Here’s a quick story from the convention scene.
Running a characters-provided con D&D game for a mom, her 11-year-old, and 4 adult friends of the mom.
Point comes in the story where 11-year-old is about to realize his PC
is the child of one of the other PCs, and that neither knows it.
I ask to take a break, and pull the kid aside – I take him out in
the hall, just him and me. I explain the situation that he’s about to
encounter, and we talk about how his character would react to the news.
A little pre-RP if you will. It’s an important moment in the story, and
I want to make sure he’s prepared.
He’s pretty excited by it – “Wow – my character never knew who his dad was? And it turns out to be someone he just met by accident! Coooool.” But he decides his PC would not take the news well. “Why did you abandon me!” and all that.
So we go back into the room after 10 minutes of discussion (rest of
the players were on health break), and the mom has this very uneasy
look on her face. She looks me in the eye and says “What have you been doing out there with my son?” And the way she says it, I feel like a child molester or something.
But the kid responds to his mom “Oh, you’ll see“, with this devilish grin, and she seems placated.
So the scene plays out, and the guy who is playing the ‘dad’ to the
kid’s PC totally drops the RP ball – just lets the revelation slide by
in order to get to more of the ‘adventure’.
But the kid saves the day – stopping the game to go stand by the
other player and confront his PC – big scene, the rest of the players
jump in, and it turns in to a spectacular RP moment for all.
At the end the mom thanked me profusely for spending so much time helping her son with the rules, RP, etc. I had to tell her “No offense…but by the end, he was the best player at the table“. And in typical mom fashion, she ignored the sideways insult and walked away very proud of her son…