Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and DnD Adventure Club?
Thanks for having me, Steph! I am the co-founder of DnD Adventure Club!
DnD Adventure Club is a monthly subscription service that comes in the mail as good, old-fashioned printed booklets for kids that teach how to play Dungeons and Dragons.
When we started this up, we noticed that so much of D&D is written, designed, and marketed to kind of that college age plus and adult age group, but it’s such a fantastic opportunity for young kids to learn life skills like collaboration and working together that it just seemed like a really under-served community.
So DnD Adventure Club was born!
What precisely inspired you to start DnD Adventure Club? What catalyzed it?
Well, like so many small businesses these days, it started off right in the middle of the pandemic. My daughter and I were spending a lot of time sitting around and playing Legos and then shifted into doing a doll phase and, when that ended, we were trying to figure out what to do next.
One rainy Sunday afternoon, I just kind of looked at her and asked if she wanted to play an elf or a dragon and from that point on, she was in. She was sold on it!
We started playing a ton of D&D with just me and her having the time of our lives, but, you know… being a busy adult, it was so hard to find great adventures and content that would be safe for an eight-year-old, right?
My wife asked if there was something we could find, like a monthly mailer around D&D, and all of a sudden light bulbs went off in my head.
I’ve been DM’ing for a long time, so I just started writing all the adventures; I do all the art, and my wife does all the publishing… we were off to the races.
That’s awesome! So, you’ve been into D&D for a while; when did you start playing TTRPGs?
It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away!
It was literally with the three little pamphlets in the box phase, and I remember when the first Player’s Handbook came out and, and that was transformative. In those days, there were no role models to see how to do it or how the game was played, so we were just making it up as we went along…. and I was stuck as a forever DM!
It re-emerged as a hobby throughout college and, even right now, I’m playing the same D&D game with a session scheduled for this evening. We’re going to be playing the same game with the same crew that I’ve had since college. So it’s kind of been a lifelong thing.
With your game running that long, you probably have a few favorite moments. Do you want to share one favorite moment?
One of the things that I try not to do with DnD Adventure Club is to try not to do grand schemes or deep political plots and such, but in my personal DM’ing world with the characters that we played during college to thirtieth level and who all became these demigod-like figures… they took over the whole plane of existence, right?
But the campaign today is all new characters growing up in the world that their characters from college have wrought!
So, all of the hubris and ego and infighting… all of that has manifested itself in the world, and they have to deal with it now. And tonight is the big reveal!
The other favorite I have is again, weekend morning sitting around with my daughter, and that was the day that we saved Santa Claus from the cave trolls.
I’m still debating whether or not it would be okay to do a holiday issue of DnD Adventure Club because I’ve got a great campaign for it, just like for Halloween.
That would be awesome! Your Halloween adventures are already very cool.
Every year, since we’re a monthly issue, for September, October, November, we do the spooky trilogy. Each issue comes out and it’s kind of playable by itself. It’s a self-contained adventure, but we try to build it so every three adventures kind of fits into a trilogy, so you have this longer arc.
Last year it was a haunted house, this year is Baba Yaga’s Hut!
So you have a lot of experience with playing tabletop RPGs with your grown-up groups and then also making them for kids. What advice do you have for people who are considering bringing their kids into tabletop RPGs or bringing in a new grown-up player?
First and foremost: keep it simple.
Let them use their theater of the mind.
Let it go.
Kids are endlessly imaginative, and they want to be able to leap giant chasms and punch the giant and do all these things that, maybe if you looked at the strict mechanics of the game, they wouldn’t be able to do, or it would take five turns to properly flank the giant and account for him being prone and so on.
What we try to do with the DnD Adventure Club is to create tools and a framework that let that imagination have just a little bit of structure. All of it is 5e but simplified and streamlined.
The combat, magic, and ability checks are really simple and straightforward. Those are the big three to kind of keep focus.
Having played quite a few of your adventures, you do a really good job of consolidating the rules into a nice non-intimidating booklet, and you set the characters up really well. It is really intuitive because all the information is on one card front and back.
That’s actually one of the hidden big benefits, I think – it’s all there on one page.
In most of the other source books you have this great adventure and then you have BUGBEAR in bold type.
Then you have to know, okay, wait… bugbear… is that Natasha’s?
You search and eventually find it, but, you know, gosh forbid it would be a subcategory of some other thing so it’s actually alphabetized under goblin, right?
What we do is take that block and put it in the text of the adventure because navigating an index might be easy for me and you, but for a 10 year old, that becomes a real issue. Now, a new GM kid can stuff an adventure in their back pocket and literally have everything they need minus the dice to play a game.
Thank you David so much for interviewing for TTRPGkids and sharing your XP! Where can readers find out more about DnD Adventure Club?
It’s really easy – go to DnDAdventureClub.com!
We have made it really easy to subscribe and unsubscribe and pause or cancel, so we’re not trying to be tricky about it. It’s meant to be straightforward, and thank you!
Thank you David!
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