I have been running an Advanced Heroquest lite game for our 5 year old and he is ready for something with a bit more story and plot. Are there any sources for adventures out there that are young children friendly?

NOTE: this request is not for RPG system recommendations, see Are there any good tabletop RPGs for young beginning players? for that. We only want young child appropriate plot, campaigns, scenarios, and adventures regardless of system.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would recommend any adventures of the RPG Toon as I think they are all suited. However, from a semantic point of view, this reads more like a system recommendation rather than an adventure recommendations and thus is a comment. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Jan 23 '12 at 9:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think an answer where you list the specific adventures that would be best for pre teen and why would be reasonable, especially if you yourself have run them and how they played. \$\endgroup\$ – David Allan Finch Jan 23 '12 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidAllanFinch in your comment you mention pre teen, but in your question you indicate 5 years old. I would think that answers detailing good adventures for 5-7 year-old's are much different than answers detailing good adventures for 10-12 year-old's \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Withers Jan 27 '12 at 4:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I found a copy en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Warlock_of_Firetop_Mountain in a charity shop and we have played a hour or so. Seams ok. I might make this an answer, once I have an idea of how it is going. \$\endgroup\$ – David Allan Finch Jan 30 '12 at 11:41

Being a family man and a DM/GM, I have not made special accommodations for my children by changing the game system used. I simply adjust the burden of the system mechanics I expect the child(ren) to shoulder. I have my children, as young as 5 describe to me the hero they wish to play. I then build the character for them based upon their input and my asking them pointed questions. The same method applies to game play. They describe their intended character actions and I, with help from other players, handle the game mechanics to make it happen while letting the kids handle the dice. My kids have picked things up readily and introduced novel ideas to the adventuring party (They have not bias as to how it "should" happen. All you need for this plan are patient and helpful mentors in your player group.

Specifically to give answer to your question about adventures and table-top games: Use any game system that you and your players are familiar with. Use adventures that are neither vulgar nor morally vague. I believe the players you have adventure alongside your young ones are equally as important as keeping the adventure in the right tone. Seek players with young families as well. Two generation games are solid fun and of equal value to adult only gaming. RPGs need not be rude and crude. I daresay most adventures mindfully GMed can be less offensive and more kid appropriate than Spongebob Squarepants and his ilk.

Running a child-friendly campaign is, at its base, simply an extension of good game mastering and leadership.

This past May we ran a revitalized campaign with my 3 younger children (11, 9, and 7) as participants. I had 2 other adults playing and I sat as the GM. Things went well. I would like to add that there may need be some work done early in the game to get the younger folks engaged early on. I lost their interest for some bit as we got the nuts and bolts introduction of both PCs and NPCs done. We (the adults) could have done better prep work to save the kids from enduring setup. Some adventuring woke them up. The battle that day they loved! My 11 y/o was happy to score the killing blow.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Running a child-friendly campaign is, at its base, simply an extension of good game mastering and leadership." -- That's a great quote! \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Withers Oct 5 '12 at 2:38

Most of my adventurers are homebrew, but what works thematically for kids in my experience are adventures that fit the themes and morality of the stories that they like.

Setting up a scenario that is similar to movies or books that the child knows well will help with immersion and understanding of goals and expectations.

Good thematic elements for the notably young crowd:

  • find a missing person (especially a parent, child or other family member)
  • search out a magical ingredient necessary for a potion to heal a sick person
  • trick or otherwise render a tyrant powerless

Obstacles that work well can probably be plucked right out of stories you might use as inspiration.

The first theme idea above comes from the young girl who goes missing in My Neighbour Tototo, the second, from the magic vegetables that the girls give to their mother in the same film, and the third from the Lion King.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "the themes and morality of the stories that they like". Kids are way better at figuring out what works for themselves than adults are. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 1 '12 at 6:55

Played with my 5 year old this weekend so I though I would answer my own question with my finding so far. I played The Warlock of Firetop Mountain with him a month or so a go and he did enjoy it but the themes are a bit dark for him and he did not want to play again (may be when he is older). This weekend we played rpgKids (v1.5) the system needs a bit of work to clean it up but is simple enough. The adventures are ace and he really like them. I can not recommended this enough, you might want to have read the game part several times before you suggest this to your children as it is hard to follow once they are excited.

I printed out the floor-plans and counters. Together we laminated the counters and I let him cut them out which he really liked doing. I suggest not to laminate the floor-plans as the counters will stick but you should do the counters as they will take some punishment and slide nicely on the paper.

I also suggest that if you use the rpgkid system that you make the creatures one hit kills as else the game is 50/50 and can take some time with a lot more healing. There are no rules for advancement which is good but it would be good to have some meta rules on how much treasure and what sort is wise to give out in adventure you do yourself.


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