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Author Topic: Adventurers Wanted! Teaching D&D to My Children  (Read 4053 times)
Darvcus
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« on: November 28, 2011, 04:38:08 PM »

I’ve been an avid follower of the Critical Hit podcast since nearly the date of its inception.  I played a bit back in high school and college, but like Stephen I was more of a student and reader of the game than a player.

Listening to Critical Hit caused me to start buying and reading the 4th Edition books.  (Wizards of the Coast owes at least $200 to Major Spoilers as a debt of gratitude for my purchases.)  As I initially learned about the 4th Ed. game, it occurred to me that my children, ages 7 and 10 at the time, might enjoy playing.

So, I decided to learn enough about the new rule system to teach my kids.  I designed a campaign setting and put together an adventure with the design of teaching my children (today, Roman is 9 and Amelia is 12) to learn the game of D&D.  I’m writing this chronicle as my way of saying thanks to the Critical Hit team, and letting you know how you may have inspired a new generation of D&D gamers through your podcast.

Session 1:  Adventurers Apply Within

I created a map and a scroll, which I delivered to Amelia and Roman in a yellow envelope hidden under each of their pillows.  The scroll boldly announced “Adventurers Wanted!” and invited them to present the scroll to the Captain of the Guard at the Castle on the Borderlands for an opportunity to become hired adventurers to rid the surrounding lands of foul monsters and evil creatures that are hiding in mountain caverns, deep dungeons and haunted mansions.

They were hooked.  We went about the business of creating some characters.  I explained the races and player classes.  Roman selected a Dragonborn Fighter, while Amelia selected a Human Wizard. 

I drew up character sheets, knowing that the data might initially overwhelm.  I faced some early dilemmas.  How much of the game/rules would they understand?  What parts of the game would they like and dislike?  Would they take to role-playing?  Would they understand the combat rules? 

I made two early decisions: (1) I would teach them by playing rather than by explaining, and (2) I would introduce them to everything in the game, gauge their understanding of the rules by their in-game reactions, and adjust future play accordingly.  I didn’t want the game complexity to detract from the fun, and I was prepared to ‘simplify’ the rules a bit if they seemed overwhelmed.

The first session was with Roman alone, as he was very eager to get started, while Amelia was gone for the evening.  Roman named his character Zenosaurus Rex, who goes by “Zen.”  His Dragonborn is 7 feet tall and 300 pounds, very strong and imposing, with golden scales and a deadly acid-breath attack power.  Zen swings a Great Axe, which just happens to look exactly like the faux-axe that Roman obtained from the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.

Zen reported to the Castle and presented his scroll for an opportunity to be hired as a paid adventurer.  Many of you might recognize this particular Castle as the “Keep on the Borderlands,” which I re-skinned for the 4th edition rules.  The Keep on the Borderland served as a sort of “home base” when we played back in high school, a point from which all adventures emanated.

Zen was led straight to the inner keep area, where he met Theodore Bearabus (“Theo”), the Captain of the Guard.  Theo initiated a combat challenge inside the inner-Keep area under controlled conditions, with guards standing by in case they needed to step in and save the applicant.  Two skeletons and a giant spider were released into the inner-keep.  Zen’s successful battle introduced Roman to D&D combat.

Through this, I learned that Roman absolutely loved the combat.  He was a bit unsure of himself with the role-playing, but loved the game board map that I had created (with rocks and trees as difficult terrain), the minis, the dice, and everything associated with playing out combat with cool fighter powers.

We repeated the inner-keep trial battle with Zen joined by Bedelius Leafbinder (“Leafy”), the female Human Wizard, the next evening.  They successfully defeated a pack of two orcs and two goblins, also in the inner-keep.  It was a rough go, as the kids were rolling very badly, but their frustration only heighted the sense of accomplishment in the end.

Theo announced that Zen and Leafy would be hired by the Castle as paid adventurers.  They were granted rooms at the inn.  Their first assignment would be provided by Theo in the morning over breakfast at “The Kitchen of the Pig,” the Castle restaurant (instead of tavern).  Adventure awaits!
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Navarre
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 04:58:13 PM »

That's the best thing I've heard in a long time. That's great, Darvcus.

I know you will have many happy memories over many, many years with this. Enjoy!  Smiley
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sliksham
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2011, 12:12:52 AM »

excellent stuff!
I have been playing some simple 'dragon game' adventures with my 2 girls aged 3 and 5 on and off for a couple of months. They love moving the figures around and interacting with the 'monsters'. opposed dice rolls replace the stadard system, but its tiny steps, I'll have them interpreting Rolemaster crit tables by the time they are 10 Smiley
oh dear god I hope not!
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Cowboy Centaur
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 01:14:25 AM »

Rather than start a new topic, I'll revive one regarding the exact topic I wanted to ask!

Since my 4e D&D game broke up the other day, I thought I'd start one up with my daughter (just turned 7) and son (be 5 in February) they're big on family gameing, but there's only so much candy land and hungry hippos I can take, so I'm thinking of starting a game with the two of them, (maybe my wife as well if the kids can talk her into it) my daughters fairly good at addition, and I can just help the boy out, but I was wondering if there were any issues you guys had had, or suggestions you could offer. I don't think dumbing down the rules too much will be nessasary, but I don't want it to be too complex, combat will definitly be on the easy side, and role playing will be the primary focus I imagine.

I guess I'm just looking for tips, I want to keep Dming, and its something I can do with my kiddos, win/win
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Revenant Sorrow
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 01:30:18 AM »

To get them use to things maybe try using just minions in combat. That way you wont have to worry about damage and it will only matter if they hit. Also since I'm sure you're a critical hit listener I highly recommend using Rodrigo's version of a skills challenge.

Once they get the hang of things then try increasing the difficulty. Throw a few regular creatures at them with the minions. Slowly work the combats up to include elites and eventually solos.

To get them use to using the D20 try the role playing to start things off. Simple checks while they're being introduced to the world and each other. Depending on how the world starts off just have them roll things like perception checks to see what's around them.

Put a little emphasis on only the people who rolled well know what ever information they get out of the positive roll and need to relay it to there team members. Try to get them to talk in character as much as possible.

All of these are little things and might take a few games to get your family use to it. Take it slow and just remember that no game will ever go exactly as planned so have fun with it.
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Cowboy Centaur
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 04:29:03 AM »

yeah, I was figuring on using a lot of minions.

i looked up the heroes of hesiod stuff that wizard put out, but i think it's a little too dumbed down for them.

I cant wait till they get home from school tomorrow and we go over the races to find out what they come up with, i'm predicting my daughter will be a ranger, ala pixar's Brave, and the boy will be a warforged that transforms into something. (possibly a mount for his sister?)

when i started the game that broke up, none of those guys had ever played before, and none of them had the books, so I just started with basic attacks, and once they figured that out, we introduced some dailies and so on and so forth, by the time we got to our fourth session, they were flanking and marking enemies like pro's. I imagine i'll use a similar sort of method.

i'll probably keep an update on what happens, just becouse i'm one of those parents.  Grin
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Eothr
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 07:46:32 AM »

It's these stories that make me really wish for children of my own... T_T Cry
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Cowboy Centaur
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 09:21:56 AM »

Don't be sad bro, instead, reproduce! Honey Boo boo has proven that literally ANYONE can manage to have a kid.

Of course it helps if the moms worth a damn, and doesn't have a head shaped like a thumb
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Cowboy Centaur
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 07:16:54 PM »

Well, we spent the afternoon working on our characters, and had a blast. Lilly surprised me on who she selected for a character, she originally wanted to be a shardmind (!) but deciced to go with a changeling. Owen wanted to be a robot ninja that shorts lasers and transforms into a Mack truck, so no surprise there, made him a fighter for simplicity, but Lilly was determined to be a wizard and NOT A SORCERER!!!!


Here's what they came up with, the ideas are all theirs, I just added some verbage and a dash of eloquence.


There's many  worlds other than ours, worlds we've created from data and digital information. We call them video games, but to the inhabitants, they're home. These worlds all connect at a central hub called "world central station" but most of their inhabitants have no concept of the existence of strange worlds other than their own.

In the game "Killer Crocker, Robots Rocker" a side scrolling beat 'em up brawler, there is a war-torn metropolis called Robot City! our hero Zoltar the robot (a war forged fighter) is after Stormo and Zapper, two brutal villens who attacked Zoltar's parents, Lady's brother booter butt and Rocker Killer, removed a leg from each of them, and replaced them with hidious human legs!

Zoltar grabbed his sword, charged up his wrist blaster, and set out to recover his parents stolen limbs. Little did he know that Stormo and Zapper had escaped his world to another through the world central station, and fled to the dance game "Laser Dancers" ruled with an iron fist by the dance king, Dr. Pepper.

Meanwhile, in the fantasy world of "Crystal Clear" during a long and terrible war, a man and wife of a shape shifting race died. Her father, a war wizard fell in battle, and his beloved wife, a combat surgeon, succumbed to a terrible disease soon after. They left behind a young changeling girl with a gift for magic named Isabelle Saver.

Isabelle one day  learned her dead mother and father were the king and queen of the land, and that she was the sister of She-Ra, the lost crystal princess! After learning that the arch-wizard Doof, and his wife, the wicked witch "Wishy" were actually the ones behind the kidnapping, and death of her parents in the Great War, she took her fathers spell book, and her mothers spiked chain/magic staff and set off to find her sister, who is under a terrible spell that drains her life force, that can only be broken by "Wishy" the wicked and evil caster of the spell.

On her quest, she is tricked by Doof onto a teleporter, and is sent to the moon! There she finds a strange city of dancers, and a Valient robot named Zoltar!

They decide to help each other get home, and save each other's families.


Isabelle Saver, level 1
Changeling Wizard



speed 6

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 10, DEX 11, INT 16, WIS 16, CHA 15,
 
AC: 14 Fort: 11 Ref: 13 Will: 16
HP: 20 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 5
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +8  Diplomacy +7 History +8 Insight +10
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +1, Bluff +4, Dungeoneering +3, Heal +3, Intimidate +2, Nature +3, Perception +3, Religion +3,  Streetwise +2,
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack (reach)
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack

Changeling disguise,
Ghost sound,
Disrupt undead,
Light,
Mage Hand,
Prestidigitation

At Will 1: Cloud of Daggers
At Will 2: Scorching Burst
Encounter 1: Force Orb
Encounter racial: Changeling Trick
Use implement: staff of defense
Daily 1: Flaming Sphere
Daily 2: Sleep
 
FEATS
Level 1: Spiked Chain proficiency
Ritual caster

Equipment:
Adventurers kit
Spell book
Signal whistle
Spiked chain/staff
Cloth armor (pink scale dress)
Tent
Disguise kit

Isabelle is a 9 year old changeling female who is very good at math, and has always had a gift for magic. Her first spell was making crayons appear.

She has light golden skin, beautiful violet eyes, and long curly purple hair that shimmers like a rainbow in the moonlight.

Her dress has dark pink scales on it for armor, with a matching tiara that she made. One side of it shoots fire, the other shoots her cloud of daggers, and the top part shoots get force orb. She could make it because she is an inventor.

her magical staff has flowers carved into it and a spiked ball an chain on each end. Doof the wizard lost it, and she found it.



ZOLTAR, level 1
War forged fighter


speed 5
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 15, CON 18, DEX 14, INT 12, WIS 10, CHA 11,
 
AC: 18 Fort: 16 Ref: 12 Will: 10
HP: 33 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 8
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +5 , Endurance +9, Intimidate +7,
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +1, History +1, Religion +1,
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
At Will 1: Cleave
At Will 2: Reaping strike
Encounter racial: Warforged resolve
Encounter 1: Steel Serpent Strike
Daily 1: Brute Strike
 
FEATS
Level 1: Plate Armor Proficiency

Equipment:
Adventurers Kit
Plate Armor
Greatsword
Crossbow (wrist blaster)
Grappling hook (they both wanted assurance they each had one)

Zoltar is a medium sized big strong tough silver robot with yellow eyes. he has three fingers on each hand, one of which has the middle finger shoot out into a sword, and an arm blaster on his other arm. His arms can also stretch super long
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Navarre
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 08:26:16 PM »

A few copyright issues aside, this game sounds hella fun! This will be much more fun for all of you than anything your adult players could have mustered up.

Cool!  Cool
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Alisha Mynx
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 08:45:20 PM »

This is bringing back memories of my old group, which was originally my older brother's group.  My brother had a ton of D&D stuff when I was a kid and once a month the group would play at our house.  Being interested in fantasy (He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, the D&D cartoon, etc), I asked for YEARS if I could play.  The biggest hurdle to overcome, however, was my brother not wanting me to be part of the group (His friends had all agreed to let me join in a game long before I actually did).  Finally, when I was about 7 or so, the DM gave my brother an ultimatum when they started a new campaign:  Either let me play just once or they wouldn't let him play through that campaign.  He agreed, but being fussy he said he wasn't going to be the one to explain the rules to me nor help me make a character sheet.

The DM decided to make a character sheet for me of a fairy-like being (a joke reference to me being the smallest player in the group) that initially wasn't any specific class (he did a sort of hybrid thingie that I still can't really classify, a healer/caster hybrid with minor rogue skills, something to give me a taste of what different classes could do and keep myself in the game a while without actually being quite as powerful as any normal class).

Not long after, my brother left the group but they continued to include me.
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Cowboy Centaur
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 09:01:23 PM »

@Navarre: yeah, guess which movie they saw last! Lol! Lilly was actually quite against the video game element, but she finally conceded as long as Owen agreed to let the bulk of the adventure take place on the moon with a lot of dance battles

@alisha mynx: glad I could stir some fond memories Smiley
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Eothr
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 11:49:17 PM »

...I am so unbelievably jealous...your kids sound awesome...

T^T
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Cowboy Centaur
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 09:23:49 PM »

Made these miniatures for us to play with, the toughest part is keeping them from tearing them up so they're still usable, lol I'm thinking of making some new ones out of shrinky dinks for durability




Our first session was pretty chaotic, the boy turned into a homicidal maniac, and the girl wanted me to pull a deus ex machina at every turn, they went to the moon, went into the lazer dancers level one dance club, and promptly destroyed everyone in the room, then stole a spaceship, so I had the master control program send the game police to rein them in and send them to world central station to get sent back to their own games,


for our session tonight they were pretty on it. They went back to Lazer dancers, (which had reset) and after beating Dr. peppers 5 minions successfully in combat, they aced a skill challenge to beat him in a dance battle. Zoltar found out that Stormo and Killer had fled to the crystal clear game with his parents legs, and Isabelle Saver found out she'd have to go to the icy mountains and talk to the white dragon to find out where the wizard Doof and his witch wife Wishy had hidden her sister.

Looking forward to Friday and our next session, hopefully I'll have something cool


Drew these up per the kids specific specifications

Isabelle Saver, changeling wizard


Zoltar, Warforged fighter
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Eothr
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 09:29:21 PM »

...I am so unbelievably jealous...your kids sound awesome...

T^T
THIS

T^T
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