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View Full Version : at what age do you start your kids on d&d?



robertbevan
2012-08-25, 05:26 AM
i've got two kids that are both too young to even begin to understand tabletop gaming... but i'm just curious about the future.

there's a certain violence problem that some parents might not like (i'm going to ignore the religious objections to magic for the purpose of this discussion, because it doesn't apply to me).

but i can see some of the benefits being outstanding for kids at a certain stage of their development. just things like character creation... it's not just reading, it's figuring stuff out and doing math and making decisions about which attributes you want to sacrifice in order to bolster others. i know when i was a kid looking through the rulebooks, i had a lot more gears turning than i did just reading a fantasy novel or something. and because i really enjoyed the game, i had my head in those books quite often. (but i also spent a lot of time playing outside and swimming and stuff).

i know, from another thread i started a while back, that there are at least a few parents here who run games for their kids, and i hope some of them will respond.

Kol Korran
2012-08-25, 06:03 AM
Might not be exactly what you're after, but... two friends of mine started a simple roleplay with their daughters (each one seperately), at about age 6. They were less worried about the rules at this point (doing very simple rulings), more about roleplaying another character, actively using their imagination and learning to play with other people in a cooperative way).

One of the members of this forum (killem2? I think) mentioned he added his son to his play group at a young age (7?) using most of the rules.

I haven't played it, but i heard warrior, rogue, mage is supposed to be very rules light and easy to learn. A good place to start I'd think.

A problem for young audiances that iheard of is a very strong attachmet to the charcter, taking it quite hard if bad things happen to it.

Hope this helps.

Kiero
2012-08-25, 06:20 AM
I'd say 11 as a minimum. Let them enjoy being children with completely unstructured imaginations before forcing RPG mechanics on the way they imagine.

Belril Duskwalk
2012-08-25, 07:14 AM
Never played it, but I hear from Darths & Droids (http://darthsanddroids.net/) that there is an RPG called Toon. Apparently PCs are cartoon characters, whatever violence there may be is also cartoonish, as are the consequences (think Wile E. Coyote, smashed flat as a pancake, but not dead). I'm told that the consequences of falling to 0 HP is basically you have to sit out of the game for a few minutes, then you jump back in good as new. Just like cartoons. Seems like an ideal gateway game to RPGs.

Rallicus
2012-08-25, 09:22 AM
I'd say 11 as a minimum.

What a coincidence. That's the exact age I started playing.

Anyway, it really depends on your kids I think. D&D is a pretty rules heavy system, so you might want to pick up a different system or attempt to go easy on the rules. Lots of good suggestions here.

Also, once they pass the age 10 mark or so, you don't necessarily have to run the games for them. Kids are smarter than people give them credit for. When I started it was just me and my friend, and we managed to figure out AD&D 2e to a certain extent, at age 11 and 12 respectively. His brother gave us suggestions whenever he visited, which was rarely, but that was enough to keep us interested. Until of course Ultima Online came out, and then I left pen and paper rpgs for a decade.

So yeah. I say if you want to run it for your kids, keep it low-violence, low-rules or grab another system. If you want your kids to try it on their own, wait until they're 10+. I'd also recommend instilling in them some knowledge of roleplay; when I started, my friend and I were playing DnD like a board game, until we were told about roleplaying from his older brother. You don't want them thinking this is a video game.

1337 b4k4
2012-08-25, 09:30 AM
On actual D&D I'd probably wait till about 10/11 when they can probably handle a more complex rule set. But for role playing in general, you can start almost as early as the age they're old enough to understand bedtime stories. Check out the ChattyDMs stuff on Critical Hits for the things he's done with his kids. Something as simple as a choose your own adventure story with rock paper scissors to resolve uncertain events is more than sufficient to plant the RPG bug.

Jay R
2012-08-25, 09:39 AM
It's not about age. If they can read The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, or Harry Potter, and are comfortable with simple arithmetic, they can play for real.

Before that, you can do interactive story-telling, but not teach them a game system.

Knaight
2012-08-25, 10:39 AM
I've played with people as young as 7 (younger siblings of a friend), though it was a non-D&D RPG. It works out well enough, and I certainly wouldn't see any reason to wait past 9.

valadil
2012-08-25, 12:29 PM
I'll be starting my son with D&D as soon as he can talk. Not the actual game of course, but I absolutely plan on sending him to kindergarten believing the tarrasque was just another dinosaur.

I was pretty much raised on freeform storytelling/RP. I don't think my dad even realizes how similar his open ended interactive story time was to D&D. I plan on starting with something similar. No system, just story and imagination. I''ll add mechanics as my son grows. I feel like it'd be pretty easy to resolve conflicts with a coin toss. Then say that he gets to pick a talent and can redo failed checks for that talent. Or something minimal like that.

Regarding violence, I'd simply not make it the focus of the story. Navigating a dungeon can provide enough challenge without including guards. If I do need guards, I'd rather have animals or monsters than people. Conceptually, I think kids get that bears are dangerous and should be avoided. The challenge will be to get past the bear in the clearing, not defeat the level 3 bear.

I wouldn't expect to play full on RPGs until 12 or so. I think some kids can do it younger, but I don't think that's the norm.

The Glyphstone
2012-08-25, 01:02 PM
http://verydemotivational.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/129156181078764106.jpg

Tengu_temp
2012-08-25, 01:14 PM
I'd say 11 as a minimum. Let them enjoy being children with completely unstructured imaginations before forcing RPG mechanics on the way they imagine.

What is this anti-math sentiment? Some kids are fascinated by games with rules and numbers, you know. Math doesn't limit imagination for them, it encourages it. I know well, I used to be one of those kids.

I started playing RPGs at the age of 12, but I played the board game Talisman since I was 6 or 7, and it's very close to being a proto-RPG. I think some children can play simple RPGs at that age, but it depends heavily on the kid and requires you to be very patient and forgiving.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-08-25, 03:11 PM
The problem I see is in the question itself. You shouldn't think in terms of age. It's development that you need to be watching. P&P RPG's needs 3 things to work; imagination, which generally comes online at about the same development as full-sentence speech, arithmatic skills which vary wildly from person to person, and at least a basic grasp of cause and effect, which also varies wildly from one person to the next.

You're just gonna have to feel it out.

I could've started when I was 5, but for lack of exposure. I've known people in their mid-late twenties that I wouldn't let near a game of D&D. There is no right age.

Rorrik
2012-08-25, 04:14 PM
The problem I see is in the question itself. You shouldn't think in terms of age. It's development that you need to be watching. P&P RPG's needs 3 things to work; imagination, which generally comes online at about the same development as full-sentence speech, arithmatic skills which vary wildly from person to person, and at least a basic grasp of cause and effect, which also varies wildly from one person to the next.

You're just gonna have to feel it out.

I could've started when I was 5, but for lack of exposure. I've known people in their mid-late twenties that I wouldn't let near a game of D&D. There is no right age.

Agreed.

The other aspect from my experience is the different roles that can be played at different ages. Because they are your kids, you'll be willing to be patient and bend things for them. I started with my two brothers when we were 8, 6 and 4. As the oldest, I was the leader and did much of the planning, but the next was also highly influential and the third was allowed to do things that interested him. We were in 2e and he was the thief. I remember he proposed a food monster to my dad and he stated it up and we ran into it in a dungeon. Everyone can play a part, as a parent, you can tailor the game to them.

RandomNPC
2012-08-25, 04:17 PM
Soon as they see your friends show up for game night and start asking questions, your kid is ready to be shown D&D. When they're interested in what they see, it's time to get them in the game. My six year old has a Kobold archer, very simple build, but he gets so into it, you could compare him to another player, but there's no comparison, that's what he is.

Totally Guy
2012-08-25, 04:42 PM
Just remember that preferences in roleplaying games are a personal choice. You'll have your own preferences and biases over what is right and wrong in a game and when your kids are old enough to understand things on their own, they can choose the gaming preferences they feel are right for them (if at all).

Nepenthe
2012-08-25, 07:24 PM
I've heard that Mouse Guard is an excellent introductory RPG for kids. It's structured, allows players to dictate the direction of the story, and it teaches the importance of failure. It's the system I plan to start my own children on when the time comes.

Kane0
2012-08-25, 07:38 PM
Whenever they express the interest really.

I was about 11 and my two brothers were 13 and 9 before we wanted in.

Might have to be a little rules-lite though...

Maxios
2012-08-25, 07:49 PM
My father started me on D&D when I was 7. I got the grasp on all of the rules very quickly.

dps
2012-08-25, 08:55 PM
there's a certain violence problem that some parents might not like

Are you one of those parents? If not, don't worry that other parents don't like it. OTOH, if you do have a problem with the violence, well, you're going to DM for your kids, right? Set things up so that violence isn't the best solution, at least not all the time.

As for the right time...

Whenever they express the interest really
..this.

Start teaching them about RPGs when they express interest. If you try to push gaming on them before they're interested, they may never have any interest in it. If you put them off once they express interest and make them wait, they may lose interest by the time you think that they're "ready".

Remmirath
2012-08-25, 09:12 PM
As one can see by the large variety of responses here, there is not really a set answer. 'When interested' is probably the best one, since people rarely enjoy doing things that they are not interested in.

I started playing (AD&D version one, if it matters to the difficulty-of-rules side discussion) with my mom and her group at the time when I was around six years old. I had been watching them play for a couple years beforehand, and I'd been reading* and playing computer games for longer than that. I don't recall having had trouble with the rules that I needed to know in order to be a player, although I do recall having to be helped through making my first character - but then, that in my experience is often true of anyone playing the first time. Obviously, it took longer for me to pick up DMing, but nonetheless I enjoyed reading through the manuals every now and again even before I started DMing.

For the violence, I wouldn't think it would be a problem. By the time anyone is old enough to be showing an interest in D&D, reading*, and that sort of thing, they can probably seperate a game from reality. If they can't, that's a whole other issue.

* I'd say that being able to play, say, reasonably complicated board games would be actually more of an indicator than reading. People can learn rules and do just fine in things without being able to read.

Noedig
2012-08-25, 09:15 PM
NEVAR BECAUSE DND IS THE DEVIL!:smalltongue:

In all seriousness though, probably when they expressed interest and I was sure they were mature enough to play. My standards for players are tight, even amongst family, so they probably wouldn't end up playing in my games until age 15.

robertbevan
2012-08-25, 09:59 PM
As one can see by the large variety of responses here, there is not really a set answer.

i had that in mind when i asked the question. i was just interested in what people's thoughts were, and if people had experiences to share.

and glyphstone, that's awesome. i might keep my eyes open for that for the next time a geek friend of mine has a kid.

PairO'Dice Lost
2012-08-26, 12:16 AM
NEVAR BECAUSE DND IS THE DEVIL!:smalltongue:

You laugh, but when I told my dad in 2nd grade that a friend of mine showed me this cool game called D&D and I wanted to play it with him, he forbade me from playing because it was Satanic. :smallsigh: That just meant that I played it after school without telling him, though, and by age 7 I'd already read the 1e PHB cover-to-cover and rolled up my first illusionist.

Crazyfailure13
2012-08-26, 12:35 AM
As said, it depends, some kids do understand the concepts needed to play others dont, i once lived in a area with a bunch of kids younger then me when i was 15, and ended up being the dm for a small group of 3, one 13, one 11, another 7, the 7 year old grasped the concept quickly, and enjoyed the game, the 11 year old was still was immature, he lacked the patience needed to play the game when things turned bad for him.

The maturity counts just as much as the ability to grasp concepts of rp and combat rules.

TheOOB
2012-08-26, 12:52 AM
I started playing around 6-8 when I found the blue box in my parents game cabinet. I don't think I understand the rules, but the idea I think sparked something.

Well it must have, I'm still playing today, I work at a game store, and I won a D&D tournament.

Kiero
2012-08-26, 05:27 AM
What is this anti-math sentiment? Some kids are fascinated by games with rules and numbers, you know. Math doesn't limit imagination for them, it encourages it. I know well, I used to be one of those kids.

I started playing RPGs at the age of 12, but I played the board game Talisman since I was 6 or 7, and it's very close to being a proto-RPG. I think some children can play simple RPGs at that age, but it depends heavily on the kid and requires you to be very patient and forgiving.

It's not anti-maths, it's anti-structured imaginative play. Children are perfectly capable of dreaming things up in their own individual ways, and better that they are allowed to do that in a completely freeform manner for as long as possible.

Roleplaying games teach you to structure your imagination in particular ways, which can inhibit that development if applied too early.

karkus
2012-08-26, 04:48 PM
hmm... I'd say around 7-9. at that time, they're probably old enough to grasp the concepts and basic rules of the game, but not too old to be doing their own thing sand not have any interest in it

valadil
2012-08-26, 07:31 PM
It's not anti-maths, it's anti-structured imaginative play. Children are perfectly capable of dreaming things up in their own individual ways, and better that they are allowed to do that in a completely freeform manner for as long as possible.


Word. When I describe D&D to non-gamers, I sometimes describe it as playing cowboys and indians or cops and robbers, but with rules to eliminate the "I shot you" "no you didn't!" exchanges. For young enough kids, these exchanges are part of the game, and not a problem to be solved. Until conflict resolution mechanics are needed, why add them to the game?

Knaight
2012-08-26, 08:02 PM
It's not anti-maths, it's anti-structured imaginative play. Children are perfectly capable of dreaming things up in their own individual ways, and better that they are allowed to do that in a completely freeform manner for as long as possible.
You do realize that doing that the capability to dream things up in a completely freeform manner doesn't go away when one starts playing RPGs, right? I played structured RPGs from a young age, and at the same time I was perfectly capable of running around outside with a stick in my hand pretending to be a swordsman of some sort. The imagination is still there as an adult, even if the running around outside with a stick in my hand pretending to be a swordsman isn't*. Somehow, I expect that this is pretty typical, as imaginations aren't exactly fragile.

*For one, I favor spears now. :smallwink:

Balain
2012-08-26, 09:12 PM
I started playing Basic D&D the old red box version, when I was around 12, not sure the exact age anymore. It was an over all positive experience for me then. A friend I play with started D&D when he was 10. It got him to read, and read a lot.

Most of the friends and people I have played RPGs with start at around 10 - 12.

My girlfriend was raised with the idea "D&D is bad, like a cult, just not a good thing at all" Her exact words. Since she met me not only does she play card and board games with us but all the RPGs, including D&D. Her son has started playing an Aspect campaign with us. He was almost 13 when he joined us. He had watched us play my D&D campaign a few times. For his birthday he wanted a set of dice, so we got him a couple of really nice sets.

His father, how had the same ideas of D&D thought the dice were a horrible gift and asked him if he was playing D&D now. He looked his father in the eye and said, "Nope they are so I can play Aspect."

Another friend that I have been playing D&D with since we were in Jr. High (like 35 years ago) stated slowly introducing his son to D&D. When he was about 6 they would paint miniatures together. A bit later he got and played the D&D miniature game. When the son was about 9 he would join us for either my D&D campaign or the Aspect campaign. He doesn't play often, but when he does join us his dad goes through his character with him the day we play and brings the character up to the same level as everyone else.

Noedig
2012-08-26, 11:17 PM
You laugh, but when I told my dad in 2nd grade that a friend of mine showed me this cool game called D&D and I wanted to play it with him, he forbade me from playing because it was Satanic. :smallsigh: That just meant that I played it after school without telling him, though, and by age 7 I'd already read the 1e PHB cover-to-cover and rolled up my first illusionist.

Yeah I pulled off a similar thing in a Baptist elementary school. The principal was pissed.

PairO'Dice Lost
2012-08-26, 11:20 PM
Yeah I pulled off a similar thing in a Baptist elementary school. The principal was pissed.

At one point, a similarly religious teacher at my school tried to confiscate our books and took us to the principal for doing Satanic rituals. We got our books back and no detention, though, since it turned out the principal was also a D&D player. The look on that teacher's face.... :smallbiggrin:

robertbevan
2012-08-27, 07:39 AM
At one point, a similarly religious teacher at my school tried to confiscate our books and took us to the principal for doing Satanic rituals. We got our books back and no detention, though, since it turned out the principal was also a D&D player. The look on that teacher's face.... :smallbiggrin:

i love that story. thank you for sharing.

tbok1992
2012-08-28, 11:42 AM
I must mention that, while there is a question on when to introduce them to the actual gameplay of D&D, I recommend introducing them to some of the Monster Manuals (maybe the first 3 3.5e ones) as soon as they can read. Because, while they may not understand the mechanics, they will love the pictures and monster-ecology fluff., and it might get them interested in playing when they're a bit older.

That's actually how I got into the game, and I do know quite a few people (Including this guy (http://bogleech.com/dnd.html)) who got into it that way as well.

joe
2012-08-28, 03:18 PM
My father had tried to get me to play when I was about 7, but it didn't really take. He sort of gatewayed me into it through Hero Quest and a few other games. When I was about 9, I decided to look into it again, and ended up teaching myself how to play via a box-set with Basic D&D, which was conveniently left where I could easily access it. (My father was kinda sneaky like that I guess.)

I'll probably do the same thing for when I have kids.


As far as religious panic, I had a couple neighbors who were set against "corrupting" the neighborhood when I went to find other players. I had to deal with that joyful persecution at a pretty young age too.

Doc_Pippin
2012-08-28, 06:45 PM
Just speaking as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, A mentally healthy child would be able to understand the simple mechanics of the game when entering the early school age, 5-7 years old, but many of the more advanced aspects would be difficult to play into with both the mentally undeveloped child and the healthy developed adults. At this age it is important to lower the game (Or any game) to their level without being condescending. The child will most likely not handle failure well and will often make choices that will strain a good GM if they have a plot in mind. If you would like to introduce them to tabletop RPGs at this age, I would suggest allowing other children their age and older perhaps up to 14 to play the games together and to use single shot style as it is easier for children of this age to adapt to.

In my opinion, I think that immersion into fantasy games without a firm understanding of reality can cause mental health issues such as Schizotypal PD. At early age children learn from what is around them and what is presented even if they, at the time, know its not real they will still learn ideas present in the game. Such as violence against people who break rules is ok or stealing is ok if it helps other people. These are large themes in many RPGs and they reinforce a type of behavior that could be detrimental to the childs mental and social develpoment. I would personally encourage you to not attempt to pull them into gaming until the preteen developmental stage 11-12. At this point they will have a better understanding of how to seperate fantasy from reality.

Of course if your children see their parents playing they will be quick to want to play, because they mirror their ideas and behavior from you especially between the ages of three and seven. A great solution is to allow them to role dice for you or pick one of two options that you present to the child for a problem, to do the adding and subtracting for dice, damage, and HP, ect. to make the game a bonding team game. This will help the child as they grow and gives a great opportunity for you to build math and problem solving skills while not fully immersing them in a fantasy setting. It also introduces the game to them at an early enough age that they will feel comfortable transitioning into the game on their own when they are ready.

Wow that was longer than anticipated...

Post Script: I won't touch the debate on the religous aspects of RPGs, I love them and have, believe it or not, used D&d 4e as a bonding method to build rapport with my early teen patients on the ward. It came to me when I was still a Psych tech. It is a method that many raise eyebrows at and it requires a signed permission to attend but it does teach some good coping skills to our youth.

Grundy
2012-08-28, 09:37 PM
I assemble minis with my 6 year old. I can see running a very loose adventure with him. More collaborative story telling than anything else. His reading is coming along, but it'll be a while before he can get to the point of actually playing even a basic game of dnd.
I started on dnd at age 9 or 10. My first character was a Paladin/Illusionist. So I obviously got the game;p. When I was 11 I had my parents throw out all my books, so I wouldn't go to hell. They were very happy, but less happy when I started up again at age 13... Aside from playing mostly other RPGs in high school and college, I've played ever since.

Kiero
2012-08-29, 04:35 AM
You do realize that doing that the capability to dream things up in a completely freeform manner doesn't go away when one starts playing RPGs, right? I played structured RPGs from a young age, and at the same time I was perfectly capable of running around outside with a stick in my hand pretending to be a swordsman of some sort. The imagination is still there as an adult, even if the running around outside with a stick in my hand pretending to be a swordsman isn't*. Somehow, I expect that this is pretty typical, as imaginations aren't exactly fragile.

*For one, I favor spears now. :smallwink:

The problem isn't that it could be removed, but that it is irrevocably channelled in certain directions. It's much less resistant to being shaped at a young age than later on.

valadil
2012-08-29, 08:17 AM
The problem isn't that it could be removed, but that it is irrevocably channelled in certain directions. It's much less resistant to being shaped at a young age than later on.

I don't pretend to know enough about early childhood psychology to comment on this. I say go rules-free or rules-lite because for small children, imagining stuff just doesn't require any rules. I don't see the point in imposing unneeded structure. Even if the kids get the rules, they might not get why they have to have rules.

razark
2012-08-29, 09:36 AM
I started mine at 12, 11, 7, and 6.

Child[0] and child[1] started with me when I started playing with a group of friends, and then child[2] wanted to start playing, as well. He did better with the math than his older brothers. Our DM started things off light for the kids, but he gradually brought more into it as the kids got accustomed to the gameplay. Child[3] started playing when I started running a few light sessions with his older brothers at home. He struggles with the rules sometimes, but he enjoys it.

Before I started running sessions for them, child[2] even started making up situations for his younger brother and coming up with rules to decide actions. My 7 year old started DMing before I did.

TuggyNE
2012-08-29, 05:08 PM
He did better with the math than his older brothers.

Including, I assume, 0-based indexing? :smalltongue:

Roland St. Jude
2012-08-29, 06:08 PM
Sheriff: Ix-nay on the eligion-ray.

Knaight
2012-08-29, 07:14 PM
The problem isn't that it could be removed, but that it is irrevocably channelled in certain directions. It's much less resistant to being shaped at a young age than later on.

However, it isn't likely to be irrevocably channeled in certain directions, as D&D is never going to be the only thing imagination is used on. At most it sees that a handful of the great many ways imagination expands and involves relate to certain things, which can be said about just about every experience had.

Dark Elf Bard
2012-08-29, 07:16 PM
Well, my dad DMs for the whole group. I'm the only one who isn't either in college, or the elf/dwarf who married the party dwarf/elf and had a level 1 baby. :P

Kiero
2012-08-30, 04:08 AM
However, it isn't likely to be irrevocably channeled in certain directions, as D&D is never going to be the only thing imagination is used on. At most it sees that a handful of the great many ways imagination expands and involves relate to certain things, which can be said about just about every experience had.

I can't think of anything else like a roleplaying game that you might expose a small child to, which is going to affect the development of their imagination in that way. By imposing rules, strictures and formal conditions upon it.

I have a 2-year-old daughter. She's not going anywhere near RPGs (assuming she's even interested) until she's at least out of primary school. I want her imagination to develop untrammeled by more mature ways of structuring her creativity (and inevitably stunting certain elements of it) for as long as possible.

Knaight
2012-08-30, 08:05 AM
I can't think of anything else like a roleplaying game that you might expose a small child to, which is going to affect the development of their imagination in that way. By imposing rules, strictures and formal conditions upon it.

You aren't imposing rules on the imagination though - you are letting the imagination use rules to some extent with some tiny fraction of it, and the rules and such do not limit imagination in other areas. Added to this is the matter of what people draw inspiration from. Novels and movies are both likely to have just as large an effect as role playing games, video games a much larger one.

robertbevan
2012-08-31, 05:29 AM
I can't think of anything else like a roleplaying game that you might expose a small child to, which is going to affect the development of their imagination in that way. By imposing rules, strictures and formal conditions upon it.


what about other games with rules? candyland? guess who? hide and go seek? the thing where you pretend the floor is lava and the sofa cushions are little islands that you can step on?

Kiero
2012-08-31, 06:21 AM
You aren't imposing rules on the imagination though - you are letting the imagination use rules to some extent with some tiny fraction of it, and the rules and such do not limit imagination in other areas. Added to this is the matter of what people draw inspiration from. Novels and movies are both likely to have just as large an effect as role playing games, video games a much larger one.

It's not about imposing any rules on the imagination, it's about a very specific kind of detailed rules. If RPGs were just like any other game with rules, there wouldn't be the difficulty in explaining to someone who's never played them how you play, and why it is fun.

Other sources aren't anything like. Things they draw inspiration from aren't a game with particular sorts of rules and ways of thinking.


what about other games with rules? candyland? guess who? hide and go seek? the thing where you pretend the floor is lava and the sofa cushions are little islands that you can step on?

They're much simpler and don't require you to do the same things as RPGs. Again, this isn't simply about make-believe, but imposing a very specific and detailed way of doing make-believe.

It's the same reason I disagree with any formalised education before children go to school at 4. There's this creeping educational-isation of nursery going on in Britain where places looking after toddlers think it's their job to begin their formal education or "prepare" them for school. Which is total nonsense, children should be left being able to be children, there's plenty of time for that later.

In a lot of Scandinavian countries they don't start any of that stuff until they're 7. Note they have some of the best-educated people in the world.

Callista
2012-09-02, 07:10 PM
At one point, a similarly religious teacher at my school tried to confiscate our books and took us to the principal for doing Satanic rituals. We got our books back and no detention, though, since it turned out the principal was also a D&D player. The look on that teacher's face.... :smallbiggrin:I've got to put in my two cents--most religious people aren't like that; just the extremists that the rest of us back away slowly from! My church youth group, for example, used to play D&D together. And my (religious) school had a role-playing group, too. Most of us laugh at the idea that people might think it was satanic. You can't help but laugh at the idea; anybody who knows anything about role-playing knows it's more like a bunch of people geeking out over paladins, attack bonuses, and whether or not the Queen is attracted to your bard with the 20 Charisma. No sacrificing of goats involved. Well, possibly fictional goats, but that's generally the villain's schtick, and the PCs will probably make fun of him for being a cliched cultist.

Talyn
2012-09-03, 08:52 AM
I seem to recall getting started played D&D around age 10, but I was also prepped (by my father, who is quite the geek) with both the Hero Quest board game (which taught me some of the mechanics, and also the idea behind collaborate asymmetricality in board games) and the Quest for Glory computer game (which introduced me to the concept of using in-universe logic to enhance my imagninative play).

I had also, by that point, read the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, the Belgariad, and the Guardians of the Flame series, so I instinctively grasped the genre language used in the books.

So, if your kids have a natural love for fantasy, a strong aptitude for board games, or (ideally) both, then starting around age 9 or 10 should be fine. Otherwise, I'd wait a couple years.

Anonymouswizard
2012-09-05, 03:52 PM
I first played at about age 10-12 with my dad running the old basic set version (mainly because we didn't need to look at the higher level boxes), and played 2 sessions of the keep on the borderlands module. It was me and my three siblings (2 years age difference between each of use), but I come from a heavily maths favouring family and we had all played at least a bit of Baldur's Gate 1 beforehand. So I'd say 8-10 should be fine rules wise (my brother who is four years younger than me felt fine), as long as you refrain from actually killing their characters, and let players who decide they'd rather play an elf instead of a cleric do so. In fact, my dad running those two games are what got me to buy the 3.5 and 4e books that I will be taking to university in a few weeks, but he had a bit more success running the Evernight setting for Savage Worlds.

Medic!
2012-09-05, 04:06 PM
My cousin has two boys, one is 10, the other 6. The 10 year old has been part of our regular gaming group for about 2 years and does....surprisingly well at the table. He usually flips through books, finds a class he wants to play, rolls it up, and away we go. The only help he ever really needs is librarian services (Hey, that spell's full text is in Complete Arcane, go dig it up real quick so you know for sure what it does). The only "dumbing-down" we did at all for him was to ask him "what do you want to do" and then applying it to game-terms ourselves, as opposed having him sort the actions himself. For example: "I want to cast lightning bolt at that dragon then hide behind those rocks."

He's even put together his own one-shot campaign a time or two...and it really wasn't that bad. In one campaign his dad played a ranger and wanted a panther animal companion (and he's never read a single R.A. Salvatore book, if you can imagine that!) so one of the loots he got was a Panther Caller, which he heard as a "Panther Collar" and spent half the session trying to find a panthar until the 10 year old said "Why don't you just use your Panther Caller?"

The year old has been floating by the table since he was 4, and hearing the things he has already picked up on kill me. Before he could write his own name he would demand a character sheet and start tossing fistfulls of D6s, and during breaks he still hops into the DM's chair and tells everyone "Roll a D20 guys, reflex saves!"

I'm personally a HUGE fan of D&D throughout someone's lifetime. It's good practice for math, critical thinking, problem solving, social interaction, and obviously tons of reading. We even used it as a sneaky tool for a teenager in the extended family who had been "homeschooled" (which in his case meant "stay home and watch your older brother while mommy plays WoW) through most of his social development years. It let us teach him some social interaction skills in a safe environment where NPCs could react to him like normal people would and bolster his self-confidence to the point where he could go out into the real world and roll a diplomacy check or two.

evil-frosty
2012-09-05, 04:38 PM
I am 19 years old and started playing a hybrid of 1st and 2nd edition when I was 7 years old. Because of this going through Elementary and High School I was always above my classmates in reading and math skills cause I played a game which focused on them. I think I was 8 years old when I started playing my dad's actual group instead of just with him. I was attached to my first character as I did name it as myself so that may be a worry.

Mark Hall
2012-09-05, 06:52 PM
I have taught kids as young as 8 to play. It will vary a lot with the child and their upbringing... one who plays a lot of imagination games will do better than one who does not.

Man on Fire
2012-09-05, 07:55 PM
My first time as Gm was when I threw in a quick freeform for my younger brother and cousin. They could be 8 at that point. I was killer gm back then so it worked badly in retroperspective, but back then, we all had a lot of fun.