How young is too young?


GM Discussion

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

is there a real limit to how young a player at PFS is, even with parent's permission?

I ask this because we have a play who brings his son to game days. His son is 8, and is unable to focus on a game for 4 hours. He brings other toys and games and distracts the table from the game. His father often runs games as well, and when he does so, he has to guide his son through what to do, basically gives him his faction mission, and tries to tell him what to do in combat.

I realize some of our scenarios have a more PG-13 theme to them, but still, do (should) there be a bottom age to players at the tables?

Dark Archive

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If the kid isnt disrupting the table too much, then who cares what the age is. Help the kid out with your own encouragement, after all the dad wants his spawn to follow in his gaming footsteps, and hey thats all that matters, so long as no one else gets killed because of it.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Grolick wrote:
is there a real limit to how young a player at PFS is, even with parent's permission?

I take it that you feel that this player/GM bringing his son to PFS game days is a distraction to other players?

-Skeld

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

Skeld wrote:
Grolick wrote:
is there a real limit to how young a player at PFS is, even with parent's permission?

I take it that you feel that this player/GM bringing his son to PFS game days is a distraction to other players?

-Skeld

yes, that's correct, I do. Last week several people were not happy with his son for a variety of reasons, including deciding he didn't want to help out in combat (at a table of 4 in a Season 4 scenario, which sometimes is no big deal, I'll admit. We had a good mix of characters).

There have been games when his son leaves the table to run around the game store we are in. His turn will come and no one knows where he is. So that stops the whole flow of things until the son can be found and brought back to the table to play. Who of course, by then, has no idea what is going on because he's been gone.


Why are you talking to "us" rather than "him"?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It really comes down to this. The actual age of the child is not totally relevant. If it has a serious impact on the quality of table time than perhaps Dad needs a talking to. The child isn't the problem, no one in their right mind expects any kind of lengthy attention span in a kid that young.

This isn't a call we can make from our armchairs, it's something you have to decide on your own.


Funky Badger wrote:
Why are you talking to "us" rather than "him"?

I suspect because he's asking if there's a hard and fast rule he can use to ban the kid ("You have to be at least 10 years old to play PFS, sorry it's in the rulebook.") Sadly for him, this isn't the case.

If you're wondering why, it's because kids mature at different rates. I've seen eight-year-olds who were more focused on the game than the adults at the table, and I've seen fifteen-year-olds engaged in disruptive behavior that would make this look tame.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Funky Badger wrote:
Why are you talking to "us" rather than "him"?

Because talking to the dad and telling him his kid is ugly... err, distracting, is going to be difficult and uncomfortable.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Skeld wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:
Why are you talking to "us" rather than "him"?

Because talking to the dad and telling him his kid is ugly... err, distracting, is going to be difficult and uncomfortable.

-Skeld

Than it's going to be uncomfortable even if we can find you gold lettered text written in holy writ.

You can find guidance on game mechanics, but people to people interaction involves a presumption of at least two individuals that are presumed adults. If this is not true, then I suggest you find an adult to help out.

None of us are there, and we can't make a call on where the problem is. Maybe it's dad, maybe it's the child, maybe it's you.


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LazarX wrote:

It really comes down to this. The actual age of the child is not totally relevant. If it has a serious impact on the quality of table time than perhaps Dad needs a talking to. The child isn't the problem, no one in their right mind expects any kind of lengthy attention span in a kid that young.

This isn't a call we can make from our armchairs, it's something you have to decide on your own.

For once I wholeheartedly agree with Lazar ... we can give "what we would do" ideas ... but there is a lot we don't know...

we don't know for instance:

your relationship with dad
dad's awareness of child's disruption
dad's awareness of how child is affecting other gamers
dad's awareness of any perceived problems at all
dad's actual concern that he is raising a hellmonster and inflicting him on poor gamers
outlying circumstances as to why dad feels he needs to schlep child along
FLGS rules on children

So ... depending on what all the above circumstances are here is my advice:

talk to dad
talk to dad
talk to dad
talk to dad
talk to dad
talk to dad
talk to dad

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Grolick wrote:
Skeld wrote:
Grolick wrote:
is there a real limit to how young a player at PFS is, even with parent's permission?

I take it that you feel that this player/GM bringing his son to PFS game days is a distraction to other players?

-Skeld

yes, that's correct, I do.

So I have two suggestions then.

1) If you (and everyone you game with at this store) is ok with the dad leaving and not coming back, you should tell him that his kid is causing problems and that there have been complaints.

2) If there are other moms/dads with kids about that same age, you should have a kids' game day and encourage them to bring their kids for an abbreviated PFS-like game periodically.

You should really try number 2 before resorting to number 1.

Whenever you're given the chance to encourage positive behavior or punish negative behavior, always go with encouragement.

-Skeld

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I've GMed home games for a friend and her family, where the kids didn't have a 4-hour attention span. That's a *long time* for a 1st or 2nd grader.

So we split the session: 2 hours Friday night, hopefullly ending on a cliff-hanger, and 2 hours Saturday after breakfast.

My question: is the child having fun? Is he or she able to follow the plotline?

My advice: if the only thing the kid is doing in combat is physically rolling the dice, then let somebody else roll the dice. If the kid is engaged in the combat, then use that to keep his or her attention.

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

LazarX wrote:

It really comes down to this. The actual age of the child is not totally relevant. If it has a serious impact on the quality of table time than perhaps Dad needs a talking to. The child isn't the problem, no one in their right mind expects any kind of lengthy attention span in a kid that young.

This isn't a call we can make from our armchairs, it's something you have to decide on your own.

I didn't expect people to be able to make a call from their arm chairs on this, but more wondering what other people thought about young kids. We don't have anyone else that has kids under high school age who come play. And I have to say that I have really enjoyed a lot of the high school kids who have played with us. So I'm not an "adults clubhouse" kinda guy, but I want the game to run smoothly for everyone, and allow them to enjoy themselves.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Grolick

I don't think you should use age as an argument. I've done a lot of GMing for young ones and some as young as 8 have done great games.

But you should mention the attention span to the father and how it disrupts game flow and even can endanger the party.

When I play with younger kids (8-12) I try to have breaks. I split up the 4 hours with a food break, time that I prepare 3d scenery and the kids can play in the house for 10 minutes, etc.

This doesn't work in a game shop or convention environment. As such it depends if a kid is interested enough to ay attention for such a long time - or not. There is no hard rule in regard to age in my experience and I wouldn't want one to be created.

But parents need to realize when their child isn't fit for an environment yet. I'm pretty aware of it with my daughter who is less interested then her brother and I therefore try to keep her much more away from the gaming table.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grolick wrote:
LazarX wrote:

It really comes down to this. The actual age of the child is not totally relevant. If it has a serious impact on the quality of table time than perhaps Dad needs a talking to. The child isn't the problem, no one in their right mind expects any kind of lengthy attention span in a kid that young.

This isn't a call we can make from our armchairs, it's something you have to decide on your own.

I didn't expect people to be able to make a call from their arm chairs on this, but more wondering what other people thought about young kids. We don't have anyone else that has kids under high school age who come play. And I have to say that I have really enjoyed a lot of the high school kids who have played with us. So I'm not an "adults clubhouse" kinda guy, but I want the game to run smoothly for everyone, and allow them to enjoy themselves.

The problem with that is that our experiences are going to be highly anecdotal. I've seen eight year olds who can focus for multiple four hour slots, but those kids can't be used as a fair comparison to the problem at hand. Children vary alot in temperament and interests and at that age, it's more typical of them to jump from one activity to another than to expect them to be happy sitting down at a table for hours at a time.

And then there's this

Quote:


Because talking to the dad and telling him his kid is ugly... err, distracting, is going to be difficult and uncomfortable.

-Skeld

. So again, this isn't a call we can make.


One of our local players has been immersing his daughter in the culture for a couple of years now (she's 4/5ish)last year he took her to gencon and she played at the kids tables.

Before she started playing, he'd have her hooked up with his phone/ipad/etc and a headset and she would sit beside him/under his chair and entertain herself. At times she wanted to roll dice and that was good.

Now that she's playing... she has her own dice, and she knows the shape for each thing that her character and animal companion do. She participates as much as she can. She can be a smidge distracting with the constant chatter ... but a few words from her dad and she settles down for awhile.

Amending my previous post a little, I would say this. If he's going to have the child then he should be a co-player with the child and not the GM. He has too much to do as the GM to constantly pay attention to the child, and it's not the tables responsibility to play child-keeper for the GM.

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

Chris Mortika wrote:

I've GMed home games for a friend and her family, where the kids didn't have a 4-hour attention span. That's a *long time* for a 1st or 2nd grader.

So we split the session: 2 hours Friday night, hopefullly ending on a cliff-hanger, and 2 hours Saturday after breakfast.

My question: is the child having fun? Is he or she able to follow the plotline?

My advice: if the only thing the kid is doing in combat is physically rolling the dice, then let somebody else roll the dice. If the kid is engaged in the combat, then use that to keep his or her attention.

He only is engaged if his father tells him exactly what the plot is. He is not able to follow the plots (or faction mission goals) on his own.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Grolick wrote:
He only is engaged if his father tells him exactly what the plot is. He is not able to follow the plots (or faction mission goals) on his own.

Do you know much about dad's situation? Do you know why he brings his son?

-Skeld

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

Skeld wrote:
Grolick wrote:
He only is engaged if his father tells him exactly what the plot is. He is not able to follow the plots (or faction mission goals) on his own.

Do you know much about dad's situation? Do you know why he brings his son?

-Skeld

i don't. I have hypotheses on the situation, but I have no idea if I'm right or not. So I've done what people suggested and informed him his son is disruptive. Also, the next scenario I'm running is Blackros Matrimony, which is mostly all RP. I don't think that his son will even enjoy that, as his son doesn't really seem to role play when he plays. He just likes to hide and stab things.

Paizo Employee Contributor

Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
If he's going to have the child then he should be a co-player with the child and not the GM. He has too much to do as the GM to constantly pay attention to the child, and it's not the tables responsibility to play child-keeper for the GM.

I agree with this. I don't know if you or anyone you play with has brought this up, but this situation sounds like it would function best if the little guy was "helping" his dad play a character, as opposed to the boy playing his own character. This way, the dad can help the boy learn the game, and the boy isn't negatively impacting the party or the other players' experiences. The only other option I can see would be to keep the little guy busy with an entirely different game or distraction while the dad either plays on his own or maybe even GMs.

The dad may not like being restricted like this, especially if for whatever reason he is obligated to take his son to game days, but he needs to keep in mind the impact his decisions are having on other players. The game is about having fun, after all.

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

Amanda Hamon wrote:
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
If he's going to have the child then he should be a co-player with the child and not the GM. He has too much to do as the GM to constantly pay attention to the child, and it's not the tables responsibility to play child-keeper for the GM.

I agree with this. I don't know if you or anyone you play with has brought this up, but this situation sounds like it would function best if the little guy was "helping" his dad play a character, as opposed to the boy playing his own character. This way, the dad can help the boy learn the game, and the boy isn't negatively impacting the party or the other players' experiences. The only other option I can see would be to keep the little guy busy with an entirely different game or distraction while the dad either plays on his own or maybe even GMs.

The dad may not like being restricted like this, especially if for whatever reason he is obligated to take his son to game days, but he needs to keep in mind the impact his decisions are having on other players. The game is about having fun, after all.

You know, this is an awesome idea! I never thought of doing that. See, THIS is why I come post here, to get ideas.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

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This thread makes me sad. I started playing AD&D when I was 8 (White Plume Mountain - I was a halfling thief). By the time I was 10 I was DMing (for my sister, admittedly, who was 7, but it counts, don't it? Please disregard the fact that she hasn't played in almost 30 years, now...). When I was 12 I started writing my own campaign world, and wrote a novel set in that world when I was 17. Because of this influence in my younger life, I am now the owner of a game store, and provide entertainment (by GMing) for three separate home groups plus scores of PFS players.

All of that would have been squished flat if I'd been told I was too young to play that halfling thief.

Then, again, I'm pretty sure I was able to give my attention to my DM in White Plume Mountain for far longer than 4 hours.

You have a very difficult situation on your hands, and I don't envy you your position. The only thing I can offer is the strong advice to look at your own childhood and try to decide how you would have reacted to whatever you plan to say to this child (even if it is said via the father).

From a practical standpoint, is there any chance at all of someone putting together a "Young Adventurers League" that gets run regularly? They could use Beginner Box rules, and run a series of mini-campaigns (like The Shades of Ice series reworked for BB play). Fathers could be invited, and transition plans could be made to work those kids into PFS, eventually, if they show an aptitude and desire to continue.

These are just my thoughts. Good luck with your dilemma.

Sovereign Court

There's no bottom for physical age. There's a prerequisite of 15 years of mental age, my opinion of course. ;) I've had my share of obnoxious youngsters at my convention sessions, and I wish to forget about them.

I once had a table with maybe 12- to 14-year-olds and all four of them were annoying and loud excluding one, who proved to be an excellent player. I guess it's all about "mental age".

Dark Archive

Drogon, this brings up a good point that I hope that you are willing to answer.

Now let's say this is going on in your store. Grolick has come up to you to tell you this gentleman's son is disrupting his game and some of the other players are being annoyed by this. One person may have even lost their seat at the table because of the boy.

Is it worth disrupting the enjoyment of your patrons so that one person can have their son around to share the experience?

Is it up to the GM to address the manner with the father or the store owner?

I am all for letting the kid play, but it sounds like this isn't the right environment for it. Much like I'm all for kids learning how to ski, but there is a reason they have the bunny hill. =v)

Dark Archive

I think 8 is too young, but that's me. I waited til 10 to introduce my son.

I would talk to both Dad *and* the kid. When kid runs away from the table, I'd tell him he's needed - his character is important to our story. When he whips out toys (and WHY is Dad packing toys for the kid) - I'd tell him we need him to focus - and its just as irritating when the grown ups whip out their cell phones.


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I've GMed for or played with a handful of players in the 10-13 yr range. Each one of them had difficulty staying focused for 4-5 hours, but their distractions to the table were minimal. Whenever they start to get disruptive, I use my Dad Voice to ask them to quiet down. That usually does the trick for a while. If needed, I will quickly explain a plot point or faction mission to them. If they want to wander around the store for a bit and miss some combat rounds, so be it.

We have to remember that these young kids are going to grow up one day. That 8 yr old disruptive kid might turn into a 5-star GM in ten years. It's up to us, the community as a whole, to teach and encourage them if we want our hobby/passion to thrive.

If it were me, I would focus on how to minimize the kid's disruption to the table, not how to remove him. Talk to Dad and try to work out a solution everyone is happy with.

Also, the suggestions for kids games and breaking up scenarios are great ideas.

Silver Crusade

So here's a thought: If the dad is the GM, perhaps, one of you should consider stepping up and letting the dad take a break from GMing...

I have had many young ones at my tables. Usually if it's not a "Kids Only" table, dad is usually there to help the child along and keep them from getting too out of hand. If dad was able to focus on his child and the game at hand instead of a whole bunch of other things, it will help the child keep better focus during the game. Thus, make things more pleasant for all.

I have had parents drop their children off to game as well, and while I do not mind keeping a watchful eye on them, if the child gets too out of hand, I have no problem stopping the game and calling the child's parents to have them picked up. I may be a GM, but I'm not a baby-sitter and so if they are going to give me more trouble then worth, I will gladly call mom/dad. And that threat alone will make them focus.

I never ever want to ban a child/parent who is building a gaming relationship, but, we're not babysitters either and both Dad/fellow players need to help with that.

Again, this is what I would do. Take whatever bits of advice apply to your situation and good luck!

Grand Lodge 5/5

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Here is a link to a thread about Children and PFS play that I started nearly 3 years ago.

At the time my son was 9 and my daughter 7. I was on the way to a child friendly (according to the advertisements) convention that also did some PFS play.

My son did play and had a lot of fun. I didn't let my daughter play at the time as I felt she wouldn't enjoy it for long enough.

Forward 2 1/2 years. My son is a keen player and is well known and respected at conventions. He tends to know at least one or two players at a table - so I no longer feel he needs daddy or mummy to sit at the same table.

A week ago he GMed the Accursed Halls - Thornkeep level 1-2 for a group of 7 adults, including 3 4-star GMs. He GMed for approx 8 hours (with breaks) and got very good feedback from all players around the table. He will need 3 more credits to get his first star as GM.

I'm glad I wasn't discouraged two and a half years ago to let him play at a convention.

I'm still very selective when, what and with whom I let him GM. But he gets all my support and his most prized procession is a core rule book he got with signature from Mike and the VC UK at PaizoCon UK.

This is to show it can work very well.

Now I should also mention my daughter. She is less interested. I take care to book her for max 1 slot / day at a convention and I ensure either myself or my wife sit at the table to keep her focussed.

She is probably closer to the boy in the shop. I allow her to play when she shows interest - but I'm fine to find alternative ways to keep her occupied.

Bits that help in my opinion
1) have mum or dad play with her at the same table
2) have certain players play with her who know her and focus her / keep her occupied
3) ensure the GM is fine with having her at the table
4) try not to have her play too often so she doesn't feel she 'has to play'

But in the end you have to talk to the parent to work out how best to handle it. A ban for young players is not constructive.
Ignoring as parent that there are no issues isn't constructive either.

So there needs to be a solution somewhere in between.

Grand Lodge

Talking to the father, as others have said, is probably your best bet here. It may be just that his attention span isnt long enough to sit through the entire game. He could simply be uninterested in this type of game, and his dad just forces him to come for some reason.

The reason for his inattention and his disruptiveness is not your concern, it is his dads. Unfortunately talking to the dad about it may leave you looking like the bad guy towards the dad, though I would make sure not to villainize anything about the situation.

Make sure to get the point across that his son is always welcome back, if and when the son isnt a source of distraction for the rest of the table. it's not the fact of his age. it's the fact of him being a disruptive player. The dad likely wouldnt tolerate another adult player playing with something else while in the middle of a session or walking them through, so he shouldnt expect anyone to do that for his son just because of his age.


As the parent of a teenager who plays PFS I say, good job coming here to get advice Grolick. You sound like you have a level head about the situation.

Don't let the grandstanders and haters get you down.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015

There is a lot of great advice in this thread. We have two children, 10 and 6, my husband has run games specifically for them and I portray the guardian/mentor PC who's some how not quite smart enough to figure it all out on her own. The 10 year old loves it, the 6 year old is just here for the dice so far, but his math skills are sharp and it helps to engage him.

I would not consider inviting my children to our grown-up game because that can be a burden on the other grown-ups and get boring for the children. I strongly support building a good parent-child relationship though and that could be what this dad could be trying to do.

The recommendation to have someone else run so the game responsibilities of the dad are reduced and he can focus on playing something with his son is by far the best choice, in my opinion, and might be best presented as an opportunity rather than "your son is a distraction". We're a community and it takes a community to be raise good table top players.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Nebten wrote:

Drogon, this brings up a good point that I hope that you are willing to answer.

Now let's say this is going on in your store. Grolick has come up to you to tell you this gentleman's son is disrupting his game and some of the other players are being annoyed by this. One person may have even lost their seat at the table because of the boy.

Is it worth disrupting the enjoyment of your patrons so that one person can have their son around to share the experience?

Is it up to the GM to address the manner with the father or the store owner?

I am all for letting the kid play, but it sounds like this isn't the right environment for it. Much like I'm all for kids learning how to ski, but there is a reason they have the bunny hill. =v)

In another thread about uncouth gamers I said that it is the store's responsibility to handle those kinds of situations that are driving out other customers. The GM/players/coordinator should approach the store owner and explain the problem; the store owner needs to solve it because it is costing him money. If this is doing that same thing then, yes, it is the store's responsibility to get involved. Maintaining customers is the goal of any establishment. Realizing that one situation is driving out multiple customers, and deciding how to handle that situation, is up to them.

That said, this is slightly different. As opposed to an obviously disruptive patron, this could be handled more diplomatically by shifting the expectations of everyone involved. While I still think that should involve the store owner (and in my case, I would insist that it does), the coordinator and PFS community involved in this should also be a part of the solution.

A further answer to the question: if someone like Grolick approached me and told me this was an issue, I would take it upon myself to solve it. If, after determining that it could be handled so that all involved could come away happy, I'd keep Grolick involved. I wouldn't simply let him turn me into an "ax-man" unless it was a matter of the father and son teaming up to be deliberately disruptive, or something to that effect.

Unlike the other thread's "stinky/gross/disgusting/rude" gamer, there are lots of sides to this situation. That all needs to be taken into account when this is handled, because all those sides have a legitimate stand in the outcome.

Edit: By the way, my solution would likely involve the creation of your "bunny hill" within my store. That seems very equitable to all involved, and very profitable for the store. Win-win. (-:

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

SO I did drop an e-mail to the father who thanked me for being comfortable enough to mention this to him. His son will be playing the first session I run, but not playing the second one, which he agreed would probably bore his son. I am still going to consider the excellent suggestion of at times having his son help run his own character instead of playing his own.

Thanks all for the advice!

The Exchange 5/5

I read thru most of this and have a lot of sympathy for the problems mentioned. As I was/am not there, I would be perfect to give comments ;) (as I have no idea what I'm talking about, all I have is opinions) I do have an observation...
.
I have seen every "bad point" raised here in persons that were much older than 8. Age 38 maybe and once or twice at 58 or 68.

1) " ... is unable to focus on a game for 4 hours" - check. player seems to be unable to focus thru the mission briefing, let alone the entire adventure.
2) "...brings other toys and games and distracts the table from the game" - check. (smart phones, new minis, "Cross table talk", etc.)
3) "...to guide" the player "through what to do, basically gives him his faction mission, and tries to tell him what to do in combat" - check. yeah... so many times.
4) "...deciding he didn't want to help out in combat" - check. Heck, last week I had a player (grown man) SULK for an entire encounter, because he didn't like the rules. (Complete with bad language comments on the rules, and snide comments about rules lawyers - i.e. the judge).
5) "... leaves the table to run around the game store we are in. His turn will come and no one knows where he is..." - check. Does he smoke? we need to add "leaves the STORE we are in, - is outside someplace smoking".

You have the chance here to teach the kid correct habits - and maybe the other players might learn something when they see you explaining - "Timmy, you need to pay attention to the Judge when he's talking - not show the lady beside you your neat new phone AP."

just a thought...


Deussu wrote:
There's no bottom for physical age. There's a prerequisite of 15 years of mental age, my opinion of course. ;)

That rules out more than a few 30-year-olds of my acquaintance. :P


IIRC when I signed up my daughter (who is now 8) for her PFS# the minimum selection for age in the table/field was 13. It was somewhere in the signup process for name/address/whatever. So I lied and signed her up anyway, knowing she would only be playing with us at home, at least to begin with.

I started playing when I was 7 because my older brother was playing with a small group and needed another player. Those family van rides to and from Canada on fishing trips were when I learned the rules. So I think every child should be given a chance if the parent thinks they are ready.

Parents are responsible for their kids. If the parent is a responsible player, you won't have any problems from their child(ren).

That said, any GM has the right to refuse to run a game for people who they deem not ready to handle either the patience OR the themes, some of which can be mature. They are there to run a game, not babysit. Players should let the GM know in advance of the slot wherever possible that "underage" players want to participate.

That may sound harsh, and I am the first person to help out younger players when I see the need. But GMs have enough on their plate and need to call out a parent who shows up with a child who is either not ready or has no intention to sit still/pay attention because they either would not or could not afford a sitter. I have seen more than one table at Gen Con where parents brought infants and toddlers to games (in the late slot no less) who had no interest in the games.

Sovereign Court 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

The 13 year old thing is likely so that Paizo does not need to worry about compliance with COPPA.

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