(This was a module suggested to me for review in the kids' section after I created the new section here on the wiki, with the help of @OlivierLeroux. I wasn't disappointed.)
This module is shortish but not unduly so. It is set in a Kobold world and your adventurer is pitched in to help them resolve a problem. They are understandably wary of humans but keen for your help in finding one of their number, Razzi, who has gone missing. Naturally you are promised a reward which, at least to them, is very valuable; a Vorpal Blade.
I had read some of the comments on this module before starting so came to it expecting a cleverly constructed module with a little decent humour and not too much difficult combat. Overall, it delivered on these pretty well.
It begins with a lovely cutscene where the Kobolds discuss their predicament and the suggestion is that they advertise for an adventurer to find the missing Kobold. I found the opening cutscene to be pretty engaging, with humour sprinkled throughout and you immediately begin to recognise the character traits of those involved. I particularly liked the "scratching head" animation which I don't think I've seen before.
The village/town/stretch of desert where the Kobolds live is surrounded by cliffs and to gain entry you need to speak the magic word to open the door. Warning! This took me a while to work out and as you are only likely to be playing this with a little person I'm happy enough to reveal that, almost uniquely(?) in NWN modules it requires you to use the Text chat line. Well done and great idea!
The campsite where they live is pretty sparse in terms of dwellings but enough to create an atmosphere with its little oasis bit and several different tent like structures. There is obviously some ambient walking system going on as the Kobolds go about their business without disturbing you. All in all, this was quite well done. There are some important clues to be had from speaking to various NPCs but I felt that a little chance was missed to build on the humour of the opening as many of them respond with the same stock phrase.
Don't however, fail to chat to the two guys on the catapult and the ensuing cutscene. Comedy gold and the ensuing cutscene is not to be missed! Little touches also impressed me here, such as the campfire lighting up every time I approached it which immediately seemed to result in a Kobold coming up and putting it out again.
Having realised what my objective was, I entered the mines built into the cliff walls and ventured forth. In general, the mines were fine with occasional light combat but nothing too threatening for youngsters. You will need a torch. I picked up a few pieces of gear which kids would enjoy, especially a pretty decent sword which helped give me confidence in any combat. I thought I was making good progress. A special mention here goes to the digital elevator (lift) employed to get me down to the lowest level. This was great. I had seen it before here in a great thread on the Vault by @TarotRedhand where he lists great assets and systems from back in the day on NWN (well worth a visit) and this one by Nereng is a doozy. I really enjoyed my short trip in it.
However, at this point I began to become aware that I was now running up and down corridors in the mines without really any idea of where I was going. It also became obvious that the map of the mines was much bigger than I had anticipated and was divided into geographical areas and although I was steadily picking up objects and happy enough a thought began to gnaw at me.
I was in a labyrinth of sorts. Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I'm not great at many of the aspects of NWN - combat, puzzles, listening properly to long dialogue but if there's one thing that turns me off, it's a labyrinth. So run everything I say in this paragraph through that filter. First of all, there is no reason to believe that this is aimed at kids ( think I saw somewhere it might have been an entry for a BioWare module building comp) anyway so I'm in no way suggesting this is a failure for what it sets out to do. It certainly isn't and an adult wouldn't find this daunting. It's one of the modules I've had most fun reviewing. I just wonder if kids would be able to handle the feeling of not getting anywhere for very long. I couldn't and by the time I eventually arrived at the statue I was meant to talk to, I was starting to lose the joy of the opening few scenes. However, the finding of the object to complete the puzzle was easy enough and I thought would have gained me entry to what I supposed would be the final room. It didn't and I'm not sure why so I decided to give up at that point as I wouldn't reveal the ending anyway in a review.
Positive - This was a great little module overall. In many ways it's a hidden gem. I really enjoyed it. I got a lot of joy out of wandering round the Kobold camp sussing out the character traits. The cutscenes were beautifully manufactured and Nereng obviously knows ( knew?) his stuff. Elsewhere I've reviewed his token system for structuring a plot which I found great and really easy. The Kobolds were lovable, the quest straightforward, combat at the right level for a level 1 PC and several great bits of humour. No doubt for me this is suitable for, and would appeal to kids.
Less so- As above really. It depends on how your kid would react to a labyrinth without really knowing where you are going. My granddaughter for whom I created the Ruby module, reviewed elsewhere on this wiki, really needed a straightforward plot line and a pretty linear path to get there. In this labyrinth they might feel they're not getting anywhere and boredom could set in. To get round this, it might be an idea to play through it yourself and get an idea of how the bits of the map fit together before playing through it with your kid so you can lessen the effect of the labyrinth. On the other hand, I might be in the minority and they breeze through the labyrinth without issue.
However, it really would be a shame if you didn't have a look at this module. There's a lot to enjoy about it and if you find out how to get into the last room please let me know and I'll add a bit to this review! This module was last updated in 2014 and can be found here on the Vault.
(It's probably best to start this review with full disclosure. I, along with @Olivier_Leroux, have created this updated Kids' Module page. I've reviewed all the other modules but obviously this one presented difficulties as I created it! Thankfully, @Dustin_Offal stepped up and played it through, afterwards giving me extensive thoughts on the module. Not wishing to impose on his good nature further I've taken his thoughts and added some screenshots from the module to come up with this review so this completes the kids' modules I'm been aware of so far. Although I've paraphrased him, the thoughts are his. If I've added any of my own I've put those in italics and brackets so you know where you stand !
A final word about the combat before you start reading. Ruby isn't invulnerable and can be killed, as can Grandad and their other animal henchman. However, I did make her fairly strong with Grandad to bear the brunt of most of the fighting while she casts spells from further away. There are also one or two other things which should help. This is why I've recommended it be played by kids over 8. By the time my granddaughter tackled it ( along with me doing most of the combat) she was already used to Diablo2 which she was allowed to play online with me for a while during lockdown and was already a level 20 Sorceress ! She also took Grandad's demise one or two times while we played much better than I would have liked . . .)
This module is aimed at a higher age group than most of the other modules in the kids' pages so far. I created it for my granddaughter who was 8yrs old at the time. She enjoyed it but was slightly intimidated by the combat so I had to do that for her most of the time. I'd put the ideal range at 8 upwards. She's now 10 and able to move with the mouse much better, the major change being that she can now run behind grandad and he dies more often!
Ruby lives with her Grandfather, who thinks he's the best wizard in the land(!) and Grandma on a farm in the middle of a wood. They have a Unicorn, Barbie, who lives in a field beside the farm. Without giving too much away, Barbie is kidnapped so Ruby and Grandad set off to find her. On their way they meet a series of oddball characters and endure a few combats.
The module is a reasonable length, covering quite a few different areas. It has an unusual opening in that there is a titles movie, followed by a gorgeous opening cutscene. When Ruby discovers Barbie is gone she immediately tells Grandad and they set off. ( The style of most of the conversations is a little different from normal in that Ruby voices her own part as does Grandad. The two audio files are put together so when you click on Grandad to speak, he says some thing and Ruby replies without you needing to click on her reply. You only need to click to continue the conversation.)
Later on in the story, during a conversation with Lady Aribella I missed the main clue, although Ruby came out and spotted it anyway. It could have been a bit more obvious or flagged up by a bit of flavour text.
There was also a rather unintentionally humorous moment - aside from the intentional ones which are dotted around the module, largely arising from the discrepancy between Grandad's opinion of himself and Ruby's of him ! In an Inn, I managed to see off some hostiles during which a table was blown up but the tankards remained floating in the air . . Just a weirdness of the game engine.
There is a chance later on to buy some goods at a village fair but the module doesn't go out of its way to encourage or give too many opportunities for this. I enjoyed spending some money at the fair, though.
A further note on the fair which uses the same village area as the previous night, except now bathed in sunshine with a good going fair. It was mildly jarring that permanent fixtures like fences in the market area had apparently been put up overnight. This could perhaps be solved by having more permanent placeables like fences in the market area be in place the night before when Ruby is going into and out of the inn.
The module is rounded off well with a final cutscene, giving youngsters the chance to enjoy a happy ending.
Overall, this module was a delight and one I really enjoyed playing. In terms of style-of-play, although Ruby, the author's real granddaughter, was apparently combat shy (which is perfectly understandable) I certainly am not. So the market allowed me to provide Grandad with armor, shield and sword. His spell-casting was hampered, but he was pretty aggressive about mixing it up in melee when the enemy got close. So, casting stone skin on him let him hold off the nasties while Ruby rained down long-range spells on them !
Indeed, it's really impressive what so many people have done over so many years to create the huge collection of quality community content. This module really shows off what can be done with the engine improvements Beamdog made w/ NWN:EE. I like the approach taken with the module, using existing reasources and focusing on creating a good story and game.
It's cool that he did this with his granddaughter. She's about the age of my brother's eldest daughter, and she is an aspiring computer wiz. I'll show her what has been done here with Ruby when I get a chance. I suspect it will definitely fire up her imagination and perhaps attract her interest.
These fall largely into the little niggles category and don't spoil the enjoyment of the module. I've recommended to Jimdad55 that he maybe go back and update the few bits which caught my attention.
(Duly altered ! - Jimdad55 8/9/22)
There are also quite a few assets to be downloaded for this module as the objective was to show off the game as it is now. However, because of this Jimdad's suggestion to use NIT is probably a good one to save you time.
This module was last updated in August 2022 and can be found on the Vault here.
This is by far the simplest, and the shortest of the modules I've looked at. As such it is probably suited to children just learning about point and click, maybe 3-5 year olds?
The story is a simple single quest. In fact it only took me about five minutes from start to finish. You are tasked by Barney Summer's dad to find her lost necklace, which he tells you is somewhere about the farm, and you basically just search until you find it. There is a house and a tavern in the area.
The creator of the module has designed it as a starter non violent module for kids to learn the basics of conversation, movement and the idea of a quest. There are no combats intended (although they can be caused by attacking people or animals), and none planned. The conversations work as does the journal so, as a starter on NWN it is probably as much as a very young child needs.
A full merchant can be found in the tavern, but it's only for practice really since there's no reason to need a weapon or anything else for that matter. Reading is a necessity, so the child must either be able to go through the conversations and read/choose, or they'll need assistance with it.
Positives - There isn't a lot to say about the module. It does what it says it sets out to do which is to allow some basic movement and interaction around an area. There is a quest so a young child can find some satisfaction in returning the necklace to Summer.
Less so - This is a difficult one. There are lots of things you feel the author could have added but he set out to create a very simple story and module which he has done. The single area is small with few places for the necklace to be. for the rest, maybe he could have had a little interaction in the Inn which isn't really used but I can imagine that a child using a mouse for the first time to point and click has enough on their plate and may well get satisfaction from just finding the necklace.
The module was last updated in 2016 and can be found on the Vault here.
Well, this was a little different for me attempting to review this module. First of all, as you can see, it wasn't a module from a native speaker of English. However, this didn't pose a problem as the author helpfully provided the opportunity for me to choose my language right at the start. A nice touch and I'm always humbled when someone bothers to add another language to their own to make it easier for others to play.
(Before going any further can I apologise for the scary Orc in some of the pictures below? The first time I played the module I was foolish enough to pick it as the PC).
The author says in his introduction that he wrote this module some time ago for his children. It's a "little Adventure without any fights" he says. And he is true to his word. This module has no combat with the central characters being a group of kids that the PC comes across. They are playing in a slightly eerie looking setting near a graveyard and the PC is tasked with obtaining some firewood for them from that graveyard, then later helping them find the adult who was looking after them.
The kids don't have much in the way of character but that didn't matter. This struck me as a "getting used to the toolset" sort of module with lots of pointing and clicking, a few quests, simple amounts of reading and no danger. There were gravestones in the graveyard ( why wouldn't there be?) and also the odd ghost or two but they aren't hostile and I don't think kids would find the setting scary.
All sounds fine so far but if I'm honest I was quite frustrated at the start of this for a number of reasons. The first is that the main area is HUGE. I know this as, not wanting to get any spoilers beforehand, I jumped straight into it without looking at it in the toolset and explored the area directly in game: almost half an hour later I was still running around aimlessly, totally lost. Yes, I had found a couple of bits of road and followed them but neither led to a transition and ( probably just my bad luck) I hadn't even come across the children. Even when I did, I promptly managed to lose them as I had assumed there would be map pins for locations I had been to but there weren't and most of the module takes place in almost darkness which prevented me from seeing much in front of me.
Memo to adult - Stick to the road !
Ok, with that out of my system ( I hate modules where I'm running around looking for something to do) I have to say that once I found the kids it improved quite a bit. I enjoyed finding the firewood for them and especially lighting the fire as they all leapt up and surrounded the fire. Make sure you pick up the tinderbox as well as the logs for the fire - I missed it first time around. Without giving too much away I also started to grasp what the author was trying to do and it started to make sense with a couple more quests, including some characters kids would like.
It was only when I opened the module afterwards in the toolset that I realised what a labour of love this must have been for the author. An impressive number of scripts behind the scenes just adding little touches to the story. However, I use the term l "opened" loosely here because although the module itself opened in my toolset, it crashed as soon as I tried to open anything within it - scripts, areas or even properties. Not sure why but this prevented me from checking if I had missed anything important.
Given the size of the initial area and the lack of visual clues at the start I would say this would be best played with an adult sitting beside a child, doing some of the movement and maybe prompting so the kid doesn't wander off ( like I did)! It is probably also aimed at the lower end of the age range, possibly old enough not to be spooked by the graveyard but young enough not to need some of the extra things like chests, rewards etc. I do think it might have been nice if the author had given thought to planting chests with shiny things inside throughout the initial area. (There are a few later in another area). If the kid gets lost at least they feel they are gathering something. There are also a lot of animals wandering about but none of them have a conversation which might have been interesting.
Anyway, eventually I'm sent off to find the adult in charge of the children who has gone missing while on a shopping trip and the first stop is the orphanage. This led to a colourful encounter with some magical characters and onto another quest. I left it there so you will have to find the lost adult yourself . . .
Positives - By the end I was getting into this module and it's simple feel. It is well put together and pitched around helping children which would appeal to youngsters. The quests are non-threatening but satisfying, there are enough areas to keep them interested and it would be a good introduction to point-and-click with no pressure on being able to move or turn quickly. As I've said, I got a buzz out of lighting the fire for the kids due to the way they quickly gathered round the flames ( just radial menu once you have the firewood but there is something else you need to light the fire, if you catch my drift - I missed it first time around ). I also like the way it wouldn't let me light the fire on the wooden structure they were sitting on! The quests were simple enough and there were enough clues in the dialogue or in game to keep you right.
Less so - This is harder to assess. Because I'm reviewing all these kids' modules I tend to leap in and see what's there. This doesn't pay dividends here. If I had stuck to, and checked, all the roads first I would have found the kids earlier and after that the quests flow nicely. However, for any youngster approaching this on their own, the initial area is far too big with almost no visual clues. Even revealing all the important spots via map pins would have been fine for the younger kids. I wonder, if the adult with them doesn't steer them to the kids early on, if they wouldn't need a little more to keep them interested? It could be easily done as I've said, with chests to open, animals to talk to or strange/ humorous characters to talk to. This would maybe make a decent introduction to NWN for a younger person with an adult beside them. I wouldn't suggest thoroughly examining the initial area as there isn't a lot to interact with once you have found the kids.
One final point. The last quest, to find the lost adult, left me confused. I was instructed to go north and found a road leading north which I assumed led to the village where I would find her. However, for me at least, the road doesn't have a working transition. I went back and checked all along the north edge of the area but couldn't find anything. Maybe if someone can get the module to load in the toolset ( I work on a Mac using Crossover but it's unusual for something like this not to work) they can PM me with the ending ?
This module was last updated in 2015 and can be found on the Vault here.
Well, this was a surprise! I was wondering how you pull off a kids' friendly module with Hallowe'en that's able to keep their interest but I think this will manage it. It is a very atmospheric module with all sorts of spooky characters, witty dialogue that adults might appreciate as well, with only the odd moment where I thought "Ouch! Is that okay for kids?" However, it has been pretty expertly built and the author has put a lot of work and thought into it as can be seen from the sheer amount of scripts in the toolset.
To begin at the very beginning as someone famous once said: the atmosphere is here in spades. Well constructed with plenty of fire, light and dark at appropriate times. It has a cast of pretty shady characters but you never feel threatened by them as there is no combat at all. And there are quests . . . . oh boy are there loads of quests! Not gonna lie. I didn't finish even half of them but they were varied and quite well thought out. Enough to keep you and your young'un occupied for quite some time but likewise you can dip in and out.
So when you arrive you meet Master Snog ( yes, I know! It goes on in that vein). He allows us to play as a skeleton, vampire, mummy etc. so after going for vampire I'm sent off. I confess the first scene didn't really grab me - much too busy for my liking. However, when you reappear in Skullington Falls you get serious spooky atmosphere. You meet Vlad Sharp Tooth who tells you it's trick or treat time and encourages you to go knocking on the doors for trick or treat. This involves visiting a fair amount of houses. You can't go into any of them but at each door you receive a sweetie in your inventory.
In fact, a warning here. Don't try to enter the houses. I did and was stuck in a couple resulting in a restart - the sort of issue where you go in, the house half disappears and the door won't open to let you out again. While we're on the topic of doors, aficionados of doors in NWN ( and you know who you are!) will have a whale of a time with door spotting in this module.
Most of the quests are fairly easy to finish. There are match the colour with the correct barrel, collect 10 things for me and fetch and deliver quests available. However, I was disappointed that the most interesting to me was the one I couldn't get to work. A swamp tree-like figure asked me to collect swamp gas to restore him to his former self but what really got me going was that he told me I'd need to use a grapple hook across water to achieve this.
By a coincidence, I have been looking at rope climbing scripts/packages in NWN for another project and this motivated me to get one of the the weird sisters her ( much needed!) hair appointment in order to get her grapple rope. Not sure what she was doing with one in the first place. Anyway, the excitement fizzled out as I couldn't get it to work. I found the place on the river bank where it should be used but immediately the module glitched and I was teleported back and forward until I left the scene.
Before summing up, one feature I did like was the large map available, already filled in with the map pins I'd need. Because the quests were to some extent reliant on each other and involved a fair amount of running here and there, it was good that I didn't have the additional worry of running about trying to discover where everything was.
Positive - I thoroughly recommend you dig this out at Hallowe'en and give it a whirl. I enjoyed it immensely. It gets you in the mood early and maintains it through quirky Hallowe'en related characters, quests and rewards. I don't know if it has a satisfactory ending as I didn't make it to the end - far too many quests for that - but I'm not sure that matters. The building is consistently good and the dialogue at times brought a smile to my face, as did the skeleton's name " Mommy Dearest" which older readers will understand. I can see most kids really enjoying this. It may be a bit too spooky at times for the very young but you'll know that soon enough if it is and most will take it in their stride. Well done to the author for a module that captures Hallowe'en for kids well.
Less so - If I leave out my big disappointment regarding me sailing across the river thanks to my grapple hook, there weren't many things to dislike. I had the odd twitch, age wise, at the sight of a skeleton swinging from a tree but then we casually buy skeleton outfits etc. for Hallowe'en so I'm maybe in danger of getting a bit precious here. I definitely did feel queasy about leaving the little boy I'd been charged with delivering to the temple in the somewhat unreliable hands of Lucifer. In fact, the latter actually really gave me pause, especially when I reported completion back to the nursery and received the reply that the poor little chap needed more discipline than they could manage! However, if you're not gonna have any combat maybe the odd dark comment is acceptable? As always, you decide.
Yes, it is definitely a little buggy. Buildings, the rope and even getting the quests out of order all caused me to spend more time on them than I'd have liked but as a package, and especially at Hallowe'en, this definitely works.
It was last updated in 2015 and can be found on the Vault here. Note that it does need CEP to work which, if you don't have it, is quite a big download.
This module is a little different from the ones I've looked at so far. The module, as the name suggests, consists of the PC learning the tricks of the trade at Ninja school rather than having a plot. It ends as you graduate.
Don't be put off by the fact that there is little storyline, however. I found this to be a delightful little module which has no extra assets such as haks and didn't take too much time to play but had been designed to make you feel you were learning skills such as combat, patience and judgement in battle. This I felt it did well.
You begin by talking to Master Ugway who tells you that you are about to begin your training to be a ninja. You have been stripped of any previous equipment your premade character might have had and are given only what you need to complete the tasks.
The first of these is to attack a set of dummies which offer no resistance. I'm proud to say that this caused me no bother at all! However, you then progress to dummies who hit back or move and later to other creatures who make life a little more difficult.
Once the physical aspect of training has been successfully completed you move onto the more intellectually demanding ones through a series of puzzles. I thought these were quite unusual and beautifully designed. I won't give any spoilers other than to say the one with the chess board had me stumped for a while. Helpfully, the author has provided a hint board for this and the other mental challenges which might prove difficult for the youngster playing the module. It gradually gives you more comprehensive advice on how to tackle the puzzles which I thought was a good touch.
After the chess board you come to another puzzle, quite a simple one but again beautifully designed with what you have in the toolset. It maybe wouldn't tax an adult but I could imagine a young person quite enjoying working this one out. Throughout the whole training there is no actual violence unless you count the training dummies and if you are defeated you merely reappear where you started that test.
The module ends as you might expect, with you graduating from ninja school and being sent on your way to your first job. This was done through a short but atmospheric cutscene which was a nice way to end an enjoyable module.
Positives - The first thing to say here is that I loved the fact there were no extra downloads, unless you want to have a look at the rough walkthrough. Don't get me wrong. I love looking at t all the new content created by the community but every now and then it's good to see what can be done just through the original materials and ingenuity. You just jump straight in and the whole module shouldn't take more than an hour to complete, even for a youngster. It was fairly basic in look but well thought out behind the scenes, especially the way the later puzzles were thought out in the toolset. A case of something difficulty to design made to look simple. There were no major bugs in the game and I enjoyed playing it more than I thought I would as I like a decent narrative and character building in my modules.
Less so - Really just the comment above. If you enjoy storylines and interesting characters this is maybe not for you. It does exactly what it sets out to do and no more but kids might well enjoy it and if you are used to working with the toolset you will also appreciate what was going on behind the scenes. I did wonder if the authors could have continued it a little and ended it after you complete your first real world task as a ninja but can't argue with the idea of just a training college. Final small issue is that I had a fatal crash coming out of the game but I play on a Mac so maybe it was something machine specific. If you're looking for a way to entertain your youngster for an just an hour or so this might fit the bill.
It was last updated in 2014 and you can find it here on the Vault.
This is a module aimed at very young children - the author says it was created for a five year old girl. As such, in order to be kid friendly at that age it concerns itself very much with a colourful world full of interesting things to pick up. The author states on his Project page that there is no combat in it which makes it a hard play for adults and maybe older kids but there is still plenty to admire. This is no quick module. The creator seems to have put a lot of work into it, resulting in around 20 or so areas ( many interiors of course) and a quick look in the toolset confirms that.
The main character is called Fiona although you can play any character you like. Full instructions can be found on the Vault project page from the author about the different options and versions of the PC available to you for customisation. Interestingly, the author also provides an RTF file with detailed instructions on how to change the module in the toolset to accommodate whatever your own child is called. A nice touch !
After collecting all the colourful baubles and some dresses from Fiona's cupboards ( not all of which suited my male barbarian Orc PC as you can see from the screenshots !) you visit some rooms in her house adding to your collection of pretty things. This area, as indeed the first few areas, was beautifully thought out and filled with colourful items which would appeal especially to kids around 5-7 I think. The area outside Fiona's house is well decorated with gardens and you can see that this was a labour of love for the author and to great effect. The array of colours is impressive and just what a young child might like to look at.
The final surprise for me on Fiona's farm was the availability of horse riding! I'm always a sucker for riding a horse in RPGs although it seldom seems to make sense after a while. It is handled cleverly in this module without having to use the radial menu by allowing you to mount through a conversation while also employing a dismount token to step down from the horse. You can also buy a new horse at the stables in the village. This worked nicely. Anyway, nothing much else seemed to happen in this area so I headed off to the next ; the village.
The village is filled with quite a few buildings, most of them shops of various kinds where Fiona can pick up some more interesting baubles. None of the stores offer magical items or armour because it isn't needed with no combat so I found myself buying rather than selling. Here you can pick up a quest, which is probably the main one, to search for a lost son which I did but after exploring every corner of the area I became baffled as to where the young lad I was looking for could be.
For a first quest aimed at a five year old, which would usually be very simple, it made me feel totally incompetent. Having finally found the young lad concerned MUCH later I can see that I was wrong to assume the first quest would be simply solved ("he's hiding behind the barn" sort of thing ) to give me some confidence. It might have been better to let the youngster see that the idea of quests is that they can solve them, before gradually making them more challenging.
On my first play, frustrated by not being able to find the young lad in the village area I decided to go back to the garden and investigate the other exit.
And that is pretty much that. A confession at this point. I went into this module trying to think as a 5 yr old and reckoned it was too hard for such a youngster. Having replayed it I can now see the answers and, as usual, they are obvious once you know them.
On my first play, having really enjoyed getting the feel of this module and the care with which it was built, once I had left the village my enthusiasm waned a little as I visited another four or five areas, none of which were built as fully, while picking up another three or four quests none of which I could solve. A good example was the unicorn who came running up to me saying he could hear sounds of somebody crying in the dragons' den. Having, I thought, thoroughly investigated the aforementioned den, I heard nothing and could find nobody in distress. So, about three areas later I gave up, not realising that my clue which I had missed was only about three inches tall! Again, possibly my haste to get on was at fault here. . .
Eventually all the stories come together quite nicely with a lot of having to find something for A, take it to B who wants something else etc. resulting in a lot of running around. I found myself thinking that maybe quick waypoints or something else might have been an idea.
Having eventually solved everything, I suffered the ultimate indignity on my return home. It had taken me so long to figure everything out it was the middle of the night, my house was locked up and I couldn't get in!
Positives - The first ten minutes of this module were without doubt among the most interesting I have seen in any module. Beautifully built areas with some small assets I hadn't seen before made a very good impression. I liked the attempt by the author to explain in the separate file how anyone could customise it to suit the names of their children and I'm sure youngsters would like that. Colours have been used very well. I also loved the horse system, stopping off in the village to buy myself a new black horse.
Once you appreciate that this is a bigger module than you thought and that it will spread over several areas you relax into the normal module thinking and don't expect to solve quests quickly. That was my error. After that the quests link neatly over a variety of landscapes.
Incidentally, the tea room in the village is a must see. Lovely arrangement with paintings on the walls and a curtained door I spent a while in there looking at the detail. This might also be all that a 5 year old girl needs in a module. After all, it wasn't intended for me. . .
Less so - About 20 minutes into my first play I began to wonder where the story was and why I didn't feel I was any further towards solving any of the quests. So, eventually I was left moving to area after area really pretty aimlessly. It wasn't until my second play through that I realised I was in this for the long haul and that something in one area might have an answer three areas hence.
Once I realised that it all made sense and came together well. I was left wondering, however, if a five year old, who would have the adult with them controlling the mouse and movement (I'm assuming) would have the patience to wait while the adult figured it out. With my own granddaughter playing my own module I took the controls the first few times while she was content with making decisions. That was different as I had a little combat ( she was 8 going on 9) but if I'd had her beside me on my first play through this I'd have had to bring a better A game than I did this time or I'd have felt her wrath!
Not that my opinion matters but would I recommend this module? Yes, if only for the beautiful layout of the house interiors, garden and, of course, the tea room. However, as with all kids' modules I feel it would be a good idea for the author to give a heads up to the adult in the room who might be busy and doesn't want to run about aimlessly with a youngster beside them. A PDF for busy adults (rough walkthrough), so to speak, which they could ignore or use to keep the kid from any frustration or prepare them for an upcoming tussle.
However, do 5 yr olds who presumably won't be doing the pointing and clicking themselves need anything more than a well-built new world to look at and explore anyway? Probably not. I suspect that it wouldn't satisfy my 9yr old granddaughter who likes to solve the quests without help but still isn't great with the mouse and clicking - but she would love the gathering of shiny objects at the start, then maybe she'd be better at resolving the quests than I am!
This module was last updated in 2016 and is available on the Vault here.
This is a tale of a princess summoned by a fairy, Ciqui, ( Tinkerbell?) to the Plane of Fairytales where the fairy wants her to compete with Little Red Riding Hood to become Princess of the Plane. She is given tasks to complete to decide if she wins it. As you can tell from this, it draws on more than one fairy tale and puts them together into one module.
My first impression of this was a good one. I'm assuming the movie didn't work (shouldn't be an issue if you change it's file format to WBM) so we went straight to a cutscene but straight away I got the impression that this was created by someone who knew what he/she was doing. The intro of Ciqui ( the fairy who takes her to the Fairy Court) was good and dialogue entertaining enough, although I found myself unable to guess what the correct answer was and went round in circles a little until I stumbled across the correct response.
Anyway, after some conversation I was sent to the fairy plane via a portal which looked good. After some conversation between the fairies, where there was obviously some tension regarding who should end up as Princess, I was tasked with curing the problems of Hamelin without resorting to violence, a nice touch in a kids' module. Before setting off I went to Mini's shop but didn't have enough to buy anything. That was a touch disappointing as I'm not sure why there was a shop at this early stage if none of the goods were affordable.
As expected it turned out to be the story of the Pied Piper and I'm ashamed to say, again I found the correct responses hard to come by and ended up with them dragging the Pied Piper outside and stringing him up on the gallows ! This was where I parted company with the module I think. I even found the sudden demise of then Piper shocking - no you don't see him dangling just his dead body beside the gallows but I'm not sure that was necessary or how that might affect youngsters. anyway. At that point I returned to the Fairy court disappointed and expecting to be booted out of the Fairy Plane. However, at that point the story took an unexpected and interesting twist...
Positive - I liked the approach in this module. Well enough built, pretty good idea for a story and Ciqui (Tinkerbell) looked good. I liked the cutscene at the start and I'm sure the movie would have been decent. I found myself wanting to see how the challenge with LRRH would have developed and how my father would have reacted at the end to my failure to turn up to the important dinner. As the princess at the start I was encouraged to be a bit of a rebel and the kids might like that. I particularly liked the twist in the story as it went on but enough about that.
Less so - Up until the Piper's demise I thought I might play this with my granddaughter but now I'm not so sure. That might be the only death in the module but it was the sudden nature of it that shook me, especially as there was also mention of torture! If I were a youngster and saw someone dragged off and executed because I'd made the wrong choice I'm not sure how I'd feel. I'd probably have preferred it to have stopped at the order to take him away - or maybe back to the cells. However, if I'd been more on the ball with my responses maybe that whole scene could have been avoided. Or maybe I'm being unnecessarily picky.
For a children's story I did find it hard to tell even as an adult what the correct response might be. I tried to steer a reasonable compromise between the Piper and the Mayor and still ended with the Piper strung up although I understood why later! After my return to the Fairy Court the module did become more interesting but I'll leave you to find out in what way... It did still have the problem with conversation going round and round though, at least for me.
Link - to the project page with module on the vault is here. Last updated in 2015.
This is a module that, for the most part, follows the traditional fairy tale which is good in that the youngsters know what is coming next. A quick look in the toolset will tell you that the creator of this module knows his/her stuff as it is script heavy and pretty well structured with some good conversations. There are, however, one or two additions to the old tale.
The module opens in Jack's house and a quick word about Jack. Although the PC will be changed to look like Jack he will retain the name of the PC you chose from the premade list as there isn't a PC contained in the package. This might seem a small thing but I chose a wizard, thinking to give myself haste and a couple of other spells ( being a cheat at heart and scared of giants !) however, I received my comeuppance in no short measure when it came to cutting down the beanstalk ( not a spoiler I hope) and I was unable to equip the weapon to carry out that task ! I'd recommend a fighter.
At this point I'd make a general comment. I don't know how you go about your modules but I tend to wander here and there looting everything and following the quests. In this module you may come to grief ( I did) if you don't listen carefully to Jack's mum and try to grab things in the right order. Because I looted the whole castle on my first visit the giant disappeared and I had to restart to get him back. I think keeping the player honest would have been helped had the author used the journal but mine was blank only throwing up an error. If mum's words had been turned into quests I'd have found it easier to stay on task.
So our first task was to sell the cow which I duly did but only for magic beans which didn't particularly please mum but on the way to selling it I had a wonderful spell fishing which I hadn't expected. Cleverly thought out and implemented this was an unexpected game within a game and a welcome addition. There was also a good conversation with the stranger about the magic beans if you prove reluctant so the module was off to a good start.
After an unpleasant discussion with mum and being sent to my room (which was a lovely little cameo cutscene with Jack throwing himself onto his rug in despair )! I woke the next morning to a giant beanstalk at the back of the house which was the start of the real adventure and which I won't cover in huge detail to avoid spoiling bits. There is a good icy area at the top of the beanstalk and an evil castle belonging to the giant ( why don't we have some lovely ice castles for areas such as this? ). I met the giant's wife / girlfriend /partner? , had to hide and pilfered goods on each occasion and returned to mum.
And there my knowledge of the module ends as explained before. It was a game breaker as just as the giant was climbing down I was unable to chop down the beanstalk so the whole thing ground to a halt.
Positive - Lots of good things about this. Not least the fact that the creator, Dave Crowell, after building it in 2015 came back last year to update it. good to see someone care enough to do that. I'm not sure what changes were made but there is definitely at least one more modern section of the module which looked good although I'm not sure it sits well with the rest of it. I was sure that the cow would become my henchman to make him follow me bu this and a whole lot else was done by scripting which looked pretty good. I liked the little cutscenes which were also done in a way unfamiliar to me as I use the John Bye Gestalt system. Finally, it's nice to see a traditional story pretty faithfully executed.
Less so - I think much of my troubles in completing the module are easy things to solve. In fact many of them could be laid straight at my door ! You need to choose a PC capable of wielding a weapon, you need to listen closely to mum and stick to the path provided by the author. I think it would have been easier to do so had there been even a short readme to adults possibly about to attempt the module with youngsters to help them guide them in the right way. Using the journal would certainly have helped in this. Mine was blank and threw up errors. It is also possible to create conversation errors by not adopting a linear approach.
However, the story itself is well told and I would play this with my grandchildren. It was last updated in 2021 and the module can be found on the Vault here.
As a retired teacher who has taken an interest in the toolset over the last few years and used it with a class of Games Design pupils, it occurred to me that there are very few modules aimed at younger children on the Vault. There is a project page created by @OlivierLeroux which outlines most of the existing kids' modules but I thought it might be nice to give them a bit more exposure and try to encourage builders to think about catering for a younger age group.
As a grandfather myself, I know that my granddaughter is interested in good stories and playing games on the computer and I am currently trying to interest her in building simple things using the toolset. I'm sure many of us on the Vault are of a similar age and hope they might be interested in catering for a younger audience occasionally. I'd like to thank Olivier for his work in curating these and this updated page comes with his encouragement.
Before continuing, in the interests of full disclosure, one of the modules on Olivier's page is one that I created for my granddaughter (aged 9) called "Ruby and the Last Unicorn". It will be included here, just as a link with a screenshot but without a review by me as that would be bizarre (!). However, at least you are aware of my connection to it. It is aimed at a slightly higher age group ( 9-11?).There are a number of haks etc. required for it as it was built after EE came out and specifically with using recent assets in mind so I'd strongly recommend using NIT to download the module as @Surazal has kindly written a rule for his program which fetches the correct assets.
The first question that springs to mind is probably what exactly constitutes a kids' module? Well, while reluctant to set down any ground rules, to me it would be one with a good but simple storyline, fun characters, a colourful look and not too long but I'm probably more sure about what it shouldn't have - heavy graphic violence, adult themes, bad language or gruesome deaths! This doesn't mean that there shouldn't be combat - I think that's age dependant. Kids about 4-6 probably don't need combat to enjoy it, and certainly don't need deaths, while those slightly older can probably cope with these although I've tried to indicate in the reviews where each module stands with this for any concerned parents.
It should also be fun with probably a happy ending to avoid sending young ones away with nightmares... I personally would start by setting the game's violence level by choosing Options on the main menu then game options then Game/General/Advanced and set violence to Low. Not entirely sure of all that this does but it does remove blood from the equation and it's a start. I've shied away from giving suitable age levels as that's problematic but you may well get an indication from the individual project page of the author's thoughts on the matter.
Another issue is that of spoilers. I don't intend to give any endings away but I'm assuming that anyone reading this is probably going to be playing it along with a younger person so I'm aiming this at pointing out any issues there could be with what you do or do not want youngsters to see in a module. You may have your own views on this and that's fine. In the end this is just a guide - you are the adult in the room - scary though that might be
Finally, I'm sure that these are not all the modules suitable for kids that exist on the Vault so if you know of another please feel free to contact me with a review of it, preferably using roughly the same format as I have for consistency. I'm happy just to receive a link or even just the text of the review which I will turn into a review. Please note that any comments on modules here are weighted to the positive as it's not my intention to upset anyone or discourage anyone from having a go at this genre. I played them on EE so can't vouch for anything else. You also may well have to change the format of any movies included in the modules as some of them are quite old.
A link to a module's project page on the Vault is also given at the bottom of each review.