This is a snapshot copy of Planewalker before our recent database crash. Please go to www.planewalker.com for the current site.

Playing as Children?

Announcement!

We have moved to new, and hopefully better hardware! Along with this move came a bunch of updates to our code base. Please let me know if you spot something wonky.

20 posts / 0 new
Last post
sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Playing as Children?

Waifs of Sigil, scouts in the Blood War, wards to the celestials of the Upper Planes - could people see playing as children something that would work in PS?

What books would you recommend? I've heard good things about the Little Fears RPG:

http://www.littlefears.com/

Didn't White Wolf put out a roleyplaying as kids supplement?

I see this workable more in Sigil, feel like Lower Planar games are too depressing and Upper Planar games too cheeky. Though being among the Lost Boys on Arborea or an earthberg of Ysgard might be fun...

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Hyena of Ice's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2009-09-25
Re: Playing as Children?

Yeah, you'd definitely need a special RPG for that. The vast majority of RPGs dole out major penalties to all stats for child characters.

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Playing as Children?

I wonder if one could use halflings and gnomes for children stats, might make it more manageable.

But I do think such games should not emphasize combat, as it kind of makes being kids pointless, so waifs in Sigil with penalties might be a good way to force PCs to handle situations by goading others into fighting for them or other tactics.

Little Fears is interesting, though not sure I'd want a full on horror game. Nor would I want a depressing game of child slavery, or not completely about that. I think children offer interesting PCs for their vulnerability as well as their capacity for wonder and innocence in both kindness and cruelty.

Then again, I'm thinking of using the Age system so might have to adapt that somehow...

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Playing as Children?

Read this story: http://rsbakker.wordpress.com/stories/the-long-held-breath/

Then I reread status rules in Courts of the Shadow Fey. Courtly intrigue and dueling can cause one to gain or lose status points. The higher your status the easier it is to navigate the Courts.

I do think there is a connection here - status should grant privileges in a child game, but also invite greater challenges especially among the street waifs of Sigil.

Heck, imagine being from the Hive but getting a light boy job. Earning money for the family, but others kids will want to kick you down and snatch away your wand of continual light...

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

elderbrain's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-09-07
Re: Playing as Children?

I finally came up with this (I use 4e): Child characters are one size smaller than adults, until they are around 13/14, when they assume adult size. Characters who already belong to a Small race (i.e. halflings) do not become Tiny! Stats for each character should be rolled as usual, but disallowing any stats that would be ludicrously high given the character's age (i.e. no 9-yr-olds with Strength 18!) Natually, opinions will vary as to certain issues such as how wise or intelligent children can be, since some people believe that wisdom only comes with age and others believe it is inate. It's up to the Players and the Dm to decide if they want realistic children or allow for child prodigies. (The Barbarian kid Bobby from the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon clearly had greater strength than realisticly possible for a boy his age... if that's what you want, go for it.)

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Playing as Children?

I like your ideas -

I'm 95.89% sure I'll be using AGE in the next game I run, as it is all new players to D&D and possibly a good percentage new to RPGs. Thankfully a portion of your advice is adaptable.

Elderbrain, if you have any conversions or planar NPCs definitely consider putting them into the queue for the zine. We'd love to get some more 4e people into Planescape!

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Playing as Children?

Still thinking about a status system for waifs. It'd be interesting if too much status can be a bad thing, as others want to take you down or you get "recruited" by the neighborhood cartels.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

VikingLegion's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-09-08
Re: Playing as Children?

elderbrain wrote:
It's up to the Players and the Dm to decide if they want realistic children or allow for child prodigies. (The Barbarian kid Bobby from the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon clearly had greater strength than realisticly possible for a boy his age... if that's what you want, go for it.)

Not to pick nits or anything, but I'm fairly certain his enhanced strength was a function of his magical club. Actually that brings up a fair point - in a world/universe where magic can so easily boost natural talents, the child prodigy thing becomes much more easy to justify. The children in this campaign could possess stat boosting items, be born with certain innate mystical powers, or even have the shade of a dead ancestor mucking around in one of their minds, giving advice that makes the child seem almost preternaturally intelligent/wise/aware far beyond her years.

Hyena of Ice's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2009-09-25
Re: Playing as Children?

^^Correct. OTOH, some players might find it creepy to have a little kid with an adult mind. One common theme you see in fiction is the son or daughter of a character whose mind has been overtaken completely or is a reincarnation of their father. Their father now seeks revenge against those who murdered him while his wife was still pregnant with said child.
A variation is an ep of the Ghost in the Shell anime series where a 16yo son acquires the cyberized memories of his father (a notorious assassin who himself was assassinated) and his mind becomes melded with that of his father. This leads to problems because the son's impulsiveness leads to hatred and recklessness towards the enemies of his father (whereas the father was a calm, cool professional)

A similar example is the Avatar cartoon series, though the ancestors of the protagonist are not assassins by trade nor are they motivated by vengeance.

Nonetheless, the common theme in all of the examples I've given is a child's innocence and immaturity contrasting with an adult's temperance and mercilessness towards his or her enemies.

Idran's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2007-06-10
Re: Playing as Children?

Hyena of Ice wrote:
Nonetheless, the common theme in all of the examples I've given is a child's innocence and immaturity contrasting with an adult's temperance and mercilessness towards his or her enemies.

"Mercilessness" isn't the first word I'd think of to describe Aang. Sticking out tongue

elderbrain's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-09-07
Re: Playing as Children?

If desired, I could post all the rules for child characters I've seen so far - I wrote them down on a piece of paper once. This would include the rules from the Ist d20 edition of Star Wars (presumably added since the film Phantom Menace starred a 9-yr old Anakin Skywalker - later editions dropped the
rule!) As Hyena of Ice stated, there are pretty heavy ability score penalties, but someone might wish
to use them nonetheless (I would only use them if you are also using the score adjustments for aging
that apply to older characters, also.) A penalty to speed is common, too, because children are shorter.

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Playing as Children?

hey elderbrain, that'd be great! thanks!

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

elderbrain's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-09-07
Re: Playing as Children?

O.k. The Star Wars rules were as follows: Any human character 11 and under is in the "Child" category and has a speed of 6 meters (as opposed to 10 for adults). You take a (total) penalty of -4 to Str and Con, and -2 to all other ability scores. Any character age 12 to 15 is a "Young Adult" with the adult movement rate (10 meters) and -1 to all ability scores (As your character ages, you gradually loose the penalties to scores.)

In D20 Modern, children are only allowed as NPCs and have the following rules: They are aged 11 and younger, have no class or level, and have -3 to Str and Con and -1 to the other scores. They have 1d4 hit points and get no feats or skills, and have a speed of 20 feet.

That's all I have for right now, if I find more rules I'll post 'em.

elderbrain's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-09-07
Re: Playing as Children?

The 4E book "Open Grave" also features several undead child NPCs as monsters. They are the Malicious Ghost (pg. 151), the Bonewretch Skeleton (pg. 180) and the Corrupted Ofspring (pg. 186). All are listed as Small size, and the Bonewretch and Corrupted Offspring actually have a faster movement rate than their adult counterparts (speed 8, as opposed to the normal speed 6). So maybe child PCs should get a +2 to speed, rather than being slower as I thought!

elderbrain's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-09-07
Re: Playing as Children?

Also, VikingLegion, as reguards Bobby's high Strength score, I remember looking at the stats for him that were included with the Dungeons and Dragons animated cartoon DVD release, and there I believe they gave him an 18 STR, only four points of which were a bonus from the magic club. In other words, he had a natural 14 STR - pretty impressive for a 8-yr-old! (They also made all the characters Medium size, for what it's worth.)

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Playing as Children?

this is great stuff BTW. just haven't had the chance to look closely.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

ShirreKnight's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-03-05
Re: Playing as Children?

If your playing 2nd edition the cormanthor book has some adjustments for kids... geared for elves I know but worth looking at.

ShirreKnight's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-03-05
Re: Playing as Children?

Necar Kandal Renthar Belik Kalifaz BENZARIT!

THREAT THAT WAS DEAD RETURNE TO LIFE I COMMAND YOU!

Now that I got that joke out of the way, theirs a similar but related question ive wondered about for years

Does a Planetouched seem mostly human at birth or do the traits manifest at maturity.

if the former we see a depressing picture of more chldren being murdered

if the latter... We see less murder, thanfully and more tieflings being old enough to run away, if their born on the prime?

Even aasimar can seem disturbing to many primes.

Idran's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2007-06-10
Re: Playing as Children?

I don't see any necessary reason why it has to universally be one or the other. It could easily vary from person to person. I imagine it also has a lot to do with what traits exactly the child happens to have; a major difference in physicality's a lot more likely to be something they had from birth than an odd hair color or a strange aura.

ShirreKnight's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-03-05
Re: Playing as Children?

What about a Winged aasimar... their not exactly easy for a Human Mother to pass, if they have them at birth.

but still good points.

Planescape, Dungeons & Dragons, their logos, Wizards of the Coast, and the Wizards of the Coast logo are ©2008, Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. and used with permission.