Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Microlite74 Kids' Campaign Gets a New Player!

This past Sunday was another day spent playing Microlite74 with the kids! This time we were joined by my father-in-law, a long-time gamer himself. We rolled him up a dwarf cleric to round out the team, and having him at the table was a big help, both in terms of keeping the kids focused on the action at hand, and in teaching them what kinds of details to ask about and tactics to use. 

As I've said before, I am running the kids through WotC's Keep on the Shadowfell, the infamous first published module for Type IV D&D, and adapting it on the fly for the Microlite system. It has continued to work out surprisingly well. Before we started playing today, they had rescued Douven Stahl from the old dragon burial ground, explored much of the first level of the Keep, and made their way down to the second level, but retreated after the fight with the hobgoblins' pet giant spider went sour. 

Today, they went back to town, got healed up, got a new party member, took out Ninaren and the undead in the graveyard, finished exploring the first level of the dungeon (which included the battle with skeleton warriors in the crypt and the confrontation with the skeletal remains of Sir Keegan, the last Lord of the Keep, AND finding the secret armory and solving the riddle to get the magic armor) and finished off the rest of the hobgoblins in the second level, aided by clever use of a couple charm person spells by the group's wizard. 

All told, in the time we had, had we been playing Type IV, they would have made it to Sir Keegan, and that's about it (if we made it that far!). 

I have made a couple changes to the way we use the magic system, which is only for the kids' game and not something I would do if gaming with adults, and that is to change the cost of casting magic spells. In the rules-as-written, first level spells drain a magic-user or cleric of 3 hit points when cast. While I understand the intent of the rule, to more closely emulate the original edition's restrictions on spells per day for magic users, the result, at least for my eight-year-old son, has been to refrain from using any spells out of fear of losing too many hit points. So I've knocked them down to make each spell's cost in HP equal to its level, which definitely resulted in the boy being more willing to experiment with the spells he had in the game. He learned the hard way that "Charm Person" doesn't work on the undead, but didn't feel cheated by it because he hadn't spent too much in casting it anyways. 

I also allowed the cleric to heal 1d8 hit points using Cure Light Wounds, as opposed to the 1d2 body points called for in the rules-as-written. I've been going to my AD&D Player's Handbook for spells as much as possible, and the two systems are working together quite well. 

All in all, I'm very happy with it and see Microlite74 as my go-to D&D game for the foreseeable future. 


  1. I looked over the Microlite74 rules, and had playing with my kids in mind because of your posts.

    I like the change you made with Magic, but have a question. What about the implement "bonus" of having spells take one less hit point? Did you keep it and make 1st level spells and Arcane Blast free, or do you have a minimum cost of 1 hit point per spell?

  2. I made the change on the assumption the magic-user would have an implement. I suppose, without an implement, spells should cost an extra hit point. But yes, HP cost=spell level. Arcane Blast and Minor Magic would be free.

    I'm glad to hear other people have been inspired to use M74 to game with their kids. I would love to hear about your experiences once you get started.

    I have found that copy-pasting class and race specific text out of the PDF into a word doc as part of the character sheet to be quite helpful. I may have to post up my character sheet template for people to use. I did the same with spells.

  3. I always enjoy posts about gaming with kids. It makes me look forward to gaming with my own kids someday.