Kid Friendly D&D Adventures
What if I told you that a 6-year-old could learn to play Dungeons and Dragons? Before we get into how, let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about kids and D&D.
Is there a kid version of Dungeons and Dragons?
Yes. DMingDad has developed a kids’ version of D&D. DMingDad provides kid friendly adventures as well as DM Tips for running Dungeons & Dragons for kids. There’s no official kids version of the game from Wizards of the Coast.
What is a good DnD Campaign for kids?
Here are some DnD adventures and campaign journals from DMingDad’s DnD campaign for kids. If your looking for an official D&D campaign setting to run for kids, Wild Beyond the Witchlight is whimsical and can be simplified for kids. Wizards of the Coast also published a kit with the book and accessories like maps and encounter cards.
Can a 7-year-old play Dungeons and Dragons?
Absolutely, a 7-year-old can play Dungeons and Dragons. Keep reading to find out how.
How abut a 6 year old? Can a 6-year-old play D&D?
Yes, but 6-years-old is about the youngest I would recommend. This is because players must be able to read numbers and do some basic addition and subtraction.
Building D&D Campaigns for Kids.
I have covered many tips for how to simplify Dungeons & Dragons to make it kid friendly. See my DM Tips for more detailed information.
Let’s see if we can get you up and playing a game today. Planning a whole campaign is an ambitious task. If you are going down that road, I recommend you start with mashing a few good movies, comics, and cartoons together. Don’t take it too seriously because your kids certainly wont!
Make a list one to three things you like (stuff you are going to steal) from each of the following:
- Harry Potter, Fart Quest, Lord of the Rings or any other fantasy book series.
- Dragon Price, Owl House, Gravity Falls or any other fantastic cartoon series.
- Princess Bride, Marvel Cinematic universe, Dune, Percy Jackson, How to Train Your Dragon or any other movie franchise.
Next choose a faerie tale or parable and flip it on its head. For example, the trolls under the bridge are just building contractors trying to get paid for the work they did (Troll Bridge). Here’s another one, the dragon guarding the tower is actually a cursed princess, and the pretty lady in the tower is the evil witch (Princess in a Tower).
That’s it! Now you have a world and an adventure. Next you need players and characters…
Characters, Not Character Sheets
Kids who can barely read don’t need a complicated character sheet. Keep it simple. Ask the kids what kid of character they want to play. Make a list of three special things they can do:
- Once per day – An ability they can only do one time per day because it is so powerful and draining that they need a good night’s rest to do it again.
- Three times a day – An ability that they can do a few times, but doing it too much tires them out.
- All the time – an ability they can do anytime they want.
But what about character classes and races (species) you ask?
For younger players, the classes aren’t really that important. Keep the choices simple and use language they understand. For example, sorcerers are like superheroes, that have abilities that get stronger as they learn how to use them.
Character races (species) in D&D are really all about the back story, stat bonuses, and skills. You don’t really need any of these, so let the kids be whatever they want. Heck, one of my kids plays a Kerby knockoff, complete with swallowing and spitting bad guys.
What are the best classes for kids?
In my experience, here are the most common things young kids want to play:
- Fairie princess
- Battle Princess
- And my personal favorite, “a really strong fighter guy that can through stuff like bad guys really far”
What are the worst classes for kids?
Avoid anything that requires reading. Wizards are the worst. I haven’t met a kid yet that wants to play a student that studies all the time and has to keep track of books and complicated spells. If they want to be a Wizard, don’t give them too many spells.
How can kids play a Wizard or cast spells if they can’t read?
I am a fan of the token system. Create some “power” or “spell” tokens and have the kids turn them into the DM when they are used.
- Get some paper or card stock and draw a picture of the spell effect like lighting bold. Put clear tape on both sides.
- Go to the comic store and buy some cheap Magic the Gathering, Pokemon cards, or a comic book and cut them up to make your spell tokens. My comic store has a circle cutter and will cut them up for me.
But what about damage and spell effects?
Keep it simple. All damage uses the same dice. It doesn’t really matter if you use a d4. d8 or a d12 as long as all the kids get the same dice and all damage uses that die.
Spell effects should be simplified too. The spell should be simple enough to explain in one sentence. Here are a few simplified versions of D&D Spells for kids.
- Magic missile – You shoot a magic arrow that automatically hits anything you can see.
- Mage Hand – You create a magic hand that can strong enough to pick up a gallon of milk.
- Mold Earth – You can dig a 5-foot hole or tunnel through the dirt.
Keep Combat Simple
Come up with one or two attacks the character can use like a sword and a bow. The attacks will use the d8 for damage OR you can use the 3 strikes rule. Basically, that is where a bad guy can be defeated with:
- One perfect hit (a 20 on the d20 OR 8 on a d8)
- Two solid hits
- Three okay hits
Dice Rolls, Not Armor Class
Keep the combat simple by focusing on the dice rolls instead of armor class. Here’s a good guide:
- 1 always misses
- Easy to Hit: 5
- Not So Easy to Hit: 10
- Hard to hit: 15
- Almost impossible to hit: 19
- 20 always hits
Now give the players a d20 and a d8. They should roll both at the same time. The d20 tells if you hit and the d8 tells you how much damage or how good of a hit it was.
Their Places, Not Maps
While having a good map makes the game much easier to run, you really need to remember that we are exploring places, not maps.
Engage the senses:
- The lite smell like flowers on the breeze .
- The leaves rustle in the trees, creaking as they bend an sway in the breeze.
- The breeze is cool and dry. It feels good after your long walk here…
- There is a stack of oddly rounded, almost polished rocks in the center of the clearing.
Monsters & Bad Guys
Yes, we need bad guys for the characters to fight, but keep it age appropriate. I suggest asking the players what kind of bad guys they want to go up against. You might get Plankton from SpongeBob or they may surprise you with some really fantastical monster they dream up. Roll with it. Remember that D&D is a cooperative storytelling game where the DM provides the story structure and referees.
D&D has some really good, kid-friendly monsters. Here are some of my favorites:
- Rust Monster – These little critters are the size of dogs and will rust and eat your character’s metal armor and weapons. Think of them as scorpions that are as big and smart as a large dog.
- Mimics – These are clever, intelligent creatures that can look like anything. The bigger they are the smarter they get. They are super sticky and love to eat anything that wanders by and will fit in their stomach. From coins and tea cups to full-sized castle towers, these guys can be anything, anywhere and any size.
- Almiraj – D&D’s Bunny unicorn – If you want to see your kids squeal with glee, let them find one of these. Think of them as wild rabbits with unicorn horns and they can magically dig tunnels very fast. They make great pets, if you can catch one.
- Skeletons – These guys are easy for kids to relate to because they see them all over at Halloween. They can be spooky, scary, or friendly. Not all skeletons are bad. Check out Skeleton Dance.