27 April, 2010A.D.:
Dungeons & Dragons for ages 6 and up - To help promote their upcoming novel Monster Slayers, Wizards of the Coast has put together Monster Slayers: The Heroes of Hesiod, a stripped-down version of Dungeons & Dragons that's fast, fun, and playable by adventurers as young as six. Best of all, it's completely free!
The game itself is a very simple version of the D&D
combat rules (so simple that they could have come from any previous
edition), and the adventure that's included doesn't involve a lot of
actual role-playing, but any good Dungeon Master will be able to draw
that out of the players with a little effort. To play, you'll need a
copy of the PDF, pencil and paper, a d20 and d6 (or three d6s if you
don't have any d20s lying around), and some adventurous friends.
The page for the site also briefly mentions the benefits to young people from playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, and even suggests that this may be a good "starter package" to introduce RPGs in a library program (see Terra Libris).
Read more and download the PDF here: www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4dnd/monsterslayers
(Thanks to JJ Lanza for the link.)
22 March, 2010A.D.:
Rotwang! and his daughter's first D&D game - On I
Waste the Buddha With My Crossbow, Dr. Rotwang! tells the
tale of his five-and-a-half year old daughter's first game of Dungeons
It's so great that I'm not going to quote any of it here. You have to
read the whole thing for yourself. I'm just going to say that it's a
perfect example of why it's good to share such a creative and
imaginative hobby with your children.
Read it. Then get your kids together to play some D&D,
or any other RPG that you think they would like. And if you don't have
kids, go get someone else's. (With permission, of course!)
10 September, 2009A.D.:
for Kids at the KORE blog - The electronic
journal of the KORE role-playing game has begun to post
weekly entries on "Villains for Kids." These are descriptions of bad
guys that can be dropped into an adventure game for young people - no
statistics are given, so you can use them with the rule system of your
The series begins with first dastardly fiend, The Tricky Trickster, and
more are promised each week. Kevin, the author, has even been kind
enough to tag the log entries for ease of reference. Just visit www.korpg.com/blog/?tag=villains-for-kids
when you're in need of a good bad guy.
3 September, 2009A.D.:
Practial Guide to the Practical
Guides - I've just completed my report on
the Practical Guides,
an excellent series of books published by the Coastal Wizards. It
includes a mini preview of some of the books in the series, and some
tips on using them in your adventures. You
can read it here, if you are so inclined.
16 July, 2009A.D.:
ORIGINS EXCURSIONS A
I have been back from the 2009 Origins Ludic Entertainment
Convocation (known by most as the Origins Game Fair),
for a couple weeks now, and I've only just recently found the time to
prepare a brief report.
happy to announce that all seven of my Adventures for Young People were
an incredible success! All but two seats were
the convention even began (and both of those were snapped up by my
on Wednesday evening). I did have a couple of no-shows, as
but those were filled each time by generic token holders.
You can read more about the individual adventures in the full Origins
report on the Escapist blog.
always, if you want to get in on the fun next year, be sure to register
early, and don't be too shy to show up with a generic token if an event
21 April, 2009A.D.:
Fear The Boot on
Roleplaying With Kids - Fear the Boot, an
internet radio broadcast that I frequently enjoy, has recently released
an episode about roleplaying with young people. To have a listen for
yourself, tune your internet radio to these
(Please bear in mind that while it is about children, the
Fear the Boot show is not necessarily for children.
Please listen with discretion.)
Adventure Itinerary Announcement -
I have submitted the adventure itinerary
for this year's Origins Ludic Entertainment Convocation (or as it is
more commonly known, the Origins
Game Fair), and I am currently awaiting approval from the
now, here is the tentative schedule - but keep in mind that this
schedule is subject to change. I will post an update to the Dispatch
when I have more information, including when registration will begin.
Remember, these events sell out quickly - in fact, most of last year's
events were sold out two weeks before the date of the convention! So if
you'd like to join us, register as early as possible.
1:00-3:00pm Toon: Supertoon! -
The roleplaying game of cartoon madness can only be improved upon when
you make it the roleplaying game of SUPERHERO cartooon
Save Stalwart City from evil!
THU 3:00-5:00pm Fuzzy Heroes
- The classic
wargame that uses stuffed animals as miniatures. This event will
include roleplaying elements in the game. Bring your own toys if you
like, and we'll stat them up on the spot! (If you do, please try to
arrive a little early to give us more time for adventuring.)
FRI 10:00am-12:00pm Tooth
& Claw - The dinosaur RPG.
Need I say more?
FRI 2:00-4:00pm Faery's Tale
- It just wouldn't be right to not
have a Faery's Tale
adventure this year. This is usually the first event to sell out, so
you have been warned!
SAT 10:00am-12:00pm Toon -
Random Adventure - In honor of the chaotic and impulsive
will generate a random adventure and run it on the
spot! Even the characters will be random! Anything goes!
SAT 2:00-4:00pm Mazes
& Minotaurs - The Old School RPG of
Harryhausenesque adventure! Don't know who Harryhausen is? Go
watch Clash of the
Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, and the Sinbad movies and
get back to me.
SUN 11:00am-1:00pm Monsters
and Other Childish Things - A wonderful RPG about kids
and their monsters. See my previous post to the Dispatch for more
information on this one.
11 February, 2009A.D.:
Monsters and Other Childish
Things - I received a package on the front step of
Awkward Labs this morning: a review copy of Monsters and Other
Childish Things, an adventure game by
Arc Dream Publishing, along with two supplements for the game - Curriculum of Conspiracy
and Dreadful Secrets of
Candlewick Manor. Here is how the game is described, in
their own words:
Welcome to Monsters and
Other Childish Things, a funny, frightening,
action-packed roleplaying game about kids and the people who matter to
them most — their friends, family and loved ones. And their horrifying
Monsters and Other Childish
Things is perfect for new gamers young and old, and for all
gamers who like a little humor with their horror. Players
take the roles of ordinary kids whose best friends are slavering
monstrosities from beyond time and space — and that’s already enough to
get them in all kinds of trouble with parents, school principals,
friends, the Monster Investigation Bureau, mad science teachers,
wannabe wizards, you name it. Can you make it
through a school day without having to explain why your monster ate the
substitute teacher? We’ll soon find out.
I plan to add this game to the Atlas,
and put it through some tests, very soon - but until then, I
wanted to make sure I helped spread the word. Just paging through this
volume and skimming the artwork, setting, and rules, I am already
convinced that we will have a great time with it.
(Educators, take note - my box of goodies included a one-page teacher's
guide that can be downloaded from the Arc
Dream website. And other game publishers, take note -
providing a teacher's guide for your adventure game is a really neat idea!)
7 February, 2009A.D.:
Donahoo Keeps Up the Good Work! -
Our good friend Daniel Donahoo does it again with another post on Wired
Geekdad about adventure games with young people - Setting
Up RPG Groups for Kids
In case you haven't seen his previous missives:
Don't miss them!
29 January, 2009A.D.:
Gnome Stew Gives YP Advice -
The excellent roleplaying blog Gnome Stew (which you should already be
reading regularly for roleplaying advice and ideas) just published D&D
Burgoo: Adventuring for the Young'uns, a list of tips for
& Dragons for young people. Some of the items have
the same general idea as my How to Role
Play With Young People page, but there are some others worth
checking out, too - and none of the advice is exclusive to Dungeons & Dragons.
Two Upcoming RPGs For Young
During some of my recent digital excursions, I have discovered two
upcoming adventure games that seem to be a good fit for playing with
Pilgrims of the Flying Temple appears
to have a similar
style to the popular cartoon series Avatar: the Last Airbender. Here is
how the site describes the game:
Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is
a coming-of-age road trip through a fantasy universe that lightly mixes
Buddhist and Taoist concepts into a wide range of genres, from fairy
tales to space opera. You and your friends play young flying monks sent
on a pilgrimage by the elders of the mysterious temple in the center of
people have a problem that they can’t resolve, they write a letter and
stash it someplace special. Under a statue, in the hollow of a tree,
tied with red ribbon to an albino eagle... wherever seems most
reverent. The letter eventually finds its way to the temple within a
day or two, appearing on the temple’s doorstep. How the letters travel
thousands of miles in a single day isn’t really important.
session, you play these pilgrims as they visit a new world, intervene
on the residents’ problems and attempt to pursue their own personal
dreams in the process.
Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is being published by Evil
Hat Games, who also produced the award-winning Spirit of the Century.
The first public playtests are being held at Dreamation 2009 in late
February and the website should have a major update around then, too.
is a "Drama Diaries" adventure game based on the comic book of the same
name. The official site is a little difficult to view (white
on pink internet paper isn't the best combination), but the
seems to have a lot of promise for those interested in adventures
similar to Sabrina
the Teenage Witch, Harry Potter, and Wizards of Waverly Place:
In the world of Witch Girls
characters have adventures in both the “real” and magical world. They
can fly through the air on brooms, learn to control time and space at
one of the many schools of magic around the world, and even turn people
But everything isn’t
all wands and potions. Being a Witch Girl can be dangerous, and hiding
your power from most of the world isn't as easy as it sounds. Not to
mention the homework they give in Conjuration Class!
Channel M is also planning to release 13 Magazine, a
regular magazine to supplement the game with "new Allies, enemies,
equipment, story hooks, cliques and more... along with comics,
stories and art."
makes this game unique is how it
is made with female players in mind, though male players
discouraged from participating. As the site's FAQ tells us, "...in the
standard game there are no wizards but in your game you can do what you
Girls Adventures is scheduled for release in June of 2009.
18 November, 2008A.D.:
GeekDad Earns the YPAL Seal of
Approval - It has come to my attention that Daniel
Donahoo, a reporter for a publication titled Wired GeekDad,
has been publishing editorials on the benefits of adventuring with
young people. There have been two such missives to date:
Kids to Roleplay is Only Natural is an
excellent introduction, with tips and game suggestions for different
Starter Guide to Roleplaying With Kids
mentions one of my favorite strategy games, Fuzzy
Heroes, and how to "hack" it into an adventure game (though I
believe that by hack, the good Mr. Donahoo means
to alter it, rather than chop it to pieces with
Here's hoping that Mr. Donahoo will continue
in this vein for many more installments!
Christinariot Shows Us How It's Done
- Over at the Kids-RPG
Online Electronic Discussion Forum, the industrious and
enthusiastic Christinariot explains how she ran a superhero adventure
for three young people (ages 2-1/2 to 3-1/2). Of particular interest
are her ideas on keeping her players interested and engaged in the
story. Part one is currently up, and I am eagerly awaiting part two.
9 October, 2008A.D.:
Game designer F. Douglas
Wall is looking for people to playtest his upcoming RPG based on L.
Frank Baum's Oz. Since this is a roleplaying game
that would be of particular interest to many young people, I have
agreed to help him find suitable playtesters. If you would like to
participate, you can contact him at konradthebarbarian
/at/ yahoo /dot/ com.
2 July, 2008A.D.:
It is with great pleasure
that I announce the success of all of the
adventures that were set upon at the 2008 Origins Ludic
Amusement Convocation! A fine group of
adventurepersons volunteered for each, all of them ready to strike out
into unknown (and occasionally very silly) territory.
I will eventually have reports on all of the
adventures on the Origins
2008 Adventure Report page, so please keep checking back. I
also plan to have all of the adventures, complete with characters, in a
PDF, ready-to-run format, so that you can download them and enjoy some
adventure at home! Watch this space for the status of both of these.
Already, I am plotting new courses for
adventure in 2009! I have a few ideas for future adventures, including
- and I may live to regret this - a LARP, or Live Action RolePlaying
game. If you have any suggestions of things that you would like to see
at the next Young Person's Adventure League program, please feel free
to contact me at !
If you enjoyed the
events at Origins, or would like to let the good people at Origins know
how much you appreciate role-playing programs for young people, please
consider contacting them to let them know how you feel. You may contact
Trey Reilly via electronic post at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to mention my (real) name (W.J. Walton) and The
Escapist/Young Person's Adventure League when you do so!
Your friend and Adventure
League chairman, Dr. Awkward, will be hosting a series of excursions at
Ludic Amusement Convocation in Columbus, Ohio
during the last week of June.
Or, in layman's terms - I will be hosting a
series of adventure games for young people at the Origins Game Fair
this summer. If you are planning to attend, please look for me!
For more information on the games I'll be
hosting, visit the Origins
2008 Excursion Agenda page.
The events can fill
quickly, so please register as early as possible - and if you don't get
a chance to play in the game that you wanted to, stop by just to say
"Hello" - I may even be able to arrange some off-the cuff adventures
while I'm there.
See you in Ohio!
13 July, 2007A.D.:
The RPGs for
Kids events that I organized for the Origins Game Fair
were a resounding success! Both events sold out completely, and all
attendants were sturdy, stalwart folk, ready for adventure. A grand
time was had by all!
For the curious who were unable to attend -
I ran one adventure each of TOON
and Faery's Tale.
Both games were attended by young people
and seasoned adventurers (moms and dads) alike. To see a full report on
the adventures, click
Due to the success of these expeditions, I
feel the only proper course of action would be to organize even
more of them next year at Origins 2008, in order to give
more young people the opportunity to participate. I am plotting more
courses even now for expeditions to Meddling Kids, The Zantabulous Zorceror of Zo,
Prince's Kingdom, and TOON and Faery's Tale,
If you happen to be one of the players who
participated, I thank you for making my events something special, and I
hope to see you next summer!
30 May, 2007A.D.:
John H. Kim, captain of
the excellent RPGs
for Kids page, has recently posted a report, complete with
photographs, of a recent adventure he helmed for a young lady (and
several of her friends) at her 11th birthday party. Visit Capt.
Kim's on-line paperless journal to find out more!
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