So I spent quite a while making sure to explain the characters to the kids. I told them that we would use the characters as-is for the first adventure, but that I would let them remake their own for any further adventures.
Clark was playing the Boxed Fighter, and Rica the Boxed Cleric, with only the aforementioned name changes. We decided to use Mario Brothers Chess set game pieces to represent the party where possible.
To round out the party and plant NPCs that could help them in tough spots and dead ends, I made the Boxed Rogue into a Monkey that would Be Daisy’s pet (represented by a ‘Toad’ chess piece) and the Boxed wizard into a Pseudo-Dragon (Actually represented by a pewter mini- an owl) that would be Luigi’s pet. Clark immediately named the Wizard Pseudo-dragon Mario. Rica originally named the monkey “Banana Mushroom,” I assume influenced by the chess piece, after mis calling it several times on my part later during play, she decided to keep one of my mis-speaks and chang ethe Monkey’s name to Mr. Bananas.
So I started to run the Beginner box adventure “Lair of Black Fang” for them. Being 5 and 8, I had to stop several times and explain some words to them, but was happy that their vocabularies were improving. (a point that I would use to help my wife become more comfortable with her kids "becoming giant D&D nerds- the other being the strengthening of math skills).
Once things got rolling, here is how the encounters went:
Rica had Daisy examine the statue at the cave entrance, while Clark was intrigued by the ‘mossy curtain’ that covered the opening. Daisy discovered that the statue had some of its features dissolved when luigi was ambushed at the hanging moss by two goblins.
They made short work of the goblins, but needed a lot of hand holding through their first combat.
When they went in they saw a chest and a couple of straw mats. it was locked. Clark declared that Luigi would use his key. I told him he didn’t have one. He claimed that he did. I showed him on his sheet that he didn’t. (This was either his first attempt at storytelling or his first attempt at cheating his inventory… a tradition that many gamers keep throughout their gaming carreers). Rica asked if Mr. Bananas had a key (I think misremembering how the rogue skills worked), and I told her about how he didn’t but he could try to pick the lock. He failed.
The kids seemed stuck so I had them roll Perception to find the key hidden in on of the straw mats. they didn’t. I intervened and had Mario find it for them.
They took the treasure and I guided them through the idea of always checking tresure for magic and trying to identify said magic, and they gave the potio of Cure light wounds to Luigi and kept the rest on a party treasure list.
The next room had a fountain with a lot of runes and glyphs. I had to explain what those were and what the difference was. Clark was eager to drink have Luigi from the fountain, as his earlier dive into his inventory revealed him to have a Flagon, which he was itching to use (after I explained what a flagon was). Rica had Daisy try to read the runes and succeeded in a Knowledge religeon check to find that this fountain was a tribute to Desna and that she would favor those that give a donation to the fountain. Not wanting to dive too deeply into game religeon vs real religeon, I explained Desna as a sort of Genie. Rica immediately corrected me, telling me that Desna is a Goddess that Clerics can worship. I paused. She really had read the players’ book and retained much of it. So we continued, they threw coins into the fountain and drank from it all gaining various binuses for the next combat or the remainder of the dungeon, depending.
They made their way into the next room with a dais flanked by two statues. On the dais was a glowing red gem. They had their characters rush the gem and set off a fire spray trap. They both saved (in one case because of the bonus from the fountain.). They noticed that their short pets were unhurt by the fire, as it went over their heads, so they started crawing up to the dais. I told them that the flame trap repeated every 5 seconds that they were in the room. Clark counted off on his fingers 1..2..3 and then pantomimed snatching something. I took that as a good indication that he understood and wanted to time a grab between flame bursts. (As an aside, this would start Clark’s pattern of pantomiming some of his actions to me.) then they crawled out of the room, Luigi carrying the magic gemstone. THey identified that the stone would absorbe the first 10 points of enegy damage the holder takes in a day.
They walked up to the next room, now wary of traps. I described that the room was filled with lots of little spiders and spider webs, but also webs the size of robes and humanoid bones on the gorund. They tried to walk through avoiding the webs, but the hidden giant spider jumped down from ceiling surprizing most of them. Clark pantomimed drawing his sword from his back and swinging it, and I had them roll initiative. They had little trouble with this combat as the spider kept missing. When they were done they faound the corpse of a goblin with some treasure, including a wooden toy dragon. My wife came home from work during this combat, so when the looting was over, we ended the session for dinner and family time.