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My Daughter Spent This Whole Week Prepping To DM Her First D&D Game

Planning a D&D adventure,

Hard at work on her first D&D campaign.

It’s a fair thing to say that my family loves playing D&D and that it’s become the game of the moment over the last few weeks. My husband has been running a game with the kids and their cousins for several months, but it’s a challenge for him to find the time to plan everything. It suddenly occurred to my nearly 13-year-old that she could run her own game and it has been her obsession for the last week. I’m thrilled!

The first RPG the kids played was quite a few years ago and it wasn’t D&D because we thought that might be jumping into the deep end before learning how to do the dog paddle. We also weren’t quite sure that the subject matter would be their thing. The girls both liked fantasy, but battling in a dungeon seemed beyond their depth at the time.

They played both Mouse Guard and Faery’s Tale and both were hits. The sessions were short and the missions were light, but the point was to get them playing and to let them have fun with the idea of being a whole different creature in an entirely different world.

Game screen,

Her very first custom-made DM screen.

Even then, the kids saw the potential for not having an adult lead the game, so my then 11-year-old decided she was going to DM a game for all the kids. She made her own custom game screen and came up with a story to play through and they had a great time.

Still, they liked it best when Dad was in charge because he is really just a 12-year-old kid at heart and he wove crazy, fantastic adventures for the party. They got better and better as they got older and D&D became more of a possibility.

I chalk this up to their love of reading and their passion for all things fantasy. They devour books at an incredible rate and are perfectly capable, even excited, to read more adult fantasy literature. I’m all for them reading as much as possible and this is what made them so very ready for D&D. You don’t need to know about fantasy to enjoy Dungeons and Dragons, but it sure as heck doesn’t hurt.

The last game they played was only a week ago, and it was an epic event. This was my younger daughter’s official 11th birthday party which she requested be a D&D all-nighter. I did my part by ordering pizza, providing soda, and making a wonderfully cheesy snack called fondue bread followed by a breakfast of hot chocolate and ebelskivers. Β My husband did his part by staying up until 3 AM.

D&D campaign prep,

A map to track all the action.

No, the kids didn’t pass out, but the Dads were another story. If the kids had had their way, there would have been no sleep at all. I see this scenario a few years in my future. It was the Dads getting tired that inspired my older daughter to create her own game.

She has now spent every day working on this game. Every. Single. Day. It’s vacation week here in New Hampshire so she even spent one day in her pajamas, buried with books and maps and her laptop as she planned the most epic of adventures.

I am loving every minute.

My kid didn’t want to play video games. She didn’t want to go out. She just wanted to plan her campaign so that they could all play again this Friday, after we see Avengers: Age of Ultron. She has also spent a lot of the time working with her younger sister to flesh out some of the bits for her character so it will be ready when their cousins join them for the game.

The mischievous faerie dragon,

The dreaded Faerie Dragon!

There are scrolls with torn edges that have been wrapped in ribbon. There are dungeons plotted out on graph paper. There are pages and pages of story, and I’ve been privy to it all since I’m not playing, merely observing. I’m particularly excited to see how the party handles the Faerie Dragons that they’re going to encounter.

Now all that needs to be settled are the hours for the upcoming game night. They’ve had a taste of what it’s like to stay up late slaying dragons. I fear I may wake up to children passed out over the table with pencils and dice still gripped in their fingers!


52 Responses to “My Daughter Spent This Whole Week Prepping To DM Her First D&D Game”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. That's awesome. πŸ™‚

  3. Anonymous says:

    Madam, you NEED to record her first campaign.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is the single most fantastic thing I have read all week. I too was exposed to D&D at a young age, and in my teen years I filled countless sheets of graph paper with maps, countless notebooks with plot ideas, and on spring break, weekends, and the summer, my friends and I would gather to play until the wee hours of the morning, hopped up on Mountain Dew and adrenaline, rolling dice, slaying monsters, and rescuing the innocent the way only a bunch of silly teenagers can.

    One day, your daughter will look back on these days and smile, because they will be some of her most treasured memories of youth. Thank you for helping, encouraging, and growing that spark in her. πŸ™‚

  5. I have never seen your blog before, but I seriously want to see the followup. I half want you to interview her before and after, but now I'm afraid I'm beng creepy and I'm gonna stop. Still, I will bookmark your page and check back in hoping to read about a fun night!

  6. Anonymous says:

    That rocks! More ladies in tabletop RPGs and more ladies DMing. from a 30 year DM dude here in okielahoma.

  7. Cant wait for my girls to be old enough for RPGs

  8. Stefano says:

    Go Girl! I started when i was 12 or so…but didn't DM till about 14 I guess….

  9. Stoked to hear the hobby is still alive. Long may she roll.

  10. MarkGardner says:

    This is perfection. She should meet Abby, our 13-year old Paladin. Sounds like she'd fit in perfectly.

  11. Umberto says:

    As a gamer and a father I hope my little daughter will do the same some year in the future…

  12. Anonymous says:


  13. This is beautiful!

  14. Tim Shorts says:

    Fantastic and best of luck and fun.

  15. Mark Knights says:

    What an inspirational story πŸ™‚

  16. Anonymous says:

    So what you are saying is your child would rather sit inside and play Dungeons and Dragons above all else? Isn't this as bad as a child sitting inside playing computer games all day? Would it be beneficial to her to go outside and experience life? I am not trying to be jerky, but I am an avid gamer too, but if unchecked it will become an addiction, like my kid who would play Minecraft 12 hours a day, every day, forever!

  17. Nicole says:

    This week? Yes. She would rather work on this campaign and play D&D above all else. That doesn't mean she's had a rulebook cracked open 24/7 and done nothing else. It's simple her love this week. And I am absolutely, perfectly fine with the amount of creativity, dedication, and thought she has put in to creating the game they'll be playing later today.

  18. Love seeing kids come to table to games.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Bravo! My daughter is barely over one-year-old, so we have to wait a while before she's ready to try again. I second the idea of this being recorded! Many podcasters have posted actual play recordings of their games, but I don't know of any young teen games. Thank you for sharing this! It's good to see people using their creativity in a positive way.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic story! Used to be DM'ing myself at a tender age, and am now the dad of a 3-year old with a hope that maybe someday she'll pick it up too. Good luck!

  21. Lance Colley says:

    I may be a lapsed gamer, but this brought a huge smile to my face. More than nearly anything else, gaming kept me sane and away from a lot of teen pitfalls while growing up in a small, rural North Carolina town. Even now as an adult, the adventures we dreamed up and played through are still some of my favorite memories.

    I truly believe that if more kids embraced non-video games, especially RPGs, as a frequent pastime, they would see an unlocking of their minds and imaginations. I've seen far too many adults with little to no imagination. I'm convinced that my imagination has remained strong through adulthood because of my love of games and RPGs.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, my question sounded like I was judging…sorry, not my intention. I am all for young gamers to keep the hobby alive!!! Love it. I speak from experience as when I was her age I would draw maps after my parents went to bed, create dungeons in school, and fuss if I had to do anything but game. Needless to say my social and school life suffered. I reread you article and I understand this is not an obsession, just a week or two of fun!

  23. Steve says:

    Wow! What a dose of nostalgia. I remember poring over pads of graph paper as I made my own dungeons and castles! It must be a blast to watch your children embracing the hobby!

  24. Good luck! Welcome to the world behind the screen!

  25. Good luck! Welcome to the world behind the screen!

  26. Anonymous says:

    How inspiring!

  27. the World have salvation

  28. Nicole says:

    They just started playing about 5 minutes ago….and I am recording the game. I feel like I'm a fly on the wall listening to their adventure!

  29. Nicole says:

    You seem like a very nice creeper πŸ˜‰ I'm recording the game and I'm going to write a follow-up next week!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Are you in awe?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Great! I hope we can all see the results! Good luck with the Dragons!

  32. Good parenting is letting kids explore new things, as a parent I can set subtle boundaries to prevent to much time focused on one thing. Kids that can learn to plan, explore, share, laugh are pretty darn good kids. 5.0 is a great platform for them to explore new ideas and offers lessons for the kids like history, society, myth and natural sciences. Good for them.

  33. My son is 3 now… but I hope I will be telling the same sort of story about him in a few years' time! πŸ™‚

  34. Anonymous says:

    That is really awesome. It is great to see youth that are being creative in every aspect and not just sitting in front of a video game.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I love it. My 6 year sees me game all the time. She is now old enough to play board games with us. She was amazed that she can play age 12+ games. She does not have the attention span for RPGs yet but we play ruleless DnD in the car.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Great stuff! I hope that she never lets anyone discourage her love of gaming.

    D&D has brought me many fun, friends, and a husband! Hubby taught me how to play in 1979, and we're still gaming together 36 years later with the same group of friends. We were married in 1993, and our gaming friends were all invited to the wedding.

    I had a few people over the years look at me in shock… "Girls game?" Yup, they sure do… so do women. From your description of the work she's put into her first game, it should be great. I of wish I could be there to join in!

  37. Anonymous says:

    I am

  38. Anonymous says:

    This is awesome! I love hearing about kids that find an interest in games like dungeons and dragons. I have played the game since 1979 when my buddy next door ran me through keep on the borderlands. That is STILL my fav to this day. Games like this are so beneficial in so many ways. Kids expand their vocabulary, stimulate their imaginations and improve writing skills. I think they should have a class where you play games like this. Imagine kids excited to learn. Its a great thing.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad she is accepted. I grew up taking nothing but crap for being a gamer and liking to read fantasy and sci-fi books. "You're going to die a virgin" and all that. Awful years. Nice to see times are different now! πŸ™‚

  40. I was 11 when I first got into 1st Ed AD&D and during the 80s it dominated my adolescence. Although I lost track of it during my 20s and 30s I've rekindled my love with my eldest kids. Like you say, it's finding the time. I hope they stick with it as the creativity and imaginary aspects cannot be bettered.

  41. RaphaΓ«l AJ says:

    Same here, I have a three year old son and I hope to game with him in a few years. And with a friend of mine and his son too. It will be epic. πŸ™‚

  42. Medullan says:

    In a few weeks my daughter wants to host a D&D birthday party for her 9th birthday. I was 13 when I started DMing games for my friends after growing up with parents that met playing D&D. I have one piece of advice for the young lady."Make sure to teach some of your friends how to DM. Otherwise you will never get to play." I haven't gotten to play a character in a campaign in 20 years I always get stuck playing DM.

  43. Anonymous says:

    loved to read this and see my family isn't the only one passing this type of stuff on to our kids. I'm 35 now and have been playing since I was 13 and now my 14 year old is pushing to start her own group as well.

  44. Dina Ramse says:

    Oh I remember my first D&D campaign that I wrote.
    So cool to hear other girls running games as well.

  45. Cathy says:

    She is FANTASTIC!! And how lucky to have parents who are into gaming.

  46. PabOu says:

    Wow, I enjoyed reading that. It made me remember my first games and how thrilled I was between our sessions. I was a bit older (15 I think) and I wish I had known rpg tabletop gaming earlier just like your daughter !

    I hope her game (campaign?) went well and that the players enjoyed it πŸ™‚

  47. Runesmith says:

    I truly loved to read this.
    I hope her game Went well, and that there are still many more to come.
    Wish you all the best // Runesmith

  48. Darrell says:

    Brilliant. πŸ™‚

    But, Mouse Guard as a starting point? I had trouble getting my brain around it, and I’d been gaming for 30 years at that point. We’ll done!

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