Sunday, September 26, 2010

My little girl's adventure as a "dark elf"

I just finished running an adventure for my daughter and she did remarkably well for her first time actually playing.

She played Azula, a "dark elf" (she doesn't like calling her drow) fighter/slayer out of the D&D Essentials Heroes of the Fallen Lands book. I started her out at first level to be sure that the numbers crunching wouldn't be too much for her and was surprised at how well she caught on.

Azula came upon a small village where the children had been disappearing at night. She offered to help the town's people out by looking for the kids, whom she discovered were being abducted by goblins. The goblins were hold up in an old mine just east of the village and upon discovering this Azula made a bee-line for the mine.

On her trip there she was confronted on two separate occasions by goblins that were out patrolling the area. After making quick work of these lowly goblin patrols she made her way to the mine, where she had to take out the goblin guards at the mouth of the mine.

Long story short, she fought her way through the mine and eventually took out the leader of this band of kidnappers and his second in command. Triumphant she returned every last one of the kids before the goblins were able to sell them to an evil dragon that was going to eat them.

OK I know this adventure won't win any awards for creativity, but I think it served its purpose. My intent was to make it something simple enough for a young, first time gamer, but with enough action to keep her interested. I fortunately succeeded on both accounts. Actually I think I may have over compensated and had too many goblins for her to fight because at one point she did comment on how many there were, but I took it easy on her and made sure she didn't lose her first character on her first run.

I have to say that she did much better and was far more creative than I thought she would be. During battles she would come up with these incredible maneuvers and relied heavily on her acrobatic and athletic skills. She got through the skills challenge in the mine with flying colors and had almost no trouble remembering which dice to use and for what. She even did a good job of keeping track of her special abilities, feats and powers, something I still have to remind my older players about.

Over all I think it went well, and she seemed disappointed when it was over. That is kind of my fault because I expected to spend a lot more time during the game explaining things to her, but she needed very little help. Since she had such a good handle on the mechanics, the whole thing only lasted about 2 1/2 hours, which I feel is a good first game. A few reminders about adding her attack bonus to rolls was all she required through the whole scenario as she mercilessly hacked her way through my goblins. Even though I am always proud of her, her skills as a gamer took that pride to a whole new level.

When we rolled up Azula last night she immediately began pushing me to come up with an adventure. I told her she would need to wait until Sunday because I still needed time to prepare. She was so proud of her PC, and since she just couldn't wait until Sunday, she actually took the time to come up with a fairly detailed back-story for Azula. She named her parents, sibling and her reason for being a fighter. Apparently her father was a great fighter and when he died she became a fighter in his honor. Of course I immediately wondered what Freud would have said about that one.

While the game was a hit, the oddest thing happened after we were done. She asked me why we didn't play normal D&D. I explained to her that this was D&D and asked her what she meant. Her reply was that it didn't "feel" like the normal D&D that she has watched me and mom play over the past decade. She then told me that she wanted to play "that D&D".

Of course I knew that she meant Pathfinder/3e because that is the game that we normally play. I honestly didn't think she would know the difference as far as the actual play experience went. I did my best to keep the game as close to what I normally run as possible and I didn't think it seemed that different. At least not from where I sat.

So afterwards she asked if she could convert Azula to Pathfinder and we did. Next time my group gets together it looks like Azula will be tagging along.

I'm not giving up on Essentials just yet. She's agreed to run another character in another 4e adventure, but she's itching to get her feet wet running with the big kids in Eberron. So, as successful as her first gaming experience was, she apparently has paid more attention to what has gone on during my games than I gave her credit for. I raised a 3rd edition player and didn't even know it.


Alan S said...

Have you seen newbiedm's rpg kids? It's for kids 4 years old up to about 7 or so. It may suit your needs for gaming with your kids. It's available at

Geek Gazette said...

I've seen it and have been thinking about getting it for my niece, who is younger than my daughter.
Given how my daughter handled 4e Essentials and her desire to play Pathfinder I stayed away from games geared towards younger kids. I offered to run Broomstix and several other game for her, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she wouldn't have it. Sometimes you forget just how old they are. They just grow up so fast.
One day they are in diapers and watching Winx, then the next thing you know they are picking out their own dice and multiclassing. It does a father proud.

Red Jack said...

Just be careful. One day they're multiclassing, the next they're hanging out on the optimization boards and trying to use 3rd party templates. ;)

It's good to hear the game went well, and I'm always glad to hear about new players getting a proper start in any edition.

By-the-by, Piazo did a great write-up on goblins several months back (which got me inspired to do some writing of my own--shameless blog plug) that might be some decent inspiration if you plan on using the wee little greenskins as an ongoing menace for the game. I think the Piazo post was titled "reinventing the Wheel" or something similar.

Geek Gazette said...

Optimizatin boards... that's funny. Just so long as she does safe optimization I guess I'll have to accept it. You can't keep them single-classed with standard builds and away from 3rd party material forever.
I'm just glad she had fun. Now she is demanding her own set of dice and you know how us gamers hate to buy new dice... ;-)
Thanks, I'll have to check out those posts.

Red Jack said...

I don't know... If my daughter ever started level dipping, I wouldn't want to hear the details. And it better not happen under my roof! ;)

So how crazy are you planning to go on her first dice? The Chessex Pound o Dice is great if you're concerned about her keeping hold of them, and the matched sets included are pretty even if most of the others in the bag aren't. (And cheaper from amazon than a set of the much prettier Q-workshop sets. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure Q makes a pink set of some kind--I'd bookmarked it a few months back while looking for some for my fianceƩ.

Geek Gazette said...

My only golden rule is that there can be no gnome PC's, unless we're playing Pathfinder. She's ok with that since at the moment she's obsessed with Drow and Minotaurs.

I've been eyeballin' that pound-o-dice on amazon. I won't deny that I'd like to get some new dice myself and buying that gives us all some new dice for a pretty good price.
Pound-o-dice and bag-o-zombies, that's my next amazon purchase. two things you can never have enough of, dice and zombies. Now if I could just get a room-o-players I'd be all set.

Red Jack said...

If you're picking up bags, you may want to think about getting the actual Zombies! board game. It makes a great "pre-game game" while you're waiting for folks to show.

One thing to remember about the Pound is that (other than the matched set included) they're all factory seconds--something conspicuously not mentioned in the listing. This hasn't stopped me from buying two of them, but it's important to keep in mind that a handful of dice in both bags were unusable from being noticeably weighted or incompletely formed, and a few more weren't well painted or has minor flaws on edges. I still consider it a good buy, but be ready for at least a teeny bit of disappointment.

Carl said...

My friend Andrew (AKA The White Wanderer on the Flagons & Dragons podcast) has a son who is at that age where he is done watching us play, and wants to get in on the action.

We may need to have a separate campaign going. Maybe a different evening for an hour or two rather than the day-long podcast/gaming sessions.

Did you hear the news that Paizo is working on an introductory product for their Pathfinder RPG?

Geek Gazette said...

@ Carl
Yes, I've been following the development/speculation about this on the Paizo boards for a while. The designer has said several times that he was just waiting for the green light to get the project off the ground. Looks like they finally got the green light.
I'll definitely be buying this.

I knew there were some imperfections likely. I've known people who have bought the pound before.
As for the Zombies! board game, I'll have to check that out.