RPG For Children
WARNING: This is a long post which goes into detail about my new roleplay system. Not to be read while driving or operating heavy machinery. lol
I was pleased to see the title of this thread as I am in the (Slow) process of designing a pen-and-paper roleplaying game set in a generic fantasy setting.
It's designed for younger children, with very basic rules to start with, but expands as the child gets older/wiser/more used to playing.
Basically, the younger child (Say 6 years old) has a very simple character with only two stats (Skill and Health), a simple selection of skills, and all skill combat rolls are resolved by rolling one die. Magic is based on a simple scroll system. If you've got a scroll you can cast the spell written on it once - then it crumbles to dust.
When the child is ready for more complexity, the number of stats rise to six (Skill, Health, Mind, Body, Charm and Power). He/she starts to roll two dice, which indicate success or failure and outcome (Degree of success or failure - or damage in combat). There is an increased number of skills. Scrolls can still be used, but magic is introduced as a skill, and the player can learn Spells.
The third and final level of complexity introduces a third dice, which represents experience in Skill Rolls, and Hit Location in Combat Rolls.
The interesting thing about these multi-dice rolls is that the player chooses which die represents what.
For example - in combat, a player may roll 2,4 and 6. The player can choose which dice is the Combat Skill roll, which is the Damage roll and which is the Hit Location roll.
As an example, let's take a simple character, a fighter with a sword:
Sword Skill 1
Sword Damage from 1 to 3 (1=1 Dam, 2=1 Damage, 3=2 Damage, 4=2 Damage, 5=3 Damage, 6=3 Damage)
Three options for this player who has rolled the above dice (2,4,and 6))would be:
Combat Skill roll 2 - add Sword skill 1 = 3
Damage Roll 4 = 2 Damage
Hit Location roll 6 = Strike to the Head
The player might miss (Or be parried by the opponent's higher skill roll, but if the attack succeeds, it results in a good blow to the head.
Combat Skill roll 6 - add Sword skill 1 = 7
Damage Roll 2 = 1 Damage
Hit Location roll 4 = Strike to the Left Arm
The player has a better change of hitting the opponent, but has not put a lot of force into the blow, and hasn't targeted a critical area (Ie head or torso). He/she will probably hit the monster and might make it drop it's weapon.
Combat Skill roll 4 - add Sword skill 1 = 5
Damage Roll 6 = 3 Damage
Hit Location roll 2 = Strike to the Left Leg
The player has a medium change of hitting the opponent, but has put a lot of force into the blow without targeting a critical area He/she will probably hit the monster and might cripple it.
The point about this system is that the player decides how to fight. It's not just a matter of rolling dice and seeing what's happened. The player can play aggressively by using high dice for damage, defensively by using high dice for skill, or strategically by using high dice to target head and chest. (Or even lower dice to disarm or cripple enemies without killing them.)
(When using two dice, the player chooses between skill and damage.)
Non-combat skill rolls which use multiple dice:
A three dice Skill roll is divided between Skill, Outcome, Experience.
For example, a player with a Mind Skill rating of 2 and Pick Lock bonus of 1 has a Pick Lock skill of 3. He or she is trying to pick a lock and rolls 2,4,6. (Let's say that the difficulty rating for this particular lock is 7 - which the player doesn't know.)
Skill roll 2 - add Pick Lock skill 3= 5
Outcome Roll 4 - add Pick Lock Skill 3= Outcome 7
Experience roll 6
The player has failed to pick the lock, but with an Outcome of 7 has not failed too badly, by which I mean he/she hasn't broken the lock-pick or made a lot of noise, but might have scratched the lock. (A really bad failure might damage the lock so it can't be picked again, or snap the lock pick with enough noise to alert the bad guys.)
With an Experience roll of 6 - which is higher than the players Pick Lock Skill of 3 - the player has learnt from the experience and collects an Experience point for that skill. A player can learn from mistakes as well as successes. (When he/she has collected enough Experience points, Pick Lock skill goes up to 3.)
Skill roll 4 - add Pick Lock skill 3 = 7
Outcome Roll 6 - add Pick Lock Skill 3 = Outcome 9
Experience roll 2
The player has successfully picked the lock (7 is equal to 7), and with an Outcome of has 9 succeeded very well, and the lock turns silently without a scratch.
With an Experience roll of 2 - which is lower than the players Pick Lock Skill of 3 - the player has not learnt from the experience - in fact, it was probably a fluke.
This system means a player can choose how much effort to put into picking a lock, how careful they are, and whether they want to take time to learn from the experience. All in one roll.
A players choice of dice in a Jump skill roll might mean the difference between landing safely, or twisting an ankle, or falling over. In a Bribe Skill roll, a poor outcome might mean upsetting the target of the bribe or making them ask for more money. A good outcome might mean a lower bribe is needed or extra help is given.
It is up to the GM to chose the actual outcomes and will require imagination and quick thinking.
(The Games Master keeps track of Combat experience, so it is possible to advance in weapon skills. Also, note that the higher your skill, the more difficult it is to learn.)
In both the combat and skill rolls, the player has to decide immediately which roll is which - no sitting and working it out.
Another point I'd like to make is that players can play at whichever level of complexity they want - so a young child could be rolling one die while an older child is rolling three dice at the same game table.
Well, I've spoken too long about the basic mechanics of the game and you've probably given up or fallen asleep by now. I have written more about the presentation of the game in my Introductory post - so have a look at that if you're interested.
I would welcome any feedback about this system. In fact I would welcome any feedback at all.