Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Reviewing Rules for Play-by-Post Optimization

I’ve played a lot of PbP games: all your favorite flavors of OD&D, AD&D, and their retroclones, Call of Cthulhu, Marvel Superheroes, Traveller, Dungeon World, etc. ad nauseam. In almost every instance, I forgot what ruleset we were using at some point. Which is a good thing. Once chargen is over, you spend a lot more time describing your characters actions and poring over the GM’s descriptions than you spend interacting with rules. When you do roll, it’s usually a combat to-hit roll, which you’ve probably programmed into the online dice-roller as a macro. Pretty much any game will work for PbP. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t points of possible optimization. Point 1: Resolution. Anything that can keep the action moving is a boon to PbP. A game that requires a back-and-forth exchange of information to resolve an action is going to progress very slowly. A good rule of thumb is that it’ll take 2 or 3 days to get a response from any given player. At that pace, an exch

Maze Rats by Post

In my previous post , I reviewed a bunch of my favorite rulesets for optimization for Play-by-Post. It occurred to me almost immediately that I hadn't really thought about Maze Rats enough. In fact, I'd mis-remembered and mischaracterized it. Upon reflection, one of the mechanics I took issue with is actually a big strength. Re-reading the rules, it seems like just a few very simple hacks could make it a highly-optimized PbP game. As follows: Danger Rolls are rolled by the GM. Danger rolls usually fail, so it is in the player’s interest to describe their actions plausibly and mitigate as many risks as they can, in the hopes that they don’t trigger a danger roll. 2d6 + ability bonus ≥ 10 If you have taken enough precautions to have a distinct advantage in an action, but not enough to have eliminated the distinct possibility of danger, the GM will give you a roll with advantage. 3d6 keep 2 + ability bonus ≥ 10 Because each character only has 3 ability scores (S

Knaves, fancypants

I've prepared a new layout document of Ben Milton's Knaves . Knaves is a great, light rules set that has an extremely elegant core mechanic while retaining total compatibility with OSR material. It's pretty much the rpg of my dreams. This document contains the complete rules, plus a bunch of useful hacks from the community, plus a few of my invention, plus some useful resources from Ben Milton's previous effort, Maze Rats . EDIT: I've updated the layout to fix errata and make a few tweaks. Further, I've made 3 variations: KNAVES TABLET LAYOUT The Tablet Layout is meant for scrolling on screens, and contains hyperlinks. KNAVES SPREAD LAYOUT The Spread Layout is set up to print on Letter-sized paper. KNAVES A4 LAYOUT The A4 Layout is set up to print on A4 paper, and is probably the most elegant of the three versions. This is presented with generous permission from Ben Milton, and should in no way be an excuse for not purchasing a copy of Knav