Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures at Grandpa's House

Another introduction to role playing using the "Shadow" RPG (role playing game) rules.  The idea behind it is that each kid has a shadow that tries to get them in trouble.  They have 2 dice and each time they want to do something, they have to tell everyone what they want to happen and what their shadow wants to happen.  They each start out drawing a picture of themselves and their shadow.  Levi drew a shadow that had horns and a hammer for one hand.  Olivia drew a shadow with scary eyes.  Julia said she messed up drawing her shadow and just went with a messed up shadow.  Taya spent the entire game working on her picture and her shadow.  I didn't get a chance to see her shadow, but I bet it was very pretty.  Each are given 2 dice, one representing themselves and one their shadow, and 3 tokens.  The tokens can be used to give to another player to try again in case they fail their shadow roll.  When the player rolls their dice, the higher of the two wins unless there is a tie, in which case the good wins over the shadow.

We start out with the kids visiting grandpa Ivin's house and are awaken from sleep by a noise downstairs.  They all wake up and decide to go down to investigate.  The sound appeared to be coming from the kitchen.  So Olivia lead the way to the kitchen and noticed the sound coming from the pantry.  Levi said he wanted to open the door and his shadow wanted him to slip on the wet floor that had just been mopped.  He rolls and the shadow wins. Levi slips and falls on the floor bumping his head on the tile floor.  He is dazed, but ok.  Olivia wants him to try again so she gives him a token.  He rolls and the shadow wins again.  This time Levi goes down and is out for the count.  Julia said she wanted to dance around with her arms in the air and her shadow wanted her to slip and fall like Levi.  So she danced prettily around Levi's crumpled mass.  Taya was able to open the door and they find a Super Hero tied up and gagged in the pantry.  His mouth it gagged and he is trying to say something.  They pull the gag from his mouth and he tells them how grandpa captured him and that grandpa is really a super villain!  Taya goes in to try and search him for something that may corroborate his story and her shadow wants her to have him head butt her.  She rolls and her shadow wins.  While Taya is trying to search him, the hero tries to look down to see what she is doing and inadvertently head-butts Taya knocking her out.  Olivia goes up stairs to try and wake up grandpa to see if he knows what is going on, but grandpa is apparently a heavy sleeper.  She jumps on his bed and yells in his ear but is unable to wake him so heads back downstairs and informs the others.  Levi groggily makes it to his feet and sees the super hero.  He really wants to untie him and his shadow wants him to trip and get knocked out again.  So Levi walks up to the man and trips on the mop, knocks the flour off the shelf spilling it everywhere and bangs his head on the shelf, knocking him out again.  Julia unties the "hero" and the man exclaims his gratitude for releasing him and says that he is really a super villain that grandpa had captured and when grandpa wasn't watching he had put sleeping powder in his tea.  

He tells the kids that he will not hurt them because they rescued him, but he cannot let them go to the authorities either.  The kids make a break for it and are able to get out of the house without getting caught.  They decide to head to the police station which is 30 miles away and get lost about a mile from their house in the woods.  There are a lot of trees in Washington.  They spend some time trying to figure out what to do.  July starts carving on a tree.  Olivia wants to kill some small animals and eat them.  Taya wanted to walk around aimlessly in an attempt to find someone to help.  Levi wanted to climb a tree to see if he could determine their position from a higher vantage.  They ended up liking Levi's idea and Levi rolled to see if he could climb the tree or fall out like his shadow wanted.  He successfully climbed the tree and determined that they were in luck.  Not using the road and getting lost in the woods put them half way between the police station and grandpa's house.  They made their way to the police station and talked the officer into going back to grandpa's house with them to apprehend the bad guy.  

The police man drove them back to grandpa's house and when they got out, they all started pointing to what appeared to be a statue in a running position on the front lawn.  The policeman thought they were crazy and went into the house to see if grandpa was ok.  The villains super power was super slow!  When the villain noticed that they were all standing over by the police car, he went back to normal speed and walked over to the car.  "HA, I knew you would not be able to resist my super powers!"  Julia decided to confront him and made a shadow roll.  If she won, she would do a sweep kick to his legs knocking him down, a punch to the face, and a kick to the side.  If the shadow won, then he would block her attempt and capture her.  She won the toss and beat the guy up.  The villain said, "What did you go and do that for?  I didn't do anything to you!".  Taya's turn to roll she wanted to get some hand cuffs from the police car and cuff the bad guy, her shadow wanted the bad guy to get away.  So he jumped up and while sobbing, ran into the forest.  When the kids got back into the house, grandpa was sitting in the kitchen talking to the police officer and was saying how grateful he was the they had made it home ok.  The kids were a little shocked to see grandpa awake.  They all tried to tell grandpa what had happened and had him go over to the pantry and see the mess.  There was no mess and no bad guy.  Confused, Grandpa shuffled the kids to bed and said that they would talk about it in the morning.  The kids talked about what had happened and slowly drifted off to sleep.

In the morning, Olivia jumped up and ran to grandpa's room to see if he was ok and he was gone!  His bed was made nicely and she could smell breakfast cooking.  They all went down to the kitchen where grandpa had breakfast for them.  Grandpa ask how they had slept and ask about what had happened last night.  They relayed their story to grandpa and he began to laugh.  "You must be talking about old Mr. McGregger", he chuckled.  "This is not the first time that something like this has happened.  Since we do not get a lot of visitors up this way, we leave our doors unlocked.  Old Mr. McGregger is a funny old man that has a wild imagination and a bad habit of sleep walking.  One morning I woke to find him huddled under the rug in the family room.  I usually just feed him breakfast and send him on his way.  In fact, he is joining us for breakfast this morning."  The kids look at one another in shock!  The bad guy is coming here!  No sooner had grandpa spoken then there was a knock at the door.  Mr. McGregger comes walking in through the front door.  "Hello kids," he exclaims in a creaky old man voice.  "These your grandkids?" he asks grandpa.  "They look awful familiar.  You sure I haven't met them before?"  He pulls up a chair at the table and as he scratches his head, a puff of what appears to be flour plumes out from his touch.  Grandpa sets down a bowl of oatmeal in from of the man and what seems like an eternity, he slowly picks up his spoon, dips it into the oatmeal, and makes its way to his mouth.  Must have taken 5 minutes to take one bite.  Grandpa winks and they all break out in laughter.

I am trying to get the kids to come up with their own storied and I had them choose the direction the story would go several times.  I would like to see them using the ideas in their own writing and while playing with each other.  I used to think pen and paper RPGs were only done by DnD cultists.  It got a pretty bad wrap when I was a kid, but I have come to realize the potential of allowing kids to express themselves and their creativity in a non-confrontational manner.  I was surprised at the original ideas that the kids came up with.  They wanted to help each other out and we had to make sure that everyone listened and did not "help" the younger kids when it came to their turn to decide what would happen next.  The good and bad ideas in this type of game helps the kids to see the separation between good and bad choices that they make and the consequences.  Prior to this, we did do a RPG type game with Goldie Locks and the Three Bears.  It has been awhile and I am going to try and play more often until I see them making up their own scenarios in normal play.  I am trying to encourage Taya to make up a story and share it as an RPD with the family.  I think she is as confused as I am at this point when it comes to writing a Role Playing Games.  So I think we will try to stick with stories we know and just alter them to allow the listener to make their own choices, until we can get the hang of it.