My son is VERY keen on D&D (and fantasy generally) but is a beginner in role playing games and is 11 years old. I would like to kick off a discussion about how to best involve children in D&D events. I believe that many kids can participate alongside adults in games without the DM having to make very special accommodations - though this will depend on the kid. I would love to hear the community’s reflection on this and I hope I can bring my son along to events! Happy weekend all!
I’ve been thinking about this because of my nephew. He’s 13 and I gave him a starter set for his last birthday. He seems to be into the theory but hasn’t had a chance to actually play.
I feel like he would be fine in the adventures, I’m just unsure about the adult interactions. On the one hand, I know he’s well behaved and probably wouldn’t bother anyone, on the other, some of the conversations had by players might just be unsuitable and I wouldn’t want people to feel like they can’t talk freely.
It very much depends on the age and the kid. If they have the attention span of a goldfish they aren’t right for my table. I only had one child playing at my table and he got the hang of it a lot faster than the beginner adults at the same table.
Most of the content I DM is kid friendly (because it’s taken from wow). So, I’m in favor of trying it out, if it doesn’t fit just try to fix the issues.
My thoughts on an ideal circumstances test case would be to run a dedicated table during one of the Saturday time slots.
Mirror the Saturday time slot details but call it out as a dedicated table for younger players
Give it a couple of weeks in advance to get the word out
Request a DM, hopefully one of our regulars (maybe I’ll be able to do it) can step up
It will run in parallel to the standard Saturday slots to it will feel participatory and people will get to interact a little. The venue is Sagewerks so public, relatively central and if any of the players parents/guardian wants to grab a table nearby to be available that is easily done.
Run it once in that relatively controlled circumstance then see if the best way forward is for the young folks to DM themselves as a dedicated table on those Saturdays, do they want to play at someones house, should they just mix in with the rest of the players, etc. Will depend hugely on the players but I am a big fan of learning by doing and this would be a pretty low-risk way to test that.
I have a bit of experience dealing with minors and roleplaying games since I have GMed for my nieces (6 and 8) though I didn’t run exact DnD for them. I often ran simplified Dnd for them or recently the system of Household.
In my opinion.you have to have a bit more action in it be a bit prepared for unconventional solutions. Action doesn’t mean high drama. Something easy like, there is a snake on your path what do you want to do, can already be exciting.
Time: depending on age they can’t do as much as an adult can. For my nieces 1-2h is enough. But we have little combat so with combat it might be a bit longer. But no 4-6h sessions will probably not work.
You really have to work with the children want they want. Some want more combat and easy victories. Some want to make friends with any animal they see.
Personally I would feel more comfortable if at the early stages the parent is there, so that all parties are comfortable.
My son is 12 and still looking for a group to play with. Before we moved to Vienna he was in a campaign that met weekly for three hours. The DM was a adult and we paid each week to participate. If someone is willing to DM a youth group I know he would be eager to play. I think having it in connection to the brunch could be great, but we are open to ideas.
My 9 year old is also interested, he played for the first time this summer and enjoyed it.
Based on all the responses so far, I suggest the following:
Kids can come along to a regular Saturday meet, accompanied by an adult. If the DM and adult participants agree, they can participate in an adult game on a tryout basis. DMs should be told ahead of time if any kids are going to be coming. A parent should remain in the vicinity (if not participating).There should be some small cap on the number of kids participating in an adult game (2?). There should also be an age limit. My kids have turned 9 and 11, and based on their relative maturity, I would suggest 10 is a reasonable minimum age, though a flexible approach could be adopted (kids vary).
If more than two kids want to come on a particular Saturday, a separate parallel game could be organised, if there is an adult willing and available to DM. Again, advance notice is needed so this can be set up (no guarantees, of course). Not sure if a minimum age is needed for an all kids game.