Thursday, September 10, 2009, 6:12 AM
Finally! The kids are old enough to really get into playing D&D with me (although according to many that I met at Gen Con this year, my youngest, age 5 when she started playing, is one of the youngest D&D players heard of). D&D 4E has made the game even more accessible for players of all ages. This is, not to say that D&D 4E is 'simpler' that previous editions. All the complexity of character and design are there but the whole package is easier to understand and, thus, easier to introduce to a younger crowd.
And boy does my youngest love her Tiefling Warlock. Yeah, no joke, the only character she wants to play is the Tiefling Warlock, hehe. No! She is not an evil child. She thought the art in the PHB1 for the Tielfing Warlock was pretty and she liked the idea of having a tail. You would be surprised how many applications a tail can have for a child with an imagination.
Living Forgotten Realms has only made the D&D experience even better for me as a Father/DM. The four hour format of the LFR session is perfect for my kid's age range (now ages 6, 8 and 9). I love all the modules that WOTC has published for D&D 4E but sometimes they are too long for kid's memories. There is no way to finish one of the published modules in a game session so the build up to the BBEG is somewhat wasted on them when they have forgotten that it was the BBEG's minions they were fighting four weeks ago (or two game sessions ago). The compact format of the LFR adventures ensures that I can provide my young gamers with a complete story each and every time we sit down to the gaming table.
After this last session all of their characters finally reached level 2. When we started into LFR I helped them create new characters because 1) after playing a few sessions in Keep on the Shadowfell they finally had a good grasp on D&D 4E and 2) the hardcore player deep inside me wanted their LFR characters to be completely in line with LFR standards. They sure didn't mind rolling up new characters (ah, little gamers after my own heart). My youngest daughter stuck with the Tielfing Warlock concept that she loves but my oldest daughter (the middle child) switched from a Human Fighter to a Human Wizard. My son (the oldest child) switched from an Elf Ranger to a Dragonborn Warlord as he wanted to try out the Leader roll and, let's face it, the Dragonborn are just a cool addition to the game.
They began their adventures in the Dale Lands (DALE 1-1: "The Prospect" by Pierre van Rooden) where they worked hard to prove themselves and became members of The Fall of Stars. Much to my surprise though they handed the deed to the church over to Dayan Nenthyn instead of Kira (they figured a church is the service of a god was a better idea than a church being used by a merchant). From there they made the journey to Baldur's Gate (at my son's request - he remembers watching me play the PC games and he has the one that came out for the Playstation (1... 2... 3...? I can't remember).
The Flaming Fist is a very handy tool for a Dungeon Master and one that is put to good use in the Baldur's Gate series of adventures. Upon hearing about these mercenaries with "responsibilities" the kids wanted nothing more than to join the crew. Let's face it, The Flaming Fist is a good motivator when you need to explain why these characters are traveling all over the Forgotten Realms landscape too. Baldur's Gate is connected, well connected to say the least, and that means The Flaming Fist probably has interests the world over as well.
"Lieutenant Hart Stonefield hands you a letter that needs to be delivered to an ally in the Dale Lands... You deliver your package. Job well done! While you are there... [INSERT ADVENTURE'." In organized play we do a lot of hand waving when it comes to how our characters get from here to there between adventures but believe me, my kids ask and they want a good answer, hehe.
BALD 1-1: "Flames of Initiation" by Otavio A. Goncalves is an excellent adventure to introduce new players to Baldur's Gate in my humble opinion and my kids put me through the ringer with all sorts of questions about the city and the people that live there. And believe me, they ask a lot of questions. For the record, while the best pizza in all the Realms can be found at The Fall of Stars in New Velar, the inns of Baldur's Gate serve the best turkey. Don't ask, that's just how it is.
Anyway, my young adventurers had a good time exploring Baldur's Gate. So much so, that I couldn't bear to take them away from the city just yet which means BALD 1-4: "Silent Streets and Vanished Souls" by Dave Brainard was the next module for them to conquer. This one really challenged them and they loved Amoth of the Red Wizards (I think it is because I do a really good 'old crazy wizard' voice but that might just be my ego talking). My kids have uncanny luck with Skill Challenges and this moduel hosting the first one that they ever actually failed. Once they had been ported to Werewood they had trouble getting through the traps and trails leading to the final encounter. It was a learning experience for them as now they understand what happens when they fail at a Skill Challenge and that makes them more exciting.
I am preparing ADAP 1-1: "Barrow of the Ogre King" for their next session because I want to make sure they get to enjoy that one before their levels are too high for it to be a challenge (being one of the few levels 1-2 adventures out there).
Ah, but gaming with kids has its own unique kinds of challenges for a DM and that is what I am going to talk about next week.