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(TFT) Activities day is Friday

Activities day is Friday

     Activities day is
Friday in Jr. High.  We arrange for Miss
Austin, my English teacher, to host D&D.
I sign up.  The sheet is posted on
a bulletin board in the commons area outside the lunch room.  We can see how
many have signed up each week,
and figure out how many DM`s we should have and who will do it.

     Each week we have
about 4 DM`s. A player runs with one DM for about 30 minutes then everyone
moves to another one.  We push desks
together rearranging the room into 4 or so groups.  Desks arranged in a
semicircle facing the DMs`

     It is a real
challenge for me, public DMing.  I`m used
to having a lot more time to really get the player fully engaged.  Rolling
Dice on the slanted surface of our
desks is awkward.  And unexpectedly some
players embarrass the others into silence by breaking out a stack of
and asking if they can use one with artifacts or if they should use one of
their beginners.

     I deputize the
veteran player and ask them if they can help the new player roll up a
in under 30 minutes or maybe just loan them one.  This works wonders.  Now
instead of dominating all of my attention
and making the beginner scared to speak, they pull them aside and actively
with them.  Only occasionally do they
call over and ask do I allow ``rerolls`` or ``roll four and pick and pick
things like that.  ``How much of his
money can he spend.``  By the third week
the process is down to 5 minutes and veteran players are volunteering over
other to help the new ones.

     Rolling dice on the
slanted desk is solved by laying a D&D book, lifting it from the bottom
edge so it is level, and rolling the dice.  When done, just set the dice
against the top
of the book so they can`t roll away.
Chasing dice through a room full of desks can take some time, and
disrupt more than one campaign.

     Only having 30
minutes with three to six players is
where I make the most personal progress.
I am able to get the full attention of each player, start to unroll the
narrative, and offer them a fight in under five minutes.  Usually concluding
the fight and divvying up
treasure & experience before the 30 minutes are up.

    Activities runs
for 3 hours so I get to DM each group at least once.  When they sit down I ask
``Character sheet
please`` take it, and write down on a sheet of scratch paper name, HP, AC,
damage, and any wounds they might still have from the previous DM.  I do this
so quickly the players barely have
time to speak to each other.  When done I
address the one who did speak by their characters` name.

Dracula.  You are sitting in a tavern
when you meet these guys.``  I then
intentionally step on their opportunity for role playing to get them outside
town and close to a fight before asking what do you do.  ``There is an ogre
outside of town so ya`ll
go see what`s up.``  This works well as
the talkative player feels like they are leading, and they shy one can just
follow the crowd.

     By the third week
I know who all the strong but quiet players are.  I have them roll for the
monsters` attacks,
as well as their own.  So now I have a
new group every 30 min that is effectively running itself with minimal
oversight from me.

     So now I can
start to listen around the room.  See
what the other groups are doing, how the other DM` are handling.  The first
thing I notice, besides some
players erasing their wounds before getting to the next DM, is the players
to organize themselves under each DM.
The second is that some personalities stand out.

     There is the
standard selection of humanity.  People
who talk with their hands, quiet ones you have to ask direct questions, DM`s
who seem nervous, and the DM who is a performer and gets the occasional laugh
from their group.  When the 30 min has passed
people don`t move in a group either.
They go in twos and threes to different DM`s.  So each group make up is
different each time.

     There are some
core pairs that always move together.
You never get them as players unless you get both.  They are usually
complimentary in their
combat effectiveness.  But interestingly
there is only one DM to player pair.  And
that is Moonie & Glen Bass.

     Glen calls Keith
Griffin Moonie or Moonford, because his face looks like a Moonpie.  When
Moonie is not around Glen calls him
Butterball, like the turkey.  But on
activities day Moonie is the DM & Glen is his constant player.

     Glen`s mission in
Jr. High is to make sure that all these nervous teenagers know that sex can
perverted beyond what they have already heard.
If one listens close one can hear Glen saying things like,

     ``Im greasing up
a pole.``

     ``I take all
these guys to the whore house.``

     ``I smear my body
with butter and dive in.``

     ``Do they have
one with only one leg.``

    One has to listen
close cause this is always said in hushed tones so Miss Austin at her desk in
the front of the room can`t hear.
Moonies group is also huddled in close like they are guarding a
secret.  While he is slouching low in his
desk with that big ole Moonie smile and his eyes twinkling from behind his
sized glasses.

     I don`t think I
have ever seen him roll a Dice.  Every
DM`s group starts in a tavern.  In Moonies
they never leave.  In some groups one
might hear ``I order another drink,`` or the DM say ``You`re drunk minus two
and minus two Wisdom.``  Or even a fight
will break out in the tavern.  But only
in Moonies group would you see the DM point to a player and say ``Roll 2d6 to
see how many inches it is.``  And the
player bite their lip as they try to roll well.

David Michael Grouchy II
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