The Birland campaign used a very simplified version of 3.5 edition D&D that incorporated some elements from 5th edition D&D (most notably advantage and disadvantage, short rests, and at-will cantrips). It started out as a one-off adventure to introduce my children and one of their friends to roleplaying games, and they liked it so much we ended up playing once a month for a year. The campaign stopped after 11 sessions when my older child and her friend started high school, partially on the assumption that they would be busy and need time to adjust, and partly because they were interested in actually learning the D&D system and designing their own characters.
The children's characters started at 2nd level, while my wife's character (the family servant assigned to keep an eye on the Baron and Baroness' teenage daughter and her trouble-seeking friends) started at 4th level. The other characters slowly caught up to him, gaining 2 levels for each 1 he gained, and they had almost reached him (being 6th level while he was 7th level) when the campaign finished. I mostly adapted Dragon Warriors adventures, along with some D&D adventures. Like the Brenna's Adventurers campaign, each session was a stand-alone adventure, spread across three years of game time. In order, the adventures were:
Running a campaign for children who had never played roleplaying games before was very rewarding in several ways. They were very keen to keep playing after the first session, and found it vividly exciting - "It was like I was there!" It was also very interesting to see how familiar and comfortable they were with a lot of gaming concepts from computer games and tv shows, in a way I don't remember being when I was their age.
Our heroes, the player characters:
Baldrick Bloodaxe - Baldrick was an adventurer in his youth, and settled down in Birland when one of his human adventuring companion was rewarded with the Barony of Gorburn 80 years ago. Since then, he has been a loyal servant and family friend to the Gorburn family for generations. He currently watches over his adventuring companions great-grandchild, Violet Gorburn, and her friends.
Violet Gorburn - Violet is the only child of Baron and Baroness Gorburn, and is being trained to become a knight in preparation for when she inherits the Barony from her mother. Violet seems unenthused about her parents' expectations for her, and also about the elf-queen Gwenhyfar's prophecy that she is destined to be a great ruler, but enjoys wielding her magic sword, which she named Intelligence.
Korvaan the Hunter - Korvaan is from the nearby kingdom of Duneld, but was fostered with Baron and Baroness Gorburn from a very young age. Korvaan was raised at their court alongside their daughter Violet, and knows relatively little about his homeland. Korvaan rides the giant chicken that was owned by the ogre Rawhead, which he has imaginatively named Chicken.
Devlin of the Jewelspider Woods - One of Delvin's parents was an elf, and he has innate magical abilities as a result. Delvin was taught how to use that magic by Ulric the Sorcerer at his tower in the Jewelspider Woods, and when he was 12, Ulric sent him to live at the court of Baron and Baroness Gorburn. As he matured and his sorcerous powers improved, Delvin grew white feathered wings on his back that allow him to fly.
Their friends, family and other recurring characters:
|Baroness Gorburn, Violet's mother, and ruler of the Barony of Gorburn, which stretches from the Bleaks to the Oster Hills and covers the lands between Fenring Forest and Hern Forest|
|Baron Gorburn, Violet's father|
|Chicken, Korvaan's unusual steed, formerly owned by the ogre Rawhead|
|May, rescued from her family's cursed farm in the Jewelspider Woods and now a servant at the Gorburn court|
|Godwin the Young King, who recently inherited the throne of Birland from his father|
|Sir Roderick of Pellard, a questing knight from a distant land travelling south to distant Mercania|
|Aslaug, a bandit leader in the western edges of the barony who has twice escaped our heroes and avoided justice for her crimes|
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