Playing D&D With Kids​

Most kids will jump at the opportunity to “play pretend” with their parents, siblings and friends. Dungeons and Dragons provides a framework, a ready made world a lot of fuel for the imagination. The challenge for both parents and children are the huge volumes filled with rules and charts. That is where DMing Dad can help. 

In case you didn’t already know, Dungeons & Dragons is a game in which players and the dungeon master (DM) work together to tell a story. So basically, it is just a very complicated way to “play pretend.” Most D&D games are set in a world like Tolkien’s The Hobbit, so late middle ages with fantasy races like elves, dwarves, halflings and humans. Characters can be fighters, wizards, rogues or one of the many other classes. Basically, if you have seen a character in a fantasy movie, there is a way to turn it into a D&D character.

Before you buy the books, or if you already have them and still can’t make heads or tails out of them please take the time to read a few of our blog posts or watch some of our introductory videos. While D&D has many rules, there are a few home rules that you need to set first.

  • It’s Your Game – Jeremy Crawford, one of the designers of the D&D 5th Edition rules said it best, “It’s your game. Do what you want to with it.”
  • Rule of Cool – In a roll playing game (RPG), the Rule of Cool means giving your players the chance to perform ridiculous stunts, bend or event break the rules of the game for the sake of an awesomeness. The trick is to know, when and where you can do this and be clear when you are allowing a rule to be broken. 
  • Homebrew Rocks – Homebrewing means you are creating rules and content for your games. That content does not have to abide by the officially published rule books. You can create new races, spells, artifacts etc.
  • Characters Die – Like in video games, characters die. The trick is to make character death fun, meaningful and even epic, when you can. Like video games, dead does not always mead dead forever. You don’t have to play D&D on hardcore mode. There are numerous ways the game allows for characters to be brought back to life.
  • Know Your Players – Some players are there to role play preferring to act out encounters while other kids want to roll dice and kill monsters. Make sure to structure your games to suite your players or they will get bored and bail on you faster than Facebook friends on moving day.
  • Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. Steal It! – There is a huge trove of content already out there. Don’t try to create everything from scratch. Borrow elements from your favorite stories like Harry Potter, combine them with maps you download for free and top it off with monsters from an encounter generator for a fast and fun adventure.
  • Don’t Break The Bank – You can download the core rules for FREE!  Then all you need are dice, paper and pencils. It is possible to spend thousands of dollars on D&D. Just getting the basic books (Dungeon Masters Guide, Players Handbook, Monster Manual) can cost over a hundred dollars.
  • Online Resources Rule – There are literally thousands of sites that will give you free stuff to help you play. Below are a few of my favorites
    • – This is a very easy to use site that allows you to create, download, print and share characters and other D&D 5e content.
    • – D&D Beyond is a web app that lets players create and store characters, peruse items and monsters and consult digital D&D tomes, among other things. It’s a “digital tool set” for the game. Accessing premium content does cost extra. In some cases, it is cheaper to buy the books online.
    • – The DM’s Guild is an online resource for free and low cost gaming materials, modules, adventures, digital books, maps, and much more. 

What next?

Here’s an introduction to character creation. If you need a primer on all the technical terms used in the game, check out, What are all these words?!

Back to Getting Started. DnD for Beginners.

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