The Mephling Plays an RPG!

Earlier in the month I was out for a little bit. Baby Grue arrived and I took family leave from work and personal leave from this blog. During that period I got quality time with the new arrival but I also had to frequently entertain Little Mephling (Grue’s three-year-old brother) and after many days of trips to various locations I wanted something quiet that we could do at the kitchen table. As always (and unsurprisingly) I thought of RPGs but even No Thank You, Evil! starts with five year olds. Tired and with nothing to lose, I pulled a dirt-simple RPG based on Cthulhu Dark out of my butt and ran with it.

It worked like a charm.

What You Will Need

The materials for this are pretty straightforward.

  • Three d6 dice, one a different color from the others. If you want to be snazzy, get a set of dice per player.
  • Three to five coins of some sort (I used plastic pirate coins) per player. You can use candy or something too, but they might get eaten.
  • Players.
  • Optional: Some form of the X-Card in case things get too scary.

How You Play

Completing actions in this game is really easy. That’s the whole point. Follow these simple rules for creating a pool of dice.

  • You always get one die to roll, as long as you could possibly do the thing.
  • If the thing is something you’re good at, you get another die. Give little kids the benefit of the doubt here.
  • When you really, really want to make sure you can do something, you can spend one of your Adventure Coins™ to roll an extra Adventure Die™ (that’s the different colored one).

When you roll, you are typically looking for fives and sixes: if you get at least one of those you do the thing! If not… well, there’s always next time. The GM can introduce a difficulty scale if you want where things get harder (only sixes count as successes) or easier (fours count too) in certain situations. This is the same system as being blessed/cursed in Arkham Horror or Eldritch Horror if that helps.

So let’s take an example here. Say that Snake the T-Rex (don’t ask) is traipsing through the forest and he here’s a strange sound up ahead. He decides to sneak up ahead to find what’s making the noise, something T-Rexes aren’t all that good at. He rolls just one die… a four! Oops, he’s been heard. The noise stops and a band of goblins rushes from the trees, shaking spears at him and howling like wolves. The T-Rex decides to roar to scare them back, something that T-Rexes are pretty good at so this time he rolls two dice. A six and a four so just one success, but that’s all he needs! The goblins scatter in fright but the sound wakes up a kraken the size of a mountain. Snake decides to run, something that T-Rexes are good at, and he spends an Adventure Coin so he rolls three dice since it’s important. If he instead decided to act friendly and win it over (something T-Rexes aren’t good at) he can still get an Adventure Die as a second die.

Now Go Adventure!

Mephling came up with some awesome ideas and it made me proud as a parent and as a geek mentor. He was clever and excited (even if his attention was only held for about twenty minutes) and liked it enough to rope his grandparents into it when they came to visit Baby Grue. He played all dinosaurs (no surprise) and came up with inventive ways to do things, I think in part because the system was so simple. He could think of anything he wanted and we didn’t have to figure out what the right stat was, what the initiative order was, or even what was in his inventory. It was just “are you good at that?” and “wanna spend a coin?” Simple and great.

I can’t explain how proud I am but here’s a picture of the little guy in action so that you can share in the warm fuzzies!

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