Sorry guys, I know I'm killing the uninitiated with this. Just wanted to report back on the Coates-Matthews family journey into the realm of swords and sorcery. All things considered, it went really, really well. We played Keep On The Borderlines but only made it to the Keep and then to the Southern wilderness--where Kenyatta (half-orc fighter and halfling thief) and Samori's characters (half-elf magic-user, human cleric) were promptly owned by a party of chaotic fighters. They did better than my first time in. My brother Malik was DM (I hope's reading this, don't know if he remembers) and my party was basically slaughtered by a mad hermit and his pet mountain lion. This was disturbing for many reasons. 1.) I was seven and had no idea what a hermit was. 2.) The hermit didn't even use weapons, he beat me with his bare hands 3.) I'd never played a game where characters actually died. I couldn't believe I had to roll another one.
One note of sadness--it's really depressing that so many of the intangibles of table-top RPGs have translated over to computers relatively poorly. I say this as a recovering World of Warcraft addict. (keeping my distance from Wrath of the Lich King.) The little non-combat things, like the importance of dialogue, the comprehension of various languages, the role of race, the exquisite customization, have all basically been shaved away. Part of that has to do with the limits of technology--I think you basically need AI to experience a D&D level of dynamism on a computer. In fact, it may be good that that hasn't happen. You think WoW is bad--a WoW that could truly envelop you like a good game of D&D would raise the divorce rate, the dropout rate and the bankruptcy rate in this country by a quarter.