PDA

View Full Version : What's the youngest age you've seen play D&D?



ChaunceyK
11-21-2008, 03:42 PM
I believe I was 14 or 15 when I started playing with my best friend & his brother, which would put his brother at 12 or 13 at the time. He played it reasonably well.

Biggest reason I ask (aside from curiosity) is because my daughter wants to play. She'll be 12 in January. While I don't think she can handle 4e (nor would I expect my group to let her in at her age), she does like the idea of magic & monsters & the different fantasy races & classes. I'm going to start dm'ing her with the old solo adventures Lathan's Gold & Ghost of Lion Castle. I think the older, simpler rules will be better suited for her.

Also, does anyone know of a "junior edition" rpg that's got simple rules for younger kids like my daughter?

Webhead
11-21-2008, 04:19 PM
I was running frequent D&D and Star Wars adventures for my brother and his friends starting when he was about 7 years old. Most of the other kids that were from 7 to 12 at the time. They did surprisingly well and we had lots of fun, though the games were probably much less "focused" around a longer story than just having exciting adventures.

Regarding games that might be good for younger players, here's a list of my suggestions, some I've played, others I've just heard about:

1. The Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo: A game by Atomic Sock Monkey Press that is about fairy tales (think Grimm's fairy tales and "Mother Goose" type stories). The players are characters in a magical land full of strange and goofy characters and have zany adventures.

2. Faery's Tale: I've heard that this is an excellent game for younger gamers. The players play faery creatures who live in a magical forest and who foil dark faery plots, rescue youngsters from giants, overthrow sorcerous tyrants, awaken princesses from their enchanted slumber, watch over faery godchildren, and have many other amazing adventures, happily ever after.

3. The Princes' Kingdom: Play a group of brothers and sisters, all princes and princesses of a kingdom of islands, trying to right wrongs and find adventure.

4. Toon: Published by Steve Jackson Games. The players play cartoon characters remeniscent of a Looney Tunes cartoon. Characters just have a zany time slapping each other around and getting into trouble. In Toon, your character never dies, he/she just "falls down" and gets right back up again in the next scene.

5. Shadows: A game where the players play young children and their shadows that have minds of their own and try to get the kid into trouble.

MortonStromgal
11-21-2008, 04:46 PM
What Webhead said & Changeling the Dreaming. GURPS if you stick to the light and add stuff as needed works well to. The main problem is a good chunk of your simpler systems have more adult settings (WFRP for one)

drewshi
11-21-2008, 05:11 PM
I started playing Basic Dungeons & Dragons in the fourth grade. My son Eddie is in the second and has started playing the Basic set.

Flashman
11-21-2008, 06:01 PM
I've tried to DM Keep on the Shadowfell for my 8 and 10 year old boys. The 10 year old can kind of handle it, but not the 8 year old. The main problem is the amount of time it takes to accomplish anything. I think at 12 and 10 it would be more do-able.

Kalanth
11-21-2008, 07:25 PM
The first time I ever played I was 6 years old. Haven't looked back since, honestly. Now that my daughter is turning 4 she has begun to show interest in the hobbie as well. A couple more years and maybe it will be time to start a campaign with her... :)

1958Fury
11-21-2008, 07:38 PM
A friend of mine used to play it in the 3rd or 4th grade... Somewhere around there, anyway; I think we would have been around 10 at the time. I used to DM for him, sort of, over the phone. I had a copy of the AD&D Monster Manual, but I didn't know any of the rules, or what any of the monster stats meant. I'd use to the MM to populate mazes I'd draw, then I'd talk him through them. He'd do all the dice rolls on his end. For all I know he might have been cheating, but I do remember every once in a while he'd ask me to read off the stats of whatever he was fighting so he could do the math.

I've still got some of the mazes, and they're hilarious now. Odd mixes of monsters of every level, secret passages in every wall... and now that I look at it, he had to be fudging a few dice rolls, there's no way anybody could fight through all this solo.

Maelstrom
11-21-2008, 09:13 PM
My son was 4 when we started holding simple sessions. He still begs me to play on occasion.

Of course its no more than very basic adventures with tiles and D&D minis, but he knows what goblins are, magic missile wands (zappers), beholders, dragons, traps, rouges, and clerics are. Still rough around the edges, he calls Warforged robots, and at one point had his characters flee the dungeon when a particularly nasty looking monster that was holding villiagers hostage. It took a bit of coaxing for him to finally face the bad dude down.

I never suggested we play, it's always been at his insistance.

mrken
11-21-2008, 10:00 PM
When my friend Rick and I started a group 14 years ago our sons were 4. While we sat at the dining room table our kids would set out in the living room and play ďDnDĒ. They used the knight action figures and would run parallel games. Six years later they were using all the core books just like their parents. In fact they knew the rules better than I did. They have memorized them and the new editions as well.

I would say the two boys were at an average adult understanding of the rules by about 7 or 8. Both our daughters tended to use the game as a social encounter and would chat, until this year. My daughter plays now and is able for the most part to pay attention. She just last week asked if she could join the adult game, I was hesitant but the other players have requested I allow her to join them. Ok, we shall see.

My son was just more focused on gaming. So, as a general rule I would say a 12 year old should in most cases be able to handle playing but may have to wait another year or two. A 10 year old may be able to play, possibly even younger. Point is, the parents and or the GM will have to make the call in every situation. You just have to know the kids and make the call.

Another thing to think about, they are not adults yet, gear the game for them. They donít focus as well as most adults so your pacing must be better. They also donít handle the death of their characters as well as most adults. Donít let their characters die, just make them knocked out or something. Lol Adult situations shouldnít be part of their games, you donít want to go there, they will not understand the difference or be able to comprehend the, err, complexities. Besides, they are not really rpíing characters, but rather they are role-playing themselves, like many adults.

I on the other hand was 30 when I started. lol

TAROT
11-21-2008, 10:28 PM
Also, does anyone know of a "junior edition" rpg that's got simple rules for younger kids like my daughter?

At that age, the more arcane and complex the rules were, the better (but maybe that's a boy thing.)

I was running AD&D when I was nine. My sister played sometimes, so that would put the youngest player I've seen at about seven. D&D, in all of its incarnations, is actually a pretty good starter system. You start at level one, with limited options, and, as you get a handle on them, you gain levels and gradually add in new options.

As for simpler systems, some additional options:

Prince Valiant - Long out-of-print by Chaosium. Knights of the round table stuff, based on the comic.

Grimm - (Fantasy Flight Games - recent) Kids stuck in fairyland (and not the sanitized by Disney one).

Teenagers from Outer Space - (R. Talsorian - late '80s) Aliens in your high school because humanity is the arbiter of all things cool. (Similar to Toon.)

1958Fury
11-22-2008, 10:34 AM
I've still got some of the mazes, and they're hilarious now. Odd mixes of monsters of every level, secret passages in every wall... and now that I look at it, he had to be fudging a few dice rolls, there's no way anybody could fight through all this solo.

Update, I scanned in the mazes... download (http://home.comcast.net/%7Emattkj/mazes.rar) if you want a good laugh. :lol:

tesral
11-23-2008, 12:21 AM
I started my son at 11/12. When he showed and interest in what we where doing. What is too young? When trey can't follow rules and have no interest.

There was a tread about a fellow that invented a simplified game for using stuffed toys for gaming. Likely long gone, but he had a good grasp of a simplified RPG system for young kids.

I would say any child that can learn the stuff they toss at them in school is ready for RPGs if and only if they have an interest in such games. Children play make believe all the time, from the youngest ages. That is all that RPG is.

Grimwell
11-23-2008, 03:16 AM
My son is 12 in December, and is in my active group running through Keep on the Shadowfell. He has zero problems with the rules of 4E D&D and is actively reading the Player's Handbook to learn more about what his Dragonborn Fighter can/could be doing.

His tactical play is strong, and he's willing to take suggestions from the people around him, but he does have clear ideas about what his character should do and why. His areas of struggle are around roleplay, but that's something you learn to do by doing it, so it's a work in progress I was ready for.

He is a bit advanced over other kids his age as he's familiar with computer and online games (he raids in EverQuest II for instance) so understanding his class role and trying to fill it isn't a problem. Nor is keeping his attention. Just roleplay and learning some of the conventions... easy enough IMO.

The key thing to identify before you play D&D with a young one? Interest. If they have interest, they will listen to the best of their ability to the rules and try to figure it out. If they have no interest it's a lost cause. No matter how much you simplify the game an uninterested kid won't respond well.

My kid is very interested, so I don't have to go that way, I'm lucky. We are going to go miniature shopping soon I think. :)

ChaunceyK
11-23-2008, 07:33 AM
Thanks for all the feedback, everyone.

My daughter has a strong interest at this point. I mentioned to her a month or so ago that I'd be playing D&D again for the first time in 15-20 years. I explained that it involves magic & monsters, good guys vs bad guys, finding treasure & such, but she didn't show much interest. I told her I was surprised, because she likes Harry Potter & Chronicles of Narnia.

So when I saw her this week after my first D&D session with my new group, she asked me how it was. She got excited when she heard about the different races & classes you could play as, and started asking questions. I figured she'd eventually have her fill of information, but she wanted to see my character. So when we got home, I went over everything on his sheet, and she said she wanted to make a character. When I asked why, she said "So I can play with your group!"

Well, our group is more adult-oriented than kid-friendly, so naturally I said no. But I did offer to DM for her with the old non-4e solo adventures I have. I have to say, I'm really surprised at how much she seems to want to play. Naturally, I will strip it down as need be...try to find the right amount of detail for her since she's new to D&D, and also for her maturity level.

One thing I plan on doing is working her math & spelling skills into the game...not her best subjects. So I'll include puzzles that use math. And when she finds a scroll or potion, I'll write it out on a piece of paper for her. If its misspelled & she tries to use it, it'll backfire on her. If she can tell me its misspelled & rewrite it with the correct spelling, I'll let her use it successfully.

So, looks like we'll be starting 2 weekends from now. She stays with me every other weekend, and I'll need the time to read the adventure & get it all set for her. And for anyone who's curious, she likes female Elves & Magic-Users.

Grimwell
11-23-2008, 12:13 PM
Using the game to reinforce skills is a very good idea. I call on my son to sort most of the math involved around his character actions; even though I could do it in an instant. He's good with math so it is fast in his head too, but it validates what he's learning and exercises that part of his brain in a fun situation.

I like the idea of magic items that only work if spelled properly!

JamieH
11-24-2008, 07:16 AM
My Brother and I started playing D&D when he was 7 years old. I had been playing since I was 9-10. My daughter started helping me run my rangers wolf animal companion at 5 years old. She not only chose whom to attack but made growl and howl sounds while she helped me set up flanking. She also loved her trip ability.

I'd say that makes her the youngest pen and paper role player I have ever known. She is 11 now and loves her Tiefling Infernal Warlock. She even wrote a sufficiently dark back story all on her own!

Moritz
11-24-2008, 07:26 AM
What happened to, "Let's go ride bikes!" or "Let's go play in the yard!" ? :)

1958Fury
11-24-2008, 08:55 AM
What happened to, "Let's go ride bikes!" or "Let's go play in the yard!" ? :)

Well, I never put any points into the "bike" skill.

Kalanth
11-24-2008, 10:23 AM
Why ride a bike when you can roleplay riding a bike? :)

tesral
11-24-2008, 10:39 AM
What happened to, "Let's go ride bikes!" or "Let's go play in the yard!" ? :)

Great for when the weather is good and the sun is up. Then you have the other 9.5 months in Michigan.

Webhead
11-24-2008, 11:16 AM
Great for when the weather is good and the sun is up. Then you have the other 9.5 months in Michigan.

...or Alaska. Knee-deep snow from October to April...and we lived in Seward which is about as far south as you can get living in that state. During the summer, when the weather actually got to around 50 degrees, we went outside to throw water balloons at each other...

Of course, I didn't discover RPGs until we moved to Hawaii, which was also much friendlier on the "play outside" and "ride bikes" angle. We did a lot of that too. And come to think of it, we played RPGs outside a lot too...on the front porch or someone's patio, on the ground near the jungle gym, on the folding tables in the (open air) laundrymat...

Kalanth
11-24-2008, 01:39 PM
Of course, I didn't discover RPGs until we moved to Hawaii, which was also much friendlier on the "play outside" and "ride bikes" angle. We did a lot of that too. And come to think of it, we played RPGs outside a lot too...on the front porch or someone's patio, on the ground near the jungle gym, on the folding tables in the (open air) laundrymat...

I miss those days, playing D&D on the porch and soaking the sun and dealing with the wind blowing your character into the woods. Now I don't have a porch anymore and we are stuck at a cramped table...

Webhead
11-24-2008, 02:03 PM
I miss those days, playing D&D on the porch and soaking the sun and dealing with the wind blowing your character into the woods. Now I don't have a porch anymore and we are stuck at a cramped table...

Yes, my Star Wars core book has flecks of dirt and smudges from dirty fingers (from actual dirt, not snack foods) along the edges of the pages. You can tell that the book spent a great deal more time outside than any other book in my collection, yet it is still in excellent shape. That book is one of the most durable RPG books I've encountered. Over 12 years old, well used and not a single loose or torn page and the binding is still strong. Man, I really wanna play some old school Star Wars on the porch again...

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-24-2008, 02:03 PM
I started my son at 11/12. When he showed and interest in what we where doing. What is too young? When trey can't follow rules and have no interest.

There was a tread about a fellow that invented a simplified game for using stuffed toys for gaming. Likely long gone, but he had a good grasp of a simplified RPG system for young kids.

I would say any child that can learn the stuff they toss at them in school is ready for RPGs if and only if they have an interest in such games. Children play make believe all the time, from the youngest ages. That is all that RPG is.

i would say that anything a person finds interesting, exciting, or fun is easy to learn. That is why, despite it's elaborate and almost excessive set of gameplay rules, I would more readily learn every last facet of D&D knowledge than say, the equations for molecular birefringence and rotational energy.

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-24-2008, 02:04 PM
I started playing the BattleTech miniatures game when I was 11.

my mom was worried that the pewter miniatures would harm my developing brain or some such nonsense, as i recall

Moritz
11-25-2008, 02:14 PM
<snip>...And come to think of it, we played RPGs outside a lot too...on the front porch or someone's patio, on the ground near the jungle gym, on the folding tables in the (open air) laundrymat...


We often found ourselves in the park with dice, a few character sheets, and one or two books, sometimes on the front porch, and many times during long walks or drives. 100 miles would go by on the odometer playing a good game with driver and three passengers (gm and players). Just don't hit a bump and drop the dice between the seats. Or turn a corner real fast when the dice are on the dash with the window's down.

spotlight
11-25-2008, 02:25 PM
I don't know about the youngest I have ever seen play. But I do know the wierdest place I played. I ran a star fleet battles game while in prison about twenty years ago. Made the ships and such from match boxes and had a no dice formula so the guards wouldn;t charge us with gambleing. No map either, so we couldnt be accused of planing an escape. had a card to measure ranges.:rolleyes:

Grimwell
11-25-2008, 09:37 PM
Well that's interesting! I wonder if anyone has done any research on roleplaying and prisons, and if people do it at all to pass the time -- and if it's rehabilitative to play hero's in such a dreary place. Thanks for sharing!

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-25-2008, 11:53 PM
I don't know about the youngest I have ever seen play. But I do know the wierdest place I played. I ran a star fleet battles game while in prison about twenty years ago. Made the ships and such from match boxes and had a no dice formula so the guards wouldn;t charge us with gambleing. No map either, so we couldnt be accused of planing an escape. had a card to measure ranges.:rolleyes:

Wow! what a perfect passtime! I have to ask, what sort of formula did you guys use to generate 'random' numbers. such equations are notoriously difficult to create and are typically overwhelmingly confusing!

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-25-2008, 11:57 PM
One time I witnessed (but did not partake of) a small Cthulhu game in an overstimulating BDSM/electro/goth/industrial night club. They would communicate with shouts and when necessary, articulate ideas more thoroughly with a pad of memo paper they would pass around.

but assuredly, it was not the strangest thing taking place in the club.;)

spotlight
11-26-2008, 08:22 AM
Actually, the random numbers were simple. It just took a long time to set them up.
What Idid was collect a pile of word search puzzles from some of the inmates that were being sent to school to complete high school. Then I listed the position of each word's first and last letter. This gave me four numbers from 1 to 20. After making several pages of these, I made another several pages of the numbers one through six.
Now when some one made an atack or other action that required a dice roll, they just told me a number and I would count down that far on the first list from the last position marked and used what ever number that came up to count down on the second list. this gave a number from one to six for the game. As each number was used, it was marked off the list and the next number chosen would count from there.
When a page came half use, I changed to a new page.

As for the other thought, Most of the guys in prison are looking for some form of escape, because prisons are not the kind of place a normal person would like to be in. So 'passing the time' is something that's not really an option. It is going to pass anyway. Thank God, I learned from the experience, and hope never to be forced to repeat it.

Sethannon
11-26-2008, 09:01 AM
That is a similar idea to what my brother and his buddies have done. They are in the army and have played quite a few D&D sessions to keep occupied. Apparently being stationed in Iraq isn't enough to keep one occuipied...? :confused:

Grimwell
11-26-2008, 10:38 AM
Never underestimate the willingness of bored soldiers to create their own fun. That is the path of exploding camels. :)

tesral
11-26-2008, 10:41 AM
Never underestimate the willingness of bored soldiers to create their own fun. That is the path of exploding camels. :)

Yes, yes it is.

spotlight
11-26-2008, 04:33 PM
wow,I going to rermember that onw next I am involved in a desert champainge. Exploding camels ... hmmm. As a DM or as a player?

Ane I agree, soldiers do come up with some ... interesting ... ways to stay occupied.

Mead
11-28-2008, 12:09 PM
I was 5 when I started playing around 1979. Drood the Druid, in AD&D. My DM cousin still has the sheet in his Book of the Dead.

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-28-2008, 12:13 PM
I don't think I even understood addition and subtraction when I was 5!

i dont even remember when I was 5...

wow!

tesral
11-28-2008, 02:04 PM
i dont even remember when I was 5...

wow!

I do

The big Istar Festival in Ur. cool stuff.

Total Nerd v2.135 (final)
11-28-2008, 04:08 PM
I believe I was 14 or 15 when I started playing with my best friend & his brother, which would put his brother at 12 or 13 at the time. He played it reasonably well.

Biggest reason I ask (aside from curiosity) is because my daughter wants to play. She'll be 12 in January. While I don't think she can handle 4e (nor would I expect my group to let her in at her age), she does like the idea of magic & monsters & the different fantasy races & classes. I'm going to start dm'ing her with the old solo adventures Lathan's Gold & Ghost of Lion Castle. I think the older, simpler rules will be better suited for her.

Also, does anyone know of a "junior edition" rpg that's got simple rules for younger kids like my daughter?

Chauncey,

First, I think its great that your teaching your daughter (I wish my dad had been that cool)

If It is 4e you wish to teach her, I would recommend beginning with the concepts of the core mechanic, like ability scores, skills, saving throws, checks, etc.

There are so many details that she probably wont even need to know (as long as she is not GMing) to play.

tesral
11-29-2008, 01:16 AM
Chauncey,

First, I think its great that your teaching your daughter (I wish my dad had been that cool)

If It is 4e you wish to teach her, I would recommend beginning with the concepts of the core mechanic, like ability scores, skills, saving throws, checks, etc.

There are so many details that she probably wont even need to know (as long as she is not GMing) to play.

I'm going to disagree. Teach her the game, then work back to the mechanics. Give her a sheet that is up front and simple. Don't worry about level to begin with and get her use to playing the game, then add the complications.

ChaunceyK
11-29-2008, 07:18 AM
Actually, I'm just going with my old solo adventures from Basic D&D back in the 80s...I think it'll be simplest for her for now. Rather than deciding "Should I use my Sly Flourish or is now a good time to use my daily Trick Strike?", she can simply decide "I'm going to attack the monster with my weapon!" If she wants more detail at some point, then I'll give her an upgrade.

Thanks for the kind & supportive words. :)

Kalanth
11-29-2008, 07:25 AM
I believe I was 14 or 15 when I started playing with my best friend & his brother, which would put his brother at 12 or 13 at the time. He played it reasonably well.

Biggest reason I ask (aside from curiosity) is because my daughter wants to play. She'll be 12 in January. While I don't think she can handle 4e (nor would I expect my group to let her in at her age), she does like the idea of magic & monsters & the different fantasy races & classes. I'm going to start dm'ing her with the old solo adventures Lathan's Gold & Ghost of Lion Castle. I think the older, simpler rules will be better suited for her.

Also, does anyone know of a "junior edition" rpg that's got simple rules for younger kids like my daughter?

From what I have read in many threads across different forums is that the 4th edition rules are the easiest to pick up and learn right off the bat. I have a friend in my games that runs a game for his three kids. Those kids are 8, 10, and 14 and all of them started on 4th edition. I would say go ahead and get her going on the new edition. After all some of us started with 1st and 2nd where we had to deal with THAC0 and such. If nothing else the math behind 4th edition is easier to grasp.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-29-2008, 09:24 AM
Put my brother down for 5 years of age. I myself, started playing around 1975(seems it was around its first year of release). Someone in the family was going to Chico State(i think they changed their name since) and brought it home.

MortonStromgal
11-29-2008, 06:15 PM
What happened to, "Let's go ride bikes!" or "Let's go play in the yard!" ? :)

I'm a pasty white scandahovian... My parents decided to raise me in the desert. After a 1/2 hour of being outside with crazy sunblock i would come in looking like ketchup. I also have oily skin so if i used sunblock it ment a week worth of huge zits. Thus my life as a teenage vampire began...

Elestran
11-29-2008, 06:28 PM
I started playing when I was 8 or 9 (first char was a monk) and now I run a small D&D 2nd for my 6 year old daughter. While she may not understand many of the mechanics of the game, it's a great way to help improve her reading and math skills. Another great benefit is the family time, and all the fun we have.

Children don't have to be a certain age to have fun, it's up to the DM (read as "parent") to make sure that the game is challenging, and fun for everyone. I say "Go for it!" and build a game for your kids.