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Savage Worlds for younger players

 
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steel-eye
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Joined: 13 May 2003
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Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Savage Worlds for younger players Reply with quote

Hi all,

Has anyone tried running SW for younger players? I mean about 6 to 8 years old.

My son see all my books and minis and wants to be involved, and I'd love to play with him (he is actually pretty good with board games with a little support). I was thinking SW could work with a little simplification. I mean, you just roll a die plus wild die and get 4 or more on either.

I was thinking of dropping the concept of raises in favour of extra bennies that grant automatic raises as long as you succeed.

What do you think? Any other ideas? Anyone else tried it?

Cheers,
steel-eye
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: Savage Worlds for younger players Reply with quote

steel-eye wrote:
I was thinking of dropping the concept of raises in favour of extra bennies that grant automatic raises as long as you succeed.

How does that simplify the game, let alone increase fun?
Rolling really well is cool - being rewarded for it is fun. Removing that removes most of the fun of Acing dice.
Then there is the complexity of extra types of bennies.

If you're looking to simplify things, ignore some of the penalties until the players get more comfortable with gaming. There are a lot of penalties in Savage, and most of them stack; tracking that can be a pain even for an adult.
Oh, and Pregens for their first few games. This helps a lot when introducing college freshmen to the system; it should be equally useful dealing with players a decade younger than that.


Others have gamed with young children. Sadly, I am not one of them, but I can help you find their experiences.
http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29236
http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=38241
You might try PMing Timon as well. He's mentioned a lot of experience with younger players.

Good luck!
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SeeleyOne
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three of my children were in that age range, and one of them still is. I just keep the rules the same, but I help them keep track of everything, I use a lot of extra pieces, such as poker chips and the Lyco sets of Savage Worlds pieces. The general rule for me is if it is a tracked value it has a piece.

People often talk about simplifying games for children. In my opinion Savage Worlds is already simple enough as far as base game mechanics go. The difficulty is little nuances here and there but as the GM I would want to track that all anyway.

Kids will surprise you as they learn, and allowing them to learn as you play multiple sessions helps to teach them to learn.

I like my kids to focus on teamwork and heroism. I use my Virtues and Vices rules. Even though bad things happen I like my kids to have a positive experience from role-playing. I use it to have fun as I help them to grow. In my opinion there is no need to "dumb it down". You just have to be willing to keep track of the rules for them until they surprise you and keep track of them for you.
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Rophan
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My kids and I play with another family with kids that are about that age. One thing I noticed that the other dad uses is a dice map and color coded dice - that really helps the younger kids know which dice to roll. From what I've seen, there's not much need to simplify the rules, the kids pick them up pretty quickly, in fact the 8 yr old often reminds his dad of something he's missed.

One thing I've noticed is that the kids are much farther ahead on their math skills now as a result of using the dice - so I wouldn't drop the Raises, with Savage Worlds the math isn't much more complicated than adding or subtracting 4. It can be a little slow going at first, but it's a sneaky way to teach some math skills.
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steel-eye
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Quick replies! Thanks everyone!

I kind of agree with you all.

The reason for thinking about getting rid of aces was that currently, my son gets that same thrill from getting a higher roll than his opponent on a single die as I get for acing 3 or 4 times (though I do accept the point and would probably have introduced them as soon as rolling high became stale).

I also don't see simplification as dumbing down. The game should be appropriate for your target audience. I can't see myself running Rolemaster for him any time soon, for example.

However, that said, I agree that children constantly surprise you. I have played the games workshop Lord of the Rings game with him and he was able to follow it quite well, with me managing his side of things for him as you suggested. So I tried it this afternoon with SW, aces included, and he had a blast Smile

I've used colour coded dice too and I will probably create a cheat sheet for him so he can work out which is which on his own (good idea).

I see what you mean about raises. I was thinking of them as multiples of 4, but most of the time it is just seeing if you got another 4 or 8 so I can see that helping his numeracy.

Thanks for the input so far! Any more suggestions are very welcome Smile
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JarJarMessiah
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran a fantasy campaign for my son and his friends (10-12 years olds). My advice is to have miniatures and maps, as young kids love manipulatives. Also, I got rid of knowledge skills all together and made everything "common Knowledge". I also made a word document that had example pictures of each race, commonly known abilities, and common types of adventurers. I also gave players the a chance to make a race that was not listed. My son wanted to be a Kitsune, so we used race creation rules to whip one out in about 10 minutes.
The party consisted of a Kitsune (Shapeshifter), Raksashan (Panther man with Panther companion), and an avion ("flying ninja").
This is why I love SW, because if we had played a D20 type system I would have had to shoot down all their ideas or spend several hours tyring to "balance" everything out.
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Bavix
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Player's Mat may help them to organize things:

http://www.savageheroes.com/conversions/SW_player_mat.pdf
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steel-eye
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely agree about miniatures. I tried running a quick game of something using just our imaginations, but holding his interest was challenging to say the least.

However, as soon as I got the minis out he loved it. Mixing the two approach worked very well.

That player's mat looks awesome! I will definitely be trying that next time.
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Lord Karick
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PM'd you a message on the topic
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IceWulf
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't done so... yet. This Thanksgiving, I intend to run Savage Worlds not only for my 9-year-old cousin, but also for my lady cousins and their boyfriends who have never played ANY tabletop RPG.

Overall, I felt Savage Worlds was probably the easiest to understand, yet still in-depth, system I could run for the tabletop novices. On top of that, thank you for advising the miniatures, JarJarMessiah and steel-eye; definitely using them, especially since my littlest cousin loves to play with them when he's over at my house. =P
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Kythkyn
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IceWulf wrote:
Haven't done so... yet. This Thanksgiving, I intend to run Savage Worlds not only for my 9-year-old cousin, but also for my lady cousins and their boyfriends who have never played ANY tabletop RPG.

Overall, I felt Savage Worlds was probably the easiest to understand, yet still in-depth, system I could run for the tabletop novices. On top of that, thank you for advising the miniatures, JarJarMessiah and steel-eye; definitely using them, especially since my littlest cousin loves to play with them when he's over at my house. =P

Are you going to use a one sheet? Or some other premade?
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IceWulf
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I was going to try a brief adventure I would create. Still, if you had any one-sheets to suggest, I'm all ears.
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Kythkyn
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any of the ones in the back of the book work nicely, plus there are some you can look through on the site.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IceWulf wrote:
Actually, I was going to try a brief adventure I would create. Still, if you had any one-sheets to suggest, I'm all ears.

It depends upon what you're after, but if you don't have anything in mind, the ones at the end of the Deluxe book are pretty good (the theater and troll adventures were very dangerous for the groups I ran through them).

I really like the Envy one-sheet, especially as a basis for other settings (the theme and basic plot are timeless). You can make it a fantasy setting, or sci-fi, cthulhu-esq horror, a conventional western, or even a samurai-flick (change everyone to samurai and bandits). It's an amazingly easy-to-use core to the adventure (though you'll want to change to the current Undead if you keep all the zombies around; half piercing damage is too powerful and frustrating for most groups).


Good luck!

Collected One-Sheets: http://www.peginc.com/product-category/one-sheets/
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dap6000
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tomorrow i have my 4th session with a group of 8 kids aged 6-13. i plan to do a whole series of write ups about our experiences. i've almost got my prep time routine hammered down to free up more time for that. i'll share a bit about what i'm doing with you here though.

the player mat is cool. you should use it.

i use color coded dice. i may edit the player mat image to match the color scheme i arrived at. some kids can use the shapes just fine. some even work well with basic names like "roll a D6 and a D8" or "roll a D4 plus your wild die". but having multiple hooks to communicate with the players has been useful for me.

we only use 10 skills. fighting, shooting, taunt, intimation, persuasion, lockpicking, stealth, healing, notice, and magic (which can fall under smarts or spirit so it's kinda spellcasting and faith rolled into one). lockpicking ends up being pretty much shorthand for all things theify short of stealth. and so far my players haven't gotten into much of the social stuff, not even taunt rolls during combat. but we've only had 3 sessions so hopefully over time they'll do more of that.

a lot of stuff missing from that list just flat out doesn't come up. but i have a few substitions laid out for the edge cases.
Swimming Use Strength
Throwing Use Shooting
Investigation Use Notice
Repair Use Smarts or Lockpicking
Streetwise Use Notice or Persuasion
Tracking Use Notice
Guts Use Spirit
Survival Use Smarts
Climbing Use Strength

i made pre-gen characters only. for the most part i think the kids chose characters based on the accompanying art (which i got from google image searches for the most part).

i made an HTML template for character sheets. the stat block area ends up looking like a horizontal bar graph which i color code to match the color coded dice. the table i use to do this uses images of the die type shapes i stole from some other savage worlds character sheet. and the extreme right-hand side of the "bar" is labeled with the text of the die type (d4, d6, d8, etc). so again the player is given 3 different types of data at a glance to figure out what is appropriate to roll.

no one has ranked up yet, but when they do i toss in a attribute increase "for free" to avoid the complication of strategically buying them once per rank.

everything is a type of treasure. and we use about 30 different types of beads i ordered from fire mountain gems to represent them. XP is represented by a jewel treasure type which can be traded in at guild houses for training. bennies are represented by artifact treasure types that are spent by turning them back in to me with a communist history rewrite saying your character 'donated' it back in town and is just now cashing in the good karma. you can also sell any of that you want. and there are 7 different types so i can pretty easily introduce some price fluctuation into the local economy. base cost for anything is 1,000 copper coins with variations in 100 coin steps.

we also have beads for coins; 3 varieties in 2 sizes valued in powers of 10. so 1 large gold coin is worth 10,000 small copper coins.

we string the beads onto 3 different lengths of beading wire held together with those little clampy paper clip things. this keeps book keeping to a minimum. i am not yet using item cards but am considering it to cut back on reprinting character sheets to keep track of gear.

i run simple adventures from dungeon crawl classics, dungeon delves, or one sheets because that's what i've got available. this ends up being light on sweeping save-the-world style metaplot and in character interactions with NPCs. i'm starting to see a trend of the players seeing the entire game as a treasure hunt. like they are trying to compete with each other to get the high score as measured by gp value. i'm still trying to sort out if i should be ok with that as long as they players are enjoying themselves or if i should start trying to steer them towards becoming more heroic. (last session a player literally asked a dying dairy farmer what magical weapons he had to offer up as payment for rescuing his captured comrades. and another player opted out of combat to actively hunt treasure. he made notice rolls whenever his action card came up.)

we use a chessex battle mat and various minis. i sprung for minis that fairly well match the PCs to encourage player buy in. baddies end up being whatever i can grab. poker chips are proving a bit too big to effectively track mini status. i'm hoping santa brings me some 1 inch markers from alea tools.

http://www.aleatools.com/
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran my 6 years old girls through an rpgkids game (basically, very watered down dnd, used a square grid for combat) and a Faery Tale game

interestingly, they said they liked the map combat more than the more abstract system used in the Faery Tale.
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Starhawk
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dear, departed daddy taught me AD&D 1st edition at that age. Don't sell your kids short. They are smart, and obviously have a parent with discriminating taste Smile

No need to drop the rules on them right away. My gaming started out with me rolling a d20 every now and then and him telling me what happened. I learned the rules slowly as we kept playing. You can bring your kids along the same way. If they are good readers, they may even want to read the rulebook on their own.

BTW - helping them count up raises will help them strengthen their basic math. Just like keeping track of hit points, exp, and gold pieces did for me.
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Takeda
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always refer to the dice by the die-size and colour. Eventually you can drop the colour. I used this teaching my parents to play ... and they're in their mid-60s so they picked it up really fast.

Another tip is if they roll additional dice due to Exploding/Acing or bonus damage die be sure they roll an additional seperate die instead of rolling and adding with the same die. Adding numbers that are right in front of them is easier than adding to a number they're no longer looking at.

Ultimately if you have a set for each player that includes 2x of every die but with 4d6 and one of which is a unique colour in your set you're good. Having 3d6 that are say red and one that is black or speckled, etc. means you can refer to it as the Black Wild Die and eventually you can get them used to rolling it with everything (aside from damage of course).
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