Introducing D&D to a New Generation

(C) 2020, JJ Shaun

For the past six months, the “tweens” of the family have been clambering for me to play Dungeons & Dragons with them. For various reasons, the timing hasn’t worked—until now. This coming weekend, I will introduce six novices to the world of the Forgotten Realms. I decided to use a pre-generated mini-campaign, Dragon of Icespire Peak, to make it easy on all of us. If they like the game, I will write a campaign based on my “homebrew” world and write their story.

Right now, I have six players. As I described the roles needed for a successful campaign, the kids piped up: “I want to be the sneaky scout!” “I want to be a magic-user!” “I want to be a fighter!” “I’m a Paladin!” “I’ll be the healer!” “I want to be a fighter, but I want to shoot arrows!” Then, I gave them a bit of homework to do before we meet on Saturday. To think about their characters’ stories. Why are they fighters/magic-users/rogues/healers? Where do they come from? When I left, they were all telling me about their new characters. I asked them to write it down.

On Saturday, we’ll flesh out their characters. I’ve created sample sheets for them using the DnD Beyond online application. I’ll bring my laptop. As we build their characters, I can plug in the attributes and background information based on what they imagine their roles in the story to be. I’ll also roll their histories into the overall tale.

This isn’t the first group of kids I’ve introduced to the game. Back in the early 2000s, I taught my kids how to play. We began with the Third Edition (3e) rule set. Not long after, in 2002, the Dungeons & Dragons: The Fantasy Adventure Board Game was released. The kids and I played that game every year until the house burned down, with all my D&D references and board games.

I will continue to play and teach the kids how to play. At least with this generation, they have an idea of what they’re getting themselves into. I can hardly wait to see what they come up with.

Update:

My friend Sam is right. Our group has been playing online for going on a year now. We have listened to Sam’s grandson grow as he leaned into his role as the party’s wizard. Last night, our young wizard was unsure of his role-play because we were negotiating for riding mounts for the party. His character, unfamiliar with horses, stayed in the background, as did mine. We reassured him that his actions were appropriate. The fact that he was able to ask is a milestone that shows how far this young man has come.

One thought on “Introducing D&D to a New Generation

  1. You aren’t telling the whole story! You also play with a small bunch via Discord using D&D Beyond, one of which is my grandson, a young man who was once very anti-social, and withdrawn, suffering from mild forms of aspergers, autism, tourette syndrome, and ADHD. Thanks to you, and the others drawing him out, and to your patience dealing with him, his experience with our D&D Pen and Paper online group has made incredible changes in his daily life. He is tested as a high level genius, but previously unable to utilize those abilities. Thanks in a very large part to all of you, he is now holding a job with a major bank in their computer/finance department! You are awesome! D&D is an incredible tool for teaching many skills that our education system seems to be failing to help many students at achieving. I…we…encourage others to look into the potential it can provide.

    -Oldsam

    Like

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