Playing Dungeons and Dragons With Little Kids

Just some of the characters my son has insisted on playing during Dungeons and Dragons.

In honor of Children’s Day, I wanted share a fun side of parenting.

I play Dungeons and Dragons with my two kids from time to time. My daughter is a teenager and has been playing for a couple years, so she’s quite familiar with the rules, while my son is in kindergarten and just wants to hang out with his big sister and I. At this age, he understands the concepts only vaguely. He knows how to roll a dice, knows about taking turns, and knows about running a character.

In my son’s case, he likes to make new characters every time. His imagination is huge, and he dreams up all kinds of characters and wants to try them out. At first, I tried making a generic character as a template for him, but his imagination quickly got ahead of me, and none of his character ideas would remotely fit the template. Among his more notable ideas:

  • A spider (a little, tiny spider, not a big one).
  • An ogre.
  • A velociraptor.
  • A Pokemon (several, in fact).
  • A tiger.
  • A truck. Yup, a truck.

The truck character really took the cake. I had no idea what stats to use for a truck, but then again a little kid usually isn’t a rules later, so I just made up some basic stats on the fly (“here, roll 4d6 for damage”). Further, he doesn’t yet understand the whole “level progression” concept in D&D, so he just likes to make really powerful characters. His favorite lately is a level 19 Dragonborn (they’re always dragonborn) sorceror he named “White” because it’s a white dragon:

I even painted a figurine for White:

(I am kind of proud of that one 😊)

The other issue with little kids is their attention span. My daughter and I have had a campaign now spanning two, almost three, years (more on running a one-person campaign in a later post) while my son usually gets bored within 30 minutes. He wants to play because his big sister plays, and insists on joining the group, but when I tried to make a campaign just for him, he would get bored and want to play his sister’s campaign. But when we let him play his sister’s campaign, he would quickly lose patience if we weren’t in combat and go off to play something else or watch TV.

For these reasons and more, I have had to learn to adapt as the Dungeon Master:

  • Little guy will just drop in an out, particularly for combat. I don’t try to burden him with story and dialogue anymore.
  • Sometimes his level 19 or level 20 characters will skew the battle, so I let him drop in long enough to do some attacks and “pretend” they do damage (again, he’s too young to call me on it), or
  • Throw in some extra monsters in battle that he can focus on while letting my daughter and friends focus on the real battle.
  • Since Little Guy is just a kid, I also avoid story or monster content that would be too scary or mature. For example, he gets scared fighting ghosts, but loves fightings orcs or dragons. I try to keep things “PG” as possible.
  • He also has his own set of dice and other nicknacks such as plastic gold coins he keeps in a small dice bag. He is very proud of his bag of stuff.

These are just some of the things that have worked. In spite of the challenges, watching my two kids solve problems together or work together to overcome a challenge, and the sidekick characters I made up in their party that they both know really bring them together as siblings. This is very rewarding as a parent. 🥰

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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