DnD For Kids

I’m not talking about teens so much as the 5-10 year old range here, but you can totally play Dungeons and Dragons with your younger kids. We’ve started games in the last couple years with our boys who were both in elementary school at the time so the following are observations we’ve made during games with them. YMMV.

Reading level and Math

While adding dice scores is easy for most kids, the concepts of armor ratings and attack bonuses might not. When an attack calls for you to pause the game to sit down and tally up dice rolls with weapon proficiency or whatever else, you might lose the focus of younger players. Just as well, the details of things like spells and abilities might be lost on them if they can’t comprehend the text. This is also an excellent opportunity to teach counting higher numbers and focusing on reading paragraphs.

Content and Emotional Matruity

Not everything in DnD is age appropriate for 5-10 year olds, and that’s fine. Just don’t use it. Does your pre-made module call for big busted succubi or demon lords? Change it to something that won’t give your first graders nightmares. That’s the beauty of DnD, you can just swap out monsters or make up new ones and just use the stats from the ones in the monster manual. Let your kids fight a pizza monster that just happens to have the stats of a beholder. Maybe the room full of burning skeleton knights can be a room full of slime knights. It really depends on the maturity of your kids, if they get scared by stuff in kids movies you’ll want to modify the mobs.

Attention Span

This is probably the biggest hurdle you’ll run into playing games with your kids. Here’s what will happen, one kid will begin their turn by moving towards a spider mob. While that kid is busy rolling dice and reading through their abilities the other kids at the table will become restless and bored. This often results in them playing with dice, dropping them on the floor, drawing on their character sheets, not paying attention to the combat or being disruptive to the rest of the game. It’s not their fault, they’re just kids, but this is another reason to simplify both combat and character stats. Do you really need +1 modifiers to weapons? Do they have to roll half a dozen d6? Do they have to take penalties if they’re on rocky ground? Do you really need to roll for initiative? Not kidding, just pick for them, it will save time and make things run smoother.

The Difficulty

Nerf it.

So if your kids already play videogames they’ll be used to the concept of multiple lives, attempts, and resurrection. If they die they can just start over from the beginning of the room. In DnD your character can totally die and be dead forever. I don’t suggest giving them magic reviving items or do-overs, but go over the options of sneaking past monsters or solving puzzles to get through rooms as opposed to running into a room swords swinging. Guide them through it if you have to. Never get frustrated with kids if they run into trouble with a mob or get upset if a roll goes bad. You might have to hop out of the DM seat and assist them, it’s ok.

Roleplaying with kids

So even after you’ve come up with simplified options for classes, races, and alignments your kids might just go on with their own concepts for their characters, and that’s fine. Just be aware that sometimes the barbarian might want to try casting magic missiles or the paladin will rather search for treasure than help villagers being attacked by goblins. Just go with it, the whole point is to let them have fun. You can slowly increase the difficulty and implement the true rules as they get older and understand them better.

Terrain and Minis

Take a look at the minis, pick one that doesn’t need assembly.

Remember the part about attention span? Having something physical to show your kid where their character is on the map can be a huge help with combat and puzzle rooms. Take your kid to your local comic or game store and let them pick out a figure, paint it, name it, make it theirs. If that’s not an option, let them pick out a toy form their toy box, small action figures, amiibo’s, etc work just fine. Batman can fight kobolds just as easy as anyone else. Speaking of kids toys, get out the legos, the toy castles, etc for terrain. You don’t have to use your expensive custom painted multi-level tavern model for the kids.

Breaks and when to end the story

WHERE THE CHEETOOOOOS?

With adults and teens you can pause and get up from the table when your turn isn’t going on without much issue. Depending on how long your kids can keep up with a campaign you might not be able to get very far. Give them chances to get up and walk around, get a snack, go to the bathroom etc. This won’t be a 5 hour marathon like it is with your buddies from college, you might make it two hours total. MIGHT. Keep the combat short and important. Needless battles with seven layers of 1/1 creatures better be pushing that story hard. Let them fight the boss, start them off at lvl 5. Make it fun, don’t play DM mind games with them. Perhaps the whole campaign is just recovering an item from a cave. When they start to nod off or begin wandering away from the table to do something else, wrap it up and pick it up again the next weekend.

Reaper Bones 4 Have Arrived!

Look what has finally arrived in the mail! This kickstarter set from Reaper was created in 2017 and has finally made it here in person. Now, for most kickstarter things, if it takes over a year you might as well just give up on it not happening. However, this is Reaper’s fourth set produced this way and is one of the most cost effective ways to get a ton of minis for your games. They are also from Texas, so were basically obligated to buy from them. 

We ordered the core set which has over 100pcs, a large dragon figure, and a set of paints. I had originally added some extra sets of kobolds and goblins to the order but swapped them out for the paints as I knew we weren’t going to have any by the time the minis came in. The figures you see above are all the solid formed figures that don’t need assembly, a good chunk has to be clipped apart and glued together. But considering these figures run $4 EACH in a store, a little cutting and gluing is worth the discount. 

These snake warriors were the first set I glued together. The instructions called for superglue so that’s what I used. I’ve never painted a mini that was big enough to need assembly before, but with this series even the small figures need the parts put together. But man, the detail on some of these models is wild. You can see every single scale on those snake warriors, there are griffins with individual feathers carved into the wings. 

 

But I think I figured out why so many have to be put together. You need to paint some of these before assembly. This warrior girls arm and whip are separate from the body, however, when attached you can see the whip hugs the leg and base. There is no way you can paint her boot and the whip easily if you glue this together first. So, for me at least, most of these IKEA-style pieces are now going to be painted while still on the plastic sprue’s to make sure I can get to every part easily. I’ll do a post about it with a Succubus model where you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Here is the paint haul from the order, now I have to order some tiny brushes and get started on these guys. It’s been a very long time since I’ve painted anything much less any miniatures. If you have any tips on the best paints or finishes to use on figures like this feel free to let me know.

Misprints News #53 – Charging by the Pixel

Chapter 1 has been finally wrapped up this week. I shared a chunk of it with one of my writing groups and they seem to think it’s going well for the first draft. This book only has about eight chapters total so I should be finished with the initial draft in about that many weeks, less if I can get the time to do more than one chapter.

Our local library has been in the middle of moving to a new building the last few months so I haven’t yet contacted them about getting Redbriar on the shelves over there. They just opened the new fancy building this week so I took sister down to check it out. Previously our library was a small metal garage type building with extremely limited space that the town had clearly outgrown. It’s good to see that the city invested in a new space along with a new town hall.

I posted a link to this article the other day on twitter but here it is again, Books in the Microsoft Store are going away. Now, that’s not the end of the world for most folks as Amazon and B&N have cornered that market pretty well and it should be stable for a good long while. I never bought ebooks from the Microsoft store, not sure I know anyone who did. The problem here isn’t that the store is shutting down and refunding those purchases, it’s that you purchased and downloaded a digital item that you can no longer access. My old Kindle broke last year so I haven’t been able to simply upload an epub file for a book manually to the device. That’s an even bigger issue later.

So what happens if something hardcore goes down and Amazon loses it’s spot as the High Warlord of ebooks? I just went to my list of kidnle purchases and the options for the most part are to have the file sent to an amazon device or app (The kindle is broken but the app on my phone works just fine). There is also an option to download the file and manually transfer it, however the file is an amazon .AZW not a universally readable epub file or similar. It makes sense, as you’re renting the file from them if enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and they can’t have you outright sharing ebook files with just anybody. The authors also don’t want you to send your buddies an email blast containing the single ebook file you bought for 99 cents. But if the hardware goes offline, and the books can’t be read, what then?

I can go on Spotify right now and make a playlist of music I don’t own, but rather rent, from the streaming service via a monthly payment. It works on my phone in the car, on my computer, laptop, whatever has a connection to the internet or data plan. But what happens when there is an outage? (And I haven’t set the playlist do be downloaded to my phone?) What about when somebody runs their truck into the power pole outside the neighborhood after their breakfast beer and knock out the internet for six or seven hours until they can rewire the thing? You quickly realize you don’t own the music, or books, or movies you have been paying to access. You’re renting them. Luckily I have vinyl LP’s of F&TM and cassette tapes from MBR so the music partition is covered. But what about books? If you don’t have them in a universal format or physical copy you don’t really own them. This type of situation is played out in Blackp00l where all software is “always online” and subscription based, because it’s the future and you can’t stop it. 🙂

Now, after saying all of that I do plan to have the next book placed on Kindle Unlimited. That means it won’t be available anywhere but Amazon and for the Kindle. This is more of a test to see if more people will read it if it’s cheap vs reading it for $4. In a perfect world there would be a Bandcamp option for books. Pay a set price and get the files for the device you use. But I’m afraid books and music are two different beasts. I haven’t seen too many authors with “merch” to supplement sales the way bands can. Who would buy a Blackp00l t-shirt? Or a deck of playing cards with Redbriar’s book cover on the back? Not enough to cover the costs of producing them, that’s for sure. (And if you do make bank on book merch please let me know what to invest in before attempting shows this summer.)

I guess the point to this is that while it’s great to pay for access to online media, it’s also important to get the physical copy of something as well.