I want to include my 4 year old kid to our family's DnD 5th edition game. I was planning on giving him a dog character that would allow him to play along when he feels up to it. He could wander off whenever he wants and so on.

Has anybody played the game with a kid in similar way with dog or other animal class and do you have good tips about the subject? I already found a great Dog class with stats and skills so question is more about methods and experiences you might have.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You should use the edition tag [dnd-5e] then, not the franchise [dungeons-and-dragons] tag in that case, as the tag guidance for the latter is: "For questions relating to Dungeons & Dragons as a whole, or to multiple versions of Dungeons & Dragons. If your question is about a specific version of D&D, you probably should tag it with the corresponding tag instead (see the full tag info for this tag if you're unsure which tag is appropriate)." \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Sep 3 at 11:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Questions phrased as "any ideas?" Aren't generally a good fit for the site. It may be better to focus the question on something like simplified characters, or methods for playing with young children. Even this question could simply be about seeking the experience and methods of someone who may have played this way. To avoid the question being closed, it'd be best to frame it in a way that isn't idea generation. But don't worry about closure, the question can be edited and reopened. And there's always Role-playing Games Chat. Happy Stacking! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Sep 3 at 12:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Post edit, this seems very answerable. I've tried a few systems with my kids when they were in the 3-5 age range, and can definitely share some experience based tips. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 4 at 12:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why exactly did you decide upon a dog? Is the only reason for it because "an animal can wander off whenever it wants"? Because people can also do that. Or is it something the youngest child has expressed interest in? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 6 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Both of those you mentioned were the reasons. He liked the idea of being a dog and I was thinking that it would be more easy to explain if he was missing from a session. But maybe it could be achieved with other races too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Webninja
    Sep 7 at 9:48

1 Answer 1


It really depends on the child

General rules, for young children, are to be more relaxed with the rules - lean heavily into rule of cool and go very light on punishing mechanics. When I've run for my youngest nephew I've used more gut feeling than stats like HP or AC, in fact I don't like to track HP for them at all - introduce that as they get older.

  • Retaliating against them in the world with things like getting stuck and needing to get out of a net, as opposed to knocking their character unconscious.
  • Tell them the number to roll higher than when they're attacking. I don't know how good your four year old's maths is but I found not giving them any pluses to rolls worked better. Just saying "Ok, you're pushing against that box to move it, but let's see how hard you push - this is quite a heavy one, but your strength is good so you need to roll over a ten to get it out the way." Rather than the DC being 14, but they have +4 to strength.

In terms of the actual array for stats, talk to them about it. Do you want your dog to be a big strong one, are they more clever? Then pick skills that compliment that.

I've run games for my nephews and, though they're a little older, I've found the key is always getting them to like their character. I recommend getting a mini of them (this could even be one of their existing toys) to give them something physical to relate to. Good luck!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to add that the optional Sidekick class in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything might make the dog more durable, and the Valenar Hound from Eberron is telepathic which lets them interact with your character, and has some interesting 'Ancestral Traits' they could pick from. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 16 at 19:32

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