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Author Topic: Prydain, the Hobbit, Pendragon ... Fun for Kids!  (Read 34586 times)
DannyK
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« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2004, 05:37:19 PM »

Just to add fuel to the fire -- I've got my own 7 year old, and he's been peeking over my shoulder when I read Nobilis.  "Dad -- what are Miracle Points?"

For the heck of it (and after some nagging), we went through character creation.  He decided to be the Power of Clouds.  

It was absolutely no problem for him to understand the concepts of Aspect, Domain, and Realm; Spirit was harder to explain, but when he got it, he immediately maxed out in that stat.  

I haven't tried running "Nobilis Jr." yet, but I'm looking forward to it.  We're going to read Howard Fast's Robin Hood soon, so then maybe we can try the "pervy Prince Valiant" that was mentioned above.

DannyK
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lumpley
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« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2004, 10:13:57 AM »

Again with the mis-sized trolls!  This time they're two Rock Trolls taller than trees.  (Rock Trolls are normally just a bit bigger than humans.)  Our knights Woodthorn and Cauldron-born are sleeping, but enormous booming footsteps and a roaring flame - a whole tree one of the trolls is carrying for a torch - wake them.

The smell of little woodland people like our knights makes one of the trolls sneeze.  Sebastian's knight Woodthorn shapeshifts himself into a breeze to escape, but (failing the roll) when the troll tries to sniff him out, he gets sucked into the troll's gargantuan nostril!  There when he talks, the troll thinks it's his own brain talking to him, which turns naturally into high comedy.  High comedy for a 7-year-old means snot and punching.

The trolls have one of Bard of Laketown's lieutenants in a sack, and while Woodthorn keeps the two trolls punching and insulting each other by masquerading as one troll's inner voice, Cauldron-born climbs up and cuts the sack open and helps the lieutenant escape.  In the end, the wizard behind all this troll size mayhem shows up (his first appearance onscreen).  He figures that the trolls' captive escaped somewhere along the way, so he leads the trolls back the way they came to look for her.  (Woodthorn at last let himself be sneezed out, in the requisite great huge glob of troll booger.)

Play was much zingier!  At the beginning of the session I introduced a new mechanic: the Trouble Map, which I scavenged from a Robin Hood game I was working on a bit back.  (I'll link to it sometime.)

The Trouble Map
On one card, write "Trouble Map part 1."  Draw four boxes on it, and label them in big letters: "Woodthorn's In Trouble!" "Cauldron-born's In Trouble!" "Squeaker's In Trouble!" "Bard & Laketown are In Trouble!"

On a second card, write "Trouble Map part 2."  Draw four boxes on it too, and label them: "The Goblins Cause Trouble!" "The Wizard Causes Trouble!" "The Trolls Cause Trouble!" "The Dragon Causes Trouble!"

Every time the knights accomplish something (crossing the lake, rescuing Sqeaker from the miniaturized Forest Trolls, rescuing Bard's lieutenant), give each player a stone.  The players have to put their stones in the boxes, whichever they like.  (They'll also be able to add new boxes, but we haven't talked about that yet.)

I started the session by having both kids place two stones each, for their two previous accomplishments.  They put 'em in the Goblins, the Wizard, the Trolls, and the Dragon.

Whenever you the GM want to, pull a stone off the Trouble Map and make something bad happen, according to which box you pulled the stone out of.  "Make something bad happen" means: launch a scene, or add a complication to the scene you're in.  For instance, if Sebastian puts a stone in "Woodthorn's In Trouble," I can later pull it out again to open a scene with Woodthorn being captured by trolls, or whatever I like.

In play, I pulled a stone out of "The Trolls Cause Trouble" to launch the scene with the giant trolls, and then I pulled a stone out of "The Wizard Causes Trouble" to bring the wizard into the scene.

So that shares out the story duties well.  There's a connection now between what the kids want from the game and what I give them, instead of me just guessing.  It's a lot the kind of zing I was missing - presuming that it continues to go well and works in future play and etc.

---

Doyce: that sounds like Pendragon!  I'm just going with: at the start of every session, add a die to any one thing on your character sheet.  I don't mind if the paired traits increase in sum.  So far the kids've been prioritizing their magic: Woodthorn's Shapeshifting and Cauldron-born's Invisibility.

I think it's so funny that Elliot named his knight "Cauldron-born"!

-Vincent
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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2004, 11:19:11 AM »

Vincent, you should run this at GenCon.  There's a significant lack of suitable RPG opportunities for the tots.  And I wonder how many folks would actually buy a game that was designed to be cool for kids...you might even make some money.

I ended up having to ratchet down the intensity of our game.  Garrett was upset at being unable to save the babies and just left in frustration-borne faux indifference.  

Our second session ran pretty boring until we got to scene near the upper right corner of the page in a haunted woods.  He was attacked by vine zombies which were slow and defeatable, but too numerous to conquor.  I gave him a couple opportunities to run away, but he just couldn't seem to leave the battle unwon.  They subdued him and tied him against the great cedar -- right in front of the bone pit where their undead god slept.  He started to clue in as the surface of the bone pit started shaking and rippling.  By the time the giant skeleton assembled from various and sundry human and animal bits (like some of our LEGO Bionicle monsters), he was prepared with an action.  But boy was it a desperate attempt.  He activated one of his magic words, Jump again, and rolled some crazily effective dice.  He sprang into the treetops and ran tree to tree to get away.  The undead god was mega-pissed and broke apart many of his minions in the ensuing tantrum.

We quit once he was away and he hasn't asked about playing again.  I'm not sure what that means.

Chris
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DannyK
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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2004, 02:23:03 PM »

Those are very intense images for a imaginative child; perhaps they are past his comfort level.  I say this because I know my son gets very wary of reading or watching things that he thinks might give him nightmares.  Perhaps he was taken aback at how intense the things you thought up together could be.  

(Edit: this is not a criticism -- those are some very effective, very creepy images! )

 I figured that I'd either keep combat minimal and non-graphic ("so the King of Clouds knocks out all the guards and ties them up.  What then?") or cartoonish.  

Speaking of cartoonishness, my son is very fond of the Captain Underpants stories -- if someone could make a lite ruleset that would let him take on the role of one of the protagonists, he'd love that.  

DannyK
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lumpley
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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2004, 02:31:44 PM »

DannyK!  I've been working feverishly for long nights at a stretch trying to figure out how to make Flip-O-Rama (TM) into a resolution mechanic!

No luck yet.

-Vincent
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MPOSullivan
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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2004, 01:05:29 AM »

Vincent, from the way you described everything i totally imagine your kids as the two Darling boys from Peter Pan, british accents and everything.  And Peter Pan is my all-time favourite book, so i'm saying you've got rad kids.  And the same with you and your child Chris.  It's nice to see gamers pulling their kids into the scene.  

this totally gives me a lot of happy.  i want to have kids have them play in my games now.

then again, the games i've made i've described loosely to my gamers as "Teenage Vampires that are like the X-Men", "Reservoir Dogs, the Game" and "The Prisoner on Crystal Meth and with a Latex fetish".  i don't think my games are good for minors.  ;-)
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Michael P. O'Sullivan
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Criminal Element
Desperate People, Desperate Deeds
available at Fullmotor Productions
Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2004, 03:10:03 AM »

Quote from: Zathreyel
then again, the games i've made i've described loosely to my gamers as "Teenage Vampires that are like the X-Men", "Reservoir Dogs, the Game" and "The Prisoner on Crystal Meth and with a Latex fetish".  i don't think my games are good for minors.  ;-)


We're generally over-the-top liberal parents.  My boy is comfortable with sex and cinematic violence.  cut to a little story...

He was seven when the LOTR movie came out and we all went.  He loved it.  But when the lights came up afterward, this 40-something lady came over and asked G if he liked it.  He nodded.  Then she asked didn't he think it was too violent?  He turned to her in wide-eyed earnest and said, "it wasn't violent enough."  I think he was going to compare it to the book, but she got this sour expression on her face and backed away quickly.  It was too funny (funier in person than in retelling).

back to topic... He likes Aliens, but my wife has her foot down on Reservoir Dogs.  And I guess I agree.  My stance is to steer him away from some movie until he seems ready.  I'm not sure I see a problem with your other source matirial (so long as you don't have to personally enjoy crystal meth and latex to dig the games)...but it may just be me.  I'm much more troubled by the overwhelmingly juvenile portrayal of sexuality than the commonality of violence.

And I'm interested in how these topics relate to kid-based RPGs.  I keep thinking simple mechanics, but not plots are the Thing.

Chris
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MPOSullivan
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« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2004, 03:40:00 AM »

i have tried making a kid's game, one that allowed players to create their own fairy tale characters in a fluid, dreamlike environment.  it seemed to work fairly well, though i never got the opportunity to run it for my target audience, the five to nine year old bracket.  When i did run it though, i did get some great characters.  One player created a young adventurer that could soar through the air, but had a curse levied upon him that his feet could never touch solid ground.  Another played Udo, King of the Mushroom People, who was, in actuallity, a one and a half foot tall mushroom who wore a crown and weilded a great sword even though he had no arms or hands with which to hold the blade.  

i found that having a system that was fluid and allowed players to create any various thing that popped into their head was the most important thing and, when teamed with simplicity, allowed for the best kind of gaming from younger players.  the system i used for the game above was, as always when it comes to me, card-based and had little in the way of statistics.  instead, players used a couple of lines of descriptions, boiked them down into a couple of assets and abilities, and we were off and running.  

the games i mentioned above i definetly was not suggesting for play by younger people out-right, i was just mentioning that i think my games lean towards concepts in play that are a bit more "adult" in nature.  The "teenage vampires" one is called INTHEBLOOD and it's all about being a teenager and going through changes and dealing with sex and sexuality, and tossing the fact that you are a vampire into that mix, basically using the vampire as a metaphor for change and growth and childhood rather than aging and death.  The others are a crime RPG and a weird sci-fi, greek epic melange that plays alot with identity and a little bit with gender theory.  No Crystal Meth or Latex required, i swear.  ;-)

but, along those lines of violence and "adult" concepts, kids generally have a much higher tolerance when it comes to violence than most adults expect, at least when it comes to entertainment culture.  I think that this is mainly because they understand that it isn't real and it simply makes things more, i don't know, vibrant and such?  younger people don't yet have a grasp of full human emotional ranges and, as such, grab onto plot lines more easily when things are shown and not implied.  thus, kids tend to like action movies more than romance movies.  not because the romance movie is "mushy and gross" (well, maybe a little... ), but because the action movie communicates in broader, and much more visual strokes.  they understand visually that, for these characters, there's a lot on the line.
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Michael P. O'Sullivan
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Criminal Element
Desperate People, Desperate Deeds
available at Fullmotor Productions
Doyce
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« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2004, 09:57:49 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Doyce: that sounds like Pendragon!


Which is funny, since I've never read it -- funnier still since that's what your son was asking about to begin with.

Pervy Prince Valiant meets Pervy Pendragon... assuming you've ever read either!  Stand by for Adventure!
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--
Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
RaconteurX
Member

Posts: 262


« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2004, 08:42:15 PM »

Quote from: Doyce
Pervy Prince Valiant meets Pervy Pendragon... Stand by for Adventure!


Sounds like HeroQuest to me. :)
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