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Hello

Welcome to Easy D&D! A simplified version of 5th Edition Dungeon & Dragons for Primary and SEND.

Developed for:

  • Children aged 6-12
  • Children with special educational needs
  • Others with visual or learning disabilities

Easy D&D is specifically catered towards teachers and parents to help them set up and run a game of D&D.

Together they will enjoy the Social Storytelling of the Dungeons & Dragons world. Whether in a classroom or at home this easy to run variation of the classic RPG helps improve English, Maths & Social skills through simplified and easy to follow game mechanics and resources.

On this website you will find everything you need to start your first Easy D&D game!

You’ll also get a chance to follow the design process through regular updates and shape the future of Easy D&D via feedback.

Please get in touch if you have any suggestions, queries, or questions.

Thanks for stopping by,
Alex Witney

Site Update #1

As you can see from the gaps between posts, I’d taken a break from Easy D&D to focus on other aspects of my life (mainly children!) But now, with renewed energy, I’m ready to devote some serious time to get this project to its first stage of completion.

New ‘Logo’ In Open Dyslexic

Taking a break has highlighted a few changes I’d like to make, which I may not have decided on previously. A few simplified D&D projects have come out in the past year and the niche Easy D&D fits in is getting more crowded (which is great!), but I feel our identity could be a little stronger and a lot easier. Just one look at the What Can I Do? page and I can see it’s too wordy for the majority of Easy D&D’s target audience, not that it doesn’t have its place, just we can do better. So here is a quick bullet list of adaptations and tweaks I wish to make in the coming months.

  • Create two levels, one visual only (or near enough) the other more akin to what has been created so far.
  • Incorporate Open Dyslexic where possible.
  • Create simple quick look Advantage/Disadvantage tables for Races/Classes/Enemies.
  • Create simple guides to Races/Classes/Enemies.
  • Develop easy to use/plan modular scenarios including story & maps.
    • Create narrated content for visually impaired.
  • Finish finalised versions of the Race & Class modules.
  • Complete a Rules guide detailing a stripped back 5E for use with the the modules above, fully adaptable depending on the group and their abilities.

So there it is, a rough guide for me to follow. See you on the other side!

Abilities Module ~ Update #1

As I work on the various Easy D&D sections that make up the complete package of resources that I am planning on, I will be occasionally adding to this website showing the progress of each module.

The final modular piece was one I struggled with. Not it terms of design, that was relatively simple. But whether it was needed within Easy D&D at all. The first goal of Easy D&D was too reduce the game down to its bare bones to make it more accessible. This module was seemingly more complicated than necessary, and aimed at a higher ability than I set out for.

That being said, D&D should be inclusive. And by removing the traditional ability scores that make the game so unique, would isolate those who want a deeper level of play. This module then becomes an addition, available to those who are capable, but not essential to the entire party.

So with that ramble out of the way! The main structure of the Abilities module was based on the Kid Friendly Character Sheet, by Emmet Byrne – available on DMsGuild. I’ve used this design for a D&D group of 10 students previously and it is excellently laid out, but as with so many resources – too wordy.

Kid Friendly Character Sheet by Emmet Byrne

I reduced the character sheet down to the abilities and skills. I decided early on in the design process Easy D&D would not have proficiency, and so the skills info is there just to add a layer of information as to what the abilities themselves entail.

First Initial Sketch

As seen in the sketch, I even toyed with the idea of adding (or even changing) the main ability names. This went against my core feelings as to what D&D is, in a similar way to what began this module, and so I scrapped that idea early on.

These early prototypes show that the basic structure was cemented in. The changes are all based around the modifiers themselves; using various ways to identify, through use of colour and shapes. The colours were not linked to anything in particular, but I have matched them to the ‘Combat – What Can I Do?’ cheat sheet resource I produced to help with recognition.

Finished Mock-up For The Rogue Class.

As with the other modules, the move to illustrator brought homogenisation – stroke, colour palette, sizing etc. Although there maybe future tweaking, I think this template fits within Easy D&D and future updates will only add the base Class modifiers I have planned.

Any questions or queries please get in touch or leave a comment.

Combat Module ~ Update #1

As I work on the various Easy D&D sections that make up the complete package of resources that I am planning on, I will be occasionally adding to this website showing the progress of each module.

Although not an integral part of Easy D&D, nor needed in a regular D&D campaign. A player cheat sheet that explains the basic options during combat was unnecessarily hard to find online. I didn’t even want something pretty; just a list. A list of what can be done during combat. So many of my students struggle with lateral thinking and without direction can become bored and frustrated.

  • Move
  • Attack
  • Grapple
  • Shove
  • Dodge
  • Dash
  • Disengage
  • Help
  • Hide
  • Search
  • Use An Object
  • Improvise

And so the ‘Combat – What Can I Do?’ Cheat Sheet was born. A simple, easy to follow and understand guide of actions available during combat. Not exhaustive, nor fully descriptive, but enough to help as a dropping off point for decision making.

The Original Inspiration, The Author of Which I Cannot Find.

The basis for the cheat sheet was another slightly more complicated version I found online (see above) and it’s far more elaborate older brother ~ Link. Both great for your average campaigners, but far too wordy for Easy D&D!

My first mock-up was based on this info-graphic, emphasising certain points and consolidating others. I also implemented InPrint Widgit Symbols; for those who struggle with words.

An Early Proof of Concept Mock-up

After ‘finishing’ the Race & Class templates and moving to Illustrator. I worked to bring the Combat cheat sheet inline with those works, adding stroke, refining the colour palette & vectorising the Widgit symbols. And so, I think I’ve pretty much finished this part of Easy D&D and created a useful and usable 5th Edition cheat sheet.

Finished Simple Player Combat Cheat Sheet

Any questions or queries please get in touch or leave a comment.

Class Module ~ Update #1

As I work on the various Easy D&D sections that make up the complete package of resources that I am planning on, I will be occasionally adding to this website showing the progress of each module.

The class module took shape at a similar time as the race module, but was worked on after the majority of work on the Race section had been completed. So many decisions, such as font, sizing etc, had already been decided.

Iteration #1 Drawn at the same time as the first Race module sketch.

As with Race, Class was designed to be easy to read, conveniently sized, and laid out in an appealing way; with identifiable sections and art for those who struggle to read.

For the Class’ list I wanted to concentrate down the play styles of each Class. Iteration #1 really shows that core concept, showing only two weapons. Lists of spells/abilities & enemies this class would fair well against, or would succumb to.

Iteration #2 was as crude as possible, but helped develop the main structure.

As with Race this design moved into Photoshop, a program I’m comfortable with but that would later prove the wrong choice. The basic design layout was copied from Race, including a Descriptor to ease choice and eventually implementing various shapes from the Photoshop catalogue to give the module a distinct feel; linking into to Race through the same colour pallet. Slowly the module became asymmetrical, which although looked fine, is something I grappled with as I tried my best to balance function over design.

Iteration #3 took some large strides forward.

For this next entry I used stand in art from PrintableHeroes (again, check them out!) as it allowed me to design around elements that would make the module more visual, even if they would not be used in the final product. The stroke again proved a deft touch and boxing the weapons led to another game design choice that evolved out of aesthetics.

By giving the player only two options, one melee & one ranged, the choices each turn in combat are simplified and made easy. But, weaponry within D&D is integral to the game and limiting the players and DM to only a few options would be foolhardy. Again the module (cut & stick) nature of Easy D&D was at the forefront of my mind and led me to replaceable (or up-gradable) weapons. If this section stayed the same shape throughout each race, it would be easy to implement. Although fitting in a reason for a change of weapon within the level playing field that is Easy D&D’s weapon choices might be a future brain twister.

Again like in Race, the modules main elements were defined, next came the move to Adobe Illustrator to refine and tweak.

Any questions or queries please get in touch or leave a comment.

Race Module ~ Update #1

As I work on the various Easy D&D sections that make up the complete package of resources that I am planning on, I will be occasionally adding to this website showing the progress of each module.

This update is centred on Race. My plan, as with all of Easy D&D, was to break Dungeons & Dragons down to its bear essentials; and then break it down some more. So simplicity, easy of use, and being modular in nature were the main themes.

The first iteration of the Race module.

My first pen and paper iteration of the Race module was really simple, maybe too simple. I boiled down the Race to Character Art, Good at, Bad at, Armour Class, Hit Points, Languages & a Descriptor (something to help new players choose a race and with role play).

Iteration #2 was my first attempt using art from PrintableHeroes.

From pen and paper to Photoshop. I’m well versed in Photoshop, so felt confident I could work my first prototype into a digital version. It went well and slowly a decent proof of concept came to fruition. I started with an A5 size canvas, allowing for an A4 (standard UK size printer paper) print out when the Class module is included.

The Font came really early on, I wanted an easy to read font that looked handwritten and found Patrick Hand SC by Patrick Wagesreiter. It looks and feels just right and saved me from one of the harder design choices. Colours however were not an easy decision and the changes will be plentiful and often nuanced over the next few iterations. A white background with blue was my first thoughts, mixed with Green and Red for any positive or negative sections.

This was the first time I used stand in art from Printable Heroes (check them out!), which works well with the overall concept and child friendly design.

Iteration #3 is a big step up in my mind.

From A5 to A4, creating the image larger to start with was a natural evolution. The stroke (outline) was a ‘stroke‘ of genius! It really makes the whole piece pop, improves readability and adds to the overall ‘cartoonish’ vision I originally had. Colours have changed and are becoming more standardised. The character art popping from the border is a simple but effective touch. I added a banner for a character name. And finally, a long running feud with the ‘Languages’ section began!

Iteration #4 organises the colours more, adds more art bringing the template to near completion.

This final Photoshop step adds more PrintableHeroes art, adding accessibility to those who struggle reading by giving visual context to Good/Bad At & Languages sections. The colour changes are subtle but altering the shield, descriptor & extending the inventory banner all bring the module together.

This all took approx. a week of slow and arduous minor changes that look rather simple on the surface but that were tough to make. I am super happy with this template and started to think of ways to add the Races and their data. Then the first major stumbling block reared its ugly head. Whenever I saved or exported the files from Photoshop (either as a .png, .tiff or PDF file) and then printed them, ugly artefacts and colour changes would happen. After some serious googling I realised Photoshop wasn’t what I needed. Despite being used to the software, I’d only ever really used it with images. Once you start adding more and more shapes the negatives start outweighing the positives!

So what were the options? Being used to Adobe I figured either Illustrator or InDesign. Again after more googling, Illustrators vector based approach seemed the best for Easy D&D. But boy has it been a struggle to use, despite so many features crossing over from Photoshop it has not been a walk in the park. But I’ll leave that for Update #2!

Any questions or queries please get in touch or leave a comment.