View Full Version : My little brothers' first time playing

2009-09-19, 08:37 PM
So I just finished a mini-session of D&D with my 9-and-11-year-old brothers, the 11 year old playing a Dragonborn Fighter, and the 9 year old playing a Goliath warlord. We've got dungeon tiles, pennies to make out the pc's and npc's (we're gonna upgrade the pc's quarters when we get them), etc. I was pretty happy to see that they took to it with enthusiasm, being a pair of hulking warriors destroying a Kobold coven threatening the town. I was just wondering, do you have any tips for me, as a DM, to help them begin to understand some other concepts of the game, such as roleplaying or skill checks (Though the 11-year-old sortof does, he wanted to listen at the door first)? Because I'd be thrilled if you did.

2009-09-19, 09:13 PM
Don't overswamp them with information, wait for them to ask to do something, and then explain to them how, which dice to roll, and what modifiers would be good for that.

Example: Don't explain the whole magic system when someone casts a spell at them, just describe it and see their reactions.

But all in all, don't stress about it too much, just have fun and play with them. I started playing when I was 6, and I played both the original D&D and AD&D with little trouble.

Plus, my 11 year old brother is a constant feature when I DM, I've led him and my high school friends though a few sessions, and even the Tomb of Horrors.

Kol Korran
2009-09-20, 03:14 AM
skills checks are easy, just create situations for them to be used, and when the players tell you what they do, explain how skill checks work, and roll with it. skill challanges are a bit too hard to explain, but if you as a DM roleplay it good, and give examples, then it can be awesome, just focus less on the mechanics.

an example skill check challange could be something like this: part of the kobolod warren, the part where the kobold leader/ shaman/ leading boss monster/ treasure/ town prisoners are is behind a twisting maze of shadowy tunnels. the place is also haunted by a ghost of a former adventurer that died there. the PCs can use their skills in various ways:
- perception: to look through the unnatural shadows or find secret passages. success could be described as finding a shortcut, of footprints on the floor.
- dungeoneering: to navigate. the guy knows his way underground, not confusing, able to make a map.
- intimidate: questioning a kobold prisoner about the safest route. little kids like to feel powerfull so describe the pitifull kobold's response accordingly. this could be a nice point ot discuss moralities if they are playing "good", though i wouldn't dwell on it unless it's importent to them.
- diplomacy/ bluff: to persuade the spirit to tell them the route. the spirit in fact is a great roleplay encounter, since they can't kill it. have the spirit "press their buttons" to get more gut responses. try to point it at their background if they have any.
- athletics to get over a serious hurdle, acrobatics to get over a narrow ledge over a chasm, they can go back to town and use streetwise to learn rumors of past people who went through the maze, history to learn of it as well and so on.

i hope that example sufficed.

as to roleplaying. i find most children actually get realy excited and involved in this. just try to talk with them, get a feel as to what type of character they want to play. next:
- detail a few simple situations, and discuss with them how their character would react. always accept the child's interpertation, though you're free to suggest ideas. this helps them get more of a feel about the character.
- help build a basic background. if they want more then they'll build more. don't push this point, many players don't want to invest in that.
- most importently, build various situations and encounters where their characters can interact, and hopefully have an invested interest (read: motive). start by their more obvious character features first. if the fighter wants to play "paladinsesque" valiant type, then have the prisoners just tortured by a vile kobold in gruesome ways. if the warlord is a greedy guy, then have him square off for an especially prized item with an equelly greedy merchant. and so on. slowly slowly move on to more complicated things, if they want to.
- importent mainly while begining roleplay, but not just: reward roleplay. first by emotional roleplay back (the valiant fighter is cherished by the town, they celebrate his name, maybe give him a token or something. the greedy guy has an interesting haggle with the merchant, maybe later approached by a thief wanting his help to pull a heist) but also by actual game benefits, preferably ones that aren't given usually by the rules (the valiant guy gets a special blessing that gives it a special minor daily power for the next week, or a special heirloom item of one of the saved people. the greedy guy can get things in the heist, or he can get contacts in the underworld and get bonuses to streetwise, or the location of a fence where he can sell items for mroe than 1/5 their price).

the most importent thing- roll with the cues the players give you.

hope this helped,