Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kiddie OD&D Hack

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

Magic Users
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)
  1. Talking Animal Friend (Non-Annoying)
  2. Mean Old Beast of a Pet
  3. A Long Silk Rope (60 feet)
  4. Vial of Angel Tears
  5. Big Wheel of Cheese
  6. Silver Mirror (Vampires won't appear)
  7. Painted wooden duck decoy
  8. Straw broom
  9. Metal bucket full of fresh strawberries
  10. Pair of stilts
  11. Hand saw
  12. set of jugglers pins
  13. horse head mask
  14. big ball of yarn and some knitting needles.
  15. leather poncho
  16. wicker basket full of dead harmless (but live) snakes
  17. A pet goat
  18. A loyal follower: An aging woodcutter
  19. A not so loyal follower: A village cutpurse
  20. A loyal follower: A slightly loco milkmaid who thinks herself a viking.

  1. A taxidermied owl
  2. A small wooden box of broken glass shards
  3. A double ended battle-shovel from a drunken dwarf smith.
  4. A brass teakettle
  5. A jack in the box
  6. A pouch of 20 palm sized perfect skipping stones
  7. Magic Chopsticks
  8. A map scribbled on a nakpin
  9. A book of poetry in a language they can't read
  10. A fist-sized crystal that glows a warm amber.
  11. A snake-shaped ring that can respond to yes/no questions.
  12. A graven stick with strange designs and slotted ends
  13. A bear/wolfs head headdress
  14. A small silver bell on a string
  15. A roosters claw
  16. A polished brass mirror (no glass)
  17. A pouch of purple sand
  18. A kindly old mentor
  19. A little sidekick (gnome, dwarf, tinkerbell)
  20. Roll Twice More

Misc Rules
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.)


  1. Man, I think I prefer these rules to regular OD&D.

  2. What are "dead harmless (but live) snakes"? Are they harmless undead snakes (both dead and alive)?

    I agree with Jack.

  3. I like the milkmaid. My character has one of those in our S&W game. But she's a little more than a milkmaid. Our wizard accidentally transformed her (partially) into a cow hybrid with two big udders. The cow maid is smitten with me (Charisma 17 warrior).

    I also have a hireling, who was accidentally transformed (it was a busy 'between-adventure' carousing time) into a Frog Man, with big jumping legs and a long, sticky, prehensile tongue by the same wizard in the same experiment.

    1. You'd be the least insane player in the group.

  4. These need to be made into a PDF with photos. Come up with a name. Throw them into the aether!

    1. Yeah I will do that. Maybe write down some more of the "make it up as we go" rules.

  5. Wizards with nunchucks?

    "Hello, I am Ctulalik of the Mystical Order of the Broken Nose."

    1. OK. I misspelled 'ckutalik'. Try and sue me.

    2. Again the major guiding principle being "what would I dig at 10?" Mages with martial arts weapons, hell yeah.

  6. How do you do saves? As ability checks?

  7. Love it. I was also wondering about saving throws. Do you have some sort of Save=20-level or something?

  8. Nun-chuks as basic wizard equipment is surely the sign of a truly sagacious intellect

  9. I hesitate to start adding classes, but a halfling thief would round it out. Every 10-year old I know would only want to play that.