Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Smiley Plays Role-Playing Games

Smiley invented a game named Mystery Land.  I mentioned it briefly when writing about our week with Louie.  Here is the longer story.

On June 15th, Smiley visited FunAgain Games for Free RPG Day.  He decided to play the Pathfinder for the first time.  Paizo published a beginner's scenario  We Be Goblins Too! for that day.

He enjoyed playing Mogmurch the alchemist by doing what the others at the table advised him to do.  (He also won the raffle's nicest prize, the book Ultimate Equipment.)

Since he seemed ready for role-playing games, I started to play my RPG with him.  I never took a photo during the Summer, but this recent photo provides a summary of our setup.

Since he does not read much, instead of a character sheet he uses Paizo's item cards with a folder of pockets we long ago received from a Circa promotional.  I set aside lots more items for him to find during the adventure.

He has a miniature on a Flip-Mat.  A couple more miniatures are on the map, and a few others are off to the side.

He likes using dice.  So we have some.

On my side of the map is a salmon paper with my rules summary, another letter size paper with my notes about the adventure, and a 3x5 card with his character sheet.

In early December he created a version for his own game.

His game looks similar but has a very different flow.  Most of the time he talks, telling the story and moving the miniatures around the map.

Since we do not own more pages of plastic pockets, my character's items are off to the side.  He places item cards on the map to show where I can pick things up, and crowds the map with nearly every plastic miniature we own.  (In the photograph below we have been playing for a while, so portions of the map are emptier.)

Notice the left-most card of my inventory shows a tablet with writing.  This is my most important piece of equipment.  A lot of actual RPG discussion involves using the type of actions my generation learned from playing games like Zork.  Players manage their characters by saying things such as "I search the desk",  "I peek around the corner", or "I listen at the door".

But Smiley knows none of those ritual phrases, so he invented the Tablet of Player Instructions.  Every now and then he announces, "The writing changes."  Then I am supposed to say, "I read it."  He then tells me what to do next: what to look at more carefully, where to go next, how to notice a monster's weakness.  Then I have my character do what the tablet directs, and the story continues.

There are also wooden letters.  These are Pokémon, either my allies (notice I have a few in my inventory) or part of the bad guy team.  Smiley adores Pokémon, so they are always part of his stories.

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