Tabletop RPG for two 12-year-olds and one adult?
August 10, 2018 12:19 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to play an RPG next week with my 12-year-old kid and their cousin of similar age, that I would GM for them. The ideal game is simple to set up, yet with enough choices to get them a bit invested in their characters, and something where we can complete a satisfying arc in around 3-4 hours but if it turns out we all love it we can keep a campaign going afterward. Milieu is less important than a fun, easy-ish mechanic; we're none of us hardcore RPG-ers. What games can you recommend?
posted by slappy_pinchbottom to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve played Hero Kids with my 12ish son and his friend and my niece. It builds up into bigger campaigns as you go with the first one or two being fairly short. The mechanic is easy and not too complicated to get new heads around.
posted by antipodes at 2:26 AM on August 10, 2018

Lasers and Feelings goes over well with the crew over here with the added bonus of being able to listen to the Doubleclicks while playing.
posted by a22lamia at 3:44 AM on August 10, 2018

This is where I swoop in and recommend Fate Accelerated.
Character creation takes about 5 minutes and allows the kids a great deal of latitude and fun in bringing them to life.
There's enough dice rolling to make it fun.
You can engage the kids in creating the world they are going to play in - Star Trek - Star Wars - superheroes - pirates - ninja - D&D - spies - whatever they want!
The PDF is Pay What You Want, and about 40-50 pages maximum.
You can use their special dice, or use regular six sided dice.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 4:37 AM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really recommend Kids on Bikes for this. The “official” rule book isn’t being delivered until this autumn, but you can run a robust game with these free downloads and a standard set of RPG dice. The setting is evocative of Stranger Things/Goonies or other 80s-era movies about kids investigating strange phenomena, although you need not set it in the 80s nor must you play a child if you don’t want to. I played this at Gen Con and saw junior high-age kids having a blast with it. It has a cool mechanism for creating close character relationships and building the world together before playing. Within 30 minutes, my group of complete strangers had a band of characters with realistic ties to one another, and a town with a pretty cool backstory.
posted by lieber hair at 6:23 AM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

12 year olds can play D&D 5e no worries. The 5e starter box is a good way to start as it sticks to the basics & comes with an adventure that covers a lot of the basics & makes a good starting point for a bigger adventure later on if you decide to keep going. It even has pregen characters so you don't have to worry about that & a set of dice.

A lot depends on the kids & you know them better than us, 12 is probably the lowest age I'd recommend D&D 5e and some kids mature faster than others. Herokids is something I'd usually recommend for younger kids, but is a good solid RPG system too and a great way to get a feel for if they'd really like to play.
posted by wwax at 8:00 AM on August 10, 2018

Honey Heist might be a fun option, if the kids are familiar enough with heist film tropes. And want to be bears.
posted by ook at 8:02 AM on August 10, 2018

Another quick thing about Kids on Bikes. The mechanics are very simple and story-driven. Combat is rare and always has consequences. These seem like good features for new players and youngsters.
posted by lieber hair at 8:20 AM on August 10, 2018

Dawg the RPG
posted by bq at 9:23 AM on August 10, 2018

I'll throw old school and recommend the Marvel Superhero RPG. There's a free OSR knockoff available, and the whole system boils down to a one-page chart. Plus from the standpoint of the 12-year olds you get to pick your favorite superheroes and make your own team. The original game books are 30 years behind in continuity, but there's plenty of fan sites with more up-to-date takes on characters.
posted by Quindar Beep at 11:40 AM on August 10, 2018

Dungeon World
posted by Laura_J at 4:03 AM on August 11, 2018

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