While my parents are away for a week, I am going to be caring for my grandmother. She is 99 years old and she loves the fantasy genre. She reads a lot, and enjoyed watching Game of Thrones, LOTR, The Witcher, and Outlander. She does her daily crossword and likes jigsaw puzzles. With all that knowledge in hand, what better activity than DnD?
Right now, she doesn’t do much but her puzzles, her books, and her shows. Getting her engaged and interested in her own story would be so good for her! So, to make this as easy as possible for her to keep up with, I called her on the phone to ask if she would even want to try.
She seemed excited but nervous and I assured her that for right now, all she has to think about is who she wants to be. An elven archer? A dwarf with a huge battle axe? A human who can use magic?
Next, when I arrive, I’m going to interview her and ask her questions about her character. (What’s their name? When you picture them, are they human? Half orc? “Hobbit?” What’s more important to you: being clever or being strong?)
I’m going to roll up her sheet myself and make a paper tent for her to have in front of her where I can see her modifiers and give her a dry erase board for her to make notes on. And a notebook to write things down in as well.
I’m going to find pictures of important inventory items so she can see them in front of her instead of trying to make her read small print, and pictures of NPCs and important people so she can hold onto it and get a little more immersed.
I’ve found some foam dice with large numbers in case she has trouble reading a smaller set and I’m making the map big for her. I’ve written a very simple “go get this item” one-shot that I can expand or shorten for her and I’ll be focusing on role play, very light combat, and puzzles (she loves puzzles!)
I’m doing most of her on the fly math and giving simple instructions such as “roll this dice, you have to make a 12 or more to succeed.” And giving her an NPC to help make suggestions and ease her into role playing. Lots of pictures to show her and simplified rules that I’ll remind her of in case she forgets. And note cards she can read.
I’m thinking one bite sized session to see if she likes it, and ordering her favorite food to snack on while we do this. Then at the end, I’m going to use all the notes and things we did to write it into a story form and print it out so she can read it as many times as she wants.
She seems excited and I am too! She’ll probably be more into it once she gets started and comfortable with everything, so we’re taking it slow and then upping the difficulty if she takes to it super well.
And if she doesn’t, we can stop at anytime if she’s frustrated or tired and switch to something she wants to watch or do instead. (I also brought jigsaw puzzles and no harm no foul if she ends up disliking the session.) I’ll let you know how it goes! If anyone has ideas for making dnd elderly-friendly, I’m all ears!
Guys, I am ASTOUNDED at how this blew up. So much positivity and constructive ideas that I’ve been writing down to try! I can’t get over the encouragement and support for getting my awesome grandma in on one of my favorite hobbies. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
The session will be sometime during the last week of February and first week of March so I’m taking the time to prepare something great and looking into your recommendations! I’m just a nerd who loves DnD with an awesome grandmother who needs an adventure, and you have all given me so many ideas to help bring it to life. I am forever grateful.
I will be updating you as soon as I have updates and I am incredibly stoked to see how she likes it. Even if she says “not for me,” the fact that she’s willing to try is incredible. She actually asked me “What if I ruin it all?”
And I was so happy to tell her that she cannot possibly ruin this for me or anyone. As long as she has a good time, I am happy. ♥️ I think we can all agree, she’s OUR grandma now.
Grandma got my letter and she contacted ME to talk about the letter she received in the mail “from a town in need.” It turns out that I don’t have to interview her after all for character creation; she came up with her character on the phone with me.
Everyone, I would like to introduce you to Elegon the ranger. He is a human archer who’s looks are based on Henry Cavill in “The Witcher.” And she was very specific: “he has light brown hair, NOT white!” Elegon lives in the forest with his red wolf, Taj, and has a soft spot for children of animals and people alike.
Elegon worries that his soft spot for children will hinder his mission but feels obligated to protect the defenseless in any way that he can. She requested that Elegon be “fleet of foot,” and strong, prioritizing dexterity, strength and wisdom.
He is ready to go to the town of Delvin to find the Key of Life that was stolen, and aims to bring both it and a group of missing knights home safe from a feared sorcerer in the area. I have gotten her dice, all different colors as was suggested to me for easy learning. (THANK YOU FOR THIS SUGGESTION!)
In addition, she came up with a dragon! (“This IS dungeons and dragons after all!”) She wants her backstory to include the interaction with a dragon called Thrac and her baby dragon Mock, and I have just the way to incorporate it into the story without having her fight her (with a backup plan in case she insists!)
My mom sent me a video of her going over my letter and taking notes for her character. She talked to me for a couple of hours last week to nail down some details and talk about Elegon. Guys: I’m SO EXCITED.
She’s getting so into it and I’ve nearly cried from happiness at seeing her so engaged! When I arrive, we’ll nail down some final details with her character and do a session 0 to help her get a feel for the game and then it’s off to Delvin to meet with a town who needs help. I can barely contain my excitement, y’all!
Elegon has had his first adventure.
Good morning, everyone! A little over two weeks ago I posted about getting my 99 year old grandmother into DnD. Everyone was so supportive and helpful with their tips! I am very excited to share the results of Session 0 and Session 1!
Grandma made a character named Elegon, a human ranger with a red wolf named Taj. Elegon stands about 6’1”, and is based off of Henry Cavill in “The Witcher.” He has long brown hair and prefers his longbow, but will use a short sword in close combat.
Her Session 0 is the story of how she met Taj. One day while hunting in the woods, Elegon hears a scream, and upon investigation unfortunately finds the body of a young woman. He investigates, and uses his Speak With Animals to talk to a rabbit who saw the whole thing.
This information brings him to a cave guarded by goblins! He is able to finish off two of the goblins and bribe the third out of information about who and what is in the cave.
Prepared to confront a terrifying sorceress, Elegon delves into the cave where he finds three cages full of animals; a dead dove clutching a letter, a white wolf engulfed in light who seems to be growing weaker by the second, and a snarling red wolf. Chains hang from the walls, and hold empty shackles. No doubt that this sorceress is behind the death of that poor girl.
Elegon leaps into action and restrains the sorceress, making sure to use non-lethal damage. After freeing the red wolf, he then drags her into a cage and locks the door.
Unfortunately, the white wolf didn’t make it and the red wolf laments that his pack has been killed. This sorceress is famous for leeching life out of creatures and people that she finds beautiful. They investigated the letter clutched by the dead dove and endeavor to stop this sorceress and her father from crippling a town called Delvin with their dark magic.
All in all, she did GREAT! And she loved the story! She had some problems making choices, and I adjusted to either guide her to a choice or gave her a time limit to make a decision and both worked well.
She has a dry erase board with some of her abilities, and it turns out that assigning the bonuses to her on paper for her to calculate was hard on her so I had her roll and then said things like “okay, now add 4.” This was a lot better for her.
She LOVES her color coded dice, a suggestion made on my last post! She also loves her mini; a ranger that I’ll need to paint! My niece is also staying with me, age 14, and got her own session 0, and fell in love with the game. (She plays a rogue!)
Session 1 with both of them went spectacular. They spent a lot of time investigating and gathering some great information for their efforts. My niece was good at talking things through and helping with decision making and they were able to complete several puzzles and rounds of combat together.
So far, grandma likes the puzzles but really has taken to role play and combat! The campaign will probably wrap up in Session 2, but then grandma told me “can we play every day you’re here?” so I’m taking out the back up docs to lead them into the next part of this adventure if they finish up the quest they’re on.
I am still writing out the adventure logs of session 1, and I’m happy to share if wanted when I’m done. Probably the greatest thing is that grandma has ideas galore for lore and story additions and I’m taking them all and applying them, but giving them a twist so she doesn’t expect them, and she likes that. As suggested, I was able to film some of the adventure and I will treasure that forever.
Let me know if you want any more updates on her story and how she’s doing. This was an overwhelming success and I have all of you to thank for the encouragement and help you provided. Thank you so so much. It looks like I may have to make it down to grandma’s house more often to take her on more adventures! ♥️
Hello everyone! I’m writing to update on the next session of the adventure! I posted in February about my grandma playing dnd with me for the first time and now my mother wants in on the fun!
I’ve been encouraging mom to play for YEARS; she’s a Trekkie and a die hard Tolkien fan, and now that she sees that literally anyone can play (we got a 14 year old and a 99 year old in the same campaign- ANYTHING is possible,) she says she’s ready to try!
Introducing our resident harmicist (cleric) Socáir! Socár is a 600+ year old elf who has seen civilizations rise and fall, and suffered heavy loss to his own people many years ago. Socáir has less of an interest in gods and deities and more of an interest in keeping the balance of good and evil secure, lest the world be thrown into chaos.
After hearing about the trouble with an evil warlock defeated at the hands of a scrappy rogue and a ranger on the side of good, he realizes that he’s seen the pattern of darkness before, about 100 years ago…
Meanwhile, Elegon has received a letter from a group that has begged him to come assist with a most pressing matter: a sacred stag has gone mad. This demigod, now unhinged for an unknown reason, poses a threat to the forest around it and the people who live there.
Could Elegon’s new enemy be behind this mayhem? He was generous enough to let the warlock live after all he had done, but all choices have consequences…This time a greater threat is revealed, and new puzzles are being introduced!
I’m giving them “visions” which come in the form of a portrait or picture cut into pieces that the vision haver must assemble themselves, then they get the real picture or portrait!
Messages written backwards! Let’s see how quick they pick up on why there’s a hand mirror at the table ;)
And my crown jewel: the codex, a metal password puzzle that pulls open to reveal a compartment that will fit something small like jewelry or a scroll. They won’t get the answer right away but it sure is neat! The Codex
The story continues, and I upped my letter game to include wax seals and fancy paper and grandma loved it. The pattern of sending a written invitation and then calling to set the actual date is good for her and we’ll probably continue with that.
Grandma continues to write lore and this time she demands tree dragons! Tree dragons as in dragons who are able to mimic and blend in with the trees and jump out at passerby’s. I love it. It fits my story, and it’s dope as hell so I’m doing it. She’s pretty good at this homebrew stuff!
Things are going well! I’ll let you know how mother and daughter do together and I’m hoping to get niece back in that weekend too! The thought of having 4 generations at the same table playing DnD is just undeniably amazing to me and I’m very lucky to have such an awesome family. Thanks for listening, guys! I’ll give grandma your well wishes!
Multigenerational DND! I misread tree dragons for tea dragons, but hey some teas are made from trees haha Thanks for sharing!
This is so wholesome, I love it. You are so lucky to be able to make these memories with your loved ones. I'm also super jealous. I've only recently gotten into DnD (my friends and I only started playing a couple of months ago) and I know that my mum would have absolutely loved it.
Unfortunately she has early onset Alzheimer's so it's just not possible, she doesn't know who anyone is anymore and can't even talk, but I know that her old self would have had so much fun because of how creative the game is. She always had a flair for the dramatic so it would have been amazing to play with her. I'm gutted that it's another experience I'll never be able to share with her.
I love that you're doing this and how it brings your whole family together! And your niece will always treasure those memories of her great grandmother playing DnD with her, I'm sure of it. Your story is so wholesome it really makes me tear up in a good way! 🖤🖤🖤🖤 Love it, please keep the updates coming!
Hey guys, I have another update for you! Things have been a little busy lately so I’m keeping it short for now. If you haven’t seen my 99 year old grandma’s awesome dnd adventures, feel free to check my posts! The adventures of Elegon continue! This time accompanied by a cleric named Socáir, played my my mother!
It was mom’s first time playing and she absolutely KILLED it! I was worried she’d have trouble with preparing spells but she took to it like a fish to water. Grandma has gotten even better at making choices and playing to character! She loved her tree dragons and is on the hunt for her nemesis, Calavan! They opened an ancient puzzle pointing to an ancient deity bent on destroying reality as we know it!
I have to tell you my favorite part: they were exploring an abandoned mine and a handful of smoke and mud and steam mephits attacked! Socáir left the area to stop the battle but Elegon said “maybe they’re trying to play? I bet they’re lonely down here.”
And then spent some time playfully kicking the sand around them, halfheartedly swinging his sword and laughing with them. After a WONDERFUL performance check, they played with Elegon and then left them alone. (Who the hell is cutting onions??) Just goes to show you. Sometimes the best way to deal with the situation is a little love.
Grandma is in the hospital after a minor surgery but is having trouble recovering. She will be there for a few days, and I hope it’s all she needs. She’s in good spirits, but I would be very appreciative if everyone could send some good thoughts our way. I’ll let you know how she’s doing and hopefully we’ll be back in the adventure in no time.Be well everyone, and don’t forget to show a little love today. ♥️
After a very touch and go period to get her to recover from the anesthesia, grandma is back up and walking around. She made it home after over a week in the hospital and is going to be going through physical therapy and rehab to recover. We’re now pretty optimistic and she called me to ask when the next session is! We’ll play again next week. Thanks for all of your support for my awesome granny!
Hey guys, I posted a long time ago about my grandma agreeing to play DnD with me and everyone gave some EXCELLENT advice on how to make the game fun and comfortable for her. (Check the posts on my profile for the background info!) Our adventures are something i will treasure forever.
I am sad to tell you all that grandma has passed. She was 101 years old and was as lucid as possible until her final week. I was able to spend one last precious day of laughter and joy with her before she died.
We had several sessions and great adventures. She enjoyed our battle sequences but never chose violence if it could be avoided. Her character, Elegon, was mighty and peaceful, dating back to our very first adventure when she refused to kill a horrible necromancer. Elegon was known from then on as “Elegon the Merciful.”
Grandma herself was a creative soul and a lover of good stories. She was also a wonderful mother and a protector of her family. She helped support her family through the Great Depression.
When the boys went to war in World War II, she went to work. She provided for her three younger sisters through the years and one of my favorite stories was of her saving tirelessly to buy her baby sister a beautiful pink prom dress.
She was a wonderful mother to her 4 kids, an excellent grandmother to us cousins, and even met her 4 great grandchildren in her lifetime. Her default was to be kind. To forgive. She loved me through some dark times and terrible decisions and through happy times and moments of victory.
Her death was from natural causes, and that brings comfort. A lot of deaths feel like theft, like something was taken from you. For Grandma, it was like the ache of reading the last page of a fantastic book before closing it for the last time. It hurts, but nothing was taken or stolen. Her story simply ended naturally and without the need to fight or resist.
She was incredibly smart and sweet and a joy to be around, and she was grateful to you all for making the game special for her. If you have a moment during your day, please feel free to raise a glass to Elegon the Merciful and do something nice for someone else in Grandma’s honor. Thank you so much for being a part of our adventure.
When I saw her age, I knew how this ended. What I wasn't expecting was how full this made my heart feel vicariously. This is so wholesome, and a little bitter-sweet. What a lot of love.
Agreed, there was only one possible ending, but massive props to OP to take such an interest in grandma and find something new for her to get hooked on and look forward to. And get multiple generations to play together.
I begin reading this learning more about D&D to now feeling like I want to cry. This was sweet and emotional to read. Grandma sounds like an awesome person to be around. My condolences to OP's grandmother and may she rest in peace.
My eyes are pretty watery, but I'm at work, so I have to keep it together. What a wonderful story.