Say what you like about the mind of a child, there is no denying the imagination we had as kids vastly changes as we all come into adulthood. For me it’s something I feel is a loss – I could spend hours in the backyard of my childhood home, swinging sticks like they were swords, lightsabers, magic wands or a wizard’s staff. Nowadays I spend time imagining social interactions in my head, playing out a scenario in my head on drives between places or as I make my morning coffee, comparably less cool than being a freaking wizard!
The fact I still can recall a lot of those games of make-believe around my junior school playground speaks volumes about the impact imagination has on a developing brain. This is one of the reasons I am constantly dumbfounded when I DM (Dungeon Master) a game of Dungeons and Dragons for kids and they do something truly amazing that ruminates in my mind and happily lives there rent-free weeks after it’s.
This, dear reader, is the story of how my Dungeons and Wyrmlings Campaign started and where in the multiverse it’s gone.
How the Campaign Started?
As anyone who has had to DM a game can tell you, starting the campaign is difficult and is probably a topic worthy of its own blog post. The players at my table were somewhat experienced players, that being said they had crafted level 1 characters and hadn’t time to think of a backstory. My fix? I got each player to write what their character’s name, race, class, and background was on a piece of paper, they would then shuffle them and swap them around the table until each person had a different character from the other, ensuring each player didn’t have the same person who had their character. They then wrote how their character met and knew that person’s character.
I then collected the paper and within five minutes we had a coherent group background of the characters each getting recruited one after another to free their friend (another player character) from a gladiator arena.
This method of a group backstory was useful as it negated the awkward “You meet in a tavern” where Player Characters (PCs) are forced to do a job their character may not have ordinarily signed up for. It also helped them name the large town they started in – ‘Arcti’.
Mr Arcti & Mr Atrician
When the PCs were forced to fight for their life, they had to face the arena champion whom also happened to be the town mascot – Mr Acrti the adorable penguin. Players were hesitant as I had anticipated, the PCs were more than capable of fighting an unarmed generic penguin. After rounds passed they finally did the unthinkable and attacked the penguin knocking him to zero hitpoints. The players, keeping in mind they are kids, had mixed feelings but seemed to be having a blast with the campaign they helped create. The unconscious penguin got back up, growing larger and more swoll, this was the real arena champion.
Mr Acrti has a secret beneath his adorable form, he has been experimented on and has a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation going on. His new Hulk form, Mr Atrician, was the real arena champion. After defeating him, the giant penguin shrunk back down to his fluffy adorable penguin size and everyone was taken to their holding cells. That was the end of session one and the players were captivated and in love with this fictional penguin. So much so that they vowed to break prison, and liberate a penguin who was being knocked out to unleash his evil alter ego.
The next sessions….
True to their word they freed the penguin and took over Arcti’s Arena. Boy were they dedicated to this penguin. In their second session, they brought in a plush toy penguin and even gave him chips!
As I’m writing this Blog, the campaign has endured 5 sessions of Penguin-filled goodness. In session 4 they survived an attack from a space invader on a meteorite, harvesting its metals to make barding for the little penguin and naming their adventuring party after him ‘The Arctinauts’.
They even made me, their DM, play with al-foil to make him the adorable ball of “Dont mess with me”
Is there a moral to this story? No, not really, just some wholesome content, encouragement for a beloved pastime that celebrates the creativity and imagination of kids playing make-believe with dice rolls.
If you would like to see my views and thoughts on why its important for kids to play D&D, you can read my previous blog here.
Til the Arctinauts next do something blog-worthy. I hope this blog has inspired and motivated you all to take up dice and try your own adventures.
When is Dungeons and Wyrmlings?
Dungeons and Wyrmlings (Kids D&D) every Saturday 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Bookings are essential due to the popularity of Dungeons and Wyrmlings, we are limited by the number of DMs we have available and the seats at tables.
Your Friend and Ally,