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Want to Play a Light RPG with Your Kids?

Posted By Martin Ralya On January 7, 2010 @ 1:47 am In Gnome Rodeo | 11 Comments

Newbie DM, author of the killer blog of the same name, Newbie DM, emailed me about his latest project: an ultra-light mini-RPG geared towards 4- and 5-year-olds.

You can read about his system and download the free three-page PDF on his blog. The PDF includes character sheets.

The system itself is essentially mechanics for combat that turn it into a fun counting exercise for kids — you grab some minis, a dungeon tile or three, and improvise a story. If you’re not good at improvising stories for your kids, you’re probably reading the wrong blog…

I have a 10-month-old, and my wife and I are both creative people; I’d say there’s a better than average chance our daughter will want to try RPGs. When she’s ready for a full-fledged system, I’ll be introducing her to Mouse Guard (read my review to see why) — but before she reaches that point, something like Newbie’s game would be perfect.

Thanks for sharing this with the GMing community, Newbie!

So, Gnome Stew Readers…

Do you run games for your kids? What system do you use? What have you learned about how to make gaming fun for them?

About  Martin Ralya

A father, husband, writer, small-press publisher, former RPG industry freelancer, and lifelong geek, Martin has been gaming since 1987 and GMing since 1989. He lives in Utah with his amazing wife Alysia and their awesome daughter Lark in a house full of books and games.




11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "Want to Play a Light RPG with Your Kids?"

#1 Comment By jonathan On January 7, 2010 @ 7:57 am

NebieDM’s system is great for the older kids who might be not quite ready for 4E – but for the little ones, I might also suggest playing Faery Tales. It’s in the same theme as Mouse Gaurd, only light enough even for 1st graders. FT is a very rules light, storytelling RPG for kids that focuses on problem solving and story development more so than killing things. I recently reviewed it over at The Core Mechanic. It’s very rules light storytelling game that is suitable for kids as young as Age 6. I’ve just started a game with my oldest son (about to be 6) and so far it’s going very smooth. Here’s a link for people who might be interested:

http://www.thecoremechanic.com/2009/12/faerys-tale-rpg-you-can-play-with-your.html

#2 Comment By Jagyr Ebonwood On January 7, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

Damnation. This article arrived in my inbox approximately 15 minutes after MediaFire went down for maintenace…for the next 14.5 hours.
Looks like I’m not getting this PDF until tomorrow.

#3 Comment By newbiedm On January 7, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

It looks like Mediafire is down. I have a copy on my PC at home, unfortunately I’m at work until later tonight… I’ll try to make a copy available to Martin before that.

Time to get on twitter and ask someone for help!

PS: Jonathan, I’m very interested in your write ups. Looking forward to it. Anything that gets kids into the hobby and away from video games is a+ in my book.

#4 Comment By newbiedm On January 7, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

#5 Comment By Martin Ralya On January 7, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

I’ve updated the PDF link in the article — thanks, newbiedm!

#6 Comment By newbiedm On January 7, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

That link is wrong Martin, if you go to my article now it is corrected. Mess fixed.

#7 Comment By newbiedm On January 7, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

Here is a final, corrected direct link.

http://newbiedm.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/newbiedmrpgkids1.pdf

I am so sorry for this mess tonight, I apologize.

#8 Comment By Martin Ralya On January 8, 2010 @ 7:05 am

It’s now been up-updated. ;-)

#9 Comment By Eric Wilde On January 8, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

I bought Faery’s Tale Deluxe prior to the birth of my twin girls. They’re 19 months now, so it was way before we could use it. The furthest we’ve gotten thus far is making up stories about Elmo eating pancakes on a Sunday morning. In a few years if they show interest, then we may be able to tell fairy stories together. They definitely (without me even trying to encourage) are interested in fairies like Tinkerbell.

Also, I’m just about to start a D&D session in a week or two with my nephews (4 & 8.) The eight year old is definitely ready and reading fantasy novels already. We all think the four year old is ready for D&D as well. The four year old plays tactical wargames with aplomb and definitely prefers stories with orc fighting. So we’re going with D&D instead of Faery’s Tale.

#10 Comment By Seurat On January 8, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

I started 2 of my kids (2 boys currently ages 10yrs and 8yrs) on D&D 2nd Edition by way of me running characters and monsters but sort of telling a story. I did this when my middle son was just under 2 yrs old and my oldest son was about 4. One of the characters was an elf by the name of Dantethalius but we shortened the name to Dante… and that is what stuck for the name of the game. The boys would ask me “dad, could you tell us more of the Dante story?”

To this day “The Dante Story” is our code for D&D. Now they play characters of their own in both 3.5 and 4e. It was a great way to introduce them to it.

Interestingly enough, they both seem to like the 4e better than the 3.5 because it seems easier for them to follow what their characters can do… at least at the lower levels. In both versions we have kept play to pretty low levels (1st – 5th) again to reduce the complexity. Overall they really enjoy it when we get a chance to play.

#11 Comment By Eric Wilde On January 9, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

@Seurat – I love the way you started with story telling. My Dad never liked fantasy; but, he made up stories with us when we were wee tykes, my brother and I. The girls seem to like books more when we make up a story to go with the book we’re “reading”. So story telling will be there from day 1.


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