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Friday, December 11, 2009

New Minions

No, not in game, in real life. Tonight I introduced my two younger nieces to D&D. They're 10 and 11, with great imaginations -- they've created an entire world of "Little Guys" that they make up stories about. The leader of the Little Guys is, as far as I can tell, an invisible, talking cloud.

Anyhow, we had an hour to kill so I ran a brief game, setting them up as two young elves in a woodland village. They rolled up a couple characters (straight 3d6 old school of course!) with both girls deciding to play magic users, not surprising given their Harry Potter reading habits. I doled out some basic equipment, gave them a few spells, and off they went!

We were time limited (and only had a few d6s available) so I ran a quick scenario. Their Mom sent them through the woods to get their Grandmother for dinner, the first time they've been trusted alone in the woods. They wandered along, almost getting lost at the fork in the trail, and finally reached their Grandmother's house, only to find she wasn't there! That kind of took them by surprise, especially when I asked what they were going to do about it. They put their heads together and decided to search the cottage. One of them noticed that Grandma's herb basket was gone, so they figured she was out at her herb garden just down the stream and across the meadow.

Off they went, reaching the meadow without incident. Unfortunately Grandma wasn't there, but her basket was. What's more there were tracks nearby. GOBLIN tracks! The players debated going back to the village for help, but figured out it would probably be too late because the village was pretty far away. The decided to push on and see if they could rescue their Grandmother.

They trailed the Goblins to their lair where they discovered a trio of the creatures debating something in a foul language in front of a cave entrance, their Grandma tied up nearby. They cast a sleep spell (which worked) on the Goblins, ran into the camp and dragged their Grandma to safety. Once she was safe they went back past the still sleeping Goblins, snuck into the cave, and searched it, uncovering a cache of gold coins, a silver ring, and a golden bracelet.

After making their escape (one of the girls decided it would be a good idea to brush away their tracks as they left) they returned to the village with their Grandma, who told them that the ring and bracelet they recovered from the Goblins are magical.

All in all a great intro session, when we were done they were both very enthusiastic to play again. I guess next time I go over I'll have to bring some form of dice and actual rules along!


Marion said...

Lovely, thanks for sharing :D That must have been so much fun!

Mark Thomas said...

After the game, they were excitedly discussing what their magic items could be. One of them said "We have to be careful, one of them could be cursed!" She came up with that without any hints from me, clearly a hardcore player in the making.

They've also determined that they want familiars as soon as they can get them. Dragons preferably.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

Rules? Who needs rules for a cool game like that! :)

Mark Thomas said...

They were getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of rolling dice. Since we only had d6s I was having them do checks versus attributes to see if they noticed things or could carry out actions. I'll probably take along a full set of dice next time, and maybe introduce a little combat.

Aside from figuring out what their magic items do they've expressed interest in having a map, and a book of languages -- they couldn't understand what the Goblins were saying and wanted to figure that out. Next time I think a wandering trader will sell them a map and a story about a wizard that owned a magical amulet that let him talk to anyone.

Norman J. Harman Jr. said...

> one of the girls decided it would be a good idea to brush away their tracks as they left

More sense than I've seen most players demonstrate! Sounds like it was great fun.

Timeshadows said...


1). You have performed a great deed!
2). I urge you to stick with the d6s and no rules.
3). Smart, wonderful girls you're related to!

May I suggest that you keep it simple for a bit longer?

An inspiring read. :D

Dr Rotwang said...

Man...I can't wait 'till my daughter's old enough to game.

In my house, that means "able to read", because her parents are geeks.

Mark Thomas said...

@ Timeshadows - I'll certainly be keeping it simple, but the girls love fiddly stuff like dice, so I think adding d20s will pique their interest even further.

@ Dr Rotwang - I've been dropping hints about D&D for a while now. The key for these two was comparing it to their "Little Guys" play.

Daddy Grognard said...

I loved reading this log as gaming with kids is a particular area of interest for me. They're clearly ready for this as their active imaginations and their reading matter indicate. It's often easier to interest kids in D&D if they tend towards fantasy anyway, but you seem to have done an excellent job of keeping it rules-lite (Old School forever!) and enjoyable.

Have no fear about the introduction of different dice - Junior Grognard, aged 6.5 is fully conversant with all the dice in the set, although he sometimes has to be reminded of which is which, as they are all the same colour. He loves rolling the DM's big purple D30.

I wonder if other DMs running adventures for kids have noticed a difference in approach between boys and girls - JG would probably have killed the goblins once they'd been slept. That having been said, he plays a warrior dwarf with a battle axe fixation rather than a magic user.

I would have thought that as elves, they could speak goblin as one of their given languages; although that might only be in AD&D, said he, giving away his preferred system.

@Dr Rotwang - I had my doubts as to whether six and a half was too young to game, but they have been dispelled. It's not true, as has been rumoured, that the first thing I put into JG's hand, minutes after he was born, was a D20.

Mark Thomas said...

We were pressed for time or the Goblin encounter would have gone on a bit, my original thought was another Goblin or two hidden in the cave. Sadly bedtime and me having to go pick up niece #3 from a basketball game cut it short. Probably not a bad thing, because it left them hungry for more.

True enough in 'real' D&D they probably could have understood the Goblins, but the girls picked up on the other clues -- the big fire and the Goblins with their daggers out -- and realized Grandma was probably dinner. :) Besides it gave me the perfect story for our next adventure.