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|
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