Family Dungeons and Dragons

I’ve been following the new update of DnD to the 5.0 rules set. (Yes. Because I’m a geek. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you don’t know me very well.) And I saw they’d released a new starter set for players new to the game. $12? Sure, why not. These days, a lot of our “family activities” consist of sitting down and watching Netflix. With DC getting older, TRC already up for pretty much anything, and Denisa open to at least try new games, I thought we might actually have enough people to run a campaign.

So I bought the set.

It came yesterday, and the kids were excited right away. I’d done a bit of basic roleplaying with them in the past, and they really enjoy the storytelling aspects of it, so they had an idea what they were getting into. Denisa did not, but she was being a good sport. (It helps that she’s been wanting to get the family away from the television.)

First up, I had each kid choose a character from the premade ones the set supplies. TRC went straight for the halfling rogue. DC wanted me to describe what the others did: two fighters (both human), a dwarf cleric, and an elf wizard. Once she found out elves were mystical, gorgeous, and came from beautiful places, it took all of 2 seconds for her to decide she wanted to be an elf wizard. Denisa liked the idea of being the healer more than being a fighter, so she went with the dwarf. Because the campaign they provide is designed for 4-5 adventurers, I decided I would take on the role of one of the fighters, but I made him a surly mute, so it’s not like there’s much he needs to do to add to the adventure (and I could use him to provide hints now and then when the party got stuck).

To encourage them to get into their characters some, I had them pick names. TRC chose Eldon, DC went with Mella, and Denisa picked Eldeth. (Having two characters that start with Eld-? A bit confusing, but I rolled with it.) They learned a bit about their characters and what the set up of the story was (four adventurers hired to escort a wagon from one town to another). And then we started to play.

Overall, I think the session went well. TRC found out early  on that DC’s character could speak Draconic, and he was far too interested in Draconic from then on to be much good as a rogue. He was deeply involved in discussions of the finer points of the language while he was supposed to be scouting, and it was only through extreme luck he managed to avoid stepping right in the middle of two traps laid for the party. His other high point was when, in the middle of battle, he started rummaging through his pack to see what other stuff might be in there. (Actually, he role plays a halfling pretty darn well, when you think about it.)

DC was all about action. When the party was attacked by goblins, she single-handedly stepped in and melted one into a puddle with Burning Hands, and then proceeded to blast the other to death with some well-placed Magic Missiles, blowing all her big spells as soon as she could cast them. It worked–she had time to recover and regain her spells for later, and she only suffered an arrow through her left arm for her troubles. Denisa, meanwhile, buried a throwing axe in the middle of goblin’s forehead before curing herself of an almost mortal arrow to the stomach. TRC looked up from his pack, saw there was an actual battle going on, and finished off the last goblin with ease. Denisa patched up the wounds and got everyone back in fighting form, and then the party promptly decided to ignore anything interesting in the battle scene and head off on their original mission of delivering the cart.

My character provided a few necessary nudges to convince the rest that maybe they should find out where the goblins were coming from.

There was a lot of laughter, some good jokes, some near escapes, and some good role playing. It would have gone smoother if I had a clue what I was doing as a DM. (A few times I had to interrupt the flow of the game to remind myself how exactly battle worked, but that should get easier as I get practice with it.) My favorite part of the evening was when DC started scolding TRC for not paying attention to the road and for being a bad rogue in general.

I think we’ll do this again sometime soon. For now, my focus is on having everyone participate in the story, while keeping rules to a minimum. I plan to introduce the actual rules to the people who care about them (TRC) as we go along, bit by bit. We’ll see how it goes.

2 thoughts on “Family Dungeons and Dragons”

  1. Yay! This makes me happy. FYI, GMs don’t generally have characters. It’s too tempting to railroad when you do that. But if it works for your family, great!

  2. Yeah–I wasn’t originally planning on having a character, but I also didn’t want them having too much trouble with the adventure. Hopefully this first campaign is the only time I’ll need to, but I’ll tweak whatever has to be tweaked in order to keep the focus on fun.

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