After my last Pathfinder game had ended and the group had gone home, I was doing my session notes just as I usually do. My 12 year old daughter came in and took a seat at the table across from me, which is not uncommon. Then, out of the blue, she asked me to teach her to play. To say that I was filled with geek pride would be an understatement.
Given that she has never played a table top RPG I knew that 3rd edition and Pathfinder would probably be a bit overwhelming for her first time. Sure she's watched me and mom game for years and understands the basics, but I still wanted her first time at the table to be fun and not frustrating.
After telling her that I would love to teach her, while trying to hide my elation, I immediately began going through every RPG book and pdf that I own looking for a system that would 1) be easy enough for a beginner to learn 2) easy enough for me to modify quickly 3) something appropriate for her age (not too adult, not too childish) and 4)would also hold her attention.
Given her age I came up with several choices. Sword & Wizardry White Box, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Villains & Vigilantes, Truth & Justice, Pokethulhu and I even looked at running a game from the FATE or Savage World systems. I showed her the games I had picked and asked her which one she wanted to play. "I want to play D&D, because I want to be one of those dark elves", was her reply. There was nothing I could do or say to convince her that we could still do that with these other games, nope it had to be D&D.
Now, much like my gaming group she thinks there are only two kinds of D&D, 4th edition and Pathfinder/3e. If it doesn't have one of those name on it, then it isn't D&D according to them. As I've said before my group and I were not fans of 4e so the books have just been sitting on my shelf gathering dust, but after she said that I remembered that I had read a lot of positive reviews about the Essentials line. From what I have seen on various boards and blogs Essentials was much "easier" and better organized than the original core books (I am not fond of the original core books, at all). I was curious about the Essentials books anyway and they seemed to be designed for new gamers, so off to Amazon I went.
While Pathfinder will remain my fantasy RPG of choice for the foreseeable future, I have to say that the changes in the Essentials line, minor though they may be, make the game much more appealing to me. For the first time in a long time WotC has done something that I not only like, but am glad I bought. This will probably raise the ire of some die-hard 4e fans, but I want more digest sized Essentials books that are this well organized and reader friendly. If nothing else at least give me an Essentials Monster Manual. Not a boxed set like the soon to be released Monster Vault but an actual digest sized book to go along with the two I just bought and the Heroes of Forgotten Kingdoms book that I will be ordering when it is released.
Mike Mearls if you, or anyone else from WotC, are by chance reading this, I accepted the "olive branch" and am at least willing to bring 4e back to my gaming table, but I sincerely want my Essentials Monster Manual/Monster Catalog/Monster Compendium(whatever you want to call it). I do not, and I repeat do not want boxed sets of anything. I want easy to carry books that are well organized.
So this weekend I will be running a 4e game for my daughter, and probably my wife as well, using the Essentials books. Just thinking about her sitting there rolling a d20 and exploring dungeons with her "dark elf" is almost enough to bring a tear of joy to my eye. I'll let you know how it goes.
Now that that is out of the way I came across a site while prepping for this weekends 4e game that I think may prove quite useful. GoDeckYourself is a site with various types of customizable cards for various RPG needs.
I found blank 4e Power Cards, 4e & 3.5 Equipment Cards, Pathfinder Sorcerer Spell Cards, Initiative Cards and cards that I'm not even sure what they are for, yet.
You have the ability for minor customization of you cards (size, backing, and I think maybe even color)and when you are done the site generates a pdf for you to download and print.
The site says it is in beta at the moment, but there is more than enough on the site for nearly anyone to find something they can use in their game.