5th Edition and my kids: In which we all learn something new

It’s been a while, and I’ve been meaning to write upon this subject, but I have finally started to run my kids on a 5th edition game. It’s been a fun few sessions, roughly 5, but I’ve already learned a lot, as have they. To give you an idea of the group, their ages are 14, 11, and 9.

They seem to like 5th edition. I had tried to get them to play Pathfinder, but I was doing most of the math for them, as I had actually done for a group of adult players in recent years. Pathfinder has a way of setting up a barrier between those that know the rules, and those that have yet to know the rules. Learning the rules is not a simple perusal of the rules, but a constant cross-referencing, the most intensive of which is during character creation. Pathfinder is akin to a scriptorium in terms of the intensiveness with which it approaches rules and character builds.  Only the learned may benefit, and by extension those with whom they share the knowledge, as I have in the past.

5th edition, by comparison, is almost made to be learned by example and oratory; that is to say, the rules can be taught by one who knows them without the learners needing to crack a single book. And that is just how it all worked. I was able to explain character creation to everyone as well as run a game with minimal effort. We dedicated an hour to character creation, and two to the adventure. I purposefully left out things like backgrounds and role-playing traits for the next session and that only really took half an hour to complete.

The next session, we introduced those missing rules and added backgrounds and traits, which was met with appreciation; gaining those extra things made it seem like a level up. The session after that, I explained the rules for short and long rests. It has all been so smooth and seamless that I haven’t struggled to look up rules or contrive strange fiats to account for muddled mechanics. The best part is that they are learning their characters sheets, and not relying on me for number crunching, though if they were, it’d still be minimal.

We have learned at our own collective pace, and no one has complained or made faces at the complexity or nonsensicalness of the rules.

Yes, you can just jump on the Otyugh’s back.
Yes, you can invest in the shopkeeper’s business.
Yes, you can talk to the dragon and negotiate.

And the best part is that these activities weren’t usually just a die roll, but rather an opportunity to role play or enact a strategic plan. The atmosphere has been ripe to encourage experimentation and risk taking, which even veteran players tend to avoid. I’m quite pleased with the way that 5th edition seems to strike the balance of structure and creativity without being so lax that the burden is on the group, nor being so strict that it constrains our imaginations.

We have had some stumbling  blocks, as all groups do, but it mostly comes from divvying out loot, or deciding what to do next. These are problems that I welcome. Compared to the haze of fussing over rules , it’s been a breath of fresh air.

I hope to eventually give more detailed accounts of our sessions soon. Hopefully by then, I’ll have more fantastic tales to tell about the exploits of this very promising group.


2 thoughts on “5th Edition and my kids: In which we all learn something new

  1. solomani September 4, 2015 / 4:05 am

    My two eldest – 12 and 10 – were playing with the adults in the Iron Gods campaign but I peeled them off when the party hit the Valley of the Brain Collectors as I thought the content wasn’t appropriate and started running them through a 5e version of Expedition of the Barrier Peaks. They love it. And they are so innocent when it comes to D&D that old stories and old cliches is all new to them so its wonderful to see. I actually thought it would be a hassle to run two campaigns but the enjoyment and childish wonder (good meaning) is totally worth it.

    Here is the log my daughter is writing: https://itsmygamemyrules.wordpress.com/tag/expedition-to-the-barrier-peaks/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lorathorn September 4, 2015 / 7:05 am

      Oh rad. I should encourage my kids to do that! I find a lot of the same. I don’t try to ever dial in my gaming, but every so often we find the players fighting a big bunch of goblins. They love every minute of it, and if takes me back to a day where that was fun for it’s own sake.

      I may run a similar side game for my youngest boy who doesn’t currently play, and pair him up with my oldest boy who can’t get enough of D&D. With luck, it’ll be a nice side game, though the schedule for that should be less frequent.


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