The creative writing class disguised asa fantasy worldbuilding class I have been teaching at a local progressive school has been humming along now for a couple months. Not terribly surprisingly it only took a month before I had them playing some D&D. The kids, also perhaps not surprisingly, have been one of the weirdest (I say that with pride), most anarchic, out-of-the-box play groups I have ever had the pleasure of running.
What follows are the stripped-down OD&D hack rules I have been using. The level of detail is just about right I have found for the youngest in the classroom (9 years-old) but a wee bit lacking for the oldest (11). Big solid thank you to the crowdsourcing peanut gallery on Google Plus that helped me fill out the whimsical random starting equipment, a big hit with the kids.
The Circle School Fantasy Game
Roll Up Your Abilities
Roll 3d6 in order. Swap any one for another one.
Brawn: How big and burly (or weak) you are.
Knowledge: How much you know (education and brain capacity).
Speed: How quick and fast (or slow) you are.
Charm: How charming or good looking you are.
Hit Points: How much damage you can take. At zero you are “knocked out.” See below for how many points you get.
Who You Can Be
Pick one class choice from below. All characters advance one level after successfully completing an adventure (2-3 class sessions).
Hero: 2d6 hit points, hits as 4th level OD&D Fighter
Superhero: 4d6 hit points, hits as 8th level Fighter
Champion: 6d6 hit points, hits as 12th level Fighter
Mage: 1d6 hit points, 2 spells, hits as 4th level OD&D MU
Wizard: 2d6 hit points, 3 spells, hits as 8th level MU
Arch-Wizard: 3d6 hit points, 4 spells, hits as 12th level MU
What You Get
Bag of Food
Staff, Club, Nunchucks or Knife
Styling Cloak, Robe, or Hat
Magic User Spells (pick two)
Sleep (same as Sleep)
Charm (same as Charm Person or Monster)
Shapechange (Polymorph Self)
Big Firey Explosion (Fire Ball)
Heal (Cure 3d6 hit points)
Warrior (pick one)
A. Leather Armor, Magic Bow and Arrows
B. Chainmail, Magic Sword or Axe
C. Platemail, Sword, Lance, Shield and Horse
Special Stuff Chart (Roll Once on Each Table)
- Talking Animal Friend (Non-Annoying)
- Mean Old Beast of a Pet
- A Long Silk Rope (60 feet)
- Vial of Angel Tears
- Big Wheel of Cheese
- Silver Mirror (Vampires won't appear)
- Painted wooden duck decoy
- Straw broom
- Metal bucket full of fresh strawberries
- Pair of stilts
- Hand saw
- set of jugglers pins
- horse head mask
- big ball of yarn and some knitting needles.
- leather poncho
- wicker basket full of dead harmless (but live) snakes
- A pet goat
- A loyal follower: An aging woodcutter
- A not so loyal follower: A village cutpurse
- A loyal follower: A slightly loco milkmaid who thinks herself a viking.
- A taxidermied owl
- A small wooden box of broken glass shards
- A double ended battle-shovel from a drunken dwarf smith.
- A brass teakettle
- A jack in the box
- A pouch of 20 palm sized perfect skipping stones
- Magic Chopsticks
- A map scribbled on a nakpin
- A book of poetry in a language they can't read
- A fist-sized crystal that glows a warm amber.
- A snake-shaped ring that can respond to yes/no questions.
- A graven stick with strange designs and slotted ends
- A bear/wolfs head headdress
- A small silver bell on a string
- A roosters claw
- A polished brass mirror (no glass)
- A pouch of purple sand
- A kindly old mentor
- A little sidekick (gnome, dwarf, tinkerbell)
- Roll Twice More
All characters can search for hidden items, secret doors or traps by rolling a 1 on a d6.
Other conditional tasks can be done by rolling d20 at or lower than the relevant attribute (pushing a rock would be against your Brawn, a running jump against your Speed, etc.)