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Pathfinder Beginner Box & introducing a new generation to gaming

I had bought the Beginner Box for Pathfinder a few years ago and really liked the content. It had a choose your own adventure style opening where you learned some of the basics of playing, the Hero’s Handbook that showed you how to make the four basic classes and how to play, and the Game Master’s Guide to teach you how to run games. It also included a set of dice, pawns (cardboard minis) and some pre-made characters if you just wanted to jump right in. It reminded me of the boxed sets that I had got as a kid when I was first getting into D&D. My wife, some friends, and I played through the small adventure that came with it, but then it went on the shelf as we went back to the regular Pathfinder RPG.

Years later I would get it out and dust it off to introduce a new generation of gamers to RPGs. Since it came out Paizo has added more content that is free to download from their site. My daughter is still a little to young to play, but one of players has a son that the Core Pathfinder rules are a bit complex for. It gave me an idea to start a bi-weekly kids game. So he and his father made Beginner Box characters. Then I got a cousin and his son interested and they had their first game yesterday and loved it. Hopefully next week we can get both groups together to play and make one unified team. It really made my day as a GM to have the guys come up with really good ideas on how to do things.

I remember as a kid that a lot of people looked at D&D like it was a gateway to Satan worship. My grandmother would buy me the books because she wanted to encourage me to read and use my imagination, but after news shows like 60 Minutes said I would kill people she wasn’t so sure. My mother, however, new better and continued to buy me books, dice, miniatures, and everything I wanted to play. I would play with kids from school and when they weren’t available, I would coerce my brother and dad to play too. Side note: I found my old characters from when I was a kid the other day and in there were my brother and father’s characters. It hit me hard, but then I had an overwhelming sense of how much they loved me because they were willing to play this game with me as a kid.

Through the decades, I have made many good friends playing D&D, Pathfinder, Mage, and many other table top games. I used to joke that D&D brought my wife and I together (and it sorta did). We used to host a weekly game night where it might be Pathfinder, Munchkin, Zombie Dice, or some other game where we could just hang out as friends and enjoy the adventure and just have fun together. I am glad that we are doing that again.

Enough of my rambling and reminiscing. If you want to introduce your kids to RPGs, the Beginner Box is a good way to do it. Wizards has also come out with D&D 5th edition which also has a starter set (although the BB comes with a lot more in the box).

For those of you who say “why would I let my kids get into this?”, I would just have you read below what cartoonist/comic writer Scott Kurtz posted years ago about it:

5 Reasons Your Kids Should Play Dungeons and Dragons.
Encouraging your children to imagine.

After writing a week of strips about the classic pen and paper roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons, I’ve received many emails. Some of you are my age, and also have nostalgic memories of sitting at a kitchen table and walking a party of brave adventurers through countless dangers. Many of you have been inspired to start up new campaigns with old friends. A lot of you are finding out about Dungeons and Dragons for the first time.

TSR, the company that has produced Dungeons and Dragons for the last 25 years is still going strong and making new D&D products as we speak. I want to encourage all the kids out there who read PvP to at least give pencil and paper RPG’s a shot. There’s something about them that can’t be replicated by watching a movie or playing a computer game, I don’t care how good your 3D card is. You can go to a local game or comic shop and pick up a Dungeons and Dragons basic set for much cheaper than a new PC game will cost you.

In the past, Dungeons and Dragons has taken a beating from fanatical parental and church groups who’s insecurities and inability to provide a balanced environment of responsibility and entertainment for their child required them to find a suitable scapegoat. Currently these nimrods can be found placing the blame for their non involvement in their children’s lives on television, movies and computer games.

Five Reasons Your Kid Should Play D&D.

1. It Encourages Teamwork.
In Dungeons and Dragons, players take on the roles of adventures with their own special strengths and weaknesses. To complete their tasks, your kids are going to have to figure out how to combine their character’s unique abilities with that of their teammates to solve puzzles, defeat villains and complete quests.

2. It Encourages Reading.
D&D is a pen and paper game. It doesn’t install on a computer or play on a VCR. Your children are actually going to sit down and crack open a book. And they’re going to enjoy it because the history, stories and game mechanics are interesting and engaging. Don’t be surprised if after playing D&D for a while, they suddenly find an interest in reading fantasy novels. TSR offers a wide range of incredible fantasy novels based off many of their campaign sets. I recommend the Dragonlance series myself.

3. It Encourages Positive Social Interaction.
D&D encourages your kids to interact face to face in your home with their friends, rather than anonymously with strangers over the internet. I understand that if you place two or more teenagers in a room and leave them there for an hour there’s bound to be a conflict. But working through those conflicts and learning to interact with their peers is going to teach them communication skills they’re going to use later on as adults.

4. It Stimulates Imaginations and Encourages Creative Expression.
After living out the stories created by the Dungeon Master, kids want to write their own stories and adventures. The beautiful illustrations in the D&D books and modules inspire many budding artists to do their own illustrations and paintings (and cartoons). I know one budding artist who used to spend too much time drawing his character portrait and not enough time paying attention to the game.

5. It’s Something You Can Do With Your Kids
You heard me. You can play Dungeons and Dragons with your kids and have a good time with them. It’s a great opportunity for you to communicate and roleplay with them. I guarantee that if you play Dungeons and Dragons with your child, you’ll learn something about them that you didn’t know before. It also gives you an opportunity to get to know their friends and social circles. Plus it makes you the cool parent in the neighborhood. Trust me on that one.

One Response to Pathfinder Beginner Box & introducing a new generation to gaming

  • I really like this James. Do you still have my characters as well? You have introduced role playing games to a lot of people. I miss playing that zombie game with you and the people from school.
    I hope things are well with your family. Give my love to them all.

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