|It's 7:00 pm on a Saturday night. There are about a half dozen people crowded into your living room sitting amidst half-empty potato chip bags, Coke cans, scrap paper, character sheets, pencils and, of course, lots of ten-sided dice in a rainbow of colors...
Then someone yells out, "Let's go in and do 'em!"
A nightmare? Or perhaps a meeting of the local militia?
It's just another weekly meeting of the Strategists Club, a loosely organized organization whose sole purpose is to play (and sometimes write) fantasy role playing games.
Our Definition of Strategy
strategy- n. 1. The science or art of military command as applied to the overall planning and conduct of large-scale combat operations. 2. A plan of action resulting in the practice of this science. 3. The art or skill of using stratagems in politics, business, courtship, or the like. 4. Always remember to pillage before you burn. 5. Suck up to the gamemaster whenever possible. 6. Never cast a 10 foot fireball in an 8 foot room. 7. When in doubt, move a pawn. When really in doubt, run like hell. 8. Never tie up and strip search absolute strangers. 9. Bar fights are not always good. 10. Send the thieves in first, they're expendable. 11. Always check for traps and if there aren't any, check again and again and again. 12. Mild salsa is better than medium salsa. 13. Just say no to puns. 14. Never sneeze when you're hiding. 15. After securing an area, don't forget to tell the enemy. 16. If you must cast a spell, make sure your fellow party members are not in the way. 17. Wooden floors and fire don't mix. 18. Never mention the bad guy's name in public. 19. Specify out of character remarks as out of character remarks. 20. Post a watch at all times. 21. Dice are not designed for building little towers. 22. Never assume anything. 23. Always assume the worst. 24. When assuming the worst, remember that the gamemaster has planned something even worse than you imagine. 25. It's only a game.
Now that you understand where we're coming from...
The Strategists Club of the Miller Core Knowledge Magnet Middle School
The school-based Strategists Clubs are all based on the idea that students will always crave creative entertainment. Football, baseball, softball, basketball... these visceral sports all offer athletic challenge, but what about those needing intellectually challenging recreation? Enter the Strategists Club! We teach simple strategies and tactics using such games as Tic-Tac-Toe and Dots. We progress into Chess, allowing time for the intricacies of 32 pieces and 64 squares to seep into young minds. We play trading card games, like Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! We eventually wind up playing Legendmaker because I am incredibly familiar with the gaming system: I wrote it. Fantasy roleplaying games are amazingly vivid mental games of ideas. There are no video screens, no boss monsters. Tabletop FRPGs (as opposed to video versions or Live Action Role Playing games) immerse the player in a world of fantasy that is always going to be fantasy because it is obvious that none of it exists outside the papers and descriptions of the gamemaster and his players. They allow the player to test ideas, both social and critical, in a safe environment. Their characters suffer consequences for the deeds they do as directed by the players. But these characters are not real and never will be. It is all just a game, an entertainment that goes far beyond television or DVD. Legendmaker provides an intellectually social environment promoting player interaction, unlike stand-alone video games, or even multi-player video games that require only simple selections, like which monster to shoot. The puzzles offered by the gamemaster are those he finds challenging, and his players will discover that his puzzles are far more advanced than anything a computer gaming company can create.
Parents are always welcome to sit in or even join any meeting of the Strategists Club. We are not a secret society. The door is always open and we encourage involvement, since involvement at the school will create involvement at home. Please feel free to contact me, Howard Scott, at the e-mail address below should you have any questions.
The Great Halls
Because we all have our good moments and our not-so-good moments, the Strategists invite you to take a peek at our Hall of Fame and our Hall of Shame. These are two good places to start if you want to learn a few lessons about the ups and downs of fantasty roleplaying and why on Earth we still continue to find this game amusing.
firstname.lastname@example.org All material © 2004 Chaos Enterprises, Inc.