DnD has transformative powers. I’m not exaggerating; I’ve seen it first-hand. Children come into their first session quiet, reserved, anxious and even scared and leave with newfound confidence, friendships and soft skills that they didn’t even know they were learning.

Day two started completely differently to day one; parents were waved off with a smile, young adults all but ran into the room, and the foundling friendships from day one were rekindled with renewed vigour. The cares of the outside world were soon forgotten or at least put to one side.

Parents reported that the positivity from day one had continued after the end of the session. The players had eaten better, slept better, and were eager to be up, dressed and out of the house, all things that were often points of potential conflict, frustration or concern.

The opening session was much calmer, and those that didn’t want to join in with the breathing and relaxation exercises sat quietly, allowing space and time for those who did want to participate.

Everyone showed an immediate interest in the story. Some were a little too eager to get started. The DM faced a barrage of action requests before the quests had even been chosen. The DM skilfully channelled that energy into moving the story along and encouraging the gamers to select their quests and form two groups to meet and overcome the challenges within the quests.

The groups formed almost naturally with less focus on who would lead and more understanding of the need to work together, even if that teamwork initially focused on how two players would work together to pickpocket the DM lead character.

The day was not without conflict both in-game and back in the actual world. However, little intervention was required in each real-world situation; parties recognised what had happened, apologies were made, and a greater understanding of each other’s needs and boundaries was achieved. DMs and parent assistant were better able to see potential triggers and reduce or remove proactively, further reducing conflict points. As you’ll see in a minute, things were a little different in-game.  

Teamwork, turn-taking, communication and compromise were soon evident in both groups. Of course, individual players had hiccups and attempted actions that were potentially detrimental to the team and the mission. Even seasoned adult players occasionally get a rush of blood or seek to ‘get their own back’ on the DM for a dice throw or decision that did not go their way.

Each of these decisions was discussed with the group, and the player was encouraged to see the potential outcomes of the action. Where the player was determined to continue, the decision was allowed to play out. Sometimes, the player had the luck of the dice, and the group was safe. On other occasions, the dice favoured the DM or stubbornly refused to show anything except a natural one (that’s never good). Only by the team working together and healing/supporting each other did all the players manage to walk away with the same character they began with week with.

There is still two days and plenty of quests left before they face the big bad. Quite literally anything can happen, and no one will be more surprised than me if all the characters survive the week.

 

About us:

Character Creation Roleplaying is based in Plymouth, UK and is the brainchild of Chris Nichols, senior DM and Chaos Wrangler. He is aided and abetted by DM Alex, Keep of the Dice. The work best when supported by the Empress of the Office (admin, general dogsbody, and writer) and an army of parent victims (volunteers, I meant volunteers).

Chris started by offering fun and educational DnD and roleplay game sessions to home educated children. This has now grown to include afterschool clubs and holiday clubs. We are hoping to expand our offering further and reach as many new players as possible.

Character Creation Roleplaying also offers a Lego club and monthly tabletop game day, which is open to the whole community.