About a month ago I had the joy of introducing some junior and senior high aged people to the world of table top RPGs. It was at a local Con and they had sort of wandered in. They sat down telling the group that they had never played an RPG before. I was running a Dungeon World game and told them to take a seat and they are welcome to stay as long as they want. I had everyone pick out a class from the core class list and then we went through the character creation process. Everyone seemed to get a handle on it and we started playing. I was not ready for what happened next.
I don’t know if it was the fact that my home groups average age is about 10 years more than what was at the table or the fact that they were brand new to RPGs but they did something I wasn’t expecting. They were both super excited and just kept coming up with different things they wanted to do. It seemed like at all times at least two people had their hands up wanting to do something. These kids were trying all sorts of things. The cleric didn’t have a ranged weapon so he picked up a bow from a fallen foe and climbed a tree to begin returning fire. The wizard was putting himself in harms way to save the thief who had been shot by arrows. The ranger and druid did this amazing attack that involved a ram and a worg. The energy was amazing.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from most of my players. One of my players was Jacob. He came at my behest so I would have at least one veteran so while I was helping one player he could help the other. We had one player that had played 2nd ed D&D a bit and then the rest were totally new. Even Jacob was shocked at how much they participated and kept wanting to do more. They didn’t know the rules worth a darn, but they told what they wanted to do and I’d come up with a roll for them to attempt.
It’s amazing what habits we pick up from years of gaming. How the veteran gamers become this cool, calm, and collected hero, but now that I’ve seen how much fun a game can be to GM when the players are super excited. If you get the chance play with new players, or GM new players, don’t beat that excitement out of them. Help them aim it and use it but don’t burn them out.