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My son, who is 6, loves playing D&D with myself and his older brother. He is all for creating a full fledged character, and for the most part understands what is going on. However, during play, especially combat, it is difficult for him to make full use of his characters ability. Being 6 his ability to implement strategy, tactics and resource management is limited. We will offer hints to help him, but many times he has already decided his path and just wants to play. I don't really blame him for this, it's what we all want to do :)

So the question is, are there any homebrew classes that are geared towards being easy to manage, but are not penalized for there simplicity. For instance, he likes using melee characters, So I was considering creating a 'Soldier' class that basically starts with 2 d10 hit die, and maybe a +3 proficiency, but no traits or special abilities. Would this stack up well against say a level 1 Fighter? The next question would be how to level him, maybe a combination of stat bonuses, proficiency bonuses and extra attacks in lieu of archetypes and what not.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @pokep I agree with everything you said, but please don't answer in comments. Move that statement down to an answer and I'll +1 it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jul 14 '17 at 18:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see the dnd-5e tag, but can I ask - is that a firm requirement? There are much simpler rule sets you could use for the kiddo's first game. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Jul 14 '17 at 21:00
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"...many times he has already decided his path and just wants to play".

He's off to a great start!

Are his decisions negatively impacting the experience for other players at the table? If not, encourage his behaviour. Allow your son to express WHAT he wants his character to do, and it's your job as the DM to translate that into actions, and prompt your son what (if anything) he should roll for.

Don't allow rules to get in the way of roleplaying or having a good time.

You could always make a homebrew class, based off an existing class with simplified actions - but if the limitation is gameplay/combat complexity - I don't think the solution is in creating a new class, but rather an environment that isn't constricted by paper rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is something I had not considered. Usually he will choose a specific action, usually attack or run, and we go from there. Maybe having him tell me a story version would be a better approach, then I can just use what fits his story. \$\endgroup\$ – SomeoneLost Jul 14 '17 at 19:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's perfect. Encourage creativity. I've even done this with friends in their late 20's who didn't much care for the small details :) ! It's up to the DM to find how a player's intentions fit into the representation of the game world. At 6, it's awesome he's already picking up parts of the game. Over time, he'll start to pick up on patterns, and develop correlations between his desired actions, and the roll he's been prompted to do. Sounds like a quick learner. Good luck, and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Johnson Jul 15 '17 at 19:37
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Is your son having fun? Is anyone else actually experiencing a problem related to this? Because if not, don't mess with his character. As you say…

We will offer hints to help him, but many times he has already decided his path and just wants to play.

He knows what he wants to do and is doing it. If he's having fun too, then he's playing his character well and correctly already.

There's no greater standard of "correct" play that your son needs to achieve to be permitted to play this character. And speaking from parental experience, the last thing a kid busily engaged in imaginative play wants to hear is that they're playing "wrong" and their thing is now being taken away / taken over by the adult / changed for their own good.

Kids have different standards of play than adults. How I played RPGs when I was a kid is different from how I play today. How my daughter plays RPGs with her friends or with me is different from how I would play. Neither need to achieve an adult's concept of living up to their character's potential power or tactical efficiency in order to have fun.

Kids are kids for such a short time. Let him enjoy what he's already enjoying. There's plenty of time for him to learn the joys of more mature approaches to his character's abilities — as he matures himself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ He is definitely enjoying himself. And no, there has never been any real problems arise. I guess my real goal is this : Let him enjoy what he's already enjoying. I feel like he's missing out on some fun since he can't fully utilize his character. So maybe giving him something closer to his play style/ability could balance it out. But on the other hand, maybe I should just leave well enough alone. \$\endgroup\$ – SomeoneLost Jul 14 '17 at 19:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SomeoneLost But does he think he's missing out on some fun? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 15 '17 at 12:58
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Leave him room to grow

You think his tactics are in need of improving. Reducing his options will not improve his tactics for him, only you. While I'm assuming you mean well, this ends up having a net-selfish result, which is the opposite of your stated goals.

Keeping his options open allows you to, at various intervals, point out ways he can improve his play without changing his character. Options he was missing.

Give him chances to fail

We learn through failure, especially failure that's the result of our choices. Before game, make sure he knows he can talk to you about how to prevent failures his character experienced -this- session for -next- session. And then, let him fail sometimes. If he charges to his doom, it happens, re-roll a new character, and then let him bring up the conversation about how to better handle that situation next time. If his character does something foolish, have NPCs laugh accordingly.

After all, these are GREAT conversation starters for learning moments in his life.

Its hard to let people choose for themselves

Its hard as a person. Hard as a father. Hard as a DM/Team-mate. But its part of growing up, a part I learned way too late in life, and struggle with at my table sometimes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Let the character fail sure, but at six, I would definitely avoid killing his character without his consent. \$\endgroup\$ – Mooing Duck Jul 15 '17 at 22:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MooingDuck consent is given as part of joining the game. \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Jul 16 '17 at 7:49
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In my opinion, the simplest class for someone who isn't used to having a bunch of options at their disposal would be the basic Barbarian which takes the Path of the Unstoppable when offered Primal paths at level 3.

  • The only thing that the player needs to think about is entering Rage when combat begins. This is done as a bonus action so the player can still move and fight on the first turn
  • All rage-related changes are based on static rules (such as +2 bonus to damage) so the player doesn't need to make any hard decisions to optimize play
  • There are still fun ways to customize your character outside of combat, such as choosing whether or not to take advantage of Unarmored Defense
  • The Path of the Unstoppable doesn't add any complexity; it only makes the character beefier. Even the resistance is simplified - the PC resists all damage types instead of only bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing starting at level 6

The player can still use positioning to help other players to gain flanking etc., so you can use that to try to help teach him more nuances of combat while keeping the midfight decision-making at its simplest.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How does it compare to a Fighter -> Champion? It seems the same except it removes the rage. \$\endgroup\$ – nwp Jul 14 '17 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried using this homebrew in a similar situation as the OP? How did it work out? \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jul 15 '17 at 7:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The fighter has other abilities that are supposed to be utilized to make him/her as efficient in combat as the barbarian such as Second Wind and Action Surge. The barb has more hit dice and resistance to damage. I had a friend who was not very keen on role-playing play a barbarian and he greatly enjoyed tanking for the team. \$\endgroup\$ – Chase Sandmann Jul 17 '17 at 16:28

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