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pukunui
11-09-2014, 01:39 AM
Hi all,

I know that Dragon Age bills itself "dark fantasy" and is rather a bit too mature for kids; however, since the AGE system is not yet available as an independent product, I've been thinking of sanitizing DA so I can play it with my kids. My two oldest daughters, aged six and nine, are both keen to play D&D, but I think even 5e is a little too wordy and technical for them. They need something a bit simpler.

I've looked at a whole slew of actual kid-oriented RPGs (Little Wizards, RPG Kids, Hero Kids, etc), but most of them are a little too dumbed down. I want something that involves a bit of math and allows for character growth and the like. One of the better ones I've found is a game called Sidekick Quests but unfortunately it's only semi-playable at the moment, and the designer is taking his time finishing it up, so in the meantime, I've been looking for something else.

I think the AGE system looks simple enough. I like that it uses a single type of dice and that it uses 1-3 of them, with modifiers, so there's some addition/subtraction involved in the dice resolution mechanic, but there aren't a whole lot of different kinds of dice like you get with D&D. I think my girls would enjoy the whole Dragon Die thing too, although I'd probably have to simplify many of the stunts to make them a less technical.

While there are more abilities than in D&D, I think they're all pretty simple enough to understand, as are the associated focuses. Even the talents seem more descriptive and less technical in nature. I'd say the spells are simpler and easier to understand than D&D 5e's spells as well. And I like that there are only three classes to choose from, and what class you take is tied into what background you choose. I think my girls would have a blast just rolling up their characters let alone playing with them.

Plus, I can load up DA:O and let them use the character builder to make portraits of their characters!

Anyway, so I guess I'm posting here to see if anyone has any suggestions on how to tone down the DA setting to a G/PG rating rather than the R rating it normally has. If anyone has any thoughts on whether there are any rules in the game itself that might need simplifying (or that could/should be dropped all together), feel free to share them too.


Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Jonathan

Red Eye
11-09-2014, 09:17 AM
It is all about presentation. If you, as GM, don't focus on adult themes then DA can play as a generic fantasy. Cut out anything that you feel is a concept that goes too far for them. Present things in a different light or context. You should be fine.

pukunui
11-09-2014, 03:12 PM
It is all about presentation. If you, as GM, don't focus on adult themes then DA can play as a generic fantasy. Cut out anything that you feel is a concept that goes too far for them. Present things in a different light or context. You should be fine.
Sure. What about in terms of the game mechanics? One thing I'm thinking is that 8 different abilities might be too many for them to track. Would there be a way to distil them down to only 3 or 4?

shonuff
11-09-2014, 03:36 PM
Content would be easy - it's all on you. It would be difficult to condense stats - maybe help them level?

Hellebore
11-09-2014, 05:04 PM
Sure. What about in terms of the game mechanics? One thing I'm thinking is that 8 different abilities might be too many for them to track. Would there be a way to distil them down to only 3 or 4?

You can condense stats, but should you? The game is built around that. All the focuses are built around that. You'd have other issues if you reduced it down.

You could condense Strength and Con. You could combine Perception and Dexterity. Cunning and Will power?

That leaves Communication and Magic. 5 isn't bad.

Communication, Magic, Body, Mind and Awareness.

You could reduce it down to just: Mind Body Spirit

Where
Mind = Cunning, Communication, Perception
Body = Strength, Constitution, Dexterity
Spirit = Magic, Willpower


Still can't use magic unless you're a Mage though.

That's simple enough.

Classes are defined by:
Rogues are Body/Mind
Warriors are Body/Spirit (willpower)
Mages are Mind/Spirit

pukunui
11-09-2014, 05:32 PM
Mind, Body and Spirit could work. Thanks!

shonuff
11-10-2014, 07:24 AM
You could also do a static +6 hp/ level too.

kronovan
11-10-2014, 08:29 AM
Sure. What about in terms of the game mechanics? One thing I'm thinking is that 8 different abilities might be too many for them to track. Would there be a way to distil them down to only 3 or 4?

I ran a series of adventures with kids at the table ranging from 10-14 years old and didn't find this to be a problem. Mind you, all of them were reasonably skilled at math. The 8 different core stats are really only an issue at character creation and leveling up. During gameplay, once they learn to read the numbers on their sheets, it's really not a problem and it wouldn't matter if there was 3 or 8 stats. I found toning down the adventures for a younger audience quite easy. Dark, adult themed content is actually lacking in many of the prewritten adventures and is one of my criticism of them. IIRC for the default adventure in the BS1 GM guide, I only removed the references to the tavern keepers daughter being willing sleep with any of the party member to escape dull, village life. There were more in the Blood in Ferelden book, but nothing that couldn't be worked around.

pukunui
11-10-2014, 12:57 PM
Good to know. Thanks.

I found a game called "Faery's Tale" (which happens to have had a deluxe version put out by GR) that looks pretty decent. It uses the Mind/Body/Spirit trifecta. The dice mechanic is a little boring, though - just roll 1-3 d6s and compare odds vs evens. If you get more evens, you succeed. I'm wondering if there might be a way to substitute Dragon Age's dice mechanic instead. I'd much rather my girls play a game where they have to do a bit of addition/subtraction rather than just comparing totals.

On a side note, my Set 3 box set showed up out of the blue today! Woo!

kronovan
11-10-2014, 07:16 PM
I found a game called "Faery's Tale" (which happens to have had a deluxe version put out by GR) that looks pretty decent. It uses the Mind/Body/Spirit trifecta. The dice mechanic is a little boring, though - just roll 1-3 d6s and compare odds vs evens. If you get more evens, you succeed. I'm wondering if there might be a way to substitute Dragon Age's dice mechanic instead. I'd much rather my girls play a game where they have to do a bit of addition/subtraction rather than just comparing totals.

If it doesn't break Faery's Tale play mechanics, I'd have them always roll 3d6 and only succeed when they get at least 2 evens. That'll still be a bit easy for your 9 year old, but will at least teach some number/pattern recognition to your 6 year old an be more challenging. I'd also keep with the Dragon Dice play mechanic with 1 dice a different color and a pair triggering a stunt. They'll at least then have to watch for a matching pair and determine the value of the dragon dice. Again, that's going to be easy for your 9 year old, but probably a decent challenge for your younger daughter.

If Faery's Tale system is just using dice to determine successes, you might want to entertain the idea of just letting your older daughter use the regular Dragon Age dice mechanics with the average TN of 11 being a success. The two 10 year olds I had playing never struggled much with it and IMO it probably won't be too challenging for her. The beauty of going that route, is that they're both rolling the same kind and number of dice, but only your older daughter would be using the more challenging summing. Another possibility, is that if you feel summing values on 3 dice might be a bit much for her, consider just using 2 different colored d10's instead. It'll make rolling a success a bit easier (averages are almost identical) but having them succeed a bit more will probably only just increase their enjoyment. ;)