For the last few weeks, I’ve been running adventures through email for my girlfriend’s oldest son. He sees no dice rolling, and the only numbers he encounters are quantities and prices. I roll out the battles here at my place, then describe the encounter to him in a .doc file.
He never sees “You hit the goblin for 1 point of damage, now roll for initiative.”
He does see “A backhand stroke of your sword knocks the goblin on the far right to his knees—but he’s back up in a jiffy, screaming first at you, then at his companions, in his croaky, foul-sounding language. You wonder briefly if goblins have any words that don’t sound like curses.”
We started with the classic Aleena and Bargle adventure from the Basic D&D’s “red cover” set from the 1980s, and he’s currently fighting goblins in the book’s second adventure.
He really threw me a curveball when he
LEFT ALEENA LYING DEAD IN THE CAVE… but, to be fair, he was really afraid of those ghouls.
An NPC dressed him down for it, and marched him right back up there to set matters right–in the dead of night.
If that’s something you’d be interested in trying, I’d be happy to email you the 11 or so .doc files I’ve written, though I have to warn you that I use a hodge-podge of rules taken from various editions (mostly Basic and 1st…) When you move to tabletop gaming, you’ll have to reconcile those.
Oh, and the descriptions can be pretty bloody, too… twelve year old boys seem to like the idea of severing heads or pouring blood out of a boot.