Well, its done – I’ve DMed my first game for kids… and the results are in…
I have put a lot of work in there to try and make this entertaining and engaging for the kids.
I built mini character sheets – a cool picture, a little intro text and some basic stats.
I built « power cards », which are basically streamlined description for the character’s powers: a cool description of what it does, what dice to roll and number to add to make an attack, same for damage. The idea was to have the kids engaged in the basic rules without fiddling with where the bonus came from – level, skills, proficiencies, feats and whatnot were already calculated.
I prebuilt all characters, very stereotyped: a dragonborn warrior, one cleric, one ranger, one bard and two special characters – 1 wizard (for birthday boy’s dad) and 1 elven princess fighter (for birthday boy’s sister).
My party consisted of 4 tea year old boys, 1 eight year old girl and one adult boy.
I made only one woman character (custom tailored to the lady’s taste) and kept the more complex wizard for dad.
I wanted to get into the game as quick as possible and not delve into the rules too much. But, since no one but me around the table ever played a role playing game (what did I get myself into?), I still had to to a brief intro and rules summary.
So I explained a bit about role playing, about how we’re all cooperatively telling ourselves a story. I explained about the core rule of d20 system (this is 1d20, you roll it, you add this number – which is based on your character’s statistics and abilities, and you must beat my secret magic number for your action to work – and I get to describe what happens.
I had planned to explain about rounds, and turns and combat, but I felt that I was almost loosing them. So I just moved ahead to the characters.
I explained the characters and their powers (reduced to basic attacks + 1 at will attack + 1 encounter attack) and gave the 4 boys 5 minutes to decide who was playing who (a trick inspired by ChattyDM – again).
I loved hearing them debate and compare the characters. As I mentioned earlier, ability scores and defense scores were all on the sheets, but I didn’t explain anything – they just picked it up by themselves, deciding which ability meant what and comparing to see who had the brightest character, who had the strongest, etc.
I expected all the boys to want to play the dragon, but they divvied up the characters in a matter of seconds with no infighting – we were almost ready to roll.
Which means I had to introduce dice. As usual 1d4 was an instant curiosity (how does that work? its the number on the bottom? the number on top? why don’t they all make it the same)? And a bit of confusion in differentiating between 1d8 and 1d10.
Then, I gave them each 2 « magic stones of luck », which they could use at anytime, should they wish to reroll a dice roll they didn’t like.
All in all – roughly 30 minutes of prep and we were ready to play…
(to be continued)