A couple of days ago, I introduced role-playing to my middle school students. It was the fourth meeting of our weekly game club at school. In the first three meetings we played Catan and Risk. The kids really enjoyed both games, Catan more so. This past meeting, I started our group (three students) on an adventure. The game system I wanted to present needed to be easy to run, allowing me to improvise as we go. I choose Tiny Dungeon 2e to start them. It allowed for character customization, quick character creation, and simple rules. Another possibility was 1974 Style. What cinched it for Tiny Dungeons, is that in my math class, I’ve been using dice games to make the lessons more interesting. The kids are fairly used to rolling 2 or 3 dice and counting up the successes (5’s and 6’s). Using this mechanic we’ve done some simple horse racing, battling robots, and also a Star Wars battle with X wing fighters attacking the Death Star. So it was an easy transition to the Tiny Dungeons. Later on, I’d like to see the kids play Pits & Perils and Whitebox.
The kids selected their heritages (one chose a human, another a Karhu (grizzly bear), and another a dwarf.) It was a quick matter to select some traits and get into the game.
The characters are:
Ymir, a human wizard who is strong and carries a polearm. Traits-spell touched, spell reader, toughness, and strong.
Merek, a grizzly bear Karhu, who carries a greatsword. Traits-toughness, brawler, and berserker.
Ulric, the dwarf, who carries a war axe. Traits-berserker, defender, and toughness.
The kids started on a mountain road which led to a walled town. We brainstormed ideas to the name the village. We agreed on Xaolin.
The kids were naturals at conversing with the guard. They entered the marketplace and each bought a bag of apples. Later on, they met a wise woman and procured some healing salves and settled in to the Duck and Dragon Inn for a rest (student named as well!)
Their sleep was interrupted by a thief in the night. Fortunately, they were awakened. The dwarf chased the thief down the stairs as the wizard tried to slip out the window (second floor) to cut the thief off. The karhu (bear) threw caution to the wind and crashed out the front window to drop on the thief as he fled. Unfortunately he missed his target and bruised some ribs.
They did catch the thief after a few hilarious moments and held him for the guards. The captain of the guard found a coin purse of gold on him and as he put it away for safekeeping, the dwarf declared he wanted to pick his pocket…he rolled a success to the cheers of all at the table!
They learned that the thief was part of a guild of thieves rumored to inhabit an old monastery up the mountain. The party geared up the next day in search of the monastery, but encounter five wolves. The wizard set one wolf’s tail afire and it fled and the others were dispatched or chased off quickly.
We had to leave it there for the day. Our next game will be in two weeks due to parent-teacher meetings intervening. But I have a feeling that they will all be eager to get back on the trail to explore the monastery!
Let me know if you have had success playing rpgs with younger players. It seems to be working out. They are working together, problem solving, and using their imagination. That can’t be a bad thing.