It may seem like a strange idea, but hear me out! The benefits of this could really surprise you!
I currently run with three different gaming groups. Two are made up of people in their 20’s who run it to let off some steam and have a guys night or a hang out night. We goof off, laugh, make absurd characters and just generally have a good time. My third group is very different. Its core is couples in their late 20’s early 30’s and we have to work around their schedule a lot because they have a three year old and a one year old.
Last time we were playing their oldest kept playing with my miniatures. I didn’t mind, she wasn’t breaking them and lets face it they really are toys. As we were playing and I was explaining what each monster was she began to ignore me and make up her own names and stories for them all. I smiled and played along with her. As we played however, I noticed that this was really kick starting her imagination. Stories of strange beasts and dragons with giant spiders as pets. It was sort of like re-learning Dungeons and Dragons all over again.
It was then I really wished she were a few years older. I have noticed that playing with brand new players is a rewarding experience in and of itself because they bring a new perspective to the game. Now imagine the sense of wonder a child would bring to that same game. Suddenly a +1 sword isn’t cool, its a wonder! That dumb goblin isn’t mundane, he is a strange threat. For older players it would really create a brand new experience and sure it would make the game longer but it would also be well worth the reward.
If its rewarding for the older players, imagine what it would be like as a child? A child already has a high imagination so think of what it would be to travel to the realms of Drizzt, and Bane for the first time. As a kid just imagine the kick you would get out of playing with your parents and getting to save your mom or dad from the evil Ogre? The possibilities are literally limitless.
“But wait!” you say with your finger up! “Aren’t some of these games way too complicated for children?” A game like Pathfinder could be. There is a lot that goes into building a character but in 5th edition DnD, absolutely not! I have played board games far more complicated than that. I’ve seen players that have never done any pen and paper RPGs before pick up the game like they were pros. Its such a simple system and I know for a fact that I could GM a group of people who have never played it. The system is so much fun that you won’t get bored with it quickly or easily.
Playing 5th edition with your kids would be a snap, really. Everything about the system is designed to appeal to newer players and I’d feel confident enough to run an entire party of people who have zero experience with DnD. It would also teach your kids concepts like teamwork, problem solving and basic math. Heck, I have shown a lot more inventiveness in a game of DnD than I ever have in real life.
Last, but most importantly, it would be a perfect family game. Everyone is constantly involved, there is always something to do and with a parent GMing it would be a snap to change the difficulty of encounters so kids could be eased into it. I know a few people who already play with their kids but honestly if only one member of your family plays DnD you should consider getting 5th edition. It’ll get them hooked and they will have a blast!
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