For the past couple of months I’ve been thinking about starting a family RPG campaign. Kate has long watched our roleplaying sessions and wanted to participate, but we rarely even got started before her bedtime when she was younger. She’s had a few cameos, like her duck with the “quack attack” who was working towards an invisible bill, but hasn’t really been part of a campaign. She’s 13 now, a night owl like her step-dad, and clearly interested in doing some roleplaying. Not a surprise I suppose when it’s our family business. And by her age I had been roleplaying for three years already.
The idea is that I’d run the game for Kate and Nicole. It’d be something we could do on off nights without having to worry about whether anyone else could show up. It’d be fun family bonding too. This, of course, led to the eternal question: what do I run? Nicole asked that we avoid any flavor of D&D; and that was fine by me. I considered games like Big Eyes, Small Mouth, Faery’s Tale, and Prince Valiant but decided they weren’t quite what I was looking for. After digging around in my collection, I had three serious contenders.
Star Wars (West End Edition): This used to be my standard recommendation to people as a starter RPG, because it was fairly easy to pick up and featured a setting that everyone knew. Unfortunately, the whole prequel trilogy has really soured me on Star Wars. Those movies were ultimately so shitty that it takes something on the level of KOTOR to make me feel even a glimmer of the fondness I used to have for Star Wars. Nicole and Kate were both lukewarm to the idea, so this was a no go.
Savage Worlds: I’ve wanted to try Savage Worlds for awhile but haven”t had the opportunity. The flavor I’m most interested in is Solomon Kane, but adventuring like a Puritan witch hunter doesn’t exactly scream 13 year old girl. No other setting leapt out at me so I put this on stand by. I could always make something up, of course, but I don’t have a whole lot of time for prep.
Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game (Saga): This is the second Marvel RPG, the one WotC published in the 90s. Kate likes comics and loves the X-men, and I always liked the card-driven design of the game. I was working at WotC when it came out, so I have everything that was published for the game. And letting Kate and Nik play established Marvel characters means we don’t have to deal with superhero character creation. The downside is they both asked about playing Wolverine! This is currently the leading contender.
I’m still considering options, but Saga is looking pretty good. If there’s something you think I’m totally overlooking, make a suggestion. Just realize that if you tell me to run Exalted or to use Dogs in the Vineyard to run the Chronicles of Narnia, I will punch you through the internet.
I am somewhat astonished that you haven't considered Blue Rose. Not that I am suggesting it's "girly", but it has far more to offer female p[layers than many games.
Now, Kate may be a tomboy, I don't know, but talking animals, friendly happy people being threatened by montheists and necromancers?
Admittedly I've not tried True20 in anger, but I think that if a 13 year old boy can play Ad&d; then True20 should be a walk in the park. The extra roleplay support bits like the Tarot deck and conviction should help support the natural roleplay tendencies.
On the other.. Wolverine cool.
I’d be interested in hearing more about this. I’ve got two kids, currently 2.5 and 4 months, and I’m sure they’ll be interested in at least giving it all a go at some point.
Isn’t that game A Faery Tale designed as a starter game? Maybe not the subject matter?
I always wanted to try that Marvel Saga game, but could never get more than one person in my group interested.
Do you remember a game that WotC put out back in the 90’s – I think it was even before they bought TSR – called Everway? That might be a good one to try. I just found out about it last year and picked up a copy on eBay. It has a neat card-based resolution system with its own version of the tarot, and a strong storytelling (as opposed to hacking) focus. And it’s purty.
What – no WFRP or A Song of Ice and Fire RPG? Do let us know how it goes – all of us with children out here are interested!
Marvel Comics already has the answer you’re looking for: X-23!
“A top-secret program is tasked to replicate the original Weapon X experiment that produced the feral mutant Wolverine. The project is taken in a new direction: Doctor Martin Sutter recruits renowned mutant geneticist Doctor Sarah Kinney to develop a clone of Wolverine.”
Try Primetime Adventures. It’s a simple card-driven system that can emulate just about anything. Character generation is a snap and its designed to be played within a couple of hours.
Bunnies and Burrows. Extra credit if you can dig up the original FGU edition.
or else Nobilis.
I've never played Marvel Saga but if you know the system and they are interested it sounds like a winner.
Though, I gotta ask, why Marvel Saga instead of Mutants and Masterminds? It's not like finding a build for any even marginally popular character takes long on the M&M; boards.
Maybe ask your wife and daughter what setting/genre they are particularly interested in or want to play in and then pick the game/system. Savage Worlds has a lot of material out there, all ready for you that may fit the bill (great stuff like, say, The Pirate’s Guide to Freeport ;)) but maybe there is some other game that will better fit the kind of world they want to play in.
The Buffy RPG?
I would heartily recommend the Ghostbusters RPG, if you can track down a copy, as lets face it everyone knows that milieu, and if they han’t you can just pop in the film (and are they in for a treat!). That game had it all. Alternatively how about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – don’t laugh, my friends and I had great fun creating characters out of our fave animals at school…And remember, the next time someone asks if you’re a god, you say YES…