A Week of Ups and Downs

I’ve been putting off posting, hoping I could turn my mindset around. I’ve finally decided I can’t, so I’ll just post what’s going around my head.

Monday, I got my copy of The Strange that I’d been waiting for. I managed to get it unboxed before the news that Robin Williams had committed suicide. That news threw me into a funk. I am truly saddened by this event. A day or so later, I did flip through the book, but I have no real interest in reading it, at this point. Not because of the loss of Robin Williams, but rather my loss of interest in the Cypher System.

Since I didn’t work that day, Tuesday had me stewing in my grief over Mr. Williams. I can’t really explain his death’s impact on me, other than opening my eyes to some truths about suicide. I’ve always been in the “cowardice” camp in regards to suicide. That is, with a couple of rare exceptions (essentially euthanasia), I’ve always considered suicide weakness and selfishness on the part of the deceased. Having recently explored my own mental issues, and the lack of control the brain can inflict on a person’s decision-making abilities, I’ve come to realize how misguided that thinking is.

I worked the rest of the week, and got some time in to type up some of my old notes, as well as develop a couple of new ones. I’ve been thinking about governments off and on, and I think I’ll be modifying the Arcanists slightly into a serfdom, rather than a slavery-based meritocracy. I just think that makes more sense, but I think I’ll need to do a little more research on the ideas before I can make a final decision. 

The end of my week needs a little set-up: When Once Upon a Time started, as the castle collapsed, Snow say to the Evil Queen, “Where are we going?” And the Queen replies, “Somewhere horrible!” There is a certain glee in the Queen’s voice that made the word memorable in my mind, and now, when something truly awful happens, that word is the first to pop into my mind, so I may be practicing some hyperbole in what follows, as opposed to my usual understatement.

This month’s D&D for Kids was horrible.

As I thought back on it Sunday, I was considering stopping running at all. I’m not that angry now, but I was then, nearly 24 hours later.

Part of me wants to ban the three kids I had at my table, although The Boy wasn’t that bad; he and I just had a rough start. As the game was starting, I was trying to give him a chance to shine, and The Boy refused to put his Kindle Fire away long enough to make the rolls I asked for for his scouting, or to hear the results. I ended up telling him to turn the game off or we would not move forward. To his credit, while he was upset, he held back the tears and kept his lower lip in check.

His sister, The Girl, at one point in her boredom crawled under the table to harass her brother, and when I yelled at her for it, she became sullen, complaining about being bored and wanting to go home, and almost refusing to participate. I now think I should have told her to leave the table.

The third kid, J., is likely in my same boat, having some level of ADHD, because he’s a comedian who can’t turn it off, and is always goofing with the minis and messing up their placement on the battlemat. Not only was he disruptive to my game, he started in on our second table, inducing a couple of those kids to start talking to him, pulling them out of their game, the three of them getting loud and obnoxious.

My yelling at the kids was such that I regularly had the rest of the game store looking at us. I wished I’d been raising my voice for the right reasons, but I wasn’t. I was embarrassed by my own behavior, and right or wrong, I passed the shame down, at least some.

In discussing this with The Kids’ parents that night, it’s been decided that The Kids will be skipping the next game. The Boy has a birthday party to go to, so he was going to be out anyway, but The Girl will be sitting next time out, too.

I think I need to send an email to the other young man’s father, asking some questions regarding J. Usually J.’s dad is nearby, but at some point, I think he left the area. I know J. would cast looks over to where his father usually sits, but I couldn’t tell if he was there, as I was maintaining eye contact with J.

I think I may have compounded the problem by including a couple of NPC fighter types as my table also ended up short a player. Additionally, The Boy eventually freed some prisoners who didn’t just run but occupied the bad guys long enough for the players to even the odds and win. It may be that the kids got bored waiting for the NPC and all the villains to take their turns. But if those NPCs hadn’t been there, I’d have had a TPK, guaranteed.

Now, thinking about it, I probably could have removed a couple of the villains, and most of the henchmen, and balanced the scenario that way. This was supposed to be the climactic battle of the adventure, so having the horde of NPCs made sense. My own lack of foresight (not seeing that the extra NPCs might be boring for the kids) may have contributed a lot to their boredom.

But they’ve never been this rowdy.

Since The Kids’ father reads this blog, maybe he and I can discuss this for future reference. And maybe I need to discuss these thoughts with The Kids as well.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Since I have a different way of looking at this month’s D&D for Kids, at least I don’t feel I’ve wasted my time and yours, Gentle Reader. Later.

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About docryder

I'm an experienced table top gamer with an open mind to new game systems. I'm looking to explore ideas I've got. Some are pretty meta, some are pretty mundane. Welcome to my world.

Posted on August 20, 2014, in D&D 4e, Metagaming, Personal History. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. That does sound like a very unenjoyable session. Congratulations on working through the “cowardice” angle; it’s been a struggle for me to overcome the same prejudices.

    • I thought about talking with you about the D&D for Kids last night, but between my own game, necessity for food, and your own busy evening, I missed out. I don’t think there would have been any new light you really could have shed on my thoughts, but it would have been nice to bounce my conclusions off a Gnome. 🙂

      Re: attitudes towards suicide (I’m calling it that, rather than keep using a term I myself am finding offensive, even if I used it above)…

      It’s probably easier for me to change my attitude. In researching ADHD, I’ve come to realize that some people literally *can’t* make other decisions. There is a biological component to ADHD, a change in neurology that causes certain neurotransmitters to leave the brain faster than they do in non-ADHD brains. People with Clinical Depression (which I’m betting is the usual cause for suicides) likely can’t make other decisions because of the dysfunctions in their brain.

      I remember one evening when our Wednesday night game at the store ended up being cancelled because one of the players, who suffers Clinical Depression, was so low that she needed to be taken to the hospital by her boyfriend and put on a suicide watch while she waited for payday to get her meds. That night, without her friends, she might have taken her own life. I had forgotten this incident until tonight. It didn’t strike me then, but I’m seeing how things work with her, having this new understanding of neurology.

      Ultimately, it may just be easier for me to come to a different understanding by living with a similar (if significantly milder) issue. Are there others you know of with psychological issues? Think about how you feel about those people, now knowing that they *can’t* make other decisions, as they’re brain won’t let them. That may help shift the matter in your mind, and make the struggle easier.

      I don’t know if that’s the direction you were going with your comment, but if it is, I hope this helps.

  1. Pingback: I Thought This Was A Part-Time Job? | Doc Ryder's Wyrd Science

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