Ho-To DM: DMing Young People

Sorry for the late post…it’s been a busy day. I had a number of doctor’s appointments today, so please forgive me.

Tonight, Dear Readers, was an awesome game. I’m not going to do a summary, although it would be great, but I will let you know that I am running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

But this isn’t a normal game group. Per se.

You see, my group, and the other group, consist completely of teen and preteen girls.

Several weeks ago, a large group of girls and their folks walked into my local game store, the Lucky Dice Cafe, with the want to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons. So cool.

When it started, I wasn’t available to run it, so another DM friend of mine started it. With the help of another DM from Adventurers League he got it going well. When my wife realized that my 11-year old daughter could make friends, I signed on and brought her along.

I absolutely love it.

In my experience, running games for young people can be rewarding and tiring, but always fun.

Here are some things I learned that I want to pass on to you:

1) Treat them like adults – don’t talk down to them and treat them as you would anyone. Most All young people appreciate not being treated like they are “kids”

2) Be patient – Keeping in mind #1, understand that they aren’t quite adults, and that they will be goofy/silly at times, make random jokes/references, and act, well, like young people. Know this, be cool with it, and gently bring them back into the game

3) Be understanding – This goes along with #2 above: young people deal with an amount of stressors and difficulties that dwarf anything and everything that my generation dealt with, much in the way my generation dealt with more than the previous generation. This goes especially with teaching new players the ins and outs of the game and their character sheets. Know that it’s going to take some time for them to pick things up.

4) Help the “quiet” players find their voices – There are always the “quiet” players. You know the ones. They usually sit back, don’t say much, and generally follow along with the more vocal players. Encourage them to speak out! Ask them directly what they think or what they want to do in a situation. Do this regularly. Eventually, you will see something amazing: they will sit up and begin taking the initiative in the game. They will start discussions. They will begin encounters. Once these players find their voice, nobody will be able to take it away!

5) Encourage the vocal players, but focus them – This goes along with #4 above. These players are really into the game. They tend to be in a party leadership role, encouraging the party to go this way or not, and leading the discussions. There is nothing wrong with this, and, to a degree, should be highly encouraged. That said, keep them focused and make sure that the other players get an equal say as to what happens.

6) Say “Yes” whenever absolutely possible – Something I have learned from young people, especially those new to D&D, is that they don’t think like experienced players, or even newer adult players! They will very often come up with solutions to situations that nobody who has played for any length of time. Example: party consists of two druids and a cleric, all played by 11-year old girls. Party fighting big baddie of dungeon. Solution? One druid wild shape to an alligator. Other druid throws alligator at baddie. Jaws first. My question for that DM was “How did you even adjudicate that?!” Needless to say, a good time was had by everyone! in any case, say yes and give them the necessary checks to allow them to do what they want to try! Remember the rule of cool!

7) Have fun! – Seriously, this cannot be stressed enough. Young people are, as a rule, extremely fun to play with. Add with this the knowledge that you are being privileged enough to teach and mentor the next generation of players should both excite and humble anyone who gets this opportunity. Have fun and laugh along with them!

What do you think, Dear Readers? Do you have any other suggestions, or think that I missed something? Leave them in the comment section below!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

Published by The Daily DM

I'm just a DM telling the stories of my tables.

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