Here’s The Situation:
I’m going to run a small game of Dungeons & Dragons for my friend’s 8-year old son. The kid wants to play REALLY badly. I want to encourage this enthusiasm.
Now then, his parents never really got into D&D until we started playing 4th Edition. Before 4E, they were WoD players. So, all of the books lying around Mommy & Daddy’s shelves are newer stuff.
That said, the kid has been watching DVD’s of the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, and LOVES them. So, it’s not like the older school stuff bothers him. He’s too young to grok concepts like edition wars, or D&D being a broad term. He just knows the important basics: D&D is a game the adults play that is like a board game, but uses imagination to create their own stories. The kid has a MASSIVE imagination, and we want to give him an out let for it that he can share with his parents and friends.
So what’s the problem?
I’m torn between how I want to introduce him. I considered using NewbieDM’s recently published rpgKids, but after talking with him he even agrees it’s aimed at a younger audience as an introduction. My friend’s son, he’s eight but he’s pretty smart. He’s already picking up Checkers, a few video games, and Choose Your Own Adventure books. What I was thinking of using for him was original, classic Dungeons & Dragons (as in, Elves are a class old school variety.) I figured 4E would be a bit much at this point….requiring study of power cards and the like. Hardest thing I think Classic D&D could provide is THAC0, but if we use a standard “To-Hit” chart for him on his sheet I think that’s easy to skip.
But there’s a couple hurdles here: For starters, he LOVES all things lizards, dragons, dinosaur etc. He’s already stated time and time again: He wants to be a reptile, like the big Dragonborn on the cover of Mommy and Daddy’s book. He already knows the stories of our buddy whose Dragonborn Fighter leveled up and got his wings, and blows fire and lightening everywhere. He also loves to play on Daddy’s PS3 game Soul Calibur IV, and Lizardman is his favorite fighter. This also leads into the second problem….original Basic D&D is an edition different from Mommy & Daddy’s game.
So, my current plan of action is to simply wing it. Aside from being a big Lizard with a tail, he wants a big sword and shield, and wants to clobber foes. I’m thinking of just statistically handling him like a Fighter for all intents and purposes, and maybe tacking on a dragon’s breath attack that he can only use once per combat. I already have a miniature lined up for him, and anything else he tries (like Tail attacks) just going with it and letting him roll the dice. I’m wanting him to at least walk away with the understanding that there is rules to the game, but imagination is still important above all.
But what do you guys think? Should I maybe consider instead just using the 4E books and cutting out the powers? That way, he’s at least learning the basics of his Mommy & Daddy’s game? Or am I doing the “right thing” perhaps by introducing him to the basic roots of gaming?
Gimme some feedback here, peeps!