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Children As Characters

Character Templates
Introduction:
I can run and I can hide if the bad things come.
I may not be strong but Im small and smart.
The most important thing to remember?
Dont let your feet hang off the edge of the bed!

Children. Every race has them, everyone was at one point one of them. We all have
fond memories of some and bad memories of others. Children are plot movers and
not much else in most games of Dungeons and Dragons. They dont often make
good adventurers in the normal sense of the word but they DO make for fun
roleplaying experiences when used in the right way.

A template for young and adolescent characters

by Alton Bailey and Ralph Clark

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Playing Children
When you decide to play children youre deciding The rats, spiders and dogs are all deadly and
right then and there that you want to be dangerous when youre only 2 feet tall!
inexperienced, very young and very weak. Theres
not a lot of getting around it, children are Excitement, terror and pure adrenaline are what
protected by their parents for a reason. A 30 year youre looking for when youre playing a child. To
old dwarf just growing his first braid worthy beard see the world from a new angle and have the world
strands is just another brash adolescent to those see you in a new light, to have adults circle around
who know him. A 75 year old elven prodigy still in awe at the things youve survived. The things
attends to the wishes of parents, elders and sages youve accomplished. To hear them whisper that
as she readies to see the world. The infant cloud youll be a proper adventurer one day. But when
giant is more powerful and physically large than a will that one day come?
grown human but compared to its mother and
father its a very insignificant threat indeed! A long time from now! GO TO BED!
Yes mother!
Even in an adventuring game like Dungeons and
Dragons children do have their place. Normally as
adventure hooks when they go missing or are Age and Maturity
kidnapped, perhaps as emotional ties to characters
to build their back story upon like a younger Although Humans become frail with age
sibling and at the worst of times the loss of a faster than any other race, they all mature at
childs life is a twisting knife used to drive home about the same rate for the first 20 years of
the danger that a threat exhibits. Wherever and their lives. Past that point Humans take on
whenever they come into play children can be a responsibility and assume adulthood along
powerful driving force for adventurers. with Halflings, but this is just another phase
of childhood for both Dwarves and Elves as
Players taking on the role of children can look at
further outlined in the official rules. Since
the situation from several different angles. Being
young and dumb makes them susceptible to were talking specifically about children well
coercion but it opens their mind to the possibilities be going into more detail to expand the rules
of life, nothing is out of reach. Being small and during this age range. A 13 year old human is
weak makes them poor combatants but it forces the generally the same as a more lanky 13
them to think in terms of survival through other year old elf. An 8 year old dwarf may be a bit
means than brute force. Having no knowledge taller and thicker than an 8 year old Halfling
makes it almost not to ask stupid questions the but theyre essentially the same physically
first time they open their mouth but it also
when it comes to developing features, thought
provides a sense of wonder and excitement that is
process and behavior.
lost on most adults. One thing is true about
playing children no matter what angle you see it
from its exciting by the very nature of it being Age ranges are as follows for all races.
dangerous! Infant 0 to 5
Young Child 6 to 11
Although not recommended for long term play due Adolescent 13 to 16
to the very nature of the limited abilities of Anything 17 or higher can arguably fall into
children, using them in short scenarios, one shot the Adult category unless you wish to extend
adventures and during certain tense sequences
the age range of Adolescent to 18.
can be very satisfying. Sneaking through the dark
corridors of an abandoned building is more
frightening when you only have a sharp stick at
your side. The clawing nails of the Pastry Lady
scrape across the wall, raising the hair on your
neck as she approaches the wardrobe you hide in.

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The races were going over in this section are
Determining Racial Benefits as follows:

Creating a character is thoroughly laid out in -Dwarf


both the free online basic rules and in the Hill Dwarf and Mountain Dwarf
Official Players Handbook. Its automatically
assumed that during race selection for your -Elf
character that he or she is an adult version of High Elf and Wood Elf
that race. As children youd expect them to be
smaller, younger, weaker and less -Halfing
knowledgeable but tough and quick to adapt. Lightfoot Halfling and Stout Halfling
As elderly youd expect something similar
where theyre older, more intelligent and wise, -Human
slower to change and quicker to fall ill. In the
rules presented here in this template list well
be tackling only the races offered in the Basic
Rules that are available online directly from
dnd.wizards.com but in a way so that you can
easily adapt our template to fit any of the
races found in the Players Handbook. We will
be taking into account the sub races of each
race to show what differences may be already
showing due to their specific genetics or
lifestyle.

As youll see, the main focus of each child


feature will be that they gain physical benefits
as due from their race with perhaps a few
modifications but do not gain the benefits of
all of the skills and proficiencies due to an
adult of the same race. The templates will be
presented as follows:
Race Name
Main features set for young children
Sub Race features set for young children
Adolescent gains added to young children set

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YOUNG DWARVEN CHILDREN YOUNG ELVEN CHILDREN
Ability Score Increase - +2 Constitution Ability Score Increase - +2 Dexterity
Speed 15 feet Speed 20 feet
Darkvision 30 feet Fey Ancestry Advantage on saving throws
Dwarven Resilience Advantage on saving against being charmed and magic cant put
throws against poison. you to sleep.
Languages Dwarvish Darkvision 30 feet
Trances Elves dont need to sleep. Instead
Hill Dwarf they meditate deeply, remaining
Ability Score Increase +1 Wisdom semiconscious, for 8 hours a day.
Dwarven Toughness Gain +1 max HP Languages Elvish

Mountain Dwarf High Elf


Ability Score Increase - +2 Strength Ability Score Increase - +1 Intelligence
Languages Common
ADOLESCENT GAINS
Darkvision 60 feet Wood Elf
Dwarven Combat Training Handaxe and Ability Score Increase - +1 Wisdom
Light Hammer Fleet of Foot Speed 25
Dwarven Resilience Advantage on saving
throws against poison and resistance to ADOLESCENT GAINS
poison damage. Darkvision 60 feet
Languages - Common Languages Common (or extra of your choice
if High Elf)
Keen Senses Proficiency in the Perception
Skill
Elf Weapon Training Shortsword and
Shortbow

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YOUNG HALFLING CHILDREN YOUNG HUMAN CHILDREN
Ability Score Increase - +2 Dexterity Ability Score Increase - +1 to 2 ability scores
Speed 15 feet of your choice
Lucky When you roll a 1 on the d20 for an Speed 20 feet
attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you Languages Common
can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
Languages Halfling ADOLESCENT GAINS
Skills You gain proficiency in one skill of
Lightfoot your choice
Ability Score Increase +1 Charisma Languages One extra language of your
Naturally Stealthy You can attempt to hide choice
even when you are obscured on by a creature
that is at least one size larger than you.

Stout
Ability Score Increase - +1 Constitution
Stout Resilience You have advantage on
saving throws against poison, and you have
resistance against poison damage.

ADOLESCENT GAINS
Halfling Nimbleness You can move through
the space of any creature that is of a size
larger than yours.
Brave Advantage on saving throws against
being frightened.
Languages - Common

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We have outlined the creation process with a
short list to help you decide which template
to use depending on which type of game Describe your character with a few short
youre going to play. sentences in the Personality Traits box. Is
he happy and hyperactive? Quite and
1. Decide which age category you want to inquisitive? Pick a few words that stand out
play as a child. There are three to you and run with the idea! Remember that
categories of children as well outline children will have simple goals and
below, we will go into further detail for exaggerated flaws. Maybe they cry easily? All
two of these categories, the first being the time? Please stop crying? Or maybe they
infant will be left out for obvious have a mean streak and poor social skills,
reasons. opting to push the little girl into the mud
-Infant puddle instead of telling her shes pretty.
-Young Child
-Adolescent Were assuming that as children your
2. Generate your stats. We recommend characters will have no pertinent
using a point buy system or the skills/proficiency other than those granted
provided stats, make sure to lower the racially (because they arent old enough to
points used to purchase abilities to have learned them), no feats (they havent
match a childs development level. developed them) and no magical abilities
Dont allow a child character to have a (although adolescents may be experiencing
stat above 12 from points spent, this strange happenings around them from time
can be raised only by racial modifiers. to time they are unable to control or affect
Young Child 7 points them at will yet).
-Adolescent 14 points
OR use this set Setting up your children characters this way
-Young Child 8,8,9,10,10,10 gives the players the ability to do or attempt
-Adolescent 8,10,10,10,12,12 anything that strikes their fancy as the
3. Realize that you dont have a class opportunity arises during play. Any small
because youre a child and fret! Wait, melee weapons can be used normally, normal
dont fret. Just insert these melee weapons are two handed for children
recommended scores for the following: and anything that requires two hands for
- 4 hit points, add your CON and/or melee is at a disadvantage. When it comes to
racial modifier. ranged weapons children can use all of them
- 10 armor class, add your DEX normally without proficiency but gain
modifier. disadvantage when using Longbows and
- Your initiative box is 0+ DEX Heavy Crossbows (and other big items like
modifier. this) due to their size.
- Your savings throws are 0+ the
related ability/racial modifiers. Children can attempt to be any class, do
- Human and Elf characters have 20 anything, and go anywhere that their little
speed (you have short legs!) and Dwarf legs can carry them! Use this open ended
characters have 15 (insert shorter playing experience to allow your players to be
legs joke). nice one second and then crazy the next, just
- 0 proficiency modifier, youre not like real life children they are building their
proficient with a wash cloth yet much personality and dont have a set alignment.
less a sword or a bow. Just have fun.

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Leveling and Aging Children
We tackled using standard races at a younger
than advised age as per the existing rules.
This document does not expand into giving
out Level 0 classes that would be essentially
learning or training classes for children. This
option is essentially meant to be used for
single session adventures, one shot specialty
stories and to help enhance existing
adventures by placing proper stats and
abilities onto existing kids that appear in
other adventure paths or in your own game.

If you wish to play these children characters


long term its suggested that you devise your
own way to effectively divvy out the remaining
skill points in chunks of 2 or 3 points PER
LEVEL gained during their adventuring
career. In that sense a small child of about 10
years old could essentially be forced into
gaining the advanced physical attributes of
an adult much sooner than would normally
be possible due to the rigors of life.
Somewhere between level 6 and 10 they
would have the full advanced stats of an
adult of the same race being far stronger and
wiser than others of their age. There are
many ways to explain this in story,
attributing these gains and benefits to the
gods, unexplainable magic ties or simply by
calling them a child prodigy of the realm.

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Deadly Beast (to children)

You get the idea. Basic animals, not giant, not


magic, nothing heinous or crazy. You can use
the opportunity to use the creatures in the
Monster Manual that would normally never
need stat blocks. Simple beasts can really
cause serious damage, we recommend
adjusting anything damage wise down to 1 as
only 3 or 4 hits at even that level will down a
child and quickly end your adventure. Every
bloody scrape or scratch is horrifying to a
child, make it count.

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