Ha ha, yesterday I forgot to wish my exes a Happy Valentines day, and all three of them got pretty mad. They didn’t to let me see my Jewish daughter, my Latin King son, or even my hijab wearing daughter. (I make her wear that just so that you can’t call me mean names. Ha! Suck on that, COMICS!). Which meant I had a little more time than usual to think about children and D&D.
I added some d20s in there, because I know you D&D nerds get off on that stuff.
After re-reading the lifehacker article, How to Introduce Your Kid to Dungeons & Dragons (archive link because I am having a hard time keeping track of all the clickbait sights that I don’t want to give clicks to, the list is getting unmanageable at this point), it occurred to me that perhaps I was being too harsh.
We all know that playing D&D doesn’t automatically turn people into strange, blobby autists. I myself am quite the rugged and handsome slab of man-meat with pectoral muscles you could bounce a quarter off of and a way with the ladies that makes them swoon. (My secret is chloroform.) But it’s all about odds, you see. My uncle Morty smoked a pack a day and lived to a ripe old age, but that doesn’t mean you should pull a Marlboro and market your toxic product to the chitlens. That ginger snowboarder whose face is on more products than Star Wars, but that doesn’t negate the thousands of people paralyzed after a stunt gone wrong every year, if you know what I mean.
And being the obsessive type, the kind who spends his spare time reading D&D blogs, we all know you’re going to go ahead and press those little plastic polyhedral pieces of gaming crack into your kids’ hands. So if you won’t scare your kids of D&D, maybe I can help you keep them a little bit safer. Give them an RPG helmet so that they can at least hop up on the gaming bike and toddle around the Gygax neighborhood with less fear of having their cranial matter smeared across the pavement when some vapid teen girl gets a text that’s way more important than watching out for little Timmy Training Wheels. And by “vapid teen girl” I mean Mike Mearls. And by “text”, I mean “desperate call for attention and white knighting by blubbery SJW activists”. And by Timmy, I mean that I intend to run this joke into the ground harder than car tires over Timmy’s careless head.
So let’s filk Kevin Makice’s terrible advice and set the record straight:
I bought my two sons the Fourth Edition starter kit for D&D, which is made of a collection of nuanced rules. The game lost my kids’ interest before their first characters could swing an axe.
Ya think? Come on, bro. Everybody knows you can’t start with anything published after 1980. Maaaaybe, if you want to throw them a book so you can get back to your drinking, you can throw them a copy of Mentzer. That guy wrote a version of D&D easy enough for SJWs to understand it. But really, you want to go with Moldvay if you think they are going to play without you, or with Holmes if you plan on being full-time DM for the little (in my case literal) bastards.
You see, no kid can unravel Holmes – it’s beyond even Kevin’s grasp – but if you’re there to ease them into the deep end of the intellectual pool, it really is the loosest of the rulesets. That sucker is wide open for everything you can possible think of. When they ask to be a ninja turtle, you can wing one in there (AC bonus, d6 HP, strike as a cleric) with no real problems. If you like vanilla – and who doesn’t? – then B/X is the way to go, especially if you’ve been a good dad and already shown them the Lord of the Rings movies before tying them to a chair for an extra special edition of “Daddy’s Play Time”.
At the time, my solution was coming up with a stripped-down version of D&D (“DnDish”) that threw out all but the most essential parts of the experience. In doing so, I gutted the rules and only kept the crucial parts: Create a character, Roll the dice, Level up. The rest relied on our collective imagination.
He means that he built his own OSR version of D&D – another great option. ACKS is good, as is S&S.
With the release of the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 2014, the official rule set now addresses some of the obstacles my family encountered trying to learn the game. However, there are still some things you can do to simplify 5E and improve the experience for your kids.
Yeah, build your own OSR game. How can this guy claim to be a fan of a game and not know that he’s reinventing the wheel? It’s like listening to a hockey fan who doesn’t know who Gordie Howe is, or a football fan who doesn’t know who Vince Lombardi is, or a soccer fan who doesn’t know who the gay equivalent of Gordie Howe and Vince Lombardi is.
To avoid costly reference checks, don’t play with the parts that prompt research.
Better yet, don’t play with versions of the game that require you to research during the game. This isn’t hard, people!
In D&D, a lot of decisions are required to create your character…The quicker you can get to the first monster, the better.
Only if you are doing it wrong. Roll 3d6 in order: no decisions. Pick a class, pick a weapon, buy the best armor you can get away with. Roll for your spell. Boom – monsters!
When creating characters, it isn’t uncommon to see a bunch of low numbers and hear, “That didn’t count.” Re-rolling to get an acceptable set of high numbers guarantees your character will start strong, but playing with low scores inspires creativity.
Home slice be working on my last nerve. Three. Dee. Six. In. Order.
The sheer breathless gall of this mouthbreater to think playing the game the way Saint Gygax intended is at all novel or even needed. Except as an explanation of why not to play a version of the game written after 1980, with the previously noted exception of Mentzer…and maybe Allston, but nobody really plays Allston’s version – they just brag about how great it is to have one hard cover book instead of two soft covers before cracking open Moldvay or Holmes. But still – it’s an option.
Make Leveling Up Simple
Who know who does that? If you said Monte Cook, may God have mercy on your soul. If you said Mike Mearls, go get an AIDS test right now. You need it. And you’re welcome.
Rather than deal with those nuances, I award the same points for each encounter. Every character who participates earns those points.
The worst advice in the article. This isn’t just bad DMing, this is bad parenting. It’s commie style role-play designed to make life easier for the DM rather than make the game matter for the kids. If you reward everyone regardless of actions then you’ve short circuited the risk-reward cycle, and you’re teaching the little brats that they can get away with slacking off, because the tank will cover for them while they run around like an idiot wasting their heals and buffs on themselves or on sideline fighters who aren’t taking a beating to save their punk ass from the enemy.
Good luck not being a waste of digital skin in an online MMO with that attitude.
I know I’m being too cynical here, but it’s for your own wife’s boyfriend’s kids’ good. On the bright side, this article is called “introducing YOUR kid” to D&D, which is a step up. Had this been official WotC article, it would have been called, “How to Introduce A Kid to D&D So Their Parents Don’t Find Out About Your Combination Magic: The Gathering Display Room and Basement Rape Dungeon”.
There are plenty of reasons to teach your kid D&D. The table is a place where you can teach them about risk and reward. You can let them roam freely in the game world in a way you can’t at a D&D convention (without fear of some creeper making passes at them). You can even sprinkle a little cultural roots into their life by using folklore tales like Baba Yaga or Little People or Firbolgs or Odin into the game. Logistical planning, knowing when to fight and when to run, learning how to save your GP for plate mail, all of these are skills that will serve them in good stead later in life.
But you can’t impart these valuable life lessons if you play D&D the way Kevin Makice suggests. Play an OSR game, and play it straight, and you won’t have to fear your kids growing up to waste their life writing free D&D articles or joining some death cult like Antifa. Metaphorically speaking, that vapid teen girl Mike Mearls will always be out there checking texts on quiet suburban roads, but at least your kids will have some thin veneer of protection between their mushy little heads and the hot, steamy blacktop.
That’s the way I roll, and my wives’ boyfriends’ kids are turning out pretty good.
Go thou and roll likewise.