Sometimes we have the sheer luck of being witnesses to something wonderful – and I think when it happens we should share it with others.
For the weekend I was in Modena, lovely city, at the local gaming fair, Play – I was helping the Savage Worlds Italia crew, giving game demonstrations.
Short Savage Worlds RPG sessions, two hours to help interested parties to get an idea of the system, the settings, etc.
It was my last game in the very intense two-day event.
I was tired, my voice was going, and I was mastering a game called Necessary Evil – a super-heroes game in which super-villains are all that stands between humanity and cruel alien invaders.
The game is fun, tongue-in-cheek, the sort of game in which to save some innocent civilians, the “heroes” burn down the city hall, blackmail the chief of police, start a huge brawl against alien shark-man warriors and on their way out, they rob a bank.
I had a good solid game ready – some investigation, some devastation, great opportunities for roleplaying.
And then two kids come along – brothers, let’s say ten and seven years old.
Never played a role playing game before.
Never heard about Savage Worlds, about Necessary Evil, nothing.
They would like to sit and play the demo.
The rest of the team is five adults, all with previous gaming experience, well-educated, sophisticated, smart.
So, ok, I can’t send these two kids away.
They are young, and curious.
They are the gamers of tomorrow, and I owe it to them to offer them a good demo.
It’s a responsibility I feel.
So I give them seats at the table and pre-rolled characters, and start worrying about how I’ll pull it, this ultra-pulpy, violent and ironic game, with two innocents at the table.
Will they be unhappy and disoriented, intimidated, out of their depth?
Will the rest of the participants feel irritated by these two boys in their team?
And then it happenes – ten minutes in the game, the rest of the team, all of them well-above 20 y.o., turn into the most warm, friendly, cheerfull and responsive bunch of uncle/aunt-like guys I ever met.
They give the two young boys a lot of maneuvering space, make them the main characters of the story, help them beat the obvious timidity of two “children” playing with “grownups”.
And the kids were delighted – and they were great at playing an evil Atlantean wizard and an outlaw version of Iron Man.
Smart, resourceful, having the time of their life.
End result: two hours of great cheer, great gaming and such warmth, friendliness and kindness across a huge age divide, that it really restored my faith in humanity.
I’ve been a gamer for most of my life, and I usually say most gamers I met were fantastic human beings.
On sunday afternoon I got the best reminder of this fact in ages.
It was absolutely uplifting.
(ok, they razed a building, but it was for a good cause)