RPG ideas for a 5 year old
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  1. #1

    RPG ideas for a 5 year old

    My oldest son is 5 years old and loves to sit at the table when I'm running my D&D game. He wants to have his own book, mini, dice, and character sheet, which I provide but he's not really playing in the game. No one has actually said so, but I think my players get a little annoyed by this sometimes, especially when my son wants to move “his character” during the combats.

    Now, my son seems genuinely interested in playing, which is why I let him “play”, but he does notice that he’s not actually involved.

    So my question is: has anyone found a way to allow a child about my son’s age to “play” in the game without hindering or distracting the game so he doesn’t feel left out?

    Additionally, I have thought about running my son through his own simplified D&D game. If anyone has done something like this for children about 5 years old or so, how have you done it?

    Also, if there has been a thread about this subject already, I apologize.


    Thanks in advance for any and all help!

  2. #2
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    I would suggest taking a "Green Ronin" approach and let him play a little game with you using only a D20.

    Keep things happening. A 5 year old, from what I know will be distracted and loose interest easily, so adapt as well as do a little bit of "leading by the nose" Ie. "You walk into the room, you see an ork, you should attack it!" not "what do you do?" like normal.

    Also, keep things cute and "kiddy". Make somthing like a "Blues Clues" adventure he can play through. Keep combats to a minimum, unless of cource he wants more fighting.

    Allow him to make a few of the "DM desisions". If he wants to say "I walk into the room, and see treasure!" let him find the treasure.

    Thats all I can think of right now realy. I hope it helps a little.

  3. #3
    I've tried doing things like letting them play the familiar, or roll the big d20 for me instead of my rolling. They get bored quickly. I would suggest that you're better off with some one-on-one roleplaying later. Robin Law's Faery's Tale RPG works well for young kids, according to my friend Geoff who has a 6 year old and an 8 year old.

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    In terms of having your son play at the table with the rest of the group, I think that may be more of an issue with the group's tolerance for the distraction than anything else. I love kids and have one of my own. But when my group gets together for our game nights, that is our "guy time" and it's generally understood that the kids are not part of it.

    However, if the group is cool with involving him and you need a simplified ruleset then I can give you a recommendation: Game In A Jar. My 7 year old daughter (some here at ENW know her as "Samantha the Red") designed this game herself (I give a bit of guidance but the core of it is really all hers) and she's run it several times at the NC and DC Game Days. It was built to emulate a vaguely "Harry Potteresque" game setting called Redhurst Academy of Magic that I bought her at GenCon this year.

    Anyway, the rules are very simple and fairly adaptable. Feel free to use it if you like. And if you have any questions then I'm happy to answer them.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthanas View Post
    So my question is: has anyone found a way to allow a child about my son’s age to “play” in the game without hindering or distracting the game so he doesn’t feel left out?
    I'd do a game for just him, that way it's at his speed, and the other players aren't irked if you have to slow down for your son.

    Quote Originally Posted by Panthanas View Post
    Additionally, I have thought about running my son through his own simplified D&D game. If anyone has done something like this for children about 5 years old or so, how have you done it?
    My son Ethan is 4 1/2 and since he was 3 he's been interested in painting minis (I have some old Citadel/GW plastic figures he paints), the dice, the maps, and the game (but in only in concept/theory---his attention span doesn't really hold out for long). As a way to have a little bit more engagement, and some structured remembering to improve the next time, we've "played" some of the Endless Quest books: we map them out as we explore, and he makes the choices (good or ill) as we play. We probably started that when he was ~3 1/2 or so, but we haven't played an EQ book in awhile, since even that was a bit too much for Ethan's attention span, so mostly we paint minis together every 4-8 weeks.

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    There's been threads on this from time to time- I was only able to track down this one

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/story-h...-daughter.html

    In combat situations- feel free to give him an NPC of some kind. It seems as long as you ask what he wants to attack (particularly if they're using a ranged weapon/spell), and have him roll his own dice- things will be fine.

    My own experience was with an 8 yr old, and he caught on well enough to play a full 3.5 session- as long as we handled most of the mechanics.

  7. #7
    From my experience, a precocious six-year-old can learn the rules well enough to play the game, but a child won't "get" a lot of things that adults take for granted, and what makes the game interesting for the adults won't be nearly as interesting for a child.

    By age 10 or so, a precocious kid can play the party's barbarian. A 10-year-old's tactical thinking is shockingly rudimentary, but that's fine for playing a half-orc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rel View Post
    In terms of having your son play at the table with the rest of the group, I think that may be more of an issue with the group's tolerance for the distraction than anything else. I love kids and have one of my own. But when my group gets together for our game nights, that is our "guy time" and it's generally understood that the kids are not part of it.

    However, if the group is cool with involving him and you need a simplified ruleset then I can give you a recommendation: Game In A Jar. My 7 year old daughter (some here at ENW know her as "Samantha the Red") designed this game herself (I give a bit of guidance but the core of it is really all hers) and she's run it several times at the NC and DC Game Days. It was built to emulate a vaguely "Harry Potteresque" game setting called Redhurst Academy of Magic that I bought her at GenCon this year.

    Anyway, the rules are very simple and fairly adaptable. Feel free to use it if you like. And if you have any questions then I'm happy to answer them.
    You should also check out Rel's Samantha the Red story-hour. It's just full of great ideas for running games for kids.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the replies! You all are awesome and I'm positive my son will think so too!

    If anyone else has more to add, please do.

    Thank you all!

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    The key part of running a game like this is patience and a little more DM direction. However, if your son is adding a lot of his own ideas, like the "I find treasure!" sorts of remarks, don't stifle him. It's basically his way of telling you what type of game he wants. My brother and I started playing when I was 10 and he was 7. At that age our "game sessions" were really more about collaborative storytelling than dice. We didn't even have a d20 or know what it was for until a year or so later, when we got the AD&D 2nd ed. PHB and DMG for Christmas. Before that, it was merely my brother telling me how his character reacted to the situations I presented. There were many a late school night as we lay on our bunk beds telling this story until the wee hours.

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