Gaming with Grognards

Comic by Mudpuppy Comics


I’m apparently a young gamer according to the world around me. At 22 years old, it seems like everybody is collectively shouting at me, “Back when I started gaming…” It can be an annoyance at times but more often than not, I can’t help but be amazed by what the old Grognards have taught me about the role playing world. In short, the advice I have to offer here is: Go find yourself a group outside your age bracket.

When the hobby was introduced to me, it was D&D 4e with a person near and dear to me. He plays with his brother and some of their friends and I was invited to join due to my interest in everything overall. Being 18 in a room full of 40+ year olds playing pretend around a table with funny shaped dice seems weird looking back more than it did at the time. Mainly it seems strange because of how it looks to the outside eye, not because I had the thought of gosh, what the hell was I doing?! I still game with these guys today and it actually shapes a lot of my ideology towards gaming today. Playing with people who have been at it since the start gave me this sort of leap frog effect in regards to experience and decision making. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

But the question overall is why would you want to play with people outside of your age bracket? For a new player, this is almost better than starting your own group from scratch. Everybody at the table already knows the rules, helps you putter along the path with them, and at the same time you’re learning the “dos and don’ts” of the game table. It’s easier to be adopted into a group that knows it already rather than trying to slog through training yourself as well as a bunch of people who’ve never played before. Of course, that sounds a little selfish because growing the hobby is one of the most important aspects of it, but it never hurts to have two groups if you can afford the time.

Bearing witness to someone who is competent at world building, executing an idea and table management is also a huge part of what makes me a good (I hope) GM today. My Tuesday GM went to art school, is an author and has been doing this stuff for quite some time. To put it plainly, it shows. My crazy observant little brain has picked up on a lot of stuff and made me the role player I have blossomed into.

But enough of the cheesy stuff, there’s also a bit of a downside the comes with this kind of group. I’ve developed a “loose and fast” type of game style. While playing 13th age, most of the guys in our group have a concrete belief that 6 squares on the board dictates nearby range. It drives me insane! But, as the minority, it’s easy to let it slide and succumb to the tyranny. After all, it’s just a game and the squares don’t make the fun, right? This Grognard-ish behavior may be a tough nut to crack but perhaps someday. Sometimes, people can be set in their ways, and after 30 years of gaming, can you blame them? Much easier to roll with the punches in that group and make my own way in the group I GM for. The banter at the table with these guys is also of supreme quality. I swear, the amount of stories that one group of people could have together can surprise you. From stone elephants to inherently good characters becoming liches, there’s no shortage of interesting outcomes for events.

Go spread the love and find yourself a fossilized game group. Greg, GM, Rob and thou who shall not be named, this one’s for you guys!

Stay Metal \m/

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