Scouts and D&D


It’s hard to play a game like Dungeons and Dragons at camp. Camp gets wet, and so do character sheets. Camp gets muddy and dirty, so do miniatures and game mats. Most importantly, younger Scouts aren’t always as keen on writing everything down and moving miniatures around as older, more experienced players. What my troop has done for these problems is remove a lot of the complexity surrounding the game. We don’t use character sheets. Instead, we have each player pick a race and a class, solely for roleplaying. The DM decides what each class gets at the beginning (for example, a wizard might start off with Magic Missile or Fireball, and a rogue might start off with a crossbow or knife). Dice are rolled in something from a Scout’s mess kit, and it’s rare to use a die other than a d20.

“No character sheets? High level spells to low level characters? That doesn’t sound like D&D at all!” I know, that seems like a really oversimplified version of the game. The point of getting rid of all those extra dice and complications is to make the game more accessible to a younger audience.


It’s usually a good idea to try and find some one-shot adventures with a simple plot. One of the ones I can usually fall back on is “Beneath the Ruins of Firestone Keep” from DriveThruRPG. I managed to get it on sale, but it’s a well-written adventure that you can use to ease new Scouts into the game. An alternative is, as always, to write your own adventure. For this, don’t make the plot too complex. It should be fairly simple, especially for young Scouts. Dungeons and other locations should all be able to fit in a small notebook, with minimal notes.

Whether you use a premade module or opt for the homebrew route, all the components of the adventure, like traps and monsters, are defeated or bypassed mostly when the DM feels like it. For traps, I usually pick a DC of around 10 to 15. Monsters are defeated when I feel that the players have expended enough effort to defeat it. This leads to less time spent messing with papers and statblocks and more time spent engaging the Scouts.


In general, the goal of introducing Scouts to Dungeons and Dragons should be to ease them in, with minimal complexity. By eliminating character sheets, most dice, and using simple adventures, the game can be made a bit more engaging for them. This can be made into a great activity for the trail too. Take a cup and use it for dice, and play the game like that. That’s how I’ve gotten through a lot of Scout hikes, and it’s a good way to keep Scouts entertained.

Have a comment or question on one of my posts? Start a discussion in my public inbox by sending an email to ~muirrum/ If you are unfamiliar with mailing lists, start with mailing list etiquette. Otherwise just shoot me an email to my address which is linked in the sidebar.

Articles from blogs I follow

Marking issues as regressions

The Rust project gets many issues filed every day, and we need to keep track of them all to make sure we don't miss anything. To do that we use GitHub's issue labels feature, and we need your help to make sure we fix regressions as soon as possible! W…

via Rust Blog October 20, 2020
Status update, October 2020

Hi all, it’s been a while! I’ve been taking some time off this month: I’ve been hiking in Corsica (an island in the south of France) for 2 weeks! The path (called GR20) was very difficult but the gorgeous landscapes made it entirely worth it. :) I’ve uploaded…

via emersion October 16, 2020
Status update, October 2020

I’m writing this month’s status update from a brand-new desktop workstation (well, I re-used the GPU), my first new workstation in about 10 years. I hope this new one lasts for another decade! I aimed for something smaller and lightweight this time — it’s a …

via Drew DeVault's blog October 15, 2020

Generated by openring