An account of playing some D&D 5e with my seven year old daughter. Atleast at first level I think D&D has evolved now to cease requiring several combat encounters to wear down the PC's before a combat become frightening and you're at risk of the soft losing option of unconsciousness (as opposed to hard lose condition that is PC death). Now, since part of your HP are stored in hit dice (formerly healing surges in 4e), it means you can have alot of HP for a longer days fighting, but you can loose all your current HP in the fight your in. It's like a classic D&D character has 20 HP while a new edition one has 10 HP and 10 stored in hit dice. The 20 HP character really has no fear of soft losing to a monster. The 10 HP does, thus making every combat an actual game you can lose where the monsters do 1D6+2 or suchlike, whereas the 20 HP character has to be worn down to 10 to be scared of losing. BUT the 10 HP character can call upong their stored HP to continue adventuring latter, like the 20 HP character can. I think it's a pretty clever way of compromising between the two. And in regards to this account it matters alot, because the combats are all discrete and there is no fixed sequence of them for a wear down effect - making 5e a pretty important choice for this game (and given its simpler than 4e (atleast for me), also important for ease of play with a young player)
Indeed I must stress, no actual pre written adventure is involved below, despite me owning the starter set - things were just thrown together as we went. And frankly it turned out to be a classic dungeon in doing so (actually not so classic as in there were no left right choices and empty rooms. Which is probably a plus).
Also play went fairly quick and I did not want to bring down the excitement by taking a long time writing notes - thus my notes became fairly short and with time, cryptic to me. I hope this all reads fairly well!
Anyway, so I own some dungeon tiles from a D&D basic set from way back...in D&D 3.0 days? I bring them out and my daughter swooned over them and laid them out herself. Okay, you go make the dungeon then...
At some point she asks pointedly 'Aren't you playing too?'. So yeah, why aren't I playing as well? I pick the wizardess, since I like her fireball thingie on her figure (though she doesn't start with any fire spells, IIRC) in what is probably a fairly ill thought out party composition moment. But I just went with what I felt like rather than trying to knuckle down every dang choice into some optimisation. But cleric prolly would have been better.
Anyway, so we have two figures on the board and as she moves her figure around the corner I declare there's a pit trap...there *pointing* on that square and that her character risks falling in. So I pick out the Phandelver bit on a pit trap, with a spot check and then a dex check if you fail. I think she spotted it and made great ado about pointing it out and telling me to come on and walk around it. My notes mention a stirge somehow coming in, I think at my behest, and a nat twenty from her for initiative. It lasted not very long! Honestly I thought the first thing she'd fought was a spider, which she (not me) put in the webs of the room herself (I didn't make the monster be there. Though I used twig blight stats for it because a giant spider was too badass for us). Probably we did both, with her slaying them (I think I held my turn at first, since it's more about her...at that moment). She got some XP - and I did too, which I did enjoy getting instead of simply being an observer like GM's generally are. I think we found some treasure in the webs. 3D6 silver each! No, she has no real feel for currency so it's not that amazing a moment. Anyway I really should have written these notes up sooner! I think we played for about twenty minutes and I wrapped it up there, for various reasons of HR management, really.
Next session, further on there is a trap and I succumb to it for something like 2 damage. She gets quite insistent 'C'mon, heal yourself' and I say in this game wizards can't 'Just say you can!' 'Well, I'm saying it's like these rules say it is, and they say a wizard can't'. So I go on with my two damage, which matters latter.
We get into some brick and stone collecting since those are on the map and she's under the influence of minecraft. Which consists of saying we do it, enthusiastically.
We get to a room which has a 4X4 grid of strange symbol tiles on it and suddenly she decides there's a code. It's about now that it become empirically proven I'm not the GM (or atleast, not all the time). I really have no idea as to how to solve her puzzle, as there are no clues and I opine as such. I end up just trying squares one at a time in a brute force method. Eventually I can see a pattern to it that she had in mind and it is solved! I think it opened/she said it opened a portal or something, then. We obligingly hop through.
I have '2 more??', 'Bottles' and 'Be 1! Is 1??' written in my notes. The bottles refers to more imaginary world resource collecting and that we never really had any bottles to collect the water on the dungeon tile - so suddenly the last chest we'd been to had some bottles in it. '2 more' might have refered to the last step of the puzzle, but along with the 'Be 1!' stuff, I have forgotten! Something went down! This is what you end up losing even if you take some notes.
And then there was a skeleton. I called this one into being. I'm beginning to suspect that while there was a kerfuffle on forums about hobgoblins and bugbears having special damage, the skeleton is actually a secret bad ass when it has considerably more HP than a goblin, which gives the same XP. Or maybe it's because I totally forgot about their bludgeoning vulnerability - must bring a club next time!
Anyway, the first seemed fine at she rolls another nat 20 and crits it to shattered pieces! The skeleton does not get to shine on its first appearance...not yet, dear heart! Anyway, more XP! And now were breaking up a table that's pictured on the dungeon tile for materials! And that wrapped up that roughly 25 minute long session.
And so that's the first side of my notes written up. Next time, the rickety bridge, the skeletal terror and a wizardesses unslaked thirst for revenge!