A Child’s First Tabletop RPG

Compared to many, I discovered tabletop RPGs pretty late in life. I was at least 30 before I drove up to my local game store for my first Dungeons and Dragons session. As an adult with a job and a family, playing an RPG can be a challenging time commitment. I’ll never have those all-day game sessions that are nostalgically talked about by people that found the hobby as children. However, I do hope that I can set my kids up to have that experience. I recently decided it was time to try what my son would make of it. So what follows is a three year-old boy’s first RPG experience. Spoiler: It’s not very exciting!

Before even pitching a game to him, I had pulled out the D&D Monster Manual. I knew he’d like to look at all the monsters. He was completely in love with the beholder on the cover and thrilled with all the magical things I told him they could do. I took this as an opportunity to suggest we play an “imagination” game. He wasn’t really sure what I meant, so he agreed. 

Tell an Amazing Tale

A couple months prior I had purchased a book called “Amazing Tales,” which is a kid-friendly RPG ruleset. I’ve looked at other kid-friendly games in the past and Amazing Tales felt like the one that I’d have the best luck running with my son.

The game is pretty simple and most of the book consists of best practices and setting ideas. Character creation is quick and easy, pick a name, what your character looks like, and four things your character is good at. In our case Robot the Robot Boy was good at rolling on the ground, playing with dice, flipping, and driving a spaceship.

The next step is to ask which of the four skills the character is best at. The skill Robot the Robot Boy is best at gets a twelve-sided die assigned to it, second best gets a ten-sided die, and likewise with a D8 and D6 for the remaining skills. And that’s it. We were ready to play.

Short and Sweet

I picked a sci-fi setting that would be perfect for a robot boy and off we went. We started off with a robot family driving their spaceship. Robot Dad needed help driving through an asteroid field. Luckily his son Robot the Robot Boy was a skilled spaceship driver. I asked him to roll a die – a two! Anything three or lower is a failure – the spaceship crashed. Next the family needed to fix the spaceship but the top of the ship was too high up to reach. Luckily Robot the Robot Boy was skilled at flipping. A good flip should get him right up there. We rolled another die – success! Suddenly the ground started shaking and a monster was coming out of a crater in the asteroid. This seems like an exciting moment, but it was too late, I had already lost him. I asked him what he would do next and instead of a cute idea was told “I want to play with my toys now.” Ok. I tried. We’ll revisit another time and maybe I can hold his attention for a little longer.

A little later we were looking at the monster manual again and he asked me to draw a Flame Skull. I haven’t drawn anything in a long time but it turned out pretty decent! 

My first attempt at introducing him to an RPG didn’t have him falling in love as I had hoped, but we’ll give it a try again at some point. Maybe this won’t be his thing, but I have shelves full of board game and RPG books, there has to be something that he’ll like! If not, I have another boy following a few years behind that I can try with. No pressure little guy.