It’s the fifth edition of The Dungeon, an FLGS round table game of testosterone fueled D&D the likes of which is not suitable for modern, estrogen fueled players regardless of the tackle they stuff in their box.
Somehow I’ve cobbled together a ragtag band of misfit players who keep coming back for more. Four of the players are getting pretty good at this, but we had two new guys show up, one of whom lacked that all important Y-chromosome. Word got around about the challenge level at my table and that we don’t dick around with things like motivations and politics and whatever lace and doily, pinky raised form of D&D they play at the other tables. As usual, the player’s motivation was to prove that she was just as good as any man at old school D&D.
It’s a game shop. Fat bastard’s game shop, fat bastard’s rules. Chicks wanna play, chicks gonna play. Eh. The party needed the extra PC. Due to some miserable CHA scores in the new party, there just weren’t many NPCs available.
Also. She had a yonkin’ set of honkers.
This probably seems like a setup for a ‘girl D&D’ tirade. You probably expect a lot of gross-out humor explaining how menstrual cycles and D&D just don’t mix, complete with plenty of live-in-the-field tales from last night’s session featuring our resident babymaker bumbling her way through Moldvay while clinging to disproven (read: modern) methods of play. That would be hilarious, but it would be a lie.
She did…fine. She needed a little help from the old hands, but most new players do. She accepted their help gracefully (for the most part), and made reasonable and practical suggestions. She didn’t have her nose glued to a cell phone, constantly posting and checking to see if her, “OMG! Girl OSR!” posts were getting enough likes. She didn’t feel a need to compensate for her sex or represent her sex or any of the usual jutting-jaw habits that women have adopted after imbibing the bleak pill of modern feminism. She was just another gamer.
In the end, though. She didn’t enjoy herself.
As the party entered the Dungeon, I informed them that three townsfolk had gone missing. Clearly she would have preferred a long, drawn out blah-blah with the missing townsfolk’s family and gathering clues and other not-D&D time wasters, but she went along with the brusque manner of introducing this.
Two kobolds had set up shop near the entrance to the earthen walled goblin tunnels. The reaction table surprised her. The dice informed me the kobolds were neutral – pay a gold and pass unmolested. Fight and they would ring a gong that would alert the goblins to the presence of raiders. They paid the gold, the kobolds warned them of a pit trap down a newly installed passage. (The PCs were using the map drafted by the party TPKed in the last session. Player knowledge is the name of this game. How that map fell into the new party’s hands is an exercise for the reader. You are creative, you should be able to come up with three plausible justifications.) That was our role-playing for the session.
The rest of the session was a brutal fight with two owlbears, a trip to town to heal, and then a few wandering goblin patrols. Not much to tell, really. Just a solid couple of delves with acceptable casualties and a bit of gold to show for it. Nothing really to complain about.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to brag about either. Her lack of enjoyment rubbed off on everyone at the table. Afterwards, she explained that it all felt really cold and clinical. It was all about the numbers and the logic puzzles, with none of the drama and in-game relationships that she wanted out of her gaming. I explained that what we do at my table is real RPGs, not fake RPGs like storygames. Ever the helpful soul, I pointed her towards titles like DungeonWorld, and Maid, and something with anime characters on the cover. You know – not-RPGs.
Or she could continue playing D&D wrong, but if playing D&D the right way isn’t what she wants, it doesn’t make sense for her to keep playing it. Even turning D&D into something it is not won’t work. She won’t make D&D better for anyone, she’ll just make D&D worse for everyone.
Especially at my table, because I reject Satan and all his works.
And trying to turn D&D into a storygame is the work of the debbil!