In my happy news. I’ve been running a D&D 5e group with some of the church youth group for a few months, at peak attendance we had 14 kids there and I think it’s a total of 20 that show up off and on around a core group of 6… Had a three hour meeting last week with the youth pastor about how he can get behind this and push as an outreach opportunity, we’ve had three kids join the youth group, not going to church or anything, but engaging in good safe fun since I started. Neither he nor the head pastor expected anything like this. He’s a Tae Kwon coach and has several physical outreach things going on and had vague ideas about starting something with board games. We hashed out an idea to maybe back off to biweekly instead of weekly and extend the time and have it an open gaming night every other Saturday. I’d like to do it every Saturday, but we’ll see. So, since I’ll be there, and need another adult anyway (to make sure nothing horrible happens, church policy), we can possibly add one more adult and have a couple dozen or more kids hanging out reading, playing board games and such in the church. I really like this thought. We are a young church and the oldest kids in the youth group are starting to get to driving age. Somewhere they can go hang out and be safe for five or six hours on a weekend really appeals to me.
I fielded a call from a parent who I actually invited into the church a few years ago about some of her issues with her daughter playing. A friend had told her if she was OK with Harry Potter she should be OK with D&D… oops. She had a very strict upbringing and isn’t comfortable with the thought of people thinking power and magic come anywhere but from God. We spoke for a while, I mostly listened, and she said she knows she is being unreasonable and her daughter will be really upset and she’s sad she’ll lose all these friends she’s gotten but she can’t be at peace with it. I told her I didn’t agree but I understood and wished her the best with her conversation with her daughter.
Her daughter apparently set her heels and reasoned with her mother and won her over. She’s still not comfortable but she’ll let her do it. This girl has a hell of a head on her shoulders and is one of the best players despite absolutely no history before two months ago. I’ve got her mentally tagged for the first person to have her own group.
But during the conversation I was listening to this woman, who grew up in the church and has tons of faith, talk to me about the Bible and magic and God as someone who’s opinion she respects. And it was hurting her to not trust me with this. And I looked at other conversations I’ve had with people about cancer, or gaming, or life and realize that there are people that I know, and some that I don’t know that well that value and respect my opinion on their lives. I didn’t grow up really religious, and I don’t consider myself a religious man, but I have gained a faith over the last few years and I’ve been studying and paying attention to things and other people have noticed. It’s humbling, and it’s a bit of a weight now that I’ve noticed.
The youth pastor pointed out that to these kids playing D&D that I am Jesus (Metaphorically, I’m a horrible carpenter still). I am a living example of the church and their only connection to it. If they follow some of my examples then they could lead better lives, not just in a religious sense but in an overall sense.
Now, I still get to make jokes about the Paladin touching himself to feel good, and the youth pastor is still a Female Dwarf with a beard named Pat. But some of the things going on carry some more weight. I started this so these kids didn’t end up in stupid campaigns led by other kids as power trips and to show to parents that there were good sides to gaming. And now it’s a damn ABC after school special.
Also, I’m trying to get them to let me run Pathfinder. And eventually I’ll get my Monster Hunter International book and I know we’re doing some modern fantasy monster hunting.