- Rules-Light: the kids aren't going to read much, except their character sheets and perhaps equipment lists, so the smaller the rule-set, the better
- Short Sessions: due to short attention spans, sessions shouldn't last much longer than an hour
- Standard DnD: I want to use the game to help the kids learn DnD rules, as opposed to choosing a simpler, non-DnD based kids RPG
- Visual Aids: there should be lots of visual aids to orient them geographically, bring the game world to life
- Light Tone: game should be G-rated and occasionally scary(but not too scary!)
- Cultural Context: the kids should be able to relate to the game world. They don't have much exposure to Tolkien, so the game should draw on other more familiar media
Swords and WizardryI ended up ordering a copy of Swords and Wizardry, a cleaned-up clone of ODnD. It's a very lightweight version of the rules, at under 150 pages. The one thing that surprised me is that, while Labyrinth Lord uses Race as Class, S&W keeps them separate, though with many limitations.
Palace of the Silver Princess
In searching for a module to base the game on, I remembered a B3 Palace of the Silver Princess play-by-post game I played in years ago. It had a light, fairy tale sort of vibe.
The DM modified the starting scenario in a number of ways:
- You start out visitors in a city for some big festival
- You wake up in the morning in your room in the inn. All hell has broken loose- an army of Goblinoids are invading the city. A dragon rider was seen landing at ruler's palace.
- The party fought their way through the streets to the palace, snuck in through the sewer
- The palace was the the dungeon from Silver Princess, except occupied by royalty/servants
- Our first encounter was a kitchen full of angry sentient furniture/silverware. Reminded me of Disney's Beauty and the Beast
I decided to adopt a lot of this for the kids' campaign, though the dungeon itself will still remain in the wilderness, 500 years abandoned. There is a connection between the invasion and the dungeon...
I had been wondering whether to set the game in the Faerun or perhaps Warren's Deep. Another great thing about Silver Princess is that it comes with a mini-sandbox in the form of a kingdom-map and descriptions of settlements, so that gives me a good basis to build on. Gulluvia will keep it's Amazonian vibe, though a more benign, sympathetic version.
|Maps of the Realm and the city of Gulluvia|
Besides the kingdom map, I found an appropriate city map and printed it out to help the kids navigate the city during the invasion. Between S&W and DCC, I have pictures of all the Goblinoids the party is likely to encounter. The kids had fun coloring-in copies of the kingdom map and the dragon-rider illustration prior to the game.
Here are some influences to draw on for world building:
- Munchkin card game
- Fairy Tales
- Tooth Fairy
- Scooby Doo
- Ninja Turtles
- Disney Movies
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Martial Arts lessons
- Archery lessons
- Family camping trips
- Biblical stories
- Jewish Folklore