Ramblings of a Girl Gamer

So it’s been a while since I last wrote anything. But SCARAB time has come around again, and I feel the need to report. The convention overall went very well. We had upwards of 300 people. The Kids Track was a roaring success. I GMed for at least 7 new kid players, in addition to our regulars from the previous two years, and the children of the con staff. (That’s at least 16 kids total – though lucky for me they never all tried to sit down at a single gaming table at once!) I ran 12 different game sessions, in 6 different game systems. All of my tables filled except for one (which I then ditched to go play a game myself – yay!) Four of the children (all girls – the future of female gaming is safe, y’all) GMed their own games, and all of their players left the tables happy. Oh, yeah, and a teenager took 3rd place in our Iron GM tournament. (I played in and judged her game, and it was loads of fun.) Oh, and in the middle of all this I still found time each night to run home and feed my cats. So that’s one more year down. I can’t wait for next year!

In case anyone is curious or looking for some good kids game systems, here’s some info and links.

First of all, I debuted a system I wrote myself, called Pathfinder Jr. Actually, I can’t take very much of the credit. It was a merger system. I used the base mechanics from the Shadows system (By Zak Arntson: http://www.harlekin-maus.com/games/shadows/shadows.html ). I have written about this game before (see Tales from the Kids Track Part I). It is simple and story driven, and relies on two things. First, the idea that each character has a Shadow, an invisible monster that wants to get them in trouble. The player states two outcomes, what they want, and what their shadow wants (something that will get them in trouble). Then they roll two dice, one for their outcome and one for their shadow’s, and whichever rolls higher is the outcome that happens. The other part is a token mechanic where the players spend tokens to let other players (but not themselves) reroll their dice. I simply took these basics and added a few things to make it more like Pathfinder/D&D. I added hit points and damage, and created a character class set with a “specialties” system tied to the token mechanic. Nice, simple, and awesome. It worked in play exactly they way it worked in my head, and I was thrilled. I will definitely do it again next year.

I also ran Wushu, an action-adventure RPG. The downside of Wushu – it only does combat. The upside – it’s really fun and easy. Players have pools of attack and defense dice, and describe what they are doing, getting more dice for more detailed descriptions. We had an anime-style mecha tournament. I am still trying to figure out the best way to implement this system, but I count this one as a success. Here’s the system (it’s free, but you can buy awesome splat books): http://danielbayn.com/wushu/

I ran PDQ, of course. It is still my very favorite system for kids and adults. We did The Zorceror of Zo (fairy tales), Truth and Justice (superheroes), and I was planning to run Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies (pirates with flying ships!), but that was the game I ditched because they needed an extra judge for the Iron GM contest. Zo and T&J are available at http://www.atomicsockmonkey.com/products.asp and S7S can be found there and also at http://www.evilhat.com/home/ I also ran my first Fate/Dresden Files game for the kids track. My GMing of this system needed a little work, but we had a good time.

The kids played several sessions of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, which I have reviewed before on this blog. Not exactly an RPG, but a creative storytelling exercise of awesome fun. It’s also available on the Evil Hat website.

Finally, I ran Og! The Caveman RPG. The title says it all. Also, one of the main game mechanics is that your caveman character only knows 1d6+2 words, so in-character conversations are a riot. It comes from Firefly games, http://www.firefly-games.com/

My AMAZING kid GMs ran 12 game sessions between the four of them. Emma and Trinity ran Faery’s Tale (also from Firefly games). In this game, players play tiny magical faeries. These two girls wrote their stories themselves, and did a great job. Trinity also ran a kids Savage Worlds game titled “Guys, I Shrunk Our Parents”. Was it a rip off of an old Rick Moranis movie? Yes, but she wrote it herself including creating stats for all the giant bugs and stuff, and her players loved it. Dee ran 3 sessions of Hero Kids (a cool system with D&D-like stories and very simple mechanics – rules and modules can be found at http://herokidsrpg.blogspot.com/ . She also ran this game in the Iron GM tournament and won 3rd place. I was so proud of her! Finally, our youngest GM, Bethany, ran Warriors, a game about cats that protect the forest, based on the books by Erin Hunter: http://www.warriorcats.com/warriorshell.html Bethany wrote her own story and created her own characters. She also ran Argyle and Crew: Soppet Adventures, an RPG about sock puppets. The best part? The kids actually made sock puppets! See http://trollitc.com/los/ for the game. Short version? I am super-proud of all our Kids Track GMs. They are an awesome group of girls.

More SCARAB reports coming soon.

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