Friday 4 May 2012

D&D for Kids (Rules Included)!

I've developed the ideas here into a full RPG for kids called Hero Kids. Check it out here:
Hero Kids fantasy RPG for kids

My daughter Violet has been nagging me for ages to play D&D (referred to as 'nerd games' in our house), so when my Pathfinder Beginner Box arrived in the mail (I don't plan on playing it, but I'm an obsessive completist and I love the monster stand-ups), I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to run a game for her.

Obviously a 4-year old can't play actual D&D , so I set up a super-simple RPG for Violet. Keep in mind, this all happened in the 15 minutes before Violet had pinkie-promised to go to bed, so the game is simple and the materials were whatever I could grab quickly, which should explain the HP tokens we ended up using!


The game uses these materials:

• 1 dungeon map
• 1 hero
• 4 monsters
• 1 d10
• 1 d6
• 6 health tokens for the hero

The flipmat that comes in the Pathfinder Beginner Box is very nice, and I used the cavern side for the game:

Violet chose one of the characters from the various hero pawns in the Pathfinder Beginner Box:

I used just four goblins from the Pathfinder Beginner Box as baddies for the game:

And the d10 is for the hero's attacks:

The d6 is for the monsters' attacks:

Finally, this was the first thing that came to hand to use for the hero's HP tokens:


• Hero has 6 HP and rolls a d10 for movement and attacks.
• Monsters have 2 HP and roll a d6 for movement and attacks.
• Set up the hero at the entrance of the dungeon, and the four monsters along the route to the treasure (in this case the golden fountain in the middle of the flipmat)

• Hero rolls d10 and moves that many squares.
• If a monster can see the character, it rolls d6 and moves that many squares.

• If the hero and a monster are adjacent, they both roll their dice (d10 vs. d6) the highest roll wins and their opponent takes 1 HP damage.

Win/lose conditions:
• The hero wins the game when they reach the treasure.
• The monsters win when the hero is defeated.

Playing the Game

I started Violet's hero at the top middle of the map, and then scattered the goblins along the route to the treasure (the golden fountain in the middle of the map). The first goblin was at the top of the stairs, the second in the room at the top left, the third in the big room on the left side and then the last goblin was in the corridor near the treasure.

Each turn, she rolled her d10 and then moved her character that many squares (with some help). If a monster was nearby, I rolled a d6 for the monster and moved it towards her hero.

When the monster and the hero were adjacent, we both rolled our dice and the highest roll 'won', with the loser taking 1 HP damage. When Violet's hero took damage, I ate one of the six BBQ Shapes tokens that I had lined up for her health (bwahahaha!). When the monsters took damage, we just remembered it and then killed them the next time they took another hit.

The combination of the 2 HP for the monsters, 6 HP for the hero, and the d6 and d10 all worked pretty well, because Violet's hero reached the treasure with just 2 HP left!

What Did We Learn

• Counting (for movement)
• Comparing (for the opposed attack rolls)
• Remembering (for the monsters having 2 HP)

Possible Advanced Rules

• There's no difference if the hero reaches the monster first or the monster reaches the hero first, so maybe whoever moves adjacent gets either a free opposed attack or a bonus to their first opposed attack.
• This is balanced for only a small number of 'encounters', so there could be healing potions in side rooms, or the hero could regain 1 HP after each combat.


  1. Cool! My son is 2 1/2 and I am looking forward to the day when we can start gaming together. 4 sounds about right to me!

  2. This is a fantastic idea! I personally do not have children, but if I did this would DEFINITELY be the way to go!

  3. This is great! My daughter (age 3) loves Lego Heroica, and I was just thinking a few weeks ago of how I could make a heroica-style game with the beginner box map and my plastic minis. I never did come up with anything, but this fits the bill perfectly!

    Nice work!

  4. A really great idea! My kids would love this!

  5. Great idea. Looking forward to playing it with my daughter (still a while to go, though).

    1. I'm working on something special for the kids, so keep watching:

  6. I just discovered your Blog (through Rob Lang's Blog), and I think this idea is awesome. I have two girls, a just-turned-four-year-old and a soon-to-be-six-year-old, and this fits the bill perfectly. I also downloaded Heroes Against Darkness as I have been looking for an alternative that fits my playstyle and this looks promising. As an old grognard (started RPGs in 1976), I am impressed with what I am seeing here - thank you!

  7. My son is six months and a week old. I'm thinking one more week and he'll be ready to go!
    Seriously, I do look forward to this while at the same time not wanting time to fly too quickly.
    Thank you for this post!

  8. Talk about simplified rules. It's fantastic and will try it soon enough.

  9. Hi. I only just saw this, but think it's a fantastic idea. Have a nearly 3 year-old and looking forward to trying it (or the developed game) when he's ready for it!