Sunday, March 8, 2015

One Kid; Many Editions

My kid asked to play D&D, and I went into a panic. Be cool; don’t screw this up!

Which of the hundreds of possible versions of D&D at my fingertips do I introduce him to?

 He wanted the name Dungeons & Dragons and he wanted a physical book. So no retro-clones or pdfs. I picked up a Holmes boxed set and mentioned that it was how I learned D&D. That was it.

He rolled up a Magic-User, and I rolled up a Halfling.

It was a strange thing going through the Holmes rules after so many years. There are a lot of peculiarities of the game that I’d thought were my own childhood misinterpretations of the rules. Like, there’re very few derived stats in Holmes. I’d assumed I had just glossed over them, but, nope. They really just aren't there. And the way Magic-Users start with a whole passel of spells.

And of course, it’s pretty disorganized. I had to go through Blueholme after the kid’s bedtime to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. But I think Holmes was a pretty good choice. It's so pared down that there's not much he'll have to unlearn/translate when he plays with friends, one of whom has started looking through his dad's Second Edition AD&D books.

Delving Deeper Character Sheet art by Mark Allen
I printed out the Delving Deeper character sheet and handed it to the kid, this morning. He silently mouthed the word “Awesome,” which is pretty much the best reaction one could hope for.

Over breakfast, we ran Beyond the Wall’s Goblin Infestation Scenario Pack. Both our characters have only 3 hp, and we both would have died several times, but I had us get knocked unconscious and wake up in a goblin cell that was pretty easy to bust out of. Eventually the kid picked up that I was fudging, and gave me the skunk eye. I asked his advice, “Next adventure, should I have us die?”

He’s thinking it over.

He’s eager to play again. I think I’ll run a Hero Kids scenario. Maybe with another NPC or two along for the ride, to soak up some damage.

I’m considering cobbling together a quick set of Kid’s D&D Houserules, incorporating:
Everyone’s an Adventurer class rules
Beyond the Wall’s Fortune Mechanic (it’d be good to give the kid a legitimate do-over)
• Single Saving Throw
• A Not-So-Gruesome Version to the Death & Dismemberment Table
• Everyone Has a Pet