Monday, December 19, 2011

D&D&Kids - Setting up

OK, it's been years since I've DM'd. Most of this is old hat, however. Now, keeping in mind that this will be in 2nd Edition, we are going to be treating this old-school...

DMG? Check!
PHB? Check!
Monstrous Manual? Check!

Good! Ready to start... OK, now... I have pencils and paper and a crapload of dice - a few being amongst my oldest possessions...

Now, I would want to start making copies of character sheets but I don't feel like using a pencil and paper for everything and I want to make sure that the computer will help out the best it can. Unfortunately, most of the various spreadsheet-based sheets or other software packages out there are for 3.0, 3.5, or 4.0. Most of the 2nd Edition Character generators have disappeared from the Web.

It's a good thing that I have a long memory for some things. Back in 1998, TSR came out with a software package called the Core Rules CD-ROM 2.0. Unfortunately, this has been out of print for over a decade... and copies on the open market (for a thirteen-year old piece of software designed for Windows 95!) run in the $70-$100 range...

It's also a good thing that the BitTorrent Protocol started started up since then! If you know what to look for, then you can find what you need floating around in the Pirate Bay. Normally, I'm not much for piracy, but in this case, I'll give it a shot!

The Core Rules CD-ROM includes a number of tools:
  • Two (count 'em, two!) map-making programs. One is simpler than the other, but both are essentially drag-and-drop, map tile, graphics programs. 
  • A bookshelf of almost all of the 2.0 books - in RTF format, but they are there.
  • A Dice Roller (I have always shaken my head at these)
  • An Encounter and Treasure generator
  • A Character Generator! PCs, NPCs, Dice rolling methods, save 'em, level 'em up... you name it!

Using this package, I can create characters for James of Riverfield and his friends (NPCs I can use to round out the party and save "James" from himself). I have also saved a version of Antha, James' mother (and my wife's character from long ago), in case they really get their fat in the fire. 

Next time: Creating a world a seven-year-old will enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

D&D&Kids - First in a series

OK, I'm a nerd. I think you may get that by now - especially if you check my Facebook profile. To clarify, I am a Star Wars watching, Lord of the Rings reading, D&D playing, computer programming, high school band marching nerd.

Anyway, I am now raising a pair of kids who are congenitally resigned to be nerds as well. My (almost) 7-year-old lives, eats, and breathes Star Wars, Harry Potter, and anything having to do with dragons. The great thing is that he not only wants to watch the movies and shows, he wants me to read them to him. So far, we are through Harry Potter to Goblet of Fire (waiting for him to get older til we read more). We are in the middle of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain (one of my favorites from my youth). We are now safely in the realm of reading "grown-up books." He still likes looking at picture books, but he is definitely able to deal with the big books.

He has also been playing a few different Kids MMOs - Legos Universe (clunky and shutting down in January 2012), Free Realms (Sony Online, slick, but aimed at tweens), and Wizard 101. Wizard 101 is our overall favorite - especially since all of the NPC text is spoken to you and there are directional arrows for your quest objectives. 

So, one day when he was browsing through my old Monstrous Manual (he loves all of the art and reciting the monster names and alignments... I have NO idea), we started talking about D&D. We talked about me playing. We talked about his mom and I playing (and how our first big fight was because her character died while I was DMing...). One thing led to another and we decided we would play over Christmas break. Immediately, I started yearning for those halcyon days of my youth, hanging out at a certain Junior High teacher's home with about 15-20 other gamers while we beat up spiders, met gods, and made mischief with paper, pencil, and dice. My folks SO did not know what to make of me.

So, I start pulling out my old 2nd Edition books. I am going with 2nd Ed. simply because I don't have any later books except for the 3rd Edition Players Handbook. Besides, from everything I know of 3rd Edition and have heard of 4th Ed., they are all a bit too much for his age - "crunchy," if you will.

If nothing else, there is a HUGE volume of resource material for cheap online, if not on your bookshelf. I happen to have collected a pile (a couple of shelf feet) of 2nd Ed. stuff way back when, so I am set for background - not that a 7-year-old needs much more than to be given a simple hook and to be asked what he wants to do. I figured that much even before I began looking online for ideas from others.

If you are looking at doing something like this, I would recommend reading through the following: 

I'll let this go for now. As you can guess, I have much more to talk about - and I hope to get more in as I prep and we play!