Dungeons & Dragons for Children (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Dungeons and Dragons for children
Variant rules based on D&D 3.5, but can be easily adjusted for other versions. Suitable for children around age 8 to 12. Or anyone who prefers simplicity.
Dungeon Master uses the base game mechanics. NPCs and monsters also use the base rules. This guide assumes familiarity with at least the rules in the player's handbook.
Players use simplified characters and rules. No classes, races, feats, skills, or saves. To compensate, players have improved ability modifiers. All skills can be used untrained.
Rules you need to explain to your players
The Dungeon Master will tell you where you are and what is going on.
Whenever you want to do something, say what you want to attempt and roll the 20-sided die. The DM will tell you to add the number for one of your six abilities. The DM will tell you if you succeed or fail and the result of what you tried to do.
In combat, wait for your turn. You can move up to 6 squares and do one thing, like attacking or using an item, each turn. If you get hit, you lose Hit Points. If your HP go to zero or below, you are unconscious.
A character sheet consists of 6 ability modifiers, Hit Points, Armor Class, attack damage, and equipment.
Roll a d6 once for each ability. These are the ability modifiers. Players do not write down or track abilities, only modifiers.
Hit points are 10 + constitution modifier.
Armor Class is 10 + 5 armor + dexterity modifier.
Damage is d8 + strength modifier.
Attack bonus equals strength modifier. Initiative equals dexterity modifier. Saving throws also equal the appropriate ability modifiers. These do not need to be written down.
Longsword. DM may allow players to choose a battleaxe or warhammer in stead. With the simplified rules, it makes no difference. All deal d8 damage.
Armor with 5 armor bonus, no maximum dex, no armor check penalty.
One Potion of cure light wounds
Players can find, buy, and use potions as normal. The DC to identify a scroll or potion is reduced to 15 + spell level. Uses an Intelligence check as the spellcraft skill. Players can use an identified scroll with a Charisma check DC 10 + spell level, like the use magic device skill. Or DC 15 + spell level for an uidentified scroll.
Playing the game
Played as a regular D&D game. Anything the players attempt can usually be resolved by rolling d20 plus appropriate ability modifier. DM does not need to reveal the target DC or modifiers, but simply tells the result.
Do not keep track of details like torches, light, carrying capacity, or whether players have their hands free. Assume that they are able to see what they need to see and hold what they need to hold.
Players may move up to 6 squares and take an action, such as attacking. Or attack first and then move.
Other rules may be introduced later, when needed.
Each additional level grants a player d10 + Con Hit Points and +1 to one ability modifier. Players gain none of the other usual benefits of level progression.