Lost Mine Of Phandelver dungeons and dragons rpg dwarf dragon

A D&D/Family Weekend

This weekend, we finally got to celebrate my birthday, after two weeks of having it pushed back due to two first communions, Mother’s Day, and various soccer/softball tournaments. Maybe that’s part of why I felt a little bitter in my last entry. But when I was asked what I wanted to do, I thought about some restaurant or event. But really, all I wanted to do, the thing I’ve most wanted to do with my family, is play D&D. I get so few chances to play, and my family is the closest available participants. If I could get them on board, maybe they’d get hooked.

But since it was my birthday, they had to do it. And we had a blast. At least I did. Being the RPG’er, that meant I had to be GM (and probably means I’ll have to be GM the rest of my life, but I’m okay with that). But it was fun. My oldest daughter was a dwarf cleric with pink eyes and purple hair and she made an amazing backstory about falling off a cliff and almost dying and she was friends with her little sister, who was an elf wizard. And Mom was a nothing special fighter (a la Conan the Barbarian).

I think they had a blast too. My youngest daughter was the best RP’er, arguing with the bugbears, the prison guards, etc. My wife was the worst, she accidentally confessed that they’d killed some other members of their gang, which started a big fight in a tiny room.

We played “Lost Mines of Phandelver”, which comes in the starter pack, which they got me for my birthday, like five years ago. And it helped that I had just listened to “Here There Be Gerblins” on the The Adventure Zone podcast, which uses the module to springboard off of. The hardest part was getting them to pay attention to the abilities scores, but they loved adding up all their gold. I get a Dad point for making math fun.

I feel like a did a good job painting a picture for the players. I described responses and environments instead of saying “roll charisma to see if you convince the bugbear”. I had effects when they repeatedly looked for secret doors (as soon as the first one tried to go for one). And my youngest invented the word “percept”. As in “I percept the room”.

I don’t know if we’ll ever play again. They enjoyed it, but kids’ minds are capricious, and this took all day. Certainly, time suck should be minimized–eight hours is too long for anyone–but its difficult to find a good “break” in these kinds of games. I’m trying to get them motivated to level up their characters (they should be at level 3 now, since they skipped the first dungeon and inadvertantly went to the harder and bigger second dungeon, and inadvertantly explored every room there was — many dice knew what it was to be fudged that day, I can tell you). I figure if they see how much stronger they got (at least one got to 0 HP in each battle) they’d be encouraged to see how they do in the next chapter.

But in the meantime, I got a Switch to keep me occupied until my next birthday.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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