On quiet nights here at home, my daughter (just shy of 11 years old) occasionally asks if we can play D&D together. Tonight, I told her that we’d try something a little different. Rather than try to slog through a nerfed version of the Lost Mine of Phandelver, we’d do things the way I did when I was about her age.
So we busted out the Microlite20 PDFs, some dice, pencils, and character sheets. It took less than five minutes to roll up a human female ranger randomly named Xunari Emerald. Since she had no party members, I gave her a pet wolf that she promptly named Briggan. In response to a few probing questions, she told me that Xunari stood about 5’11” with an athletic build, had black hair and green eyes, and grew up around the village of Kohona.
Because we had precisely zero prep time, I didn’t have anything prepared for her. Donjon saved the day, of course: a few clicks on the random quest, encounter, and NPC pages, and we had enough for an adventure! A local noblewoman asked Xunari for assistance in tracking down the “beast of Thernigoia” that had attacked several outlying farms. Some livestock had gone missing and the town wanted to get rid of this monster before it could attack a child.
She set off down the road, but before she got too far, she heard the plaintive cries of a halfling girl caught in a web between some trees on the side of the road. Xunari and Briggan started to free her from the web just as a giant spider appeared on the scene. The halfling girl, Ennen, finished getting free and the three of them fled! After exchanging thanks, Ennen continued back down the road to the village, promising to write a song in Xunari’s praise.
Just before reaching the farm where she’d start her investigation, a highwaydwarf attempted to waylay her. The ranger and her wolf quickly disabused him of that notion and sent him scurrying off into the woods, promising never to return to Kohona.
Once she reached the farm, a peasant woman with auburn hair, thin blue eyes, and a toolbelt named Beada greeted her and explained the situation. Oddly, Xunari asked to speak to whomever was in charge. (My daughter was taken aback when Beada said, “ye be talkin’ with her”, based on some social studies lesson at school I think.) Anyway, I showed her this image and told her it led to a sandy area around some large boulders that had collected at the bottom of a hill and formed a small cave. When she looked around, there were animal body parts and a thin, brownish-green ichor smeared on the ground in a few places. At this point, she decided to go into the cave anyway – where she found a giant scorpion.
The scorpion felt threatened by having a human and a wolf in its personal space and a fight ensued. At some point, the wolf fell to the ground bleeding. But the farmer landed a few crossbow bolts into the monster, and Xunari finally finished it off. She took the stinger for a personal trophy and the head for proof. The ranger then carried her injured companion inside the farmhouse where they stopped the bleeding and got it back on its feet.
On the way back, she met a kindly old man and accompanied him on his way to the village. When a flock of sheep scattered across their path and the shadow of a manticore fell on them, her slingshot and his fireballs brought it down. (OK, mostly the fireballs.)
When all was said and done, she’d reached level 2, the town hailed her for keeping them safe from the encroaching wilderness for another day, and she and her wolf could get a much-needed night’s sleep.
Old-school roleplaying let us spend some nice family time together when the mood struck her and I could cater directly to what she wanted out of the session. That set the mood perfectly for my Roll20 session with my regular group later that night…