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View Full Version : DM Help Introducing My Little Brother to D&D



DixieDevil
2015-10-06, 05:22 AM
Hey, y'all!

So, my little brother is an avid gamer. Way more hardcore about than I ever was :smalltongue: But he's exclusively played video games. He really likes fantasy, Skyrim being his favorite game, so I've decided it's time to introduce him to the world of D&D.

I've looked at some of the "kid-friendly" games, but I think he can handle real D&D. Especially with 5e. 5e seemed to take a lot of the unnecessary math out. Besides, he's 12, I had already DM'd my first campaign by then :smallbiggrin:

Anyways, I was wondering if y'all had any experience with gaming with younger kids. If you've got any tips or stories, I'd love to hear 'em.

prufock
2015-10-06, 07:03 AM
Keep it short. Depending on his personality, 2 hours might be as much as his attention can stand.

Keep it simple. No political machinations going on behind the scene. Adventures should have clear-cut goals and easily-identifiable obstacles/bad guys.

Keep it sane. It shouldn't be a murder spree. Keep combat simple; you may even want to adapt the rules such that all combat is non-lethal by default. Provide a reason why having prisoners is better than having corpses.

BWR
2015-10-06, 07:11 AM
It should be pretty painless. I was 12 when I started gaming and despite the GM being introduced by his older brother, we all learned on our own in the days before the internet give you instant answers (or at least suggestions) to any question you might have. Granted the rules from The Dungeons and Dragons Game (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_Game_%281991_boxed_set%29) and the Rules Cyclopedia are a simpler than anything from 3E and on but mechanics shouldn't be a problem. The major issue I can see being likely to occur is him possibly being too stuck in the mindset of videogames, where you can't really fail or expect easy, predetermined solutions to encounters.

CombatBunny
2015-10-06, 08:27 AM
The major issue I can see being likely to occur is him possibly being too stuck in the mindset of videogames, where you can't really fail or expect easy, predetermined solutions to encounters.

I think you hit the spot =)

If he loves videogames, introduce him by using a videogame style of play. As others said, keep it short and simple, your sessions should be half an hour to two hours max.

Give him pre-generated characters to choose, don't bore him with rules and stats, le him tell you what does he wants to do, tell him what die to roll and make it happen.

Little by Little and depending how much interest he puts into it, you will slowly change from playing tabletop videogames to unforgettable unforgetable stories :-3

Joe the Rat
2015-10-06, 08:54 AM
Twelve isn't young, and he's into Skyrim. So it all comes down to mindset.

1) You can play just about anything, but you may have to level up a bit. Being a video gamer, starting small and working up should be old hat.

2) You can do anything, but actions have consequences. Again, He should have an idea of this from Skyrim, except you can try to kill or talk to everyone. But that doesn't always work out well. It also means you can look for unique solutions (you could kill the guards, or you could bribe them). When they move from magic missle to prestidigitation as their go-to problem solving spell, you know they get it.

3) Teamwork. Notice the use of "they" above. You can be awesome by yourself, but with a group, you can be unstoppable. See if you can drag some of your group in to help intro, but ideally you should get a group of his peers involved.

4) Start with the familiar. Short, mission-style adventures are a good way to start into the rules and ideas. Then you can get into longer "jobs" - ones that take several sessions to clear. Keeping playtime short (at least at the beginning) is a good idea, but once he gets settled in to play, running longer is pretty straightforward. Video gamers tend to be rather good at sitting and playing for long stretches of time.

5) Concepts, then rules, then mechanics. Focus on what he wants to do, and explain how to make that happen ("it does, roll this and add that, do you want to be persuasive or threatening, that's too far to jump, you can get closer and throw something or run all the way up but not attack, etc."). Introduce the rules involved as they come up. Then you can get into the mechanics, and how the classes work. But I'd wager that if he gets into it in the first couple sessions, he's going to read the player's handbook to get the rest.

mikeejimbo
2015-10-06, 09:29 AM
See what he likes to do in Skyrim and create encounters accordingly. Loot dungeons? Roll with the Thieves Guild? The Dark Brotherhood? Yell at dragons and then beat them up with his bare fists?

DixieDevil
2015-10-06, 11:41 AM
Thanks for the tips, y'all! I really appreciate the help!

I think I'm gonna bring it up when he gets out of school today.

Segev
2015-10-06, 12:07 PM
Yeah, start by having a lot of pre-determined solutions available for him to find...but don't fall into the trap of making those the ONLY solutions. When he comes up with something you didn't think of, be ready to say "sure!"

Because that's really what makes TTRPGs superior to cRPGs: the GM's ability to roll with anything the players try. How many times has your brother run across a door made of wood that he couldn't get around because plot said so...even though he's able to smash his way through dragons that, in a cut scene, could shatter the entire wall to flinders with barely a passing nod?

But to start with, you want at least one pre-determined solution path just so that your brother's familiarity with such existing will not leave him frustrated when he doesn't have any ideas.

Mark Hall
2015-10-06, 01:43 PM
12 is pretty much ready for full D&D experience. You don't have to include all the adult stuff you might in a game with other adults, but if he's playing Skyrim, he's not going to be shying away from most everything else. Don't rely on esoterica, be prepared for him to think like a middle schooler, and adapt as you can.

Inevitability
2015-10-07, 02:42 PM
I've got a player aged 11 in my own group (playing a changeling rogue/bard) and I don't see his age as a problem. 12 is a good age to play D&D. Heck, I barely was any older than 12 when I started playing.

goto124
2015-10-08, 12:54 AM
I'm older than 12 and I don't think I can take the responsibility of this thing you call consequences :smalleek:

I've played a game with heavy realism before, and I got really scared of trying anything lest it backfired on me somehow. I stopped playing after a while.

mikeejimbo
2015-10-08, 12:15 PM
I'm older than 12 and I don't think I can take the responsibility of this thing you call consequences :smalleek:

I've played a game with heavy realism before, and I got really scared of trying anything lest it backfired on me somehow. I stopped playing after a while.

If literally everything you do has negative consequences, your DM might need therapy.

BWR
2015-10-08, 12:32 PM
If literally everything you do has negative consequences, your DM might need therapy.

Or you are just playing the 'wrong' type of game. I can't remember very many choices from my VtM games ending all that well but the Brussels chronicle was still (probably) the best game I've ever played in. If you can't enjoy drowning in excrement it wasn't the game for you.

mikeejimbo
2015-10-08, 01:04 PM
Or you are just playing the 'wrong' type of game. I can't remember very many choices from my VtM games ending all that well but the Brussels chronicle was still (probably) the best game I've ever played in. If you can't enjoy drowning in excrement it wasn't the game for you.

That's true, but not necessarily mutually exclusive with needing therapy. >.>

goto124
2015-10-08, 08:16 PM
Hmm, sounds about right. Even when there were positive consequences, the rewards were rather mediocre for all the efforts I put in. Horrible risk to reward ratio.

No good for new players.

By the way, is it normal for in a VtM game for a man you slept with to come back for revenge because you destroyed his happy life and potential future?

Vrock_Summoner
2015-10-08, 08:26 PM
By the way, is it normal for in a VtM game for a man you slept with to come back for revenge because you destroyed his happy life and potential future?
Rampantly hypocritical NPCs are a norm in that game, yeah.

I mean, unless you mind-controlled him into it in typical VtM fashion. In which case, yeah, some form of comeuppance for scumbag PCs are a norm for most RPGs with GMs.

mikeejimbo
2015-10-08, 08:40 PM
By the way, is it normal for in a VtM game for a man you slept with to come back for revenge because you destroyed his happy life and potential future?

VtM does lend itself to bad consequences, to be fair. Kind of just in the tone of WoD. Though I tend to prefer to play characters designed to fail from the get go.

I'm also not going to deny that I probably need therapy.

DixieDevil
2015-10-09, 03:58 PM
So I ran the idea past him, and he doesn't seem too interested. But I'm thinking he'll love it when he gets to playing it..

Honest Tiefling
2015-10-12, 12:24 PM
So I ran the idea past him, and he doesn't seem too interested. But I'm thinking he'll love it when he gets to playing it..

What were his reasons for not wishing to play? He might enjoy the action over the story. Another option would be to play a game yourself with a few buddies, a one shot and let him watch, but not forcing him to.

If still no nibbles, it might not be his cup of tea I'm sad to say. You can throw royalty at a dragon, but you can't make him eat it.

Segev
2015-10-12, 02:42 PM
If he's not expressed interest in trying it, it's not something you want to try to cajole him into.

What you might have more luck with is looking into Hero Quest, Castle Ravenloft, or the other board-game style dungeon-crawl games. Castle Ravenloft plays almost just like D&D 4e, except the "DM" is playing an openly adversarial role, the dungeons are partially pregen and partially procedural, and the DM's playing by a set of rules as to how and where he can drop monsters and other obstacles which introduces a strategy element for him while removing his usual omnipotence.

This leads to a game still mostly designed for the PCs to win, but which plays more like a board game and which you could run with friends and invite your brother to play. It's less investment of time and energy in prep work, and it's easier to pick up, and will likely play more like the videogames to which he's accustomed. If he likes those, you can try inviting him to an actual D&D game, maybe as a guest to run monsters for you or something. Let him see the mechanics in action and play "the bad guy" for a change. See if that hooks him.