D&D 4E and Kids... need help

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Hi all,
I recently played Descent 2 with my kids (9 and 7 year old) and my wife.  Idea was to play a D&D like game without having to put together a whole campaign.  However its not really D&D - its really a comeptitive game.  Last year we had a lot of success with the Ravenloft series of games but again its not D&D.

So I want to play real D&D with my kids.  A single adventure over a couple sessions will be fine.  Before that we played the Heroes of Hesoid as well.  Any recomendations of anything I can buy off the shelf that would be kid suitable with little to no modificaiton?

I own all the 4e core books and some others but I havent touched them since release so I need to relearn 4e as well.  But thats fine.  I've been playing D&D in some vein for 30 years.  Its more looking for something with minimal prep time and a good story.  A 1e updated to 4e module would be perfect if any are around?

Thanks in advance.
Check this out:
www.livingforgottenrealms.com/

That has a large collection of individual modules sorted by series to get you as much or as little as you need.  You want to play for 1-2 sessions?  Pick up a single module and you are good to go.  Like that session and want to do more?  Pick up something else from the same series (Personally I like the CALI series a lot) and keep on keeping on.

Why I recommend this:
1) They are free.  So if you don't like them you just spent the price of downloading a 50page PDF.
2) They have very concise and detailed rules.  There is a lot of stuff about tournament play and rules for characters, but playing at home you can throw all of them out the window.
3) Each module gives you everything you need to run the game for anything in that same tier of play.  So you can play any mod in any order as long as you are within the same tier (Heroic Lv1-10, Paragon 11-20)
4) Did I mention they were free?

Downsides:
1) Some of the older modules are formatted awkwardly.
2) The modules are designed for 5 players, so you might have to tone them down a little bit for 3 players.  Shouldn't be that hard though.  After they reach 3rd or 4th level you can lower the adventure level instead of taking out enemies and be perfectly ok for good.
3) [2] already hinted at this, but AL 2 can be a little tough sometimes for new players.  Just remember you can tone them down, or give them a higher level helper PC (like a leader of some kind) who won't steal the spotlight but will help the PCs get through the story.
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Thank you very much!
Thank you very much!


Any time.

If you have any specific questions about a module feel free to toss me a PM.  I've run enough LFR now that I feel confidant helping others get into the swing of things. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Also I think WOTC has printed lore type books for children.
I know I have seen a book about faries (that is consistant with 4E feywild)

Matyr mentioned the idea of an NPC guide/healer to help out. The book DMG2 has rules for companions that are cool and helpfull but not good enough to overshadow the PCs.    
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
Also I think WOTC has printed lore type books for children.
I know I have seen a book about faries (that is consistant with 4E feywild)

Matyr mentioned the idea of an NPC guide/healer to help out. The book DMG2 has rules for companions that are cool and helpfull but not good enough to overshadow the PCs.    



blech.  Just make a real character but make it an enabler.  My favorite to do this is a Pixie Lazylord as they just float around, heal and grant attacks.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here

The Kick Starter ended just recently so it's months away yet, but Story Realms seems to fit the bill perfectly. It's basically a roleplaying game disguised as a board game. Each of its modules is made of discrete encounters that you can mix and match, creating your own stories. The game also includes guidelines for writing your own encounters. That's why I'm hoping to use it to introduce my board game-loving family to roleplaying.

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Yep, I backed it for that reason specifically.  I have used boardgames to introduce my kids to D&D indirectly (my wife plays D&D so no need to "convert" her).  I started with the 1981 Dungeon! and TSR Fantasy Forest.  Then moved on to Heroscape D&D expansions, then Drizzt (as written) and Wrath of Ashardalon (modified with a leveling option and turned into a mini-campaign based on the original module).  Now its time for the real thing

I remebered I had the Essentials line, pulled them out and had a read.  Sounds like this is exactly what I want.  Ran my daughter through the intro and she loved it (Elven Wizard).  My son is keen to play the solo adventure but we ran out of time.  I expect he will end up being a fighter.  My wife will probably be a cleric.  I will probably play an NPC/companion type character. 

Any suggestions on a monster/companion that fits the rogue bill?  Would prefer something a bit more kid friendly and fun than just a plain old NPC.  For example if they had no fighter I was going to introduce an Owlbear as a pet/companion to be the fighter.  If they needed a mage, maybe a faeri caster.  But not sure what to use for a rogue.
Yep, I backed it for that reason specifically.  I have used boardgames to introduce my kids to D&D indirectly (my wife plays D&D so no need to "convert" her).  I started with the 1981 Dungeon! and TSR Fantasy Forest.  Then moved on to Heroscape D&D expansions, then Drizzt (as written) and Wrath of Ashardalon (modified with a leveling option and turned into a mini-campaign based on the original module).  Now its time for the real thing

I remebered I had the Essentials line, pulled them out and had a read.  Sounds like this is exactly what I want.  Ran my daughter through the intro and she loved it (Elven Wizard).  My son is keen to play the solo adventure but we ran out of time.  I expect he will end up being a fighter.  My wife will probably be a cleric.  I will probably play an NPC/companion type character. 

Any suggestions on a monster/companion that fits the rogue bill?  Would prefer something a bit more kid friendly and fun than just a plain old NPC.  For example if they had no fighter I was going to introduce an Owlbear as a pet/companion to be the fighter.  If they needed a mage, maybe a faeri caster.  But not sure what to use for a rogue.



Intelligent blink-dog.  Or half blink-dog half-dire wolf.  
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
The Binder Warlock in Heros of Shadow has options for guardian pets that you might want to look at.

Otherwise, you can always take any monster you want, and give it a cute description.
Yep, I backed it for that reason specifically.  I have used boardgames to introduce my kids to D&D indirectly (my wife plays D&D so no need to "convert" her).  I started with the 1981 Dungeon! and TSR Fantasy Forest.  Then moved on to Heroscape D&D expansions, then Drizzt (as written) and Wrath of Ashardalon (modified with a leveling option and turned into a mini-campaign based on the original module).  Now its time for the real thing

I remebered I had the Essentials line, pulled them out and had a read.  Sounds like this is exactly what I want.  Ran my daughter through the intro and she loved it (Elven Wizard).  My son is keen to play the solo adventure but we ran out of time.  I expect he will end up being a fighter.  My wife will probably be a cleric.  I will probably play an NPC/companion type character. 

Any suggestions on a monster/companion that fits the rogue bill?  Would prefer something a bit more kid friendly and fun than just a plain old NPC.  For example if they had no fighter I was going to introduce an Owlbear as a pet/companion to be the fighter.  If they needed a mage, maybe a faeri caster.  But not sure what to use for a rogue.

Yeah, a monster of their size and basic level, it can just level up with the party from then on and stick with them for however long. If you want something sneaky to go along with the rogue there's a lot of choices. A Fey Panther wouldn't be bad for instance. It could be anything though, a bugbear, a halfling, a pixie, pretty much any sort of magical animal, etc. Give it a decent DEX and declare it trained in Stealth and it can tag along with the rogue, etc. Give it a basic attack, maybe one decent encounter power, and maybe some other trick, nothing TOO special but enough that it can keep up and contribute. DMG2 has guidelines for this, but it doesn't really tell you much you  don't know already.
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Thanks all.

One other Essentials question.  The classes in the intro adventure are fighter, wizard etc.  But in the Heroes of the Fallen Land they become mages and wizard seems to be a meta-class.  For example with the wizard do the characters follow the Mage prgoresssion or is there a wizard propgrssion somewhere I missed?
Yeah, this.
Mage is a Subclass of Wizard. They are mostly the same, but slightly different. Just enough to really be annoying.
This touches on the whole argument about 4e and Essentials. I don't want to start it.
Short version: Buy a copy of the Player's Handbook (should be cheap to order now from B&N). Compare it with the HotFL classes. that's about as unbiased as I can get.
Ahh I see, PHB classes.  Thanks.


Intelligent blink-dog.  Or half blink-dog half-dire wolf.  



Where is this listed?  I have MM1, 2 and 3 but its not in any of those (at least not as Blink Dog).  Thanks

I would use some of the premade heroes and monsters from Sidekick Quests, a comic and roleplaying game by James Stowe using the 4E rules. The official site is sidekickquests.com/ but you can download a ton of material from his blog at jamesstowe.blogspot.com/search/label/Sid... (put a space between Sidekick and Quests in the address line if it doesn't do that automatically).
I would use some of the premade heroes and monsters from Sidekick Quests, a comic and roleplaying game by James Stowe using the 4E rules. The official site is sidekickquests.com/ but you can download a ton of material from his blog at jamesstowe.blogspot.com/search/label/Sid... (put a space between Sidekick and Quests in the address line if it doesn't do that automatically).



Thats awesome, thanks!

Kind of surprised 4E has not random tables for magic items.  At least I couldnt find anything in any of the core books.  I did find some on the web made by users.  Was anything official ever relased?
Kind of surprised 4E has not random tables for magic items.  At least I couldnt find anything in any of the core books.  I did find some on the web made by users.  Was anything official ever relased?



Random magic items are bad because there's a very good chance that they will not actually be treasure (aka 'something useful that someone in the party wants').  That magic longbow is hardly a valuable treasure if nobody in the group uses a longbow after all.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
No, the idea was the players came up with wish lists for their characters and the DM used those wish lists to create treasure parcels. The idea was to elminate unusable magical treasure, because so much of the math is tied up in having magic items that do exactly what you need when you need it.

Essentials added some percentile rolls to randomize what kind of treasure you find a bit more (gold, art, magic, etc) but when it comes to actual magical items, the DM is still expected to pick them.

Edit: The "no" was for the question, not the answer above mine ;)

I don’t think DM's provide useless magical items to players in any edition and if they did that’s their call.  It’s nice to roll-up items otherwise and the characters get something unusual and then figure out a creative way to use it than for me (or them) to just pick "useful" magic items.  No fun in that and I expect it would become repeative.

I don’t think anyone followed the random tables slavishly and constantly gave magic-users plate-mail...

It would have been a nice to have.

In theory the idea of random loot tables seems to make more sense as far as making the world seem more real and breaking the 4th wall less.  But in actual play (especially 4e) the slots that the players need to keep up with game math need to be less random in order to function correctly.  Can you get away with giving a character really odd belt?  Probably, and it will likely add to the fun.  Wondrous items are a great avenue for this.  But if the character is doing something specific (like a slayer charging) not hooking them up with access to a Vanguard or Avalanche weapon is a little frustrating.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
In theory the idea of random loot tables seems to make more sense as far as making the world seem more real and breaking the 4th wall less.  But in actual play (especially 4e) the slots that the players need to keep up with game math need to be less random in order to function correctly.  Can you get away with giving a character really odd belt?  Probably, and it will likely add to the fun.  Wondrous items are a great avenue for this.  But if the character is doing something specific (like a slayer charging) not hooking them up with access to a Vanguard or Avalanche weapon is a little frustrating.




Its neither here or there I guess but it’s an odd departure considering the DM would give what was needed as needed.  And random rolls fire the imagination.  It’s not like the DM is locked into being forced to roll for every item and keeping every item rolled.  But under 4e I am locked into not rolling random magic items without creating soemthing from scratch myself.  Would seem like something that would make sense to have on DDI.




In theory, your players should be giving you a list of what they would like.

In practice, I have met few players willing to actually do so.

This is why I just use Inherent Bonuses and don't sweat giving out magic items more often than once every couple of levels.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
In theory, your players should be giving you a list of what they would like.

In practice, I have met few players willing to actually do so.

This is why I just use Inherent Bonuses and don't sweat giving out magic items more often than once every couple of levels.



I have a couple of players who are very good at making wishlists, others who are not as good.


I don’t think DM's provide useless magical items to players in any edition and if they did that’s their call.  It’s nice to roll-up items otherwise and the characters get something unusual and then figure out a creative way to use it than for me (or them) to just pick "useful" magic items.  No fun in that and I expect it would become repeative.

I don’t think anyone followed the random tables slavishly and constantly gave magic-users plate-mail...



I've seen it.  Never underestimate people's ability to be foolish.

Anyway, if you really want a random loot table, just google "4e random loot table", and see what you get.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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I played 2nd Edition AD&D for years. The relatively high-level party had a pile of +1 swords. A pile. Eventually during a siege of the wizard's tower, the PCs opened up the vault and gave all of the hirelings +1 swords to help defend the place. Then they let the surviving hirelings keep the swords as payment.

So yeah, random loot tables do generate a lot of stuff that can't be used by an adventuring party.
I've seen it.  Never underestimate people's ability to be foolish.


Anyway, if you really want a random loot table, just google "4e random loot table", and see what you get.




Yeah did that, found one.  Was more surprised there wasnt one on WOTC site or in any manuals.  Not a big deal.  Just an old DM set in his ways.

I played 2nd Edition AD&D for years. The relatively high-level party had a pile of +1 swords. A pile. Eventually during a siege of the wizard's tower, the PCs opened up the vault and gave all of the hirelings +1 swords to help defend the place. Then they let the surviving hirelings keep the swords as payment.

So yeah, random loot tables do generate a lot of stuff that can't be used by an adventuring party.



Haha thats GREAT

When my players hit 3rd level they moved to using the character builder so there was some class shake-up but nothing major.  I just explained it as specializing.  However when I look at the character sheet, in particular the essential one, I see two things I was unsure of:



  • Next to Abilities there is modifier and check.  Check is always higher and this is the number used in the relevant powers.  What’s the difference here?  If a character has an 18 wisdom for example that is +4 ability modifier yet check says +5.  Where does the extra 1 come from? Level?

  • For the power cards I assumed that the top of the card is actually what you use for combat.  That is the top of the card is the math the bottom of the card explains the math (so 1W+WIS).  But again I see oddities here.  I see Storm Hammer on my players cleric.  It’s says +7 vs. Fort, 1d8+5.  At the bottom it says 1W+WIS (+4) lightning and thunder damage.  The +5 I assume is the Wisdom check number not the wisdom ability modifier so I assume its related to question one. In this case I only look at the 1d8+5 when actually running combat.  The 1W+WIS (+4) is just an explanation.  Correct?


Thanks in advance.


 

When you are making a check, you add half your level to the check.

You do not do so when determining the damage for a power.

The general rule of thumb is that you add half your level to d20 rolls that aren't saving throws.  The additional +1 damage must be coming from a feat or magic item or somesuch.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Hi guys,

I noticed in the character builder at the character sheet section there is a companion option.  Can I use it to create companion characters?  At the moment I am generating these manually using the rules in DMG2.

Thanks.
You can, it is generally a bad plan though.  Why do you want a companion character?

From my experience it is 9/10ths of the time a terrible plan to have a DMPC at table. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
You can, it is generally a bad plan though.  Why do you want a companion character?

From my experience it is 9/10ths of the time a terrible plan to have a DMPC at table. 



Only 3 players.  Kids just hit level 4 and they have had two companiosn the whole time.  They help fine.  Saves me downgrading encounters too much from the original.  But where is the option in the builder to actually create a companion?  Doesnt seem to be a flag.
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