Dungeons and Dragons has never been more popular! And I know that so many of you dream of running a wonderful campaign for your family, but are intimidated by the perceived cost. I’m here to tell you that you and yours could be roaming the countryside and venturing into dangerous dungeons without spending a dime.
The internet and a little ingenuity go pretty far nowadays, and, frankly, if the internet can teach me how to fix my furnace, then it can help you play D&D with your kids.
At its core, Dungeons and Dragons is a shared storytelling game. There are tactical combat rules, but you can eschew or improvise away so many of them that they aren’t all that important. What *IS* important though is a sense of imagination. You’ve been telling your kids stories since they were born. This is an opportunity for them to tell the story with you.
I know some folks might think that’s cheesy, but it’s not. More than half of the fun of running a D&D game is watching what the players do and seeing how they react to your characters and actions. That is even more interesting when you are watching your kids. You’ll be amazed at the wild things they do and the stories they come up with!
Dice Rolling Apps
The internet and meme culture will tell you that you absolutely MUST have 15-20 sets of multicolored dice made from different materials. I’ll admit that they are fun, but they aren’t necessary to play. You have a bunch of different options such as:
- SIRI (Go ahead. Right now. Ask SIRI to roll a D20.)
- Free iOS Apps like Dice Ex Machina, Dungeon Dice, or Tabletop RPG Dice.
- Free Android Apps like RPG Simple Dice, Dice Roller, and Dice – A free dice roller.
- When in doubt Google it.
You do have the option to purchase the Players Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual from Amazon or your local book store.
However, both the basic rules for Dungeons and Dragons and the SRD or “System Reference Document” are both available on the Dungeons and Dragons Website.
The Basic Rules
The System Reference Document
Note: A System Reference Document(SRD) is a reference for a role-playing game’s mechanics licensed under the Open Game License (OGL). This document is published to allow third party publishers to create content using those rules.
Another barrier that some people see to being able to play D&D are character sheets. They are important to the game, but they aren’t costly. Firstly, you could just make your own character sheets, but there are plenty of character sheets that you can print (or fill out digitally). Two examples from DMSguild.com are listed below. They are both great free resources that you can use.
All of the tools don’t help much if you need an adventure to run! The first option would be to make up your own. Draw up some maps, write up some NPCs and make the adventure yourself. But, not everyone likes that (or has the time). Fortunately, there are plenty of free adventures you can download from websites like DMSguild.com. I’ve listed four well-rated adventures below, but there are TONS more available.
Follow The Lights
On Her Majesty’s Pest Control Service
A Trilogy of Shorter Adventures
When you see pictures of people playing D&D on Instagram or Facebook they also ways involved gorgeously painted miniatures on beautifully detailed maps. This is NOT a requirement. I played for YEARS using miniatures that I pulled from old board games and chess sets. Bottle caps, Shopkins, and coins are all reasonable.
Maps can be a little tricky, but I guarantee that anyone reason this has a checkerboard or two lying around. You can form your dungeon rooms by placing index cards or construction paper over different parts of the board.
Another alternative is to eschew the tactical part of combat entirely and stick to descriptions.
No More Excuses
So. There we go. I just eliminated all of the objections. You don’t need to spend a dime to play Dungeons and Dragons with your kids. Now get out there and tell some stories (and make wonderful memories while you’re at it)!
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!
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