I catch a fair amount of crap for my love of “rules light” systems. “Oooh, how typically ‘girl’ of you!” Blah Blah Blah… Whatever. Now, in my defense it isn’t that I can’t handle crunchy, rules heavy systems, I can. I played, and ran, GURPS for years. For heaven’s sake, I’ve played Rolemaster!
I just don’t want to. If I have to dive for the book more than twice a game session, it starts to feel less like fun for me, and more like work. If every combat involves pouring over charts, consulting three different damage indices and special rules sections, I start to lose interest.
This is not to say that for those people who think that sort of thing is fun, that they’re wrong. They are no more wrong than I am. We just have different ideas of fun, and that’s ok. I’m not a big fan of leaping out of perfectly good airplanes or off of bridges with rubber bands tied to my ankles for entertainment, either. And I’m sure most of those folks would be bored to tears by the thought of spending an entire evening reading an academic treatise on the psychology of sex and gender, and taking notes… for fun.
Different strokes for different folks, right?
So, I don’t think the hardcore “rules” gamers are any more wrong or bad than am I and my constant hand-waving.
That big, pissy, whiney kettle of fish dumped over…
Wizards of the Coast has put out a “lite” version of the 4th ed rules for playing D&D with children, for a module called “Monster Slayers: Heroes of Hesiod.”
I think this, much like Mouseguard**, is brilliant. It’s not that I don’t think 8 year olds of either gender can’t wrap their heads around the rules of basic D&D, it’s that not all of them are going to want to. Some of them are just going to want to tell the stories that D&D and other role-playing systems are useful tools for inspiring. And I don’t see any reason why they should have to master a rules heavy system to have the sort of fun that can be adjudicated, if everyone is amenable by, “Ok, you rolled a 7, you win,” instead of factoring in Armor Class, Hit Points and all that fun stuff.
Now, some 8 year olds are going to play the “lite” version and want to explore the harder, more crunchy, full version. Some will be content with the “lite” version, and some of them will be bored to tears by the entire endeavor and ask if it isn’t recess time yet. That’s all ok.
If you must, think of Monster Slayers as the gateway drug to gaming. Me, I think it’s awesome the way it is, and might even entice me into playing or running D&D again some time in the near future.
*Better being a relative term, a matter of opinion and not a statement of fact.
**Ok, guys, why the hell can’t I find a simple, straight forward page for the RPG that I can just point people to anymore? Luke used to have one on the Burning Wheel site, but all mention of it appears to be gone.