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Tabletop Role Playing Game or interactive stories for my daughter

by kotrfa1 min read14th Dec 201910 comments


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my daughter is about 3 and a half year old and we have been enjoying some interactive story telling where she is manipulating the story somehow.

When I was ~18, I played tabletop RPG with my friends (for about a year). I really enjoyed it and I think I would really enjoy something like that with my daughter too. So far I have been making things up as we go and sometimes I just get stuck, so I am trying to create some plot and ideas, print out/draw some graphics, maps around the area where we live...

...and I think it's a great playground and opportunity to try to slowly incorporate some of the rationality-related ideas (or simply "those stuff I learned about the world which makes me happier or stronger"). Thins like:

  • some people have better ideas than others
  • information is valuable and costly to get
  • updating is valuable
  • fundamental attribution error
  • you can deal with anxiety (CBT/Unlocking the emotional brain stuff)
  • some useful models or concepts like multi-agent minds, Chesterton fence...
  • Julia Galef's + EY's "things to teach kids" here
  • and so on

Anyone knows about some nice plots, materials, stories, tools, game settings and systems or whatever to get some inspiration? It doesn't matter if it's for the older kids, I can slowly get there or adjust it for the current age. I would also appreciate if the game system was quite light-weight (she can't grasp anything more than talking right now anyway) and combat or aggression wasn't the main focus. E.g. Ryuutama type of games.


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A friend gave me Kingdom http://www.lamemage.com/kingdom/ a few years ago, and I thought it was quite good for just this purpose. He used it for his kids; I'm planning on using it for mine and to generate stories for them.

I like that it is a roleplaying system in which mind modelling takes a high priority. It is story-driven, communication oriented, and based upon having a community. I really like it. Here are some examples of play. There are no dice.




Thanks! That's useful, didn't know about it.

Roll For Shoes is an exceedingly simple system. Like most, it relies on reading and writing skills, but I'm sure it could be adapted to work with simple drawings or even stickers.

To paraphrase:

  • Each player starts with a single skill - Do Anything (1). The name indicates its scope and the number tells how many d6 to throw on a skill check using that skill. I think it works really well to use index cards or sticky notes for each skill.
  • When a player rolls above an opposing check, they succeed. On failure they receive a pity point (some small token). In the context of playing with small children, it may sometimes be more appropriate if on failure they still do what they were trying, but not very well, resulting in some negative consequence.
  • If a player rolls all 6s, they get a new skill based on what they just did with one more die than they were just using. e.g. Player succeeds at boiling water for the cook using Do Anything (1). They rolled a 6, so they learn Basic Cooking (2) as a new skill.
  • After success has been determined, a player may use pity points to change dice to 6. This helps them level up their skills more easily.

That's the whole system, and the website has some settings that could be adapted to your kid's level of storytelling ability with a little creativity. I haven't been able to try this out with my almost-four-year-old yet since he hasn't been interested in cooperative storytelling so far, but I'm certain he could handle the mechanics provided we went to pictographic representations for the skills. You could even manage all the skill cards yourself if it's more fun for your kid that way.

Good luck with this, and I'm curious what else you come up with!

Thanks, that's stupid simple, love it. It seems that the little one likes cooperative storytelling a lot, but she doesn't understand the dices and the concept of opposing checks very well. I still do some hoping she picks up, eventually...

1kithpendragon1yNo reason you have to stick with opposing checks here, that's just the original system. You could use a successes system instead: any roll >X is a success, you need Y successes for the best outcome. You can even build in some flex here: >Y successes is "yes, and...", Y is "OK, that works", Y-1 is "yes, but...". Kid doesn't even have to fully understand at first how the dice affect the result, she'll catch on soon enough if she finds rolling the dice fun (like mine does) and you patiently explain the outcome each time. If you want to keep it even simpler, just pick a goal number and have her roll above that instead of opposing rolls. It's about what works for you and her to make the process fun!
1kotrfa1yYeah, seems that we use success system by default then. Thanks again!
3kithpendragon1yYou're very welcome! I hope you have tons of fun! :D [ETA] In the interest of good systems overload, my wife notes that one of her online homeschooling groups has had luck with Adventures Await [https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3959989/untold-adventures-await], No Thank You, Evil [http://www.nothankyouevil.com/], and Hero Kids [https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/106605/Hero-Kids--Fantasy-RPG] with the very little kids.

For story inspiration, check out AI Dungeon 2. It's basically GPT-2 trained on second-person text adventures.

Thanks, that's pretty interesting, it's good to get some inspiration from it and then replace "inappropriate" words by something from her vocabulary (like princesses, dogs, cats instead of murderer, undead, zombie, ...) :-D . We'll get there, eventually.