Adapting RPGs For Young Kids

My son has started taking an interest in the fantasy genre now that he’s watched the first two Lord of the Rings films and plays HeroQuest with us. The other day, he woke me up at 6am on a school day to play his version of HeroQuest called “HeroQuest 100” and there were quite a few house rules built into it. Mind you, he was totally making them up as he went, but he really dove head first into his first GM experience. Which is why I want to run some D&D for him. Just not with the rules as written.

He’s only 5 years old, so even a d20 + modifier can be a bit much right now and I’m concerned about the latency as he tries to count it out. Yet because he’s seen all these D&D books and boxed sets in my office, I know he’ll be psyched to play some version of “Daddy’s games.” Which is why I’m thinking of hacking it with a Forbidden Lands approach to a dice pool. Roll a bunch of d6s, every 6 is a success, push for more with 1 creating complications.

Anyone else here tried running RPGs for very young kids before? Like, 5-6 years old.

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Yep - ran D&D for AJ and Ilana when they were 5 and 6. They told me what they wanted to do, I then gave them a target number on a d20 and they rolled and we figured out what happened.

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Did you manage their characters for them? Like, kept their character sheets and wrote things down for them? Or did you just hand wave all those fiddly bits?

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You can do all the math for them - set the target as monster’s AC minus attacker modifier (which the DM knows.) Roll d20 to overcome target (go ahead and do Advantage, which they will really enjoy…). You could also convert monster saving throws (and add defense rolls) to be player-facing as well (again, just meet target number.)

Just a d20 and their damage dice (GM can add damage mod behind the screen.)

I ran a different game with my grandkids, using d6 dice pools and counting 6s.
https://the-forsite-irregulars.obsidianportal.com/adventure-log/we-be-goblins

Have fun!

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I bought the "Amazing Tales "https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/222950/Amazing-Tales-complete-kids-RPG
for my girl who was 7 last year, and she really enjoyed those. We have had space adventures, fantasy, and even a pirate adventure. Really fun to see them “play pretend.”

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Just thinking about it… I should try using the Pip System or else Eloy will probably fire me. :wink:

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I gave them Red Box style sheets and ask them what item they were using to do whatever action - having them review their list of gear and such. And help them make notes on treasure there,

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This system is genius! I think I need to throw the price of a beer at this creator, simply in thanks for such a smart approach. I should try it with my 6-year-old. This system cleverly anticipates how children, above all, want to have mastery over the entire story (something all the other “kid rpgs” I have seem to overlook) while still gamifying it with die rolls. I expect my child will balk a couple times at “failing,” but hopefully he learns, when things only “get worse” and are overcome with a new approach and a new die roll, that this simply is one of the rules of storytelling.

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Started with Rory’s Story Cubes with my son at age 4-7, just take turns defining elements to make a story, much more basic make believe stuff, but you can choose to set your shared story in Greyhawk, Harry Potter, wherever.

Tried Dungeon World a few times, but just the core rules, he wanted to play a Leopard and ran around rescuing other animals, which is not standard dungeon bashing but he had fun.

Later we tried Rapid & Righteous (1 page fast and furious based game by Grant Howitt) and it worked fine since my boy was super keen on those movies.

Main things that came up was 1-if its a 1 player game then there is far less interaction, so you have to set the scene more and roleplay npcs to give the story flavor. 2-kids way SHORT attention spans, it needs to stay interesting and after 40 mins you are lucky to retain their interest, so do short sessions.
3-We found it easier setting things in an existing world eg Fast’n’Furious universe or Harry Potter universe because the genre does the heavily lifting and the kids can base ideas on the range of stuff they have already seen.

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It is fun, they love rolling the dice. And even on the 1 in 10 chance they fail, I would say something like. Your cannon did not fire because you found out the monkey took the fuse, grab it and try again. And they tell the story you just have to make sure it does not get too far into fart territory.

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Glad to hear this. I bought it when we were planning on having kids, looking forward to running it for them.

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