No, there’s no punchline coming, and to be honest there wasn’t a bar but there was a fighter, wizard, and bard involved – played by my three children. That’s right the next generation of my clan has started their journey into role-playing games and it was both a high point and a low point so I thought I would share some of what I learned.
Remember your audience
A pair of ten year olds (yes I have twins) and a soon to be twelve year old, is not the same audience that most of us game with. It’s important that when you game with kids that you tone things done in some areas and pump it up in other areas. For my kids they really liked the dice rolling (big surprise) so I tried to give them lots of opportunities to roll. They also seem to understand the whole role-playing aspect which I hope continues as they’ll enjoy the game more (IMHO).
Divide and conquer
Note to self, never, never, never, have all three create their characters at the same time again. I wanted to have the kids create their characters, to give them a sense of ownership and to introduce them to some of the mechanics that would be used later in the game. Good idea on paper, bad execution wise. After rolling stats things bogged down and while we managed to cover the basics attention spans were tested. In the future I’ll plan on some time with each of them to build characters and to flesh the current ones out.
Water down the rules
After looking at some of the various options out there I decided that we would jump in at the deep end of the pool and go with Pathfinder, my group’s RPG of choice. What I didn’t do was go through all the skill decisions, feat selections, spell selections, you get the point. I would give the kids some options and they would choose from them or in some cases I selected an item for them and showed them where to place it on their sheet. The did all the number work, I just helped supply them in the right spots.
Timing is everything.
Or rather the amount of time is everything. The session, while short for an adult group was a bit on the long side for the kids. Our next session will be a little shorter and have a lot more for them to do – dice rolling in particular. The boys have asked about the game a lot over the years so I know there’s more sessions coming, so I plan to keep it to about an hour and keep the action flowing.
It will be interesting to see how things continue and if they stick with it, which I hope they do. Role-playing games are a good way of building problem solving, math, and reading skills as well as build imaginative thinking all good traits that will serve anyone as they grow older.
Besides, they might actually want to hang out with “the old man” as they get older as well.
May your dice roll well.