Dungeons, Dragons, and Boy Scouts

on April 22, 2010 in Activity, games

I was nineteen when I was introduced to a roll playing game called Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). A couple of my high school friends and I would get together on weekend when we were home from college and play a game at Chuck’s house. He had been introduced to the game by his college friends and he was eager to introduce this world of fantasy role play to Neil and me. We had a great time hanging out with each other during those games.

After I became an adult leader of Boy Scout Troop 68 I wondered if the Scouts would be interested in playing D&D. I talked to a few of them and they thought it sounded like fun, so I learned how to be a dungeon master (game master) and began to create dungeons and a world they could explore.

I will never forget the first game I hosted. Two of the Boy Scouts played. We created their characters and began the game, which only lasted for fifteen minutes before those characters were killed by monsters. I learned a lot about being a game master during that short time. I had managed the game by the rule books. I needed to use the books more as guidelines and fit them to the gameplay. Once I began doing that the games lasted longer and they were more fun. More boys wanted to get in on the action. Nearly 100 boys have played in my world during the last thirty years.

The realm of Tenne, the world of my D&D games, has grown to have quite a history. While many games are the simple explore the dungeon variety, there have been quite a few quests and other types of adventures. Villains have come and gone, giants fought, and dragons killed. There have even been wars between countries and gods. Some of the player’s characters have become legendary. Some of the games have become a part of the lore of Tenne, passed down from one group of players to the next.

To this day I am still amazed at how the boys, and sometimes myself, can get caught up in the game. They become very attached to their characters. They can recall events from past games that I have completely forgotten. When the guys who played in the 1980′s get together, they talk about their games with such clarity that it almost seems like it was a Scout camping trip they attended. Many of them still have their character sheets just in case they get the call to play again when they come back to town.

Most of the D&D games I host begin at 6:30 in the evening and end near midnight. Of course, there have been shorter games and some that last quite long. The longest game was a twelve hour marathon. We all got so caught up in the adventure that no one was watching the time.

Sometimes I have to remind the Boy Scouts that D&D is not a part of the Scouting program, but I have been known to use the promise of a game as incentive to get the patrol or troop to earn advancement or complete a project well. There have been many times while sitting around a campfire that the boys have discussed past games and strategies for future games.

(…to be continued.)

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    8 Responses to “Dungeons, Dragons, and Boy Scouts”

    1. Andy Mullaly says:

      Steve:

      I’ve played D&D since 1980 myself and have introduced it to my boys. My only question is do have other adult assistance to make your current games YPG compliant. Has playing caused any misunderstandings with over-protective parents? (a lot of religious people have the mistaken idea that D&D is somehow satanic or evil.)

    2. Interesting timing on this. After 15 years off I’ve been slowly ramping up to a return to D&D playing and running over the past month or so. My son is in an afterschool club that plays. One of his fellow scouts is also a member, so I’ve been considering running something for them and any interested members of their Troop. Not only that, but members of my old D&D group have also been bringing up the subject lately. Not sure I want to mix the middle agers and the boys in a single session just yet, but I have been toying with the idea of running games for both groups. I even got tentatively back in the saddle by running a very small encounter with my son recently, just to get a feel for the new rules. I prefer the old rules, but he’s been learning the new ones in his club. We’ll see how it goes.

    3. Scouter Adam says:

      D&D is a good game. My son has recently gotten into Magic. It is a card game with many different levels to it. There are so many good non-electronic games out there. These ones keep your brain from going to mush.

    4. [...] another perspective on role-playing and scouting, check out A Scoutmaster’s Blog, in which a Minnesota scoutmaster comments on his experiences role-playing, both as a player and a [...]

    5. Tyler says:

      Interesting! I think I would have appreciated a relationship-building activity like a role-playing campaign during my time in the Scouts.

    6. Michael Wiseley says:

      I have the same interest. Would like to introduce a simple dungeion with some kind of quest to my Webelos scouts or if not the scouts, then to my kids age 10 and age 7. The game seems to have changed a lot since the nearly 30 years when I was playing (back in the 1970s) so I am not completely sure how to get started. Will look for some ready made simple dungeons at toy store and see if I can modify to suit my tastes. Is it important to have miniatures for the kids or do they care?

    7. stevejb68 says:

      The game of D&D is now in its fourth edition. I still play 1st edition with my Scouts. I still have my original books and have picked up a couple more through eBay. As far as using miniatures, we use a collection of Lego knights and wizards that I have collected over the years. They seem to work fine for us.

    8. Michael Wiseley says:

      I just bought Edition 4E Red Box and it is terrible, in my opinion. The layout of the rules are confusing and you have to play through a small adventure to figure out how to create characters. The Red Box also give you little help in moving characters up past level 1 or 2. Will explore either Dnd v 3.5E or Pathfinder (but that seems a bit complex). Problem with Version 1 (which I still have) is that the 1st level characters need more HP or spells to be interesting and to have some survivability.

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