Never you mind how the game design project is going. It is my pipe-dream and I will neglect it if I want to..
My sevenling has had a long-standing desire to play D&D, which I finally gave into last month, helping him create a 3.5 ranger(Fishy) and attempting to run the original Keep on the Borderlands. For reasons of (I believe) wanting to encounter some sort of giant sea creature, he insisted on arriving by boat, accompanied by Horsey(a horse).
Knowing that a good DM should always try to accomodate the wants and desires of a player, I had a pair of immature wyverns attack the boat, scaled down to about three hit dice each. One was downed and the other driven off, and Fishy bravely leapt into the sea to rescue a man from drowning (he actually had skill points in swim).
Fishy traveled with the wagon carrying supplies from the small dock to the Keep, at least for a little while before riding off, spoiling a kobold encounter I had planned. He later caught up with the same kobolds and dispatched them, finding a scarf one of the wagoneers had been wearing in the loot.
"He must have been one of the kobolds! Oh wait.. they probably just took it from him."
I am not proud of how I reacted to what happened next. My little seven year-old son started wanting to chop down trees and find metal to bring a forge. I talked him out of it, a little frustrated. "This isn't minecraft, it is D&D. You are supposed to be adventuring, not building..."
Again, it was not a proud moment, and I regretted it very much after the session was over, and planned to find ways to let him do what he wanted to do.. I would give him opportunities to hire craftsmen if he wanted to build a house or a little fort. He had money enough after buying starting equipment to hire some npcs for a few weeks. 50 gold goes a surprising distance in hireling.
The first session ended with him wandering the wilderness with a mercenary named Jerrin.
So we played again yesterday, and I was expecting more desire to dig in, punch trees, build things. I wanted to give him all the agency he wanted.
And apparently what the boy wanted was a fight.
"I move two spaces north to see if I get a fight."
This didn't prompt much but bemusement from his hireling, nor when he started literally beating the bushes for monsters.
He did end up wandering through the large "spider encounter, and failing a fortitude save vs what the module simply called poison. He was excited as this let him use his ranger bonus vs. vermin. He picked vermin as favored enemy. I love that boy sometimes.
Ah, poison. In the version this module was written for, that means "instantly fatal if you fail a save." I guess as I was running three-dot-five, I could have pulled out the monster manual, looked up the entry for Monstrous Spider, Large, and used whatever that was, but the lazy solution was to have it render him unconscious. He got one standard action, and used it trying to change weapons..
I could have left it fatal, and I don't like fudging dice rolls, but I don't want to have to staple this to his character sheet -
Don't know what he thought I meant by "you have only one action, use it well", but I firmly believe that second-guessing everything he does will not help him learn. I really don't like people telling me what to do in a game, and I don't want to do this to my son. Yes, I'm aware that I admitted to doing just that earlier in this post. Like I said, not a proud moment.
This encounter didn't end the session.. A fight with three orcs and a human mercenary did. I will talk about that when I write up the next adventure, whenever that happens.