Saturday 28 January 2017

ODnD Kids: Session 2

Well, me and the kids got together for another session of Palace of the Silver Princess. Here's the scoop:

The Party:

  1. Princessa- Human Fighter with a bastard sword, ring mail and a shot bow. Watch out for this one!
  2. Melech Yisrael- Elf Fighter/Magic User. He carries a scimitar and longbow along with his spellbook
    1. Frog- a charmed Goblin
    2. Toad- a charmed Orc
  3. Lavi- Dwarven Fighter/Thief with leather armor, longsword, and light crossbow

Last time, the party escaped from Gulluvia, a city under attack.

This time, the party headed North towards the Palace of the Silver Princess to see if they could get to the bottom of the invasion and My Lady's Heart. They hitched a ride with a tinker and his daughter, but parted with him when he headed to Dead Mule.

Mysterious Sponsors

The party met a group of Elves, out hunting Orcs. When Melech told them of their mission, they gave him a Potion of Extra Healing, before continuing on their way. When Princessa and Lavi asked for a boon, they were rebuffed as mere mortals.

The party arrived in the village of N'Sau. They bought rations at the general store and paid a farmer for board in his barn. At night they heard an owl hooting. Lavi went out to investigate. A great owl appeared to him and showed him to a tree with a bottle of powerful poison. Princessa went out to check on Lavi and saw the transaction. She asked the owl for a boon and was shown the way to a magic scroll. Not herself a wizard, she traded it with Melech for his potion.

Mount Up

Cpt. Vallaria Amazonus
The next day, the party hiked to the village of Thorold, known for it's fine horses. The party bought mules and donkeys. The local guard captain ordered the party to go to Gulluvia to help fight the invaders. Princessa told her that that is where they are headed and talked the good Captain into providing her with a fine horse from the Queen's stables. Melech and Lavi asked for horses too, but were rebuffed due to their inferior gender. The party pretended to leave in the direction of Gulluvia but then doubled back towards the mountains.

Grin and Bear It

They camped that night in a cave. While heating up their food, a huge, grumpy bear entered. Lavi fed it rations mixed with his bottle of poison. It lay down feeling sick. Lavi decided he wanted to be the bear's friend, but it died in his arms. The rest of the party celebrated the quick victory against the beast.

The Palace

The next day, the party crested the mountains and saw the valley stretching out before them, with the half-ruined palace in the middle. They descended on the desolate valley and approached the castle. Seeing the entrance blocked by a heavy portcullis, Lavi climbed up to the tower window, but was met by a smirking goblin. He stabbed it, and lowered a rope for the rest of the party, who left their animals to graze.

There was some cat and mouse with goblins and hobgoblins in the rooms of the tower, culminating in a short, but decisive fight. The party found a weapons rack with glowing weapons. Lavi picked a glowing sword while the other two took a quiver of arrows each. A voice praised the Lawful adventurers and the remaining weapons disappeared.

The party descended the stairs and fought some gigantic monkeys in a room with a checkered floor. The monkeys killed Frog and Toad and the rest of the party fled into the hall and Melech cast Hold Portal to keep the door shut. That was where we ended the session.

Friday 13 January 2017

ODnD Kids: Session 1

Well, last weekend me and the kids kicked-off the Swords and Wizardry campaign I planned for them.

The Party

Warrior Woman, Magic Elf, and Dwarf Thief

  1. Princessa- Human Fighter with a bastard sword, ring mail and a shot bow. Watch out for this one!
  2. Melech Yisrael- Elf Fighter/Magic User. He carries a scimitar and longbow along with his spellbook
  3. Lavi- Dwarven Fighter/Thief with leather armor, longsword, and light crossbow

The Setup

The party are visitors to the city of Gulluvia during the Great Festival. They woke in the morning to screams of terror from the street outside the inn. Lavi rushed to the window and saw, on the street below, a huge Hobgoblin fighting an ill-equipped city guard as residents fled in terror.

With some well-placed bow shots, the party dispatched the Hobgoblin and saved the guard, who told them the city is being invaded. They ran with him towards the city center to defend the royal palace.

Baby Snatching

Thanks, Maurice, for all the nightmares!
"My baby!"

The party sees a terrifying sight. A group of 9 Goblins have overwhelmed a mother and snatched her baby away.

Melech Yisrael cast Charm Person on the goblin holding the baby and ordered it to "Give it back to it's Mommy!" The Goblins attack and the party dispatches them. Their Guardsman friend goes down, pierced by Goblin barbs.

They ran to the central palace but saw it was under-siege by thousands of Goblinoid troops.

The Hook

The kids wanted to heal up their characters and they don't have a Cleric so I showed them where a Temple was on the map. The avoided a large melee on the way their and convinced the priests to open the door and let them in(along with their charmed Goblin buddy).

The priest healed them up and asked the charmed Goblin why the invasion is happening. The little guy told them that it was "to obtain My Lady's Heart". The Priest explained that there is a legend of a great ruby hidden in the cursed Castle in the mountains to the North. He suggested the party might investigate since the city troops are occupied.

Escape from New Gulluvia

The party decided to depart the city. They encountered a small patrol of Orcs ransacking a neighborhood. They charmed one Orc and dispatched the rest. They escaped the city and headed West on the Queen's Road, with friendly Orc and Goblin in tow.

So that was how it ended after about 90 minutes. The kids really had fun. Even my 4-year-old was really engaged until about an hour in, at which point his attention span ended and he wandered off. My daughter had fun but was a bit disappointed. Apparently she had the impression that DnD is something you play past midnight while gorging yourself on soda and junk food! (I have no idea where she got that impression...)

Thursday 12 January 2017

ODnD Campaign for Kids

My 8-year-old daughter's been after me for a while to run a D&D game for her(we've moved beyond Doggie Game). Her brother's got half a year of 1st grade under his belt, so I figured me might want to play too. That got me thinking how to run a pen and paper RPG for kids. The basic guidelines I came up with were as follows:

General Principles

  1. 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
  2. Short Sessions: due to short attention spans, sessions shouldn't last much longer than an hour
  3. 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
  4. Visual Aids: there should be lots of visual aids to orient them geographically, bring the game world to life
  5. Light Tone: game should be G-rated and occasionally scary(but not too scary!)
  6. Books
  7. 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 Wizardry

I 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.

The Party

In any case, S&W is nice and simple and the kids rolled-up characters, and I helped them fill out their sheet. I limited their their options to keep things simple. So, for instance, I only offered them the 4 basic classes and I had to walk them through picking weapons and armor. I tailored the options I gave to each kid's developmental level, so when my 4 year old insisted on also getting a character, I had him roll the dice and offered him only the most basic of options. I also opted for ascending AC since the rules support both systems and it's a bit more intuitive.

Palace of the Silver Princess

Player Prep
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:
  1. You start out visitors in a city for some big festival
  2. 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.
  3. The party fought their way through the streets to the palace, snuck in through the sewer
  4. The palace was the the dungeon from Silver Princess, except occupied by royalty/servants
  5. 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...

Game World

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.

Visual Aids

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.

Appendix N

Here are some influences to draw on for world building:
  1. Munchkin card game
  2. Fairy Tales
  3. Tooth Fairy
  4. Scooby Doo
  5. Ninja Turtles
  6. Superheroes
  7. Octonauts
  8. Disney Movies
  9. Where the Wild Things Are
  10. Mouseguard
  11. Martial Arts lessons
  12. Archery lessons
  13. Family camping trips
  14. Biblical stories
  15. Jewish Folklore