I’ve seen a lot of discussions on how to introduce children to table-top RPGs, or asking if there are any games out there that children could be involved in. There is a lot of concern about potential violence in the games, and for some parents the morals behind them. I understand that some families of a religious background may worry that RPGs are unsuitable for their children due to conflict of beliefs and such. It is a controversial subject that I have looked into and this article will suggest 4 RPGs to try. There is no mention of any God, or if there is it can be easily removed for those who do not wish to have that aspect. The range I have looked at is appropriate for children aged about 4- 8 years, as that seemed to be the most discussed.
The Big Night (May Contain Monkeys)
Can range between $5 – $10 depending on if purchasing as a PDF or book, and where you purchase it.
An RPG designed for very young children, it is a very simple game where the aim is to tell a story about helping the Big Guy deliver presents. It is a 100 page book that is fully illustrated and includes hand puppets to cut and colour. The hand puppets are the children’s characters, all decisions are recommended to be made through “rock, paper, scissors” and there is no dying. How much depth you put into the RPG side is entirely up to the parent or the child. One mission that has been suggested is: A toy robot goes berserk for ice cream. Pretty simple and kind of fun.
Amazing Monkey Adventures (Memento Mori Theatricks)
A very noisy game about a group of adventurous monkeys that escape from the zoo. The aim of the game is to have lots of monkey-style fun before the zookeeper notices you’re missing. This RPG involves pen, paper, and a bag of nuts (this can be substitute for anything small). Players get to write their monkey name, say what they look like and what they are like personality wise. It is a small step up from hand puppets and starts the character creation process. This game is also good for encouraging children with their numbers and recognizing if the numbers are lower, higher or the same as the magic monkey number. However, there is the Mad Monkey Challenge which involves shouting and pulling funny faces. I would suggest that this game could be adapted to children as young as 4 or 5 depending on how good they are with their numbers.
Faery’s Tale (Firefly Game)
$10 for PDF. A hard copy is available for a range of prices.
An RPG that could easily spark a child’s imagination as they play a faery creature in the Enchanted Forest of Brightwood in the Land of Fairy Tales. This game is designed for children 6+ years old and within it there are specific boxes that give tips to those playing with children. It is a simple system with a narrative approach and uses a six-sided die. Tokens can be used too. Some of these rules could be transferred into a live action roleplay element and that means the game could be expanded to include the outdoors. Children could really get into it by making fairy wings and pretending the local park or the garden is the Enchanted Forest
Broomstix: The Harry Potter RPG (Memento Mori Theatricks)
In this RPG characters start as a First Year Hogwarts students from the famous Harry Potter books. They get their own character sheet where they can spend points to define certain aspects of their character. I would say this game is more for 8+ years, but could be adapted for younger. There is no sorting hat, so no arguments about which house they are in as they get to choose. It is a simple 16 page PDF file that has basic rules and uses twenty sided dice. This is another step up from using six sided dice and their characters have more depth to them. They even get a chance to play Quidditch! To make it more fun, wands, wizard hats and Harry Potter fancy dress could be incorporated. This would be a fun aspect for children who are a bit too young to do character sheets. Also, it gives you a chance to read Harry Potter with your children or watch the films.
There are a lot more games out that that children could play; however, these are the main four that stood out to me that would not raise any concerns or be controversial. These games include elements that are more appealing to children (dress up, make things, or be noisy) but ease them into basic table-top roleplaying.