I was running a demo of the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Starter Set. I was slated to 'work' from 2 - 4pm. I arrived early and check in with the librarian. She walked me over to the Teen Space. This was a very cool room a few steps away from the circulation desk. It has one entrance and the room is long and narrow.
The place was very inviting and looked like a cool place to hang out (which I'm sure was it's intent). It has several comfortable and stylish couches, three tables (one regular height, one about waist high, and a coffee table between the couches), a reception desk and small computer station. All the walls were lined with books. Like I said, a very cool place to hang out.
I chose to set up at the tall table because this would allow easy access to the game pieces while standing (I like to stand when I game master - I tend to get very animated and would fall out of my chair if I were sitting down). Without chairs, visitors could slide up to the table and see what was going on very easily.
I laid out all my 'stuff': dungeon tiles and counters, laminated character sheets, grease pencils, dice, quick-start rules and Dungeon Master guide. Everything mentioned came in the Starter Set except for the laminated character sheets - which I printed and laminated - and the grease pencils - for marking up said character sheets.
I had studied the short delve in the DM guide prior to arriving and was ready to go. All I needed was players. I didn't have to wait long and they started showing up. The event was advertised at the middle school, at the BG Teen Central after-school program (which I had stopped into on two occasions in the two weeks prior to the event), and on posters around the library.
Before long I had six players, most were teen males between the ages of 11 and 14, one teen female in the same age range and one adult female. I launched into my spiel about the game. I didn't spend a lot time on basics, only enough to set the stage. Then I launched into the requisite meeting in the tavern to get their first job.
Thankfully everyone played along and the party was soon delving the ruins under the village for the goblins that have been harassing the villagers. They soon came upon a group of goblins and quickly set to battle with great relish (and a little mustard and horseradish on the side).
I did most of the instructing as we played. I explained new phrases and key words that were common parlance to old hats like me (speaking of 'old', when I posted on Facebook that I had introduced teens to D&D, one friend commented, "You 'introduced them' - like a grampa would 'introduce' chess??? Old Man!!" to which I replied, "Old and proud of it!"). Everyone started picking up the game very quickly. Combat was moving along and soon the goblins were defeated.
At this point I took a short break to see if any new players would stop in. Since two of the players were sticking around for the whole session I didn't wait too long to gather the troops and start back up. The adult female and one male teen were back from the first session. We were joined by four more male teens in the same age range as the first group.
We were able to get the new players up to speed quickly. There was much more encouragement and suggestions from other players this time around and everyone was getting into the battle with a new set of goblins deeper in the ruins. Long story short, we went over our time allotment by thirty minutes because everyone seemed to be have a very good time.
Today, I received great news from the librarian who processed the surveys that were turned in by the participants for the event. Seven of the participants that took part in the demo filled out a survey and six of those stated they would be interested in a community role-playing game that met consistently. Everyone selected "good" or "excellent" when rating the program. Of the seven replies six stated they would be "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to come to another similar event at the library.
Needless to say, I am thrilled at these results. I hope to continue working with this library (and possibly others) to develop a library RPG program tailored to the needs of the participants and the library. I'll be sure to post more information as it becomes available.
Follow Your Bliss,