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T O P I C    R E V I E W
WalkerNinja Posted - 15 Mar 2019 : 15:35:51
I mean for this post to be the start of a sort of BLOG for my re-entry into TTRPGs after a 7 year hiatus, as well as my campaign I'm looking at running for my family for the first time. I think traditionally those things appear in the Adventuring sub-forum of the Forgotten Realms Journals. I'm placing it in Running the Realms instead because this sub-forum tends to be more participatory and I hope to be able to both give and receive advice in these endeavors.

I'm also very happy to be on the brink of returning to active status in the Candlekeep community.

When my oldest child was born I gave up table top RPGs, an activity I'd been heavily involved in over a period spanning 1991 to 2011. That also means that in large part I gave up on the Candlekeep community which I'd grown estranged from in 4th Edition. Hopefully this marks my homecoming. Anyways, back to the story. My wife was never really supportive of the activity (we married in '04). She was curious, but introverted. I have four children now, ages 7, 5, 3, and 1. We've both noticed that our oldest has a hard time expressing herself, but that the 5-year-old has a wonderful imagination. I proposed TTRPGs as a way to get our oldest to communicate better and imagine more, and for our 5-year-old to have more of a social outlet for her creativity.

Mom said yes.

The thing that made this a possibility in my mind was the appearance of an RPG aimed at 4-10 year olds, Amazing Tales. The author has a couple of interviews and YouTube videos on his experiences playing this system with his children with lots of advice. I bought the .pdf, and the coloring book. My girls love to color.

Another content producer that advanced my thinking about how to integrate is Ethan Schoonover, and his video on how he started a D&D club at his private all-girls school.

From Schoonover's advice I decided to knock the rust off of my DM's toolbox by reading Sly Flourish's Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master on Audiobook.

I've also been feeding my children a steady diet of fantasy media. The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Willow, and other films. We read King Arthur, Robin Hood, Treasure Island and such at night. I also am careful to watch and participate in new fantasy media that they find and like, such as My Little Pony, Lego Elves, Troll Hunters, and the Dragon Prince. I'm not looking to make sycophants, I want to be a co-participant in things that my daughters like as well. I want to share with them what's important to me. I want them to share what's important to them.

Campaign Proposal
I think the PC's will be around 10 years old--on the brink of becoming a tween (which is the most mature my daughters can conceive of themselves at this age). My adventures will be based off of old '80s coming of age films like Adventures in Babysitting, the Goonies, Home Alone, and the like--the precursors to a series like Harry Potter. Bad guys are likely to be bullies (a là Draco Malfoy) nefarious adults (a là the Fratellis) rather than orcs, goblins, and ogres. When elements of the fantastic appear, I want it to land with impact (Rand al Thor's first encounter with a Trolloc) and I don't want this campaign to default to murder as conflict resolution.

I'm going to start our adventure in Mistledale which is as Shire-y a place as you can get in the Forgotten Realms. That means that I'm dispensing with most of the world-building material from Amazing Tales. I simply don't see a benefit in ignoring my decades of knowledge about the campaign setting. This will be a 1E/2E time period for the Realms. I am, however going to make a conscious effort to move between fantasy genre/settings within the Forgotten Realms.

Our use of Amazing Tales as a rule base will, I believe, serve as rules for a 0th Level campaign. A Classless, Experienceless, Skill-less, Combat-light RPG system that's amazingly flexible. When they get old enough, we'll transition them into 1st level D&D characters.

Like Schoonover's campaign we're going to limit everyone to human-villager backgrounds. I want them to encounter and experience the fantastic elements of the world. I'd like to see the joy of Samwise Gamgee play out on the face of my oldest daughter the first time she encounters an elf.

The campaign will run for six sessions and limit it to the summer (we're going to try to keep balance in their TTRPG habit, unlike what happened with me). The first three will be village based adventures, primarily with humans. The second three will see a transition as they shrink down into a magical world as they enter a faerie kingdom that exists within the Tree at Elven Crossing. When they return to normal size their signature items from the faerie world won't scale up with them--they'll look like little pendants. At the conclusion of the campaign I'll give the girls each their pendant token as a Pandora charm for their first charm bracelet so that they can keep the memory of the experience.

I've done a little more leg work than that in terms of session planning, but I'll detail that out later. This first post has gotten long enough.

Thoughts, questions, concerns, suggestions? I'd love them!
7   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
WalkerNinja Posted - 03 Jul 2019 : 00:02:24

Session 0: Accomplished

Characters were made last week. We rolled six stats, static using 4d6 drop the lowest. My oldest daughter mulliganed under the old 1E rules where if you don't have two scores of 15 or higher, you're not survivable--she had a lot of 8's and nothing over a 12.

I had each of them think of a cool thing that had happened to their character prior to the start of the game, and then had them draw the event--they had a lot of fun doing that.

Friday when their little brothers go down for a nap, I'm going to run their first session. I've revised some of my campaign trajectory a bit, and I'm actually going to start with a bit of a tavern scene.

Elven Crossing doesn't have a tavern, of course, it has a tea house. I'm going to say that the community's children attend the tea house to learn reading, numbers, and a little culture. Some attend frequently, others, less so.

I'm going to start with some unruly young boys (the sons of a pig farmer who seldom lets them attend lessons) flinging mud at them and being mean on the way to school that morning.

When they get to the Tea house, there'll be some newcomers in town looking for room to stay. One is an aged representative of Oakengrove Abbey who's looking for rare tree seeds (and potential recruits for an all-Silvanite adventuring operation alluded to in Volo's guide), one is a Sembian merchant's son who's looking to establish a logging operation in the area and acts like he owns the place. Additionally there are some goblins in the area who've been displaced from the upper-Underdark by recent drow immigrants to the area (the drow won't make a surface appearance until next summer, I think).

I'm also going to lay some secret origin for Elven Crossing that explains why this community is located so near the forest and why they seem so different than the other inhabitants of Mistledale (not grain farmers, these folks).
jamesewelch Posted - 15 Apr 2019 : 21:19:24
I played/DM'd several 5e (easy on rules) sessions with my last girlfriend's son (9yo). One thing that I would recommend is using a box of cheap, colored beads as a tactile device. I used a small container with a lid to store red beads which was his arrows, then blue beads was his magic arrows, then green beads were his spells. Having to count plan and pass the beads back and forth worked well (I had him roll to recover arrows and would give him back a few). He would keep these containers next to his char sheet like it was his equipment for the game.

Also, lots of dice rolls. Sometimes for no reason at all, just to make them think of stuff.

He also read about a mimic in my MM and instantly became terrified of every treasure chest...
WalkerNinja Posted - 15 Apr 2019 : 13:44:58
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'm not familiar with the rule set, but I know of another RPG that's aimed at family/kids: No Thank You, Evil!

Yeah--I looked at it. I love Monte Cook, but a lot of these just look like *ultra whimsical.* I'm a dad of four small kids, but I'm also a history teacher, and I have problems with that level of whimsy. I just don't think I can do it well.

I'm really trying to focus on stories that will be compelling to kids approaching adolescence, and trying to meticulously note what aspects of fantasy fiction (audio/visual/literary) appeals to my kids to play a stripped down 'Fairy Tale' version of D&D.

It feels like a lot of these systems are designed to appeal to kids who have ZERO background, but my kids have grown up with a chief nerd. Up to this point their nerdiness has been restricted to media consumption--otherwise they're outdoorsy and tough (my daughter was the fastest runner in her class and selected for their field day, and swims two age levels over her age). They like camping and fishing and always want to go outdoors. But we live in a subtropical scrubland and they tell me how they wish they could camp in forests like Mr. Frodo.

I want to have fun, but learn some authentic historical things, and fulfill parts of my kids lives that they can't get in real life.

We're always going to have a healthy dose of faeries and fey, btw--my younger daughter LOVES unicorns and rainbows. I think I'm going to let her watch Legend this summer.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 15 Apr 2019 : 10:20:12
I'm not familiar with the rule set, but I know of another RPG that's aimed at family/kids: No Thank You, Evil!
WalkerNinja Posted - 15 Apr 2019 : 04:11:52
So I'm starting to produce printed materials that will be handed out. I'm making some alterations to the Amazing Tales model (I don't fancy running a game for a ninja dinosaur with laser rifles). Things are coming along pretty well.

I took the Secondary Skill list from 2E and made each secondary skill a page handout. Each page has three or four sentences written at a second or third grade level that will tell them about that profession.

I wanted my handouts to have a consistent look, but I also wanted the images to be able to be colored. That was an innovation from Amazing Tales that I really liked. I decided to use woodblock cuts from medieval documents. They're black and white with bold lines and it will be great coloring material for my daughters.

I also adapted the character sheet. Amazing Tales doesn't have stats, but a couple of YouTubers (Ethan Schoonover and Matt Colville) convinced me that there's an 'oracular experience' to discovering who your character is by rolling the dice. I don't know that we'll do much with the stats, but if it helps them to see themselves more fully, then that'll be good.

I also made maps of Elven Crossing in Mistledale. I purposely used their art supplies (notebook paper, pencil, pen, and map colors) so that they could see how their stuff could be used to make new and cool things. I think they came out really well.

Two requests:

Does anyone have a good black and white vectored image of the 2E Forgotten Realms log?

Similarly--the two horse-head flag of Mistledale?

I'll try and find a way to link to images of the stuff I'm producing. You're all welcome to use anything I make!
sleyvas Posted - 15 Mar 2019 : 20:18:23
Just going to throw out some ideas. I will also reiterate what Renin said... rules light, dice easy rules. Also, miniatures help, especially if they get to paint them themselves. I don't know how Amazing Tales rules work. But these ideas would be "story ideas" for a 10 year old to do.

OMG … they left their father's shoes out in the rain, and a local dog got ahold of it and chewed on them. They're worried they're going to get in trouble, when a small person (well, just a little shorter than them) with a tall blue and white striped cap comes out (a brownie). The brownie says that he'll gladly help repair the shoes, but he will need some things to make it worth his while, and a few other things to actually do the work.
First, he's hungry, and he'd really like an apple from the tree of the old farmer on the hill, but the farmer has a dog that scares the brownie. Problem, the farmer is really mean (at least he seems that way to the kids), so do they steal the apple or do something to earn his favor? Maybe he needs his stable or house repaired, and you can give them some legos and have them make a representation of his house.

Second, he's thirsty, and he could really use some fresh milk. There's a milk cow that they can milk, but there's also a young want-to-be-bull in the pen who is overprotective of his mother. What will they do so that they can milk the cow? Ask for help or try working on their own to trick the young bull so that it can't hurt them as they milk the cow (maybe they use a rope to lasso the bull)? If they do use a lasso... take the opportunity to teach them some about tying knots.

Third, he'll need some waxed thread to perform the repairs and a needle. They think their mother's best friend has this stuff, but if they go there, she'll probably ask for help around her farm in trade (sweeping, baking, etc...). What will the kids do... offer themselves in service for trade, or take the stuff?

When they get the shoes repaired, they sneak them into the house, and their father says "huh, I've been looking for these for the last hour, and I could have sworn I already looked here". Do the children own up to what they had to do? Do they try to keep it a secret?

In the doing of this, you could replace the shoes with say a shirt, and if your wife knows how to sew... she could play the brownie and then have her teach each of the children how to do some basic sewing. When they go retrieve the apple, give them some apple slices. When they get the milk, maybe give them some chocolate milk.
Renin Posted - 15 Mar 2019 : 17:38:20
Besides using the very rules light, dice easy rules, I'd just add to be real loose with the rules and let them create what they want to do with dice rolls as well.

Hoping to get to this point in the next 6 years with my own son!

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