Adding children to the group


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Bandw2 wrote:

I'm actually on the player's side, I would "threaten" to leave the group as well, but not out of anger or trying to cajole the GM/housemaster to not include their child, but as a warning of what simply would happen. I won't have fun playing with a child around, i'll feel more uncomfortable than having fun, and so would leave because the game would simply not offer what I played in the first place for, fun.

I have 2 12 year old sisters who are getting into pathfinder, and it is simply a different game, I can GM for such a game, but would not be a player in one.

That truly is your loss.


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I am newer to Pathfinder (been playing about 3 months now) and I am playing with my son who is almost 10. I played D&D MANY years ago and had fallen away from tabletop gaming and missed it something fierce. When Eric started asking me about the game I jumped on the opportunity to introduce him to it. We got involved at a weekly game at the local comic/gaming store and have been having a blast. This has given us Father/Son time, and we are consistently chatting about what we just played, and what our characters might do next.

In an effort to make him a character at the table that at least would offer some benefit to the rest of the group, we rolled him up a channeling focused Cleric. I know the min/maxxers out there will say this is not the strongest choice for a Cleric, but I have noticed two things. The first is that my son enjoys channeling a heal, excluding the enemies and 3 party members get to add HP back on their character and they do not need to worry about dying. Plus, they thank him for the heals. This is a tremendous boon to my son as he feels needed in the group of adults. The second point is that in many of the scenarios we have played, we have needed his healing. We are almost level 6, and if he hadn't been there channeling here and there we most likely would have had at least two, maybe three players killed. So, he enjoys playing his channel healing, skeleton destroying, monster summoning, fireball throwing Cleric.

As a bonus, I have started to GM for a group of his friends and we are taking it very slowly and everyone is having a great time. A benefit to this is I am learning at a much faster rate because I need to know so much more while GMing.

My personal opinion is the age doesn't matter as long as the player is interested and not a distraction at the table. Granted, if the group feels constricted by the age gap than that is something to be considered, as each player needs to buy in to the idea of the younger gamer. So far in our game store game I haven't noticed anyone being apprehensive about him playing. I have been looking for signs, but of course I may be missing them. This is the main reason he rolled as a Cleric since he is almost always the only one with any type of healing at the table, save for the CLW out of combat.

I believe I have rambled on enough, and perhaps you will find one point of clarity in that mess.


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Southeast Jerome wrote:
If a 12 year old wants to spend time socializing with grown ups, that's a good thing to be encouraged. He might even need some hand-holding, just like you would with an apprentice in real life. Historically, 12 years old is when a "child" would go to work with a master to learn a profession. Work that into the story. If your friends are willing to quit a game that's about killing goblins because a kid wants to learn and without giving him a chance, they're not acting like adults.

That answer is rather short sighted.

Most adults have little time for gaming. And if a player wants to use his precious little time having fun without burdening themselves with teaching someone I can understand that. For some people that might be fun. For others it is depriving them of what they started the game for.

And really, what is the best for the child:

- Tell him that the grown ups want to be on their own
- Try it out and tell the child that it did not work out and he can't keep playing after he had fun with it
- Try it out and tell the child that one or more players left because of him
- Start a game especially for the child with people who like the idea of playing alongside him


Umbranus: To his son's face. That is why I gave the caveat that he make the judgement of whether his child is mature enough to handle gaming before doing this. If he is mature enough to handle the game then he should be mature enough to handle rejection. Not all kids are.

And I do understand that it might lead to a destroyed friendship between the OP and the players. To my mind that is better than pretending like your friends aren't bigots towards your own child. I would rather them admit their bigotry upfront so that I could make an informed decision about whether I would want to be their friend in the first place. Personally, I do not keep friends who are bigots. At least not on serious issues and definitely not an issue that has to do with my own family. I do not think that is unreasonable.

I may have a different perspective on parenting than many people but it has worked well for us. I have always been opposed to censorship of any sort by anyone other than parents. A rating system is fine but I choose how mature my child is and what subject matter my child is capable of processing. My child has always been fairly advanced in the maturity category, definitely more than I was at his age. He is interested in topics well beyond his age and, in fact, has problems with socializing with other kids his age. He tends to hang with the more mature intelligent crowd at school and most of my friends he is also friends with. I was the same way in school but honestly, he is more mature than I was.

I had my kid watching the Aliens and Predator movies at age 5. He didn't have nightmares and could process the mature content of those movies well enough to make a father proud. Abstract violence against non-human creatures I have never had an issue with. There is mature content I do not let him watch and subject matter that he just wouldn't get on a social level that he just wouldn't enjoy. But Pathfinder? Gimme a break, he was cutting his teeth on Lord of the Rings when some kids are still in diapers. Literally. He handled it well at age 10. Some kids are not there, though. But not all 12 (or 10) year olds are the same. There are no age gaps in role playing. There are maturity gaps.


Umbranus wrote:

That answer is rather short sighted.

Most adults have little time for gaming. And if a player wants to use his precious little time having fun without burdening themselves with teaching someone I can understand that. For some people that might be fun. For others it is depriving them of what they started the game for.

And really, what is the best for the child:

- Tell him that the grown ups want to be on their own
- Try it out and tell the child that it did not work out and he can't keep playing after he had fun with it
- Try it out and tell the child that one or more players left because of him
- Start a game especially for the child with people who like the idea of playing alongside him

If a player feels that way after a session or two, that's fine, and if the kid is out of his depth, then have the conversation then. If a player threatens to quit before the kid even joins, though, that's obnoxious. The player doesn't have to teach anything, the DM and the parents can handle that. As long as the subject matter isn't X-rated, you're now just a party with a young adventurer in the group.

Starting a new game would be my first choice, but the OP said that wasn't an option. So between a 12 year old who wants to play, a DM who's cool with the idea, and a couple players who won't even consider it because it will force them to spend time with the target age group for the game, I'm siding with the reasonable ones.


My group had a young fellow respond to our poster down at the local gaming store. He joined us for a few sessions but stopped coming before too long. As a group, we were never sure why because we all liked him well enough and he seemed to be a decent player. Guess we freaked him out. Or mom and dad got tired of driving him across the city. Or something. My older son joined the game for awhile but turned out to be just a little too distracted and pretty resistant to doing the reading required to participate. We asked him to find a different group if he really wanted to play since it didn't appear to us that was the case. My younger son also joined us for a while but found that our game did not suit him. He's most interested in the roleplay aspect of the game; we didn't focus on it enough for him so he formed his own group. At the same time as my younger boy tried out our group, another player's son did too. That kid is now 23 and has been playing with us for years even though his father no longer does due to work circumstances.

If there is room in the group, then any player should be welcomed to see if they are a good fit. A young player is really no different than any other player; they may or may not work out but you won't know until you play with them.


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A note on the players' side: As parents, I understand it's hard for us to imagine that other people aren't as fond of our kids as we are. But that's a reality we sometimes need to accept. Some people just don't like kids, don't want them, aren't comfortable around them, etc.

That doen't automatically make them bad people.

For some, it just means you hang out with them without the kids -- usually not at your own house, for obvious reasons. For others, maybe you don't have time to do childfree activities; no harm, no foul. Either way, no sense in forcing things.

The Exchange

Kirth Gersen wrote:

I love my daughter. I can't wait until she's old enough to play.

That said, I also love a beer-fueled adult game, full of moral ambiguities, insanely convoluted plot lines, savage revenge, all kinds of NC-17 goings-on offstage, etc. And I would not really want her playing in such a game at age 12. I would not want to forcibly mix the two, or dilute the one, or whatever.

Instead, I would try like hell to have two separate games, one PG-13 and one R, if you will.

Explaining to the 12-year-old that there are two different games, one which he's allowed to play, and one that he's not, shouldn't be too different than explaining why he's not allowed to watch movies with "Emmaneulle" in the title. Yeah, it's slightly awkward, but doable.

*Wall O' Text*

This is kinda where I am at. I love playing as an adult with my "how much is a night going for, strumpet" character partying it up. However I also think that bringing new blood into the game is good. It sounds like the OP is solo-gaming with his son on the side and has his son around during game sessions (freely roaming around the house at the time) so in theory the game is already somewhat being played at a level that a 12 year old is able to be present without wondering why the barbarian is "paying those 3 ladies to spend the night with him and what are they smoking?".
I take my adult game away from the kids, and if there is a kid nearby it quickly gets cleaned up for their presence so I assume that the OP's current game is somewhat kosher for the kid. I am wondering if there is some underlying issue with the kid....does he act bratty, show lack of attention, or poor sportsmanship when the group is around and they are reacting to that and not the age issue?
If you could iron out the whys you may have a better idea of how to incorporate the kid into the game.

I would also suggest that maybe you run a once a month game in place of the regular game where the kid can play with the group, and ask the group to help make him into a good player by offering RP tips, tactical suggestions, helping with attentiveness and good sportsmanship....if it works out over the course of a couple months and the players are feeling good about his gameplay then adding him to the regular group would be much better received and the transition much easier. If it doesn't work out after a few sessions then you can drop the once a month thing and wait until the kid is more ready. During the time, after games, offer your boy gentle critiques on his behavior, how he RPed, social cues and such....remember that we all had to develop to be good gamers (and some are still having issues with it after years of gaming!) and that you and your friends are trying to make a good gamer. A lot of people wish they had a good system of guidance to help them become good gamers instead of trial and error until we got better.


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Well, after reading many of the objections, I at least understand them now: "I don't want to have to adjust my game for a kid."

Guess what? You don't.

Your GM knows how you play. Your GM has seen you ask, "How much a night, strumpet?" and is OK WITH HIS KID HEARING THIS.

Heck, my kids met Laori Vaus at 10 and 7, and I didn't hold back, as they'd already been playing M-rated zombie games. Their reactions? My older son got his first crush. "She tortures and mutilates people, and she giggles while she's doing it. What a woman! *SIGH*"

As a parent, I know *exactly* how my players play, how raunchy they get, and I am perfectly OK with my kids being exposed to that stuff. When I introduced my kids, I reassured my group, "They've seen and heard everything you've done over the last 2 years. Don't worry about it."
(Admittedly, my players are quite tame, but you get the point -- I already KNOW how they play, and I'm OK with my kids seeing it.)

And yet some players are still uncomfortable, even after being reassured by the parent that all of their behavior is fine, and that after several years of gaming together, the parent is sure that all content is fine.

So I still blame the players entirely for the, "Darn it! Now I have to play differently," attitude, but at least I'll back off slightly on the, "Ban a player sight unseen!?!?!?! Buttweiner!" declaration.

I am still extremely strongly in the, "Give me a break! Try a few sessions and THEN decide!" camp.

The notion that you can't do anything (drink, cuss, purchase companionship) with a kid around leads to sheltered kids who get REALLY confused when the real world hits them on the head.
If the parent knows your group, and still asks to add the kid, then you know the parent is OK with whatever you do.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

yeah i don't get why people without kids think they have to be all Dick Van D%~! wholesome when the kids are around, almost all that stuff goes over their heads.

edit: LOL! you can't even type Dick Van D#@# without the automatic censor censoring it! lol

also i only play with my wife and kids:)


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TWO avatars in one month?

Too much caffeine, Mr. Yesterday. Too much caffeine.

EDIT: And did you notice our 'symbols' of purity are all euphemisms? Dick van <Unmentionable>? Mr. Rogers? The Beaver?

Hmm....


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Kirth Gersen wrote:

A note on the players' side: As parents, I understand it's hard for us to imagine that other people aren't as fond of our kids as we are. But that's a reality we sometimes need to accept. Some people just don't like kids, don't want them, aren't comfortable around them, etc.

That doen't automatically make them bad people.

Thanks. Few parents (at least few I know) realize that.


Almost all my (married, adult) friends are child-free. I was until recently. So I guess I have a lot more sympathy for their feelings than most people do.


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The more I think about the topic the more I come to this conclusion:
For me the idea of having parents, with their children around, at the table is worse than having children around.
I guess I know too many people who changed for the worse since they are parents. There are two I would not game with any more if it were not for my flatmate because she is in many groups I'm in, too. And those two are among her oldest friends.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
NobodysHome wrote:

TWO avatars in one month?

Too much caffeine, Mr. Yesterday. Too much caffeine.

EDIT: And did you notice our 'symbols' of purity are all euphemisms? Dick van <Unmentionable>? Mr. Rogers? The Beaver?

Hmm....

The Beaver i understand, i'm having trouble with the Mr. Rogers one....

as far as my avatar, yes there has been a lot of caffeine but i also discovered how to do it at work and i've been working more and i get so very bored:-)>
besides the frogs will rule the world! at least thats what a friend and i decided when we skipped school senior year, we also came up with concrete evidence of Sheep being the missing link...... needless to say senior year is kinda blurry...
:-)

Sovereign Court

Maybe it's just me - but most of the "I don't want to play with kids because then I can't do X" in this thread: I don't want to play with you either if you're doing said creepy thing!


Umbranus: Let me get this right. You are ok with playing at a table with kids, but just not your friends' kids?


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
I don't want to play with you either if you're doing said creepy thing!

I can totally sympathize, but it doesn't in any way detract from the people who do enjoy that sort of game: your preferences are not universal.

But, "mature" content entirely aside, some people just don't like hanging around with kids. That doesn't need to make them social pariahs unless you insist on it.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
I don't want to play with you either if you're doing said creepy thing!

I can totally sympathize, but it doesn't in any way detract from the people who do enjoy that sort of game: your preferences are not universal.

But, "mature" content entirely aside, some people just don't like hanging around with kids. That doesn't need to make them social pariahs unless you insist on it.

Are we even sure that "mature" content is why the players won't play with the kid?

Personally I'm for it. One of my long term groups played with one of the player's sons for years. Starting younger than 12, IIRC. Sure he was immature at times, but it was good fun nonetheless.

I'd probably suggest trying it in a few one-shot or short term games and see how it goes rather than bringing him into the commitment of a full campaign.


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I know when I first started out as a wee roleplayer in the old days the large majority of gamers at the rec center were adults/very late teens. I was the baby of our group at 12-14. After I had proven that I had the maturity to listen and not be annoying I was allowed to graduate to the "big table" with the adults playing adult themed games rather than the smaller tables where, frankly, people ran amok like kindergartners on crack.

My oldest kids are 10 now and they aren't quite as capable of sitting still and ramping down the enthusiasm and noise as I was at that age. We're playing a game with just family at the moment until I can be sure that they wouldn't annoy other adults (or kids!)

In any case, I've seen this from both sides. That said, this stood out for me:

Umbranus wrote:
Most adults have little time for gaming. And if a player wants to use his precious little time having fun without burdening themselves with teaching someone I can understand that. For some people that might be fun. For others it is depriving them of what they started the game for.

Does that count for teaching/dealing with other adults? Many children that are interested in gaming are quite willing to sit and listen and learn quickly. Many adults are less willing; look into the accounts of the same people not knowing what their characters do after multiple sessions or not knowing what dice to roll after years of doing this.


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Popupjoe wrote:
Adding new people has always been a bit of a chore with me the GM being the decider.

Could be a sign that this may not just be about you and your son.

Popupjoe wrote:
My son is 12 and has enjoyed playing with me in our bi-weekly solo game for 2 years now.

2 year solo game vet since age 10, check. Good job, +5 gamer-parent points.

Popupjoe wrote:
But every other Saturday he sits out while the adults play "Pretend" with out him. I want to included him in my long running group but half of my players are boycotting the decision by threatening to leave the game. What's worse is my son already made a character and overheard some of the talk about others not wanting to play with him. I strongly feel as the kid should play but my friends are very dear to me as well. Any advice? Has anyone else gone through this? I'm pretty sure I'm adding him to the group and rebuilding as needed. I can't run multiple games with multiple groups at the moment.

Looks like you've already decided, I'm not sure what advice you would want, unless you are seeking advice in recruiting new players...

==============================================================

I used to not mind playing with kids and have enjoyed teaching RPGs, tips, tricks and fun over the years I've been playing. Since I've started PFS, though, one poor experience has completely ruined it for me to the point that I've actually avoided volunteering to run games at some game days to avoid a particular parent-child combo.

The problem with playing with people's kids is that most parents are always in "parent mode" when the kid is around and if you don't know the parent REALLY well, it's hard to say where the boundaries are for what is appropriate, especially if the boundaries are elastic. While you may say "hey, that's my issue, no theirs" it does have an impact on the game and how it runs, especially if it is the GM who is always in parent-mode.

I don't know how conservative you are or what experiences the players have had with your son being around, but I have to say that from my POV, prior experiences would definitely make me less comfortable gaming around someone's kids. If your players are veteran players, they may have had similar experiences, or even more drastic ones.

I would recommend trying to find out WHY your players are reluctant to play with your son and if it's something that can be addressed before you elect to go all "blood is thicker than teamwork feats, bud" on your players.

-TimD

tl;dr - I agree with most of Kirth's statements thus far in this thread :)


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Well, Kirth is hitting the core pretty well: Some people just don't like being around kids. Period. And Umbranus' comment on dealing with the parents is also VERY true -- we've had to break up gaming groups not because of the kids, but because of the suddenly-bizarre behavior of the parents.

I take it as a point of pride that our "I hate kids" friend was willing to continue hanging out with us even after we had them, just to give it a try. And it worked out really well for him in some ways (they are now his "minions"), but really poorly in others (other parents assume that because he gets along with our kids, he must like kids.) And he still hates kids. Mine are lucky enough to be an exception. And that just gets the other parents going OFF about how mean he is.

So I've seen it all: Parents going crazy-protective or favoritive towards their kids. Parents forcing their kids on avowed kid-haters.

I let them be in the same room. I didn't try to intervene on either party's behalf. And it worked. And they game together.

Let's give my friend credit where credit is due: He hates kids, but he was willing to be in the same room with mine even though it caused him discomfort at first, just because he knew they were going to be a part of my life going forward. HE made the effort.

But I'm dubious of 'friends' who won't even go that far.

That's why I keep saying, "Give it a couple of sessions."

The one-off ideas are more work, but they work well, too.


Westphalian_Musketeer wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Hmm wrote:
My boy really is not a great team player. He loves games, but tends to be a bit of munchkiny-tyrant while in them. He's slightly aspergers, very competitive, and needing a bit more social grace.
Sounds like you're talking about my 14 year old daughter. And yes, I mean the entire quoted section. I have run a one on one campaign with her, but it's mentally taxing for me. Of course, the more I suffer through it, the more she loves it...
She's lucky to have you.

Thank you. She doesn't feel so appreciative at the moment, as I've been slacking off on the sessions for some time. She began with a group of fairly normal heroes, and it has evolved over time into a group of were-creatures and vampires (we uses customized rules). It has turned *literally* into her attempt to retell the story of the Underworld movies. She betrays her allies, feeds on innocent blood, etc. and thinks that everyone should be OK with her choices. Anyhow, its a huge strain on my own suspention of disbelief and the soap opera component is really making me want to pull out my own hair.

It makes her happy though.


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Humm,

Well I have an anecdote that applies here.

I moved to a new town and was lucky enough that some of my friends moved with me. I was building a new game and the subject came up of younger players.

I had to explain that for any games I run or that are at my house anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed. Also, that if you want to come play at my place you need a babysitter.

Now some of you may see that as harsh, but it all boils down to one fact; legal culpability.

If a child is in my home I can be held legally culpable for any harm that comes to it and I am doubly at risk if that child is ever left alone with a non-parent of the opposite gender.

If we are playing at another person's home and a child is exposed to material that it's parent finds unsuitable it can and does spoil friendships and possibly put me in a situation where I can be sued for trauma and damages.

I generally even when not gaming am very conscious of how and when I interact with children due to the hyper protective culture I at least have experienced.

Basically children add a level of stress and responsibility to an activity that is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

Now if we are going to a child inclusive activity such as say miniature golf or a water park, I would gladly take my family including children. For non-family children I would want either a signed permission slip or a family member of the child involved.

This all gets more sticky when you are talking about teenagers rather than children. 15-17 year olds have a nasty habit of developing crushes on older individuals which they spend time with, and do not react well to a polite rejection. Their parents also react badly to being told "Little Sammy/Suzy is hitting on me and it's making me uncomfortable."

In short when as an adult I am trying to relax, this is my time away from being a responsible caregiver. I do not want even the small time I have for "Me" time to disappear, sacrificed to another persons children.

All of this said I do love kids and do agree that spending time helping them grow and improve is a wonderful experience, I just do not feel that not wanting to give up my only "adult" time because one person wants to include their child is in any way unreasonable.


Hm. I will say that I had ran a solo game with my son for a few months prior to bringing him into the game with us. I did this mostly so he would understand what was expected of him. I gave him assignments to read through the core rulebook. He handled it well and came back with very intelligent questions. After reading the assignments he actually had some excellent character concepts so we had some very enjoyable conversations about character builds and the strengths of his concepts. After this kind of discussion I knew he was ready to work through some character builds. Of course after building four characters that happened to fit pretty well together as a party the next logical step was to try running them through some adventures. So that is what we did. It went very well, he caught on quickly and was actually eager to DM.

I have actually been holding him back from DMing telling him that it may be a more daunting task than he is ready for. After running the game that he is currently in and seeing the work I put into it I think he has a grasp on what is expected of that role and that while he has great ideas and could be good at it that he isn't willing to devote that much "out of game" time to building a full campaign. He would like to run a module or something though and I think that would be the best start for him.

From the sounds of the the OP has already passed these stages of pre-game study and practice though. I trust that the OP has a firmer grasp than anyone as to what his child can handle. This is largely due to my own personal experiences. If he says the kid is ready to try then the kid is ready to try. There is no way to know for sure how they will work in the group dynamic until they try.

We have ALL been there before. In fact, I wish I had such a constructive inclusion into tabletop gaming. My parents were clueless. Anyone who says that they were never among the youngest at their table and had the adults allow them into their game with some grain of doubt is a liar. I'm callin you all out! So take that.


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Lune wrote:
We have ALL been there before. In fact, I wish I had such a constructive inclusion into tabletop gaming. My parents were clueless. Anyone who says that they were never among the youngest at their table and had the adults allow them into their game with some grain of doubt is a liar. I'm callin you all out! So take that.

Sorry. Started in 1974. There WERE no adults who had played before who were "allowing" me into their game.

Nyah!


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Lies! Grognards and Fatbeards existed even then.


Lune wrote:


We have ALL been there before. In fact, I wish I had such a constructive inclusion into tabletop gaming. My parents were clueless. Anyone who says that they were never among the youngest at their table and had the adults allow them into their game with some grain of doubt is a liar. I'm callin you all out! So take that.

Nope.

Gamed with my 12-14 year old friends when I was 12. Stayed gaming with them all throughout my high-school days.

In the military I gamed with people as much as 4 years older than me, but we were all 18+.

I have never been the "Child Gamer" at an "Adult" table, and considering the difference in attitude and topics that my games addressed from 12-now I am glad of that.

This may all come down to the fact that I have been a player for less than 20 total sessions since I started playing at 12 years old. *Shrug*

So I would appreciate an apology as calling someone a liar is definitively against the "Don't be a Jerk rule.".


Liar. You just admitted that you were among the youngest at the table at one point.

(...man, you gotta take some things tongue and cheek here, bud. I thought the "So take that." made it clear.)

Grand Lodge

Hmm wrote:

If you rebuild, I suggest rebuilding with a new adventure, one that might excite your player group. Or put your old group on hiatus and suggest that you are going to do a test run of the Spire, with your son in the group. If others want to join for the test run, great! Once the Spire is done, you'll restart and see how everyone feels.

Now a question about your son

I should note that I am a mom of a 12 year old son who is not in the above group. My boy really is not a great team player. He loves games, but tends to be a bit of munchkiny-tyrant while in them. I'm running a separate kids-only game to get him better adapted to playing with others. He's slightly aspergers, very competitive, and needing a bit more social grace.

What is your son like? Is he thoughtful of others? Can he follow a strategic plan? Some kids are GREAT team players. Others are less so. What does your child bring to the table?

Bang on!

I don't really think it's about the age of the kid. It's more about their maturity level, whether they can settle down and play the game and not be disruptive at the table. Some kids can handle this, some cannot.

Also realize, your kid is not an unknown entity to your players. They have met him and can probably envision pretty clearly what he'd be like at the table. Ask them what they think, what their objections to having him play in your group might be. This may require some delicacy on your part - again, nobody likes having to talk to parents about their kids.

I'll also echo the above advice, if you are really dead set on doing this, why not put your current campaign on hiatus and start up a new game w/ a new group, just to see how he does.

The other question: what is your relationship w/ him like?

Part of the failure of our game was the dynamic between the father and son.

I always got the sense the son felt like he was doing his dad a favour, sitting in on our game. Over time, I watched him push the boundaries of that more and more, seeing what he could get away with. Most players have experienced something like this before, a case of GM's Pet/Special Snowflake Syndrome, whereby one player (such as the GM's girlfriend or best bud from high school) receives special treatment and can get away with more, often to the detriment of the game. The added ingredient here, of course, was the pre-teen/early teen acting out, dialing up the antics week after week to the point that it became ridiculous and completely overwhelmed the narrative of the game.

Note: Of all the players on this thread who reported making a successful entry into RPGs at age 10 or 12, how many also listed having their parent as GM? Something to think about.

Oh, and for the record: I have an 18 year old who lives at home. He graduated high school earlier this year and is now working full-time. He's a great kid, and I'd be happy to welcome him into any game I'm in (though I would never push that on him). I guess that's what killed the immersion for me. I am not a babysitter. I play games for me, because it is a good/fun outlet for me. I didn't see the point of leaving my teenager at home to go sit at the table with somebody else's (far less respectful) teenager.


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Lune wrote:
Lies! Grognards and Fatbeards existed even then.

LOL. OK. Counter this: We had *one* adult who found this "new" gaming system and wanted to try it out, but had no one but neighborhood kids to play with. So considering of the six kids I was the third oldest, or among all 7 of us I was the fourth oldest, you cannot count me as "one of the youngest" without sufficiently-convoluted math! :-P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Covent wrote:

Humm,

Well I have an anecdote that applies here.

I moved to a new town and was lucky enough that some of my friends moved with me. I was building a new game and the subject came up of younger players.

I had to explain that for any games I run or that are at my house anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed. Also, that if you want to come play at my place you need a babysitter.

Now some of you may see that as harsh, but it all boils down to one fact; legal culpability.

If a child is in my home I can be held legally culpable for any harm that comes to it and I am doubly at risk if that child is ever left alone with a non-parent of the opposite gender.

If we are playing at another person's home and a child is exposed to material that it's parent finds unsuitable it can and does spoil friendships and possibly put me in a situation where I can be sued for trauma and damages.

i just have to ask, have you or someone you know ever been sued for mental anguish from some kid getting traumatized playing table top rpgs? i never have.

i get needing adult time and getting away from the kids and all that but throwing legality into the mix is a cop out, and honestly if someone said it to me i'd give them an earful, on principle:)

and i'm sure you're a very nice person and all that:-)


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captain yesterday wrote:
and i'm sure you're a very nice person and all that:-)

Yeah, that fixes everything, avatar monkey!

EDIT: You and I are going to get kicked off another thread, you know... should we just start with the bores now and get it over with? :-P

EDIT 2: On the other hand, I'm on the verge of creating a "Lawful Stupid" thread in OTD. I spent Monday in the hospital with my 13-year-old because he had an anaphylactic reaction to an unknown substance. So today I brought an epipen to his school, just in case. Well, they refused to accept it without a doctor's signature on their school form. In other words,
"He reacted to an unknown substance, so I'd like to leave this here, just in case."
"We can't take it without the doctor's signature."
"Well, what if he has a reaction today?"
"We'll call 911."
"Can I just 'happen' to leave the pen on the desk, just in case?"
"No. We throw out all unattended medicines."
"So in other words, you'd rather risk his life on the responsiveness of 911 rather than let me leave a pen here until I get the doctor's signature this afternoon."
"That's our legal requirement."

Grr....


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
NobodysHome wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
and i'm sure you're a very nice person and all that:-)

Yeah, that fixes everything, avatar monkey!

EDIT: You and I are going to get kicked off another thread, you know... should we just start with the bores now and get it over with? :-P

i thought it did:-)

excuses irk me, just tell it straight don't hide behind an already overburdened legal system (would a lawyer even take a case like that?):-)

edit: yeah our school didn't even tell us when penny fractured her wrist! anything that they might be liable for they sweep under the rug and hopes no one will notice:(
double grrrr.....


I see people say that a child of 10-12 can manage to learn the rules and the concept of playing a character.
I believe it, and I would think it silly to use that objection as the sole reason not to have a child join an adult game.

But rules are 1 thing, I doubt that's the major obstacle for anyone having concerns about adding a kid to the table. It's a lot more to do with it being a child, and not only for the sake of themes and language. This day and age, kids know all there is to know about swearing and violence pretty damn early.
But they are still kids. They'll behave like a kid at times, and hell they are supposed to! I'd be worried if the 10-12 year old at a table didn't have a different reaction and attitude towards many things that happens during the roleplay, compared to adults. And I can understand if that is a factor for some players.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

the only thing worse then something unknown happening to your kids, is when the people in charge of ensuring their well being while at school are entirely indifferent to their well being!

i hope he's okay and they figure out what caused it, no fun:(

Shadow Lodge

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@Lune - I don't think it's anywhere near universal for people to start playing in adult-child mixed groups. I learned to play with people close to my own age, and the only mixed-ages game I'm aware of in my social circles was a parent running a special game for her daughter's friends, not a parent inviting a preteen to play with the adults. I certainly don't think it's every adult gamer's duty to pay it forwards by inviting kids to play in their games.

Lune wrote:
From the sounds of the the OP has already passed these stages of pre-game study and practice though. I trust that the OP has a firmer grasp than anyone as to what his child can handle. This is largely due to my own personal experiences. If he says the kid is ready to try then the kid is ready to try. There is no way to know for sure how they will work in the group dynamic until they try.

While I agree that a trial is a good idea, I don't think we can assume that the OP is an accurate judge of his son's maturity. Parents are notoriously biased in favour of their children, and it can be easy to mistake intelligence for other forms of maturity. I was reading well above my grade level as a kid, but that didn't mean I understood symbolism or political satire.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there's a difference between "mature enough to play pathfinder" and "mature enough to play in this particular campaign." I'm not just talking about R-rated material.

When I was 12, I played D&D. I had a good understanding of the rules, was focused, and handled teamwork OK. However my tactics were about on the level of "flanking good" and I while I was big on roleplaying I couldn't handle complex social maneuvering or lengthy diplomacy. 12-year-old me would have done fine in about half of the games I've played in the last 5 years (including the raunchiest one), but some of them would have gone over my head and trying to cram me into those games would have been a bad idea - and the problem wouldn't have been as obvious beforehand as "I don't want the kid seeing the cleric of Callistra."


captain yesterday wrote:
Covent wrote:

Humm,

Well I have an anecdote that applies here.

I moved to a new town and was lucky enough that some of my friends moved with me. I was building a new game and the subject came up of younger players.

I had to explain that for any games I run or that are at my house anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed. Also, that if you want to come play at my place you need a babysitter.

Now some of you may see that as harsh, but it all boils down to one fact; legal culpability.

If a child is in my home I can be held legally culpable for any harm that comes to it and I am doubly at risk if that child is ever left alone with a non-parent of the opposite gender.

If we are playing at another person's home and a child is exposed to material that it's parent finds unsuitable it can and does spoil friendships and possibly put me in a situation where I can be sued for trauma and damages.

i just have to ask, have you or someone you know ever been sued for mental anguish from some kid getting traumatized playing table top rpgs? i never have.

i get needing adult time and getting away from the kids and all that but throwing legality into the mix is a cop out, and honestly if someone said it to me i'd give them an earful, on principle:)

and i'm sure you're a very nice person and all that:-)

Nope, never been sued. I have been on scene when people called the police and had officers arrive over children being exposed to "unsuitable" material. Specifically dungeons and dragons in one case and the Camarilla fan club in another. This is one of the reasons that the Camarilla is 18+ only.

You can sue for "ANYTHING" in America, and in my personal experience children are a hyper sensitive subject. It does open me up to legal consequences by hosting a minor or even speaking to them about anything but the most PC of topics.

Sorry if you feel like it is ridiculous, and it sort of is, but it is the truth.

Children require extra care and extreme caution when interacting with one that is not your own. If for example one of my children wanted to have a slumber party, I would write a permission slip for each child attending and require their parents to sign it and speak with me before attending.

Getting accused of anything in reference to a child is just too easy as no-one will believe a man over a "traumatized" child and their irate parents nowadays.

This is just my personal experience.

Lune wrote:

Liar. You just admitted that you were among the youngest at the table at one point.

(...man, you gotta take some things tongue and cheek here, bud. I thought the "So take that." made it clear.)

Ah in that case *Giggleface*, as well as my apologies.

Well played good sir, well played.


Lune wrote:

DM Under The Bridge: I respectfully disagree with you. I believe if the player believes his son is mature enough to play in the game then he deserves the reason they do not wish to play with him be told to his face. The other players are behaving like petulant childish cowards and I believe that if the situation were forced on them to explain their actions to an actual child they would likely see how petty they are acting. I think that as a parent you need to set a good example to your child both as a parent and a gamer.

As an aside this is something that tends to work with all bigots, not just the players in the OP's game. I would recommend anyone try it the next time you are faced with bigotry. Get one of the subjects of their bigotry, put it in front of them and tell them they need to explain the reason for their distaste TO THAT PERSON. One of two things will happen: either they will not be able to do it and realize how petty their supposed beliefs about that person were (this is preferable) or they will out themselves as the bigot that they are. If it is the latter then you have to ask yourself if you really wanted to associate yourself with that kind of person in the first place.

I would tell you to believe me because I have tried it before several times. I might even be a little messed up for enjoying watching a bigot squirm or a person evolve before my eyes. But I have found that it really helps in my life. I don't have to walk around with a self-imposed blindfold on and pretend that I don't know of my friends' bigotry and it also allows me to keep open-minded, level headed, like-minded, non-bigitous friends. It really leads to a lot less chaos in my life just by getting over that first slightly turbulent hurdle. So rather than saying, "believe me, I've done it" I will instead say, "Try it for yourself, I think you will like the outcome. I did."

Thank you for your respect.

Now to the issue itself and what you have said, indeed the players that do not want to play with a child can be insulted and guilt-tripped until they accept the child at their table. This can be done, it is a really possible outcome. It is to pursue low means for a supposed good, not guaranteed to be good for the game at all. The dm-father can call their bluff and see if they are really willing to leave the game. The problem is that the dm will not be respecting their wishes, the wishes of the existing and established players who have put their time into the game as well.

I don't think it is petulant or cowardly to have your opinion on not wanting a new, very young, player in the game.

Just to lay out the cards. I started AD&D when I was about 7-8 (memory is a bit murky from those times) and I recently got one of my students, a 9 year old into dnd with his friends. Turns out he knows another very young dm, and after he heard about it from me, he just had to play. That is excellent, that is brilliant. The next gen continues. However, he would have no place at my other table of women around their 30s, with lesbian jokes and some of which who absolutely despise children. It would totally stuff up the game, change the mood. Why would I do that to them? My other politics game, with some of the same crew also would not be suitable. A small girl was just assassinated over a dynastic dispute. Too much would go over the head, and it is a tough system and role to grasp. Not every table is for every gamer; it doesn't mean bigotry, it can mean a disruption and real change to the game, and not for the better.

Cheers.


Krell44 wrote:

I am newer to Pathfinder (been playing about 3 months now) and I am playing with my son who is almost 10. I played D&D MANY years ago and had fallen away from tabletop gaming and missed it something fierce. When Eric started asking me about the game I jumped on the opportunity to introduce him to it. We got involved at a weekly game at the local comic/gaming store and have been having a blast. This has given us Father/Son time, and we are consistently chatting about what we just played, and what our characters might do next.

In an effort to make him a character at the table that at least would offer some benefit to the rest of the group, we rolled him up a channeling focused Cleric. I know the min/maxxers out there will say this is not the strongest choice for a Cleric, but I have noticed two things. The first is that my son enjoys channeling a heal, excluding the enemies and 3 party members get to add HP back on their character and they do not need to worry about dying. Plus, they thank him for the heals. This is a tremendous boon to my son as he feels needed in the group of adults. The second point is that in many of the scenarios we have played, we have needed his healing. We are almost level 6, and if he hadn't been there channeling here and there we most likely would have had at least two, maybe three players killed. So, he enjoys playing his channel healing, skeleton destroying, monster summoning, fireball throwing Cleric.

As a bonus, I have started to GM for a group of his friends and we are taking it very slowly and everyone is having a great time. A benefit to this is I am learning at a much faster rate because I need to know so much more while GMing.

My personal opinion is the age doesn't matter as long as the player is interested and not a distraction at the table. Granted, if the group feels constricted by the age gap than that is something to be considered, as each player needs to buy in to the idea of the younger gamer. So far in our game store game I haven't noticed anyone being...

That is very good! That kid can please pretty much everyone. There is a very interesting exchange going on whereby the older players are even indebted to the child. Which teaches help people out, and not only do they like you and respect you, they owe you.

Sovereign Court

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Lune wrote:
To my mind that is better than pretending like your friends aren't bigots towards your own child. I would rather them admit their bigotry upfront so that I could make an informed decision about whether I would want to be their friend in the first place. Personally, I do not keep friends who are bigots.

Lune - you keep using that word (bigots). I do not think it means what you think it means.

There are actually valid reasons for not wanting to play with a child. I've run games for my nephews & niece, and while they mostly got it (though a bit of ADD came into play) it was in fact a very different sort of game.

The word bigot is incrediably loaded with all sorts of negative connotations, and it's one of the words which, once it's brought into play, actual debate is over. By using it, you have cast your side of the argument as the good guy, and anyone who disagrees with you is inherently the bad guy.


Yep.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Lune wrote:
To my mind that is better than pretending like your friends aren't bigots towards your own child. I would rather them admit their bigotry upfront so that I could make an informed decision about whether I would want to be their friend in the first place. Personally, I do not keep friends who are bigots.

Lune - you keep using that word (bigots). I do not think it means what you think it means.

There are actually valid reasons for not wanting to play with a child. I've run games for my nephews & niece, and while they mostly got it (though a bit of ADD came into play) it was in fact a very different sort of game.

The word bigot is incrediably loaded with all sorts of negative connotations, and it's one of the words which, once it's brought into play, actual debate is over. By using it, you have cast your side of the argument as the good guy, and anyone who disagrees with you is inherently the bad guy.

Heck, I don't always want to play with my own children. Sometimes they require a different sort of energy than my adult players. Sometimes I want to strangle them because they have had one of those days.

It isn't bigotry to not want to play with your own or someone else's children any more than it is bigotry to not want to play with that one guy that cannot shut up or those other people or the questionable people at the gaming store. It's just a choice.


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yeah, I read that post with lune and the "bigotry". A Bigot is someone who is intolerant to someone of a different opinion. At best you yourself have become the source of that word, semi-ironically.

I've mentioned why I wouldn't want to play with a 12 year old, I have 2 Sisters who have gained an interest in pathfinder, I know from them I do not enjoy the different mind set the player carries around. And I mean one of them enjoys reading books and learning, all at a very young age, it isn't at all about intelligence or trying to keep things clean, it's just weird trying to be an equal to these kind of players. It's like I'm Kiting them around, and I don't enjoy that. I mean I'm usually that guy who pushes the story forward as a player, but it gets a bit extreme with children.

You have to understand though, that I am also the type of player who simply will not suffer people I don't enjoy in a group. I have left several groups because I didn't gel well with a player. I don't threaten to leave or anything, I simply inform the GM I will not be continueing. However, if i am made aware X person is going to join, and I already know i don't Gel with them, i make it known what will happen.

so this isn't really specifically to children, and I am more easily inclined to leave groups who have people I do not enjoy in my group.

Also, do sort of the same as a GM, Several people were skipping sessions or not making it, so i basically dropped the ban hammer and said that I REQUIRE at least 3 days notice for someone(the goal is for them to tell me not force them to come, I made this clear) or else they get a strike, 2 strikes means Ban, special circumstances forgo strikes, such as work or medical related such. The best part is it worked, and no one has gained a single strike, and I can cancel sessions with a tons of notice.


im fairly sure all of us old timers (In our 40s) started playing the game (or early versions of it between 8 and 13.

I think it's pretty lame to exclude kids for whom the game is designed for.
TSR used to print on it "for ages X and UP"

I believe basic boxed set was 8 and up. I think AD&D was 11 and up


Pendagast wrote:

im fairly sure all of us old timers (In our 40s) started playing the game (or early versions of it between 8 and 13.

I think it's pretty lame to exclude kids for whom the game is designed for.
TSR used to print on it "for ages X and UP"

I believe basic boxed set was 8 and up. I think AD&D was 11 and up

Which is fine, the other adults aren't excluding the child, just excluding him from playing with them specifically. if the child joins the group, they simply leave. not sure why people assume this HAS to be a violent turmoil.


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How about this reason:
Most games I play in are at my place because we have a large living room and it is rather central for all those involved. But it is in no way child save. We have fragile things standing around, have 18rated material readyly available, dont put dangerous cleaning agents away out of reach.
Some of the sweets at the gaming table are hot enough to make real men cry.
Etc.
Letting children into my flat is dangerous for both them and me.


Good points m2c, but the main difference is that the OP's game takes place at the OP's house, or so the post leads me to believe.


For me the answer is simple. Friends come and go but my kids are for life. My son is twelve and ne plays all of dads game and is a very good flames of war player and a very nasty Barbarianplayer.Might mention. There are three old dinosaurs in my group and we each have one son that plays for a total of six players.

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