5th Edition Firsts; My Kids' First D&D Game, Part 1

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Being a parent and a gamer is interesting. Our girls love games, but I can never tell if it's due to our influence or if it's just something that came to them naturally or if our influence could be considered natural. Beyond their friends amazement that we know enough about Skylanders to carry on a conversation about it and some parents squinty-eyed suspicions that we are terrible parents it can be hard to gauge where we stand on the good/bad parent scale. I don't think games are bad for children; I don't think that video games distort a child's perception of reality; I certainly don't believe that games isolate children. I've always known games to bring people together and naturally that feeling is something I want to share with the people I love the most. So that's how we all ended up playing D&D last weekend. 

We've talked about playing before. When our game group was still meeting, the girls asked about our character sheets and how the game worked and expressed an interest in making their own characters. Our oldest was 7 at the time and her sister only 4 and we found Pathfinder to be a bit too complex for them. still, we explained the premise to them and let them sit and watch during a couple games. 

My wife and I talked about how best to introduce them to tapletop RPG's. The worst thing, we agreed, would be to get them playing before they were ready. While we had no doubt about their imaginative capabilities, math skills are important for even the most basic tabletop game and they were just getting through addition. We've waited a while, looking for a good place to start our family tabletop game. 

Cut to last Christmas when I received the 5th Edition core rulebook as a gift. We had played it a few months prior with Mike and Morgan and were surprised by how quickly and fluidly the game ran. I was afraid that it had been too dumbed down but after our game I realize "streamlined" is a far more appropriate description of 5th Edition play. Wesley and I agreed that this would be the perfect time to start the girls' adventures.

I sat down with each of them to help build their characters. Our youngest settled on a tiefling paladin named Makaria, chiefly because she liked the Paladins shield and the tiefling's horns. I couldn't argue with her taste; my first 4th Edition character was the same combination.Our oldest went with a half-orc fighter, hoping to smash some puny humans into the dirt. The game needed a more experienced player in the party to keep our wee ones from going too far afield. In record time, she put together a gnomish rogue with an incredibly well flushed out backstory (a family history was written). 

I had the girls choose a background from the book but I let them branch out a bit with their personality traits hoping to get them to start thinking more actively about their characters. My youngest informed me that her teifling was a noble who says she fought s dragon and loves to pick strawberries. The oldest's half-orc was looked down on by her tribe until she killed a stag with her bare hands. We were off to a great start and hadn't even started playing yet. 

Part 2 will cover the actual game wherein my children muse about LARPing and I vehemently warn them against it. Check back soon