Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Break

Mom and dad traveled up from St. Louis on Friday. They spent the night somewhere in Iowa at a hotel. They said it was pretty bad visibility the entire trip up. Thank you, God, for traveling mercies. Mom and dad went directly to Greg and Mandy's house.

Saturday. We each had a list of chores to get done on Saturday. After Leesha was picked up by Jeremy, Cara and I went to the Saturday night service at church. We got home and watched some episodes of Jeremiah.

Sunday. Cara and Leesha left early. Mom and dad came to our house and we spent some time, just the four of us (mom, dad, Jack and me). Next we took off to David and Darlene's. There were a lot of people at this gathering, Kara and Jeff, Scott and Anna and Olie and Elsa, Dealane and Ron, Ruban and Donna and Paul, mom and dad, Cara, Jack and Leesha and I, and of course, David and Darlene. Melanie was meaning to come, but traffic was backed up with many accidents due to a lot of snow coming don. Deserts were served. The drive home was nice and slow. We dropped Leesha off at her dad's house on our way home.

Christmas Eve we spent evening at Cara's parents house. We had a fantastic dinner of Swedish Meatballs. Opened up a bunch of Leesha's gifts and played a game called In a Pickle. Jack was fed and Leesha took him and bounced him. Jack vomited a large amount on Leesha's black shirt. Perfect! The drive home was nice and slow. We dropped Leesha off at her dad's house on our way home.

Christmas morning. It was snowing. Leesha was dropped off late morning and we opened a bunch of our gifts, Cara, Leesha and I. For Christmas evening was over at Greg and Mandy's. It was a wonderful time. All the adults revealed who they had picked for our Secret Santas. Cara and I had each other. She got me a big gray sweatshirt! I've been missing my old one that I recently retired to the trash. Leesha was pretty good. Mom and dad were to come to our house for the night. Leesha was up too late and too tired. She absolutely melted down. The original plan was for her to sleep on one of the couches in the living room, but we changed it so that she would sleep on the twin sized mattress in Jack's room. She chose this point to just fall to pieces about. Just sitting in the room screaming her head off, crying, shouting that since she wasn't given any kleenex that she would have to wipe her nose on Jack's blankets. I wasn't handling her behavior very well, but then mom and dad arrived to witness her horrible behavior. This may have been the first time they've seen this, it wasn't the first time they've heard about it. It was good for them to witness it first hand. Leesha does have some behavioral issues.

Day after Christmas we went to IHOP for a fantastic breakfast with fantastic service. Mom, Leesha, Cara and Jack went home. Dad and I went to Menards (for some electrical stuff), to Target (for a humidifier), to the Library (to check out museum passes) and home. Dad and I installed a different light in our kitchen area, Cara and dad set up the humidifier and changed the locks on our side door. Mom and Leesha watched a bit of Totoro and I did some finishing up on my role-playing game (what does that mean, read on...) and showed my mom a bit of Porco Rosso.

I have been working on a short campaign idea for a game to be run for my family. It started at our Thanksgiving family get together when my dad commented on his lack of interest in my hobby of role-playing games. He later felt the need to apologize, because he felt he may have come off as too critical. I told him he was forgiven and if he was interested I'd put together a short game to demonstrate what an RPG is all about. He said OK.

So my game finally happened the day after Christmas. The game I ran was very different than the first few ideas that got this project going. First of all I was planning on running the game using the True20 system. I found that True20 is superior to d20 and easier for newbies to learn. In spite of True20 being a generic system, I felt confined to running a fantasy setting and that was my original intent. But as the plot developed, the setting started to change and evolve from a fantasy setting to a fantasy/sci-fi setting (Princess of Mars-like thing) to dialing it way down to a simple pulp action temple treasure hunt. I decided to use the Top Secret/S.I. system for this game because a). I've been longing to run a game in this system for years. b). Its an easy system to learn/explain. c). It is my favorite RPG system and game. So, TSSI it is.

I created the characters before hand- stated and named them and threw together a few skills. However, I had the players select the character's advantages/disadvantages to give my folks a feel for character creation. They got into that. My dad, for example, drastically changed the character's appearance by taking the obese disadvantage (and he took at a 2 point value). Fantastic! Totally changed how the character felt.

The story took the characters to a cave in search of a small statue. Upon arrival they find another boat already docked at the site. They gather a bunch of gear from the boat and set off to the cave entrance. Following two sets of fresh footsteps, they make their way through the cave and find the body of an archaeologist long dead (Forrestal, tribute to Raiders of the Lost Ark). Next they find that the Eastern most wall of this cave is actually a steep cliff with a rope-bridge that looks as old as the dead body behind them. Here's where the party surprised me. I figured they'd all just cross, but they got all crafty and used all sorts of rope and crossed one at a time. My plan was for them to have the bridge break and they'd have to find an alternative way up to the other side (which was provided with a tunnel leading up, however, there was a leopard in that tunnel waiting as an encounter). So I was forced to improvise. I moved the events clock ahead and lead the party into an encounter... To make an already long story short, we concluded the story as every good pulp adventure should in time for dinner. If anyone reading this is interested in seeing the gaming notes, I could share them with you. They're not much.

We finally wrapped up the game. I felt so completely satisfied with how it went. It seemed my folks really got into the game and their characters to the point that I think they want to continue with these characters again at a later date. This experience was such a delight for me on all levels- creating the campaign, the characters, and running the game for my family. I'm just so satisfied with how it all went.
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