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Kids & Kobolds: Encounters with Rukus the Half-Orc Fighter

Kids & Kobolds: Encounters with Rukus the Half-Orc Fighter

Kids & Kobolds 2She stands on her chair, arms raised to the gods, and announces, “I am going to use my action point!” An hour ago, she had never heard of an action point. Three encounters ago, she was a fair-haired 6-year-old with a shoebox full of polyhedral dice and a carrion crawler mini named Lenny.

Now, she is every bit the axe-wielding, half-orc fighter depicted on her Basic Set character token. Her name is Rukus. And she is going to finish off the Spiretop Drake.

“Basic attack or one of your powers?” the GM says.

“Hmm.” She points to the cleave power on her modified pre-generated character. “This is the one where I can hit two monsters at a time?”

The GM nods, smiling…

She indicates brute strike on her sheet and holds up a red d6. “With this power I get to roll the die six times? And add 3 more points of damage?”

“Yep,” the GM says.

“But I can only use it once a day,” she says, under her breath.

The GM waits.

Rukus sits down, needing to think this over a bit.

“I’m gonna blast him,” she finally says.

She rolls. She hits. She cheers. She adds up the damage using her fingers. It takes a while because she is being careful to get every point. At last, she announces the sum, victorious. The encounter and her first dungeon delve have ended.

While the GM cleans up, he asks, “What did you think? Fun?”

“Awesome!” she says. “But next time, daddy, we should have harder monsters.”

Player: Molly Foard Jones, age 6.
GM: Jeremy L. C. Jones, age 39.
Materials: Basic Set, extra dice.
Game time: 1 hour.
Encounters: 3.
Prep Strategy: Start with AC, hp, and a clearly stated objective (capture the gems from the monsters, rescue the unicorn, and slay the drake). Add powers and non-combat options, such as skill challenges, as play progresses.


Dungeon Dad is Jeremy L. C. Jones, a freelance writer, editor, and teacher. He is the staff interviewer for Clarkesworld Magazine and a frequent contributor to Booklifenow and Kobold Quarterly. He teaches at Wofford College and Montessori Academy in Spartanburg, SC.

16 thoughts on “Kids & Kobolds: Encounters with Rukus the Half-Orc Fighter”

  1. Jeremy, that’s great stuff! I’m happy to see parents getting their kids involved in gaming, creating the next generation of gamers.

    Also, looks like you are not too far from my neck of the woods (I’m in York, SC). Any cons up Spartanburg way?

  2. Ain’t it great? My friends’ 12-year old just joined our Friday night group. Watching him and his 17-year old brother bicker, in character, has added a bit of spark for us 30/40 somethings.

    I can’t wait until my 2-year old can play.

  3. Very cool!

    I can’t recommend sharing gaming with your children highly enough! My son plays in our group every Sunday afternoon and it’s a blast!

  4. My 5 year-old son plays an Orc–what’s with kids and orcs?

    His one an only goal is to get a magic ax for his orc. It is coming.

  5. Excellent! My 8 year-old daughter has officially joined our gaming group and she is doing a great job as an Aldori swordswoman (light tank). Streamlining some of the rules for her, but not too much. The biggest accommodation I make for her is that her pet dog, Hunter, never takes enough damage to die, because that would just be mean. He has gotten knocked out occasionally, but he’s mostly window dressing.

  6. Long live the next generation of gamers!

    I intorduced my 9year old daughter to the basic concept of RPG first by short scene of a race on the schoolyard – next thing we did a half hour later was her as a pirate ship attacking a spanish convoy on its way home to Spain – she went right for the biggest ship – the flag ship and with clever strategy and lucky dice made it to board the flag ship, steal the treasury and make it away before the other ships even got a chance to sink her!

  7. My 12 year old likes to fight zombies and ghouls, but gravitates toward Elven Stealth. I think it has something to do with his older sister’s fascination with all things Ninja…

  8. I would love to be see more of a column like this. My boys are old enough, but not mature enough to play. :) could use some more advice and hints. Thanks for the advice DM Dad.

  9. Great article. I started playing when I was 11 when my dad bought me the red box for Christmas. Now my 5 year old daughter and I have played our own simplified version a couple times, and are slowing adding new elements each time we play.

    One aspect I found is she likes to find “real” treasure, so I bought a little wooden treasure box that she could paint, and when she defeats the last monster she gets to open to see what she found.

  10. Excellent little article! I host D&D games for 4 groups of kids aged 8-13 at my store and they absolutely love it! So much that I am constantly hosting D&D birthday parties for nearly every player in the groups!

    Lots of fun, and I get to slip in life lessons while they play and they don’t even notice that they are learning!

  11. Simon the Overthinker

    Waited till my son and daughter were both middle schoolers. My only regret is not starting sooner! Love the story, and Gavin’s dog dilemma. As for Dagalk, I say dive in! Keep it simple and suddenly you’ll be pyaing allowance in dice and miniatures.

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