A while ago I talked about my first dungeon mastering experience with the only person I could find that would play with me…my three year old son. Now that we’ve been playing a little more I thought I’d fill you in on the latest news.
I’ve learned a lot since we’ve been playing from the Red Box that Wizards of the Coast sent to WPR a while back. First, never expect a controlled game while playing with a 3 year old adventurer. Second, Kids have an incredible imagination. Third, You have to learn to keep things REALLY entertaining. Finally, your game can be taken from you in an instant.
As I mentioned in my first article when I got my son excited to play, I realized I was going to be tossing the rulebook out the window. As much fun as he has setting the game up (usually on my bed) by himself, it can easily become a mess. First he’ll take the Red Box and hold it high above his head, while shouting. “We get to play LINCOLN THE DRAGON HUNTER!” usually with some running around of varying degrees. He’ll open the box, get the map out and unfold the whole thing out and open up the sandwich bag that has all the pogs in it. He knows which one is his guy every time, and then just starts putting the bad guy pogs all over the map. He has to tell me who each bad guy is, because if I mess it up in the game, he’ll make sure I know I was wrong and that it was a goblin that he was fighting, not an undead wildebeest.
His role-playing has been developing as we play too, and when he gets into it, it’s hard not to have that prideful grin on your face. He has to roll a dice for every action that he takes (every action he decides right now is “I hit *insert bad guy*!”) Pretty much anything higher than a 10, I’ll describe the hit (or sometimes hits if it was multiple bad guys) anything lower he misses. Usually he’ll just say “AWWWW MAN” or something to the effect. I roll for the bad guys, who almost always miss on purpose and sometimes do some damage to Lincoln the Dragon Hunter. He doesn’t care at all if his guy was hanging by a thread about to die anyways, he’d still press on the fight. So this is more just to keep him from taking total control of the game, and well. I want to roll some dice too.
When we first started playing, it was mostly me tickling him and rolling around with him on the ground after he rolled the dice. I’m pretty sure that isn’t how your usual adult game goes, but if it does, you guys run one freaky game. Now though, he will declare his only action he knows (attack) and automatically roll the dice without my asking. We’ve been working on his numbers, so now I have him try to tell me what numbers he came up with. The big thing that he loves now more than anything, is that I started taking advantage of the cards that came in the Red Box. The cards are basically different feats, or daily powers, etc that the different classes can have. We shuffle them around into one deck, and put them in a big stack next to the map. At random times, or if he asks, he gets to pick a card from the deck. I explain what it is, and tell him what it does to the bad guys or his character if it isn’t a direct attack. He loves this new addition to the game, and it helps bring some random moments that keeps things fresh. Though, there was nothing that could prepare me for what happened next.
He took over my game. That’s right, I, Ryan Thomason of 28 years old had my 3 year old son tell me that he was now the dungeon master and I had to be the Dragon Hunter. He wasn’t even nice about it. He just said one night right after we started. “Daddy, I’m Dungeon Master Now…stinky butt.” What happened next, was technically my first time playing D&D as a player, and having my moment of supremely geeky glory as father.
He took every bad guy pog, probably, 30 in all. Then put them behind one rock all bunched kind of close together in a big group of mega army type. My guy he said that is now Daddy the Dragon Hunter was in front of the rock. He looked at me as he waited for me do something.
“Um, I look to around the rock so I can see the bad guys.” *Rolls a 19* “19!”
“You don’t see the bad guys.” He replied.
“There are all behind the one rock?”
“Yes.” Said the dungeon master
“A dragon, big trolls, zombies, goblins, wolves, bandits, huge guys are behind one rock, and I can’t see them?” I had to ask again
“Ok, I run around the rock and attack the bad guys.”
“Daddy you can’t see them.”
“Then I make a cake where I’m standing” “I roll a 5”
“Can we eat some CAKE!?!” He now asked.
“No, it’s pretend cake, dungeon cake.”
“The bad guys attack you.” *Rolls a 2* “18, they all beat you up!”
“Every single one of them?”
“I attack with my sword and staff, Daddy the Dragon Hunter came to party” *Rolls 12*
“Daddy the Dragon Hunter raise his sword high and swing it around! He hit the dragon! Bam bam bam! He hit the troll in the leg, the troll go “Raaaaaawr!” The troll falls over! Bam bam! All the goblins say “Ahhhhhh” and run away, bam!……..all other bad guys fall over! Daddy the Dragon Hunter got the treasure!”
“I love this game.” Was all I could say.
“I love you daddy.” He said “Daddy knucklehead, lets play again.”
By that point, it was way past bedtime, and I couldn’t stop grinning. Playing D&D Red Box has honestly been some of the best times I’ve had as a dad, and as you can tell, his imagination is really starting to take off as we keep playing. Who knows what is in store for us as we continue playing while he grows up. I for one, can’t wait. Next in line when she’s old enough in a couple of years is his baby sister. Oh yes. I’m going to be raising some purely geeky kids for sure.