Last night Brian & Jocelyn & Kat came over to play DnD! Well, if only it were that easy. We were meant to meet up after work, but sudden prescriptions, after-work confidences, & the CSA all conspired to push that back to about seven. By the way, my CSA loot-load was lovely; apples, pears, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, hull cherries, tons of beets, dandelions, romaine, cilantro, squashes, peppers. It wasn't too tricky though; Jocelyn & Brian showed up forthwith, followed shortly by a slightly frazzled Kat. I whipped out the Player's Handbook & Player's Handbook 2 & we got cracking. I put on Godspeed You Black Emperor! & A Silver Mt. Zion, which was commented on for being good atmospherics. Going in, Kat knew more or less precisely what she wanted to play, right down to class & race; Jocelyn knew conceptually what she wanted to play, but still needed to hammer out the mechanics & specifics; Brian had no idea, really, & wanted to flip through the books for inspiration, which ended up serving him really well. In the end, Brian created Brace Dixon (the most Buck Rogers & Flash Gordon-y name I've ever heard; subject to change), a Deva Invoker who views Bahamut in a sort of feathered serpent Ur-Mayan fashion-- I think it appeals to Brian's interest in spirituality, mysticism & 2012-- he ended up creating the character he wanted to play, so I count it as a major win. Jocelyn wanted to play a shapeshifting thief, so I laid out a few options for her, & she chose to play Summer Hero, a Gnome Druid with the multiclass feat for Rogue. She expressed an interest in Sehanine, so she is affiliated with her, & when I quizzed her about what totem animal her character would have, Jocelyn decided on "Rodent." I think the sneaky nature of the Gnome race & the dash of Rogue-- along with Thievery as a trained skill-- well satiate her. Kat had decided right off that bat that she wanted to be an Eladrin Wizard, & even after she gave due diligence to other options like Warlock & Sorcerer, she came right back to her core, making Dia Luna Cadabra. Kat was the most decisive; after I read through the powers she could take, she jumped right on top of the ones she wanted. Kat I know is excited-- she's been reading about the history of Dungeons & Dragons & role-playing games on Wikipedia all week.
("Wait. Wat." by Brian. After nagging Jenny to leave the camera, I took zero pictures. Zilch.)
I did end up a little disheartened & disaffected with the Fourth Edition, though-- it sure is hard to break some newbies into the mix. The character sheet is an enigma, the math is opaque, the powers are mostly described mechanically; jargon rather than in plain language. Creating characters for the three of them took about three hours, & it made me wish that I'd decided to start them with World of Darkness, where we could have filled in bubbles & been done with it. I elected to shoot for DnD so that they would have the "classic" experience-- so they'd be able to say "I played a Tiefling Warlock" & be able to share that experience with anyone whose played DnD before, rather than going off into the homebrew craziness Oubliette entails. I do take some comfort in the existance of the Red Box & the DnD Essentials line-- stuff for beginners shows that the folks at Wizards of the Coast realize the hurdles this edition has for new players. It also makes me realize the appeal of the Character Builder-- it would have made this whole process a lot easier, & my problems with it-- not being flexible enough to allow feat creation, class creation, race creation, magic item creation-- are relatively high-functioning problems. Too bad it doesn't run on a Mac, making the whole point moot. In the end, they chose their races, their classes, their powers, their skills, & their feats-- though I helped a lot with the feats. I think feats are a mess in this edition, so forget about trying to explain them to new players. Jocelyn took a multiclass feat, which is a good choice. Kat took "Jack of All Trades," which is another good choice, especially since she'd said she wanted "all the skillz." Brian took a feat that turns his Deva racial power from a d6 into a d8, which fits his character concept. Now all I have to do is sit down with Matt & Katy & build them some characters-- an Elf Ranger & who knows what else-- & we will be good to go. The party is hilariously all Controllers so far, so with Matt playing a Striker & sort of have my fingers crossed Katy will want to be a Leader or a Defender. If not though, that is cool; I've gone on the record numerous times saying I like mismatched parties, & especially ones without a Cleric.