In a two part post I previously outlined the why's and how's of my Dungeons & Ninjas project, which is little more than a hack of Basic D&D tuned to the specific interests of my nephew and my daughter. I haven't found the time to write the Top Secret Dungeons & Ninjas Player's Manual yet, but Cameron upheld his end of the deal, so I ran D&N on Mother's Day. We celebrated Mother's Day at my folk's place this year, so I packed my dice bag, a box of minis, a Flip-Mat, a module, and Moldvay's Basic Rules. We played almost two hours. I think the kid is hooked. Previously, only his GameCube or my X-Box could hold my nephew's attention for that long. Elizabeth wandered off at the 45 minute mark to play Barbies with Grandma, but she also commented later that she would like to play again.
The adventure I ran was an old classic, "The Ruins of the Moathouse" from the back of T1 The Village of Hommlet. I pitched the adventure as the Wizard of Hommlet had summoned the ninjas from their Golden Volcano (that was Cameron's idea for their home base) to investigate the new Evil Power lurking in the ruined castle. That was all the intro that Shadow Ninja Golden (Cameron), Warrior Ninja Pink (Cameron's mom Jenn), and Shadow Ninja Purple (Elizabeth) needed to kick off a hair-raising adventure on the upper level of the Moathouse.
One of the things that I really like about the Moathouse is the fact that the monster mix between the two levels is radically different. The ruined castle level is mostly scary animal types, like giant lizards, killer frogs, and big spiders. The spider dropped down on Cameron's ninja, which really freaked him out. The little guy doesn't like spiders. I even laid his ninja mini prone on the mat and put the giant spider on top of it. But he fought the baddie off and somehow survived the harrowing encounter.
Had I been playing with grown-ups Shadow Ninja Golden would have earned some alignment violation thwacking of some sort. Cameron did his level best to grab all the treasure and at the end of the session he abandoned Warrior Ninja Pink to the mercies of some brigands. That's right, the dude ran as the bad guys captured his own mom! Next time we get together the Wizard is going to give him a stern talking-to and order him to rescue the captured ninja. Still, I don't want to harsh the little guy's buzz too much and I like ending the session with one of the PCs in danger.
This last weekend Cameron came over for a visit. He, Elizabeth and I sat down with a piece of poster board and created our own Ninja World map. I've got to figure out a good way to scan something that large so I can share this thing with you all. My favorite places on the map have to be Cameron's "Samurai Showdown Wrestling Arena" and Elizabeth's "Land of the Pink Lions", but there are plenty of other awesome adventure areas waiting to be explored.