, partially separated, and flanked in a tight series of darkened hallways, it was awesome to see her perk up and take charge.  As they fought a pair of bugbears and a troll that they had tangled with earlier reappeared to harass the party, she spoke up, "Star needs to cast her Sleep Spell and come back to where the rest of us are.  I'll throw oil on the troll and the wizard needs to throw a torch.  Brandon and Max are almost dead so they need to retreat and watch the doors."  


Her timely leadership helped the adventurers escape a tight spot, and it was humbling to feel like our games had a some small role in helping her build confidence and find her voice, if only at the game table.  I'm taking on faith that those skills will translate to real-world situations in her future.

If you've never gamed at a pool table before, you've GOT to try it!

A few days later, as the party prowled atop the ruined monastery's largest building in an effort to catch the hobgoblin sentries unaware, my youngest player got to show off her creativity a bit:

On their second visit, the party had heard a hobgoblin captain call an attack order to spring an ambush in the overgrown cloister below (just a bit of detail that I had added, but hadn't thought much about).  As things seemed a bit too quiet, Star the Elf, completely on her own initiative, decided to sew some confusion in the enemy ranks by shouting in goblin-speech the same order she had overheard before.  A simple trick, granted, but that's some pretty devious, tactical thinking for a seven-year-old and I was charmed by her savvy.

No time ... narrate ... must eat ... pizza
Role-playing games helped me find my voice as a pre-teen and overcome some shyness, not least because I always got saddled with the job of GM.  To this day, whenever I step to the front of a classroom, I still draw on some of the skills that I developed leading parties of explorers through dank dungeons.

What activity or interest helped you find your voice when you were shorter?

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