I was a pretty good ref a quarter century ago. I’d run D&D, Top Secret, Paranoia, and Superhero 44. But my favorite was StarWars, run off the old Star Patrol rules. Really liked that set – it was open-ended so I could fling out whatever throws and saves I felt like, without players tossing tables back in my face. I reffed it pretty much on a weekly basis through college and beyond, adventures which started on my custom world of Naolo and spread across the universe. My players and I went into some unlikely places in these games. I remembered seeing characters I loved die. It was really a lot of fun for a storyteller like me.
Then I met my wife to be and invited her to a session. Looking at her stony face during a hot-n-heavy action scene, I realized I’d come to a crossroads. Willingly I left Never-neverland, putting away my dice, my charts, my tables.
Now its been 25 years and my niece (just about ready to go to college) called out of the blue and asked if I’d ref. Turns out her daddy told her about our games and she and her friends are curious. I don’t think they’ve ever played. So, sure, I said. Went home and dug around in my closet and there were my dice, my tables, all my stuff.
It was a bit of a headscratcher, of course. I had to recreate the rules from my reference charts, trying to remember the rules that had seemed so natural over the many, many years. How was experience earned? How did damage work? How fast does a character heal? How did I roll encounters? I think I’m close enough that I can pull it off.
So tomorrow night we meet at 5pm (on a Tuesday – who EVER adventures on a Tuesday) and we’ll see how it goes.
I’ll post up a rough story after we’ve played.