Posted by: akalsaris | April 28, 2010

D&D for Kids!

I saw this first over at Geek Related, but Wizards of the Coast has just released Heroes of Hesiod, a rules-lite module designed for parents or teachers to teach kids (6 and up) about D&D.   It’s part of a tie-in for a novel series for young adults that Wizards is kicking off. Plus it’s free!

I got started with role-playing when I was 7.  I was reading pick-your-path adventure books and I told my friends Stevie and Alix that we’d play a Star Trek game: I’d be the book and give them two choices, then I’d tell them what happened next.  Clearly I was a nerd starting from a very young age.  But a rules-lite D&D game like the one above would have been a huge hit with my friends back then.

I like the simplified rules used – it’s basically two dice, a d20 and a d6, or 3d6 if you can’t get a d20.  As a D&D player, I love that the rogue has sneak attack – it’s important to start stabbing things in the back as soon as possible.  It establishes the tropes pretty well: human fighter, dual-wielding rogue, dwarf barbarian, androgynous elven wizard named Betilivatis.

On the downside, the story isn’t very exciting.  There are no real choices or interaction for the PCs, just the DM-NPC saying “Ooh, a baby red dragon!  Kill it!”  And there’s no death, which relates to the previous discussion.  I feel like there should be a few choices, like the pixie swarm might offer to help the PCs instead, or the monsters being in different rooms that the PCs have to choose to enter (a dungeon).   And I wish there was some varied loot at the end besides a bunch of Monster Hunter badges – like a shiny new sword for Jorick or something, so that the players can learn the fun of divying up loot.  Getting loot is one of the best parts of D&D in my opinion 😛

Here’s another link, this from the blog Musings of a Chatty DM, about playing D&D with his 7-year old 2 kids.  I love that the PCs see a ferocious badger and immediately start chanting “Badger badger badger snaaake!”

For another look at teaching role-playing to a complete newbie to RPGs, I highly recommend this thread.  It’s about a 1-on-1 game the DM is playing with his girlfriend.   Absolutely full of terrific advice for DMs about building the world around your PCs and their actions and desires rather than your 10-page storyline.


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