D&D with toddlers



Can’t wait to try this with Archer, my 3y.o.

Perhaps his arrows will be +1 to hit.

I’ve been doing this with my 3.5 year old daughter too (albeit far simplified). She loves it! Interestingly, she is far more engaged when the entire scenario plays out in her imagination. Using toys as props to set up the scenario proved to be way too distracting.

I play pen and paper with my 6yo and 3yo and im really surprised how more people dont do this. Its a fantastic way to get kids thinking about being organized and doing simple math but not only that, the whole storytelling experience is fantastic.

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Love this article and looking forward to putting the rules into play with my kids soon.

I’m curious, though, how the author (or others) dealt with the concept of killing and death with a 3-4 year old? I’m not decrying the violence inherent in the system here, but it is a pretty integral part of an RPG at least in the format described in the article. How did your kids deal with the idea of hurting something until dead in order to win?

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Those minis are hand painted by human factory workers, not robots.


Noesn’t nessicarily have to be ‘to the death’. Doesn’t have to be bow and sword. Could be bubbles and nef bats… or anything really with ‘death’ being the guy hitting you making sadface and running home to cry to mama.

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Yeah, you beat me to it. For context, from the article:

I happened upon a set of factory-painted plastic D&D minis while
looking for a toy to bring home in the dealer’s room at a regional
science fiction convention in Chicago. After marveling at the
astounding advances in robotic toy-painting

If you find pre-painted miniature figurines of any sort, it is basically 100% certain that they were painted by assembly-line workers at a factory in China. There’s a whole mini-industry dedicated to rapidly molding, producing, and painting toys and figurines designed by Western modelers, everything from gaming minis to Homestar Runner collector’s toys.

I’m not really judging, since I’ve got a closet full of Heroscape minis. Just something to be aware of. And, um, awesome article. :slight_smile:

So I probably have another 2-3 years to wait before I can play this with Daneel Jr.

No fair!

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So awesome! What a genius way of keeping a child entertained, exercising their imagination, and having a blast all at the same time!

In the Toon RPG by Steve Jackson Games, characters that run out of hit points fall down. “In the world of cartoons, nobody dies; they just Fall Down.” It’s pretty much what they already see on their cartoons anyway.

Of course this varies widely, but many children at that age have a surprisingly morbid streak. If you aren’t sure, then it should be easy enough to leave things open ended and see what their personal rules of engagement are.

For example I remember that when he was that age my much younger brother gave me pause when he insisted that the level of badassery of his toy vikings required that they not only kill but eat their enemies.

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This is really brilliant, and sounds like a lot of fun for parents and child alike. I build websites and tools for an early childhood nonprofit, but I used to teach elementary school and stay heavily immersed in the material my company develops. I can say that this is such a comprehensive swirl of all of the best thinking in the 3-5 range of learning through imaginative play. It hits on the spacial awareness, fine motor, gross motor, arts, math, storytelling, and the most important stuff in early childhood - social and emotional development - through developing characters and exploring morality, teamwork, relationships, turn taking, sacrifice through them. I would love to see this as a presentation at an EC conference, as I think it would really expand the adults’ oftentimtes cemnted and limited imagination about the potential for play.

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I have to admit, I’m a bit puzzled by one of the rules: magic missile vs. fireball. In OD&D it’s effectively opposite (mm’s hit automatically).

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