Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Question: how early have you introduced kids to roleplaying?

Hello all. So, the question of the day is: how early have you introduced kids to roleplaying? I ask because I've started talking more and more to my kids, ages five and seven, about the hobby. They've been asking about it more as they've gotten older: "Dad, what do you do when you go to 'game night'? What game are you playing?"
So, I've been considering an attempt to sit down with them with one of the Basic D&D sets, probably Mentzer's Red Box rules. I've thought about trying to explain the game to them, help them create some characters, and maybe run a short session or two. I'm expecting to do a lot of hand-holding throughout the process, given their ages.
I believe the Basic D&D sets are recommended for ages 10 and up. But I think I can at least make an attempt to show them the rudiments of the game. What do you think? If you've tried to roleplay with kids younger than the recommended age for the RPG, please let me know your experiences. Thanks!


  1. I just happened to run an almost-5 year old last Sunday, my youngest daughter. We're still trying to schedule a game for the older children, and we'd been talking about it enough she also wanted to play the "princess game" (I hacked up Beyond The Walls' playbooks to fit ACKS/BX, and they (her, her older sister) rolled Nobleman's Wild Daughters))

    It was fun :) They (her, her sister) had gone to the trouble of drawing characters, so I made little paper minis, and some monsters/NPCs.

    * She took over the NPC minis for a while, essentially continuing their actions in the background after I'd moved on.

    * She demanded a random encounter at one point, grabbing an extra dice and knocking her mini over, saying a monster had jumped on her.

    * She tried to have her PC walk back to the surface in the middle of a fight to "check the door", as she put it. I let her run all the way there and back as her turn that round.

    * She rolled 3 natural 20s, out of maybe 10 rolls the whole session.

    What I'd say is:

    Basic is a good choice; give them only a d20 and their damage dice. They'll know their numbers but not the shape of the dice==some type; I would prompt her with "Roll the d20 - the Big Dice" or "Roll the d6 - the Small Dice".

    Be prepared to break some expectations of space/time.

    Be prepared for a lot of back and forth on what's going on, to whom, and where. She was trying to out-DM me half the night :)

    1. Next time a player shakes in fear or whines about a random encounter, I can tell them that there's a 5 year-old girl braver than them who DEMANDS needless combat and mayhem! >:D No but seriously, that was adorable. ^^

    2. I have Beyond the Wall as well, it's really cool. BUT, there's that nostalgic fool in me that relishes the thought of using the actual D&D products to introduce the kids to the hobby...you know??

    3. Well, sure. And, honestly, the <5 year old would have been just as bored with 3d6 in order as she was with my hacked up BTW - she walked off at one point to draw her own village without her sister's input. (and the playbooks are as much as we did with BTW, it's all BX/ACKS after that in the actual game)

      I would second Dagger as well.

  2. What about using "Dagger?" It's pretty much Basic specifically made for that age range and there is a free test copy of the rules on Drive Thru.

    1. Thanks for reminding me about Dagger. I had totally forgotten about it.

  3. Hero Kids was made for exactly what you're talking about:


  4. My son had seen my minis and stuff. When he was about 6, I was painting some minis and I said to him, "Did you know these are for a game?" His eyes lit up like roman candles. He simply had not known that.

    We played a simple combat or two, with greatly simplified rules. You could barely call them rules. He wanted to play again that evening. We did. He wanted to play again the next morning. We did. He wanted to play again that afternoon...

    From there, I just kept building a little bit at a time on what was added: maps/places - interacting with NPC's - mysteries to figure out...

    Now he plays in a group with his girlfriend. He's 14.