Dumb & Dumbist

Riding roughshod over my very own forestry and cave system was not the direction I thought things would take when we took off on our big lap some sixteen months ago.

That it’s also full of the worst sort of thieves and killers and the bodies of their victims doesn’t make it any better.

It makes it much, much better.

Or so I’m lead to believe.

This all started a week ago when our eldest, Master26, surprised his youngest siblings by coming to Melbourne on Master13’s birthday and staying with us so he could attend a gaming event called the Easter ConQuest, which he wanted to cover for his own blog, the Goof Review.

As part of Master13’s birthday present he accompanied his brother and got to defuse bombs using 3D glasses and participate in various gaming displays.

Which is why I now find myself spending afternoons talking goblin and rolling dice like a craps junkie while my kids sit facing me with excited, entranced expressions and imaginary swords drawn.

Well, swords and bows.

Neither me or the kids really knows what we’re doing, but that’s the fun of D&D: you make it up as you go.

Starting with the characters the kids are playing. Three days of scribbling and Googling and giggles and we have an elf who desperately wants to work at the north pole but is pissed off because Santa hasn’t returned any of her letters yet, a banjo-wielding dwarf, a non-garden variety gnome who’s sick of being outside so he keeps trying to shack up with ornamental salt & pepper shakers and a six year old barbarian berserker.

I should like to point out I had nothing to do with these creations beyond shaking my head at my children’s ingenuity.

Followed, once we started playing, by just shaking my head.

Above: Recreating themselves in their gnome image. Below: Master13 has been missing his big brother something awful lately so we were thrilled to be able to surprise him by having Master26 show up on his birthday
and then take him with him to check out the Easter ConQuest

Where I got involved was in purchasing the $22 game starter box and offering to be the dungeon master so the kids could work together on their solutions to problems. The box said ages 12+ but I figured with me helping things along on the road to adventure the three youngest would do fine.

I should be clear, none of us know what the hell we’re doing. I’ve managed to stay one page ahead of the kids so far and, if I’m honest, I’m making up things on my side of the cardboard divide just as much as their making up stuff on their side. Probably more. I still don’t really understand how the dice work in battles if I’m honest.

But the main thing is we’re all having a wonderful experience together and laughing a lot.

Like in our first battle.

“What are you going to do now?” I asked Miss9.

Four goblins had ambushed the group on a forest path. Her brother, the dwarf, had already taken a hit and her little sisters were swinging swords and charging gayfully forward.

“I climb a tree,” Miss9 said.

Not entirely surprising, given she doesn’t like the idea of sharp knives in our kitchen and tree climbing was something she was very keen to include in her character notes, but I decided she might want to consider a different approach.

“What about helping the rest of your party?” I suggested. “You don’t have to race in with a sword. Why not grab some arrows and shoot them at the goblins?”

“I don’t have any arrows,” she said, giving me a look I suspect she’d gleaned off her Mum.

As I definitely remembered reading the character she created was an elf with bows I thought this was odd. I told her as much.

The next short exchange seemed to indicate to me perhaps I should have been a little more involved in the character creation stage of the game as well.

“You’re an archer,” I reminded her. I pointed to the sheet of paper in front of her. “See? You have two bows. A long one and a short one. Why don’t you use them to battle a goblin?”

She chuckled.

“Dad,” she scoffed. “Are you serious? I don’t think that’ll help.”

She followed this up with a glance at her little sisters and rolling her eyes as if to say, ‘Dads. They’re totes dumb’.

“I think it might,” I encouraged her. “How about you give it a go and we’ll see what happens.”

“Okay,” she sighed. Then she uttered the best line of the game so far, “I take the bow out of my hair and throw it at the nearest goblin.”

Look at those smiles!

D&D was considered seriously daggy amongst my peers when I was a kid but I confess it’s a lot of fun.

“What’s D&D mean?” I heard Miss6 ask Miss11. “The way we play it? Dumb & Dumber,” said Miss11.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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