Teenaged Improv

The school D&D Club reconvened today and two groups came to play, both improvising some sessions around some hand-me-down products that I took along to share. It was glorious to watch!

First, some context: I’ve been decluttering my RPG collection over the past few weeks – a process that will take several months – and I had taken along a pile of books and starter products for a wide range of games. Examples included Pathfinder 2e, Mongoose Traveller, HARP, Star Trek Adventures, and DCC. The products were snapped up and divided among the club members in minutes.

What was amazing was watching what they did next. One group, leafing through the Traveller books, decided to just start playing and improvised a quick sequence of combats against different robots which was simply inspired by the images in the books. The other group sat down and improvised a quick adventure in a mysterious house.

What was exciting to watch was the focus on roleplaying – taking on the roles of a character – and getting on with the play. Neither group created characters using dice, rules, and character sheets. Instead, each player described their character idea and then they sat down to play. Dice were rolled to resolve actions but it was (in both cases) a simple “roll the dice and beat a target number” adjudication on the fly.

They were having a LOT of fun and it was a joy to watch! The groups both recognised that they were improvising and not really using the rules but it didn’t much matter. For me, it was a reminder that the best bit about these games isn’t the books and mechanisms: it’s the imagination and roleplaying with friends.

I feel very privileged to have watched them play. On the way out, I also got to overhear the excited chatter about the books and sets they had acquired. It was enough to know that these students have caught the essence of what this hobby is all about.

Game on!


  1. I wonder if you and I might have a discussion about this experience. I use RPGs in classes for creative writing and for helping students recognize that they can be and are creative. It can be amazing to see what happens!

    Liked by 1 person

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