Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Nerdification of David: Dungeons & Dragons

Yesterday David noticed the back cover of a comic I'm reviewing (Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro's Foiled) and had some questions. There was a picture of a couple of people sitting at a table with some paper, dice, and small figurines. David wanted to know what they were doing, so I told him. "It looks like they're playing Dungeons & Dragons."

"Dragons?" He was already hooked. He's a sucker for giant reptiles of any persuasion.

I explained the concept of the game and that interested him more. He likes board games and let's-pretend games ("What kind of dinosaur are you right now?" is a frequently recurring question in our house), so my description of D&D as a combination of the two was a selling point. I told him that when I picked him up from school on Wednesday we'd go to the Source and spend some time in their role-playing section to see what he thought.

He naturally wondered if there were any RPGs about dinosaurs.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I'm not looking forward to spending the amount of cash it takes to invest in a decent role-playing game these days (my own D&D manuals are way out-dated). On the other hand, I can't think of much that would be more fun than shepherding him through his first dungeon. I'm not emotionally invested in his choice either way, but I'm very curious to see what happens when we're at the store tomorrow.

And if any of you know a good RPG about dinosaurs, I'd love to hear about it.


Indiana said...

Get yourself D&D X1. The Isle of Dread.

It's basically "The Lost World" with the character having to survive on a dinosaur infested island. Perfect for your old books too.

Michael May said...

Oh, that is awesome. YOU are awesome.


Jay said...

"my own D&D manuals are way out-dated"

Oh Michael! Everything old is NEW again!

OSR = Old School Renaissance! Take a look at this free primer.

Seriously though, the old rules are back and better than ever. Here are several retro-clones you can download for FREE and some even have stats for dinos!

D&D clones:
Swords and Wizardry is an original edition (OE) clone
Labyrinth Lord is a 1st-2nd edition clone

Wanna throw in some mutants and ray guns? Try Mutant Future, a Gamma World clone.

And then there's Microlite20 basically a d20 system that you can do anything with.

Finally, there's TONS of FREE stuff on RPGNow.com.

I know this is mainly for you and kiddo to have some fun, but since you're a writer yourself I think you'd find this site on the influence of pulp fantasy on RPGs interesting: Grognardia.

There, that should be enough to get you started/keep your head spinning for a while!

P.S. Isle of Dread is awesome! The Source always has older modules if you want to have a look--that's where I got my copy. Also Half-Priced Books sells lots of RPG stuff.

And you should check out this guy's game playing dinos with his kid!

Darius Whiteplume said...

Of course, if you play 4e he could be a dragonborn.

Just sayin'. :-D

Hollow Earth Expedition looks fun.

Michael May said...

Jay: Awesome links. Thanks! I'm going to spend this afternoon going through them.

Darius: That's fantastic news for David. He's already asked me if he can play a dragon. I'll look into that too.

Michael May said...

Oh! And I have Hollow Earth Expedition! I'd forgotten about the dinosaur angle there.

I bought it when my buddies and I used to game, but never ran it. I had big plans for a campaign that I'm sure David's not ready for yet, but if he stays interested, maybe I can work him up to that.

And as a follow up to the post above, Diane volunteered last night that if David wants to play RPGs, she's in too. It'll be Nerd Family Night! (As if that doesn't describe every night at our house.)

Darius Whiteplume said...

Dragonborns get a breath weapon once per fight (player chooses at start from the basic chromatic 5 types fire/ice/poison/lightning/acid).

I think 4th edition is very easy to get into, but is a change from previous. I may be a blasphemer, but it is my favorite edition yet. You can easily get away with the three core books, although I almost never open the DMG. It is 95% flavor, and anyone with good D&D sense can handle that. All the magic items and such are in the PHB. If you get the set of three cores it is often cheaper than individuals, but finding cheap copies of the PHB and MM are sufficient to start.

There is also a $10 dragonborn book that is kind of fun, but hardly necessary. I bought it because I seem to play them exclusively. Hardest part is finding miniatures. :-)

Here is a little blurb on character creation.

I always wanted to try H.E.X. Looks like a lot of fun.

Michael May said...

That is so cool. Clearly we have a lot to explore at the store today.

Jay said...

I won't dog on Darius' love for 4E (I'd be a hypocrite since I have several books myself), but I'll just reiterate OSR offers a ton of FREE stuff and is readily compatible with stuff you've likely already have. :)

Carlos Merino said...

I cannot help with the RPG, but the Illustration is beautiful. Great blog as usual.

Michael May said...


Jay said...

Okay, one last post and I swear I'm done!

RPGNow is having a big GM Day sale through the 8th. I was browsing for me and saw this, which looks like it's right up your alley. Better yet, it's on sale!


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