After many a silly yet somehow profound conversations with my wife, I’ve decided it’s time to turn our D&D references to parenting into a post for your reading pleasure. Granted some of this may all seem silly at first but I have hidden some true wisdom within these lines. I’ll be doing a 3 part series of posts each one focusing on one of the parenting “Tiers”. So let’s get this thing started, enjoy.
UPDATE:This got published at Kobold Quarterly as a Friday Funny. Woot!
Heroic (Ages 0-6): This tier of parenting is simple yet dirty business and somebody has to do it! It’s not glorious when you first start out, though after all it is unavoidably the foundation you’ll build the rest of your adventuring career on. You start out battling one dirty diaper at a time and your party has no real sense of cohesion or tactics just yet. It’s all fly by the seat of your pants no matter how well you think you’ve prepared, that cleansing ritual will not keep the diapers of eternal stench at bay no matter how many times or how loudly you repeat it’s canticle. Sleep deprivation is going to sap away most of your healing surges, what’s left may be consumed by that soured milk breath weapon, hope you’ve got a high fortitude defense. Oh and all those torches you packed… they aren’t going to help your reflexes any against toys you trip over when waking up in the middle of the night due to nightmares or having to prepare an alchemical concoction for the little one.
By your “party” I do mean your child(ren), yourself and your significant other of course, if you’re lucky enough to have one that is. Some adventurers aren’t so blessed and must quest alone. So keep in mind If you’re a single parent the encounters don’t scale down and doing even the most mundane tasks can seem trying at times. You have even less time for short rests but the rewards are fantastic – bragging rights, double XP and hoarding all the loot for yourself! After a while you obtain a rhythm and things seem to get easier, challenges you face are easily overcome with at-will’s and encounter powers. You’ll have to break out the dailies when certain situations arise, such as questions like what happens when you lose all your HP, or what that funny dance is that they saw you doing in bed with mommy/daddy the other night. Not all situations are so trying however, which in this case feel free to use minor actions to make some shit up and those curiosities drop like minions.
Keep in mind that throughout the entire Heroic Tier of parenting your party must function as every role both separately and often times simultaneously. Be prepared to Take on full frontal assaults, sneak up from behind, and successfully take out hordes of tasks with a single blast. It’s also crucial that you prioritize supporting your party before glory, fame and treasure. Tend to everyone’s wounds before they become too serious, and in times of inner conflict avoiding psychic damage at all costs (both dealing and recieving it). If you can master the art of multiclassing at least somewhat, not only will this will make adventures in the future easier but it also forms bonds that neither swords nor spells can even come close to breaking.
Sometimes the small ones will grate on you no matter how much will defense you can muster, during these times bear in mind that they are merely fun, loot seeking little goblins. Kids do have low intelligence and wisdom scores despite how smart you think they are, after all these little people haven’t even reached level 1 yet, and they’re a long ways away. All of this is fleeting however, because soon enough these stats will begin to rise exponentially as rolling initiative for the first time is right around the corner within the arcane halls of kindergarten.
After a while you’ll need to start preparing for the next chapter in your adventuring lives as your now ‘little scholars’ are going to be coming home with a lot of questions and new words, maybe even a new language. The DC’s on those history checks are just going to be harder and harder as time goes on, so stay sharp and hopefully you’ve saved some of the maps and books from your own youth to help guide them. Also, don’t be afraid to take feats that are more practical and well rounded, even though the more whizz-bang ones that do a lot of damage seem enticing I do believe you’ll get more mileage from the general category.
Also around this time alignment is starting to burn through the thick parchment of innocence too, so do your best to shift them in the right direction when they stray off course or another little minion dominates them for a round or two. You’re headed straight into the Paragon Tier, where your offspring’s arcane, martial, streetwise, and diplomacy skills will become staggeringly crucial. Your own bluff checks may also become a crucial part to staying formidably “cool” in the eyes of your young, so consider punching up that charisma score of yours as you level. Bear in mind that the bonuses they are about begin gaining in these ever quickly approaching formative years will effect their final stats far down the road as they head towards their epic destinies…