Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gaming with Kids Again

This week I have had a chance to game with my nephew again. It has been a couple of years since the last time we played D&D and he is 10 now. Obviously, his ability to understand and play the game has improved greatly since the last time we played. In the past we have played a very loose game of D&D, the Lord of the Rings Introductory Adventure Moria Box Set, and a few games of Descent. This time I broke out the Mentzer Red Box and adapted the solo game in the Players' Book for his use. 

I added a little depth, I made the magic mouth be the spirit of a wizard trapped in the wall, the wizard's body was turned into the statue in the entry room. The statue's eyes had been made of diamonds, but the goblins living in the cave stole them.

In his first, solo, foray into the dungeon he had a brief encounter with some goblins where he got surrounded and badly wounded. He managed to kill all but one of them and made it back to town with a bit of gold. When he started flashing his loot around in the tavern, a young theif, hoping for fame and fortune, asked to join him.

My nephew and Randal the Theif made their way back to the dungeon for another fight with the goblins. They handily defeated the group and even let one goblin live and healed him. After some discussion, Rat Tail, a goblin shaman, decided to join the group. As they explored the dungeon, they came across the room with the magic mouth. The imprisoned wizard, Xander (possibly Fred), explained his plight in a booming voice. My nephew decided to help Xander and sought out the two missing diamond eyes. One was with a final group of goblins, and the other was hidden in a secret treasure room. After he located the diamond eyes, he pulled the statue to the room with the magic mouth and Xander got his body back.

My nephew was disappointed to learn that Xander's real voice was actually pretty nerdy, and that he had lost the ability to cast all of his spells but one sleep spell a day. Xander joined the group and the cleared the rest of the dungeon, including an expensive encounter with the rust monster.

Where we had played free form in the past, my nephew was interested in using miniatures after playing Descent and the LotR game, so I broke out the battlemat. He adapted well to using miniatures, and quickly figured out things like flanking to get the backstab bonuses. 

We still played a fairly loose version of the rules. The only character with full stats was hsi fighter, the other party members just had HP, AC, skills, and damage stats. This worked pretty well and kept it from getting overwhelming. He had no trouble managing a four character party. We also used a simplified I go/you go combat system with d6 for party initiative instead of the missile/melee/magic phase system in the Red Box. I find this works better with miniatures anyway.

I used two iPad apps for the first time during this game, Hex Map Pro, and the Old School DM app. OSDM was especially useful as I entered all the encounters ahead of time and used it to track hp, attacks and XP. I will continue to use this program in my old school games, especially at a convention.