What can you do when you have no players waiting for you to blow their minds with a great story? Well, I looked to my kids one night after a bedtime story request. My trouble was that I find reading my kids bedtime stories to be more of a tedious chore, so I decided to stick to what I enjoy and pulled out a child-friendly RPG. Getting kids into roleplaying games can be tricky, the following are my choices of systems that I think are great roleplaying games to play with kids.
1) Tails Of Equestria
Created by one of the writers of the My Little Pony TV show, this book contains the core rules and an adventure to get you started. All you need are character sheets, dice and some tokens to reward good roleplaying. The book takes you step by step through the very easy to read rules and character creation, with the addition of a starter adventure that would take two perhaps even three sessions.
As it comes from an existing universe of characters and locations, there are lots of possibilities to grasp your young ones’ imagination, aided by a TV show that you can use as an inspiration source.
2) FATE Accelerated
This version works better than Core FATE for kids, as the Approach system is far easier for younger kids to understand, compared to using a list of skills. Asking a child “what does your character do?” followed by “how does s/he do that?” then having them roll the dice and get excited about the result is very rewarding.
There’s no setting too far for this generic system to work with: the sky, or underdark, or goblin mines, or starship… you get the point. My only advice is to get some ideas about a good point economy before just jumping in.
3) Amazing Tales
Fairly new to the market, I picked this up as soon as I found out about it. It’s very simple and you can be running a game with your kids in around 10 minutes after opening the front cover. The character creation is fun and simple. You just need a name, picture, and things they are good at and your kid is ready to get adventuring.
With only three parts to character creation kids should easily be able to concentrate long enough to get the job done, just fill out the super simple character sheet, of which there are a few designs (either text only or picture boxes to explain your skills), and you’re on your way. The rulebook comes with three child friendly settings for you to jump in feet first.
4) Lasers and Feelings
This is a free, one page rule set that makes it simple to quickly roll up an entire game using only 3d6, although it is better with a few more dice. Within just a few steps and the provided tables you can roll up a character and the GM can quickly throw together a session. If you scout online you may even find homebrew variations including settings like Mouseguard.
With only a single page of rules, Lasers Feeling is the simplest game to run: name your character, pick a number between two and five (inclusive), then roll up an adventure on the tables.
Whatever game you choose from this list or elsewhere, make sure you keep in mind that children can have short attention spans which can lead to them not playing. This is fine, just call a break and come back another time. Including your child’s ideas into the game can prolong their enjoyment of it and focus, so be flexible and remember that if they enjoy playing now, you can run games for them and their friends creating the next generation of roleplayers. Let’s keep this great hobby alive!
Ross Reid is a roleplay enthusiast who enjoys creating and running campaigns both as GM and player, he is currently in the middle of a one year CoC campaign with his original character still breathing, and has a preference toward the FATE games. He is currently working on a 24 hour roleplay marathon split over three days to raise money for a children's hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Picture Reference: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/222950/Amazing-Tales-complete-kids-RPG
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.