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Adventure in the World of Imagination - Writing a Game for my Son

My son, playing as Jake from Adventure Time.
My son is 3 and a half years old. He talks a lot. He is kinda clumsy, but boy, he can talk. And create stories, and pretend he is all sorts of things. And he sees me gaming and wants to game with me. I, obviously, couln't wait to be able to play with him. So I didn't.

I made a game to play with him, a super simple RPG that would let me play anything he wanted, that he could make the characters he would want to play and that he could even be the Referee after a while. I am calling it "Adventures in the World of Imagination", and I am almost done with the first draft. I want to publish it like a children's book, with nice art and thick paper (you may not know this, but I did work with children's book some years ago and have publish my own books here in Brazil).

Thus, I will start sharing what I have here, and once it's pretty much done, I will share the whole draft with you!

Chapter 1: Introduction

Kids are the most creative and imaginative people I’ve ever interacted with. I have a 3 year old son that can create the most incredible creatures, the craziest situations and the funniest stories. And he wants to play my strange games. He is fascinated by my RPG books. And I so want to play with him too, so much.

But it’s hard, right? RPGs, even the simplest ones, are quite complex to teach to a small child. Adhering to rules written on a piece of paper, and a character sheet when your imagination is so wild and free can be hard and limiting. So I thought about how to harness this into a game that is fun, liberating but still has some ground rules so that we can assess situations and consequences. The result is this little booklet. I hope you can have as much fun as I am having.

Let have great Adventures in the World of Imagination.

Why Play RPGs with Kids?

Kids love games, and love using their wild imaginations to create new things and stories. RPG combines these two activities and brings a lot more to the table. RPGs are an incredible hobby that helps people improve their problem solving skills, their social skills, the mathematical knowledge. It also makes people interested in reading books, history, literature, acting and much more.

How do You Play This Game?

Playing a RPG is not much different than having a conversation. One of the participants, usually an adult or older sibling in this game, assumes the role of the Referee, and other participants will be called players.

The Referee’s job is basically that of a host. They start the “conversation” of the game establishing a scene and ask questions from the players. The players assume the role of fictional characters who will interact with the world that will be created by the conversation. The Referee describes a situation and ask questions. The players answer these questions and the situation changes. This goes back and forth until the situation is resolved.

Dice are brought into the picture to resolve uncertain and interesting situations, such as finding out if the characters can run faster than the gigantic boulder rolling towards them. Dice are not rolled for every action though. You don’t need to roll them to see if the characters find their shoes in the morning or to see if they can talk to each other.

What do You Need?

You don’t need much to start playing Adventures in the World of Imagination. This book has all the rules you need to reference and a lot of tools to help you come up with adventures. You will also need six-sided dice, two at least, but the more the merrier. A piece of paper or a character sheet will be needed to record notes about the characters and the adventure that is being created.

Although that’s all that’s needed to play, other accessories might make the game more enjoyable for those participating, such as toys and miniatures to simulate characters, locations and obstacles. Kids might even want to play as one of their favorite character they have a toy of.

What Will You Find in this Book?

In this book you will find the rules of the game and how to resolve actions and conflicts as well as how to create characters, adventures and much more. The book is organized in the following way:

Chapter 1: Introduction is the chapter you are reading now, with an explanation of what this game is and what does it contain.
Chapter 2: Rules of the Game contains all the core rules of the game, regarding the resolution of conflict, combat, recovery and making rulings.
Chapter 3: Character Creation asks who the players want to be in the game? This chapter details the rules of creating heroes and how to use them in the game.
Chapter 4: Running the Game focuses on tools and guidance for Referees to help them run the game and make it as fun as possible for everyone.
Chapter 5: Creating Adventures focuses on helping Referees creating adventures, challenges, obstacles and much more.
Chapter 6: Worlds of Adventure presents tips and advices for creating scenarios for the game, as well as sample mini-settings to make the life of a Referee easier, including adventure ideas, sample characters and monsters.
Appendix E: Example of Play presents a complete transcription of a game being played by a Referee and two players. This will help everyone understand the rules and the game dynamics.
Appendix F: Further Adventures present some suggestions on how to continue playing RPGs as the children gets older or want to have a different gaming experience.
Finally, Appendix I: Inspiration brigs information regarding books, cartoons, comics, movies and games that have inspired this game and can serve as sources of ideas for adventures.

If you like what you've just read, check out my books over RPGNow and Lulu.


  1. My girl just turned 1 so still a wee bit off I look forward to this!

  2. My boy is also 3.5, but being in a bilingual family, his language is a little bit behind the curve. I've been thinking about making a simple game I can play with him, so this might just be the winning ticket! Looking very much forward to seeing what you come up with.

    1. My son is 2, and bilingual, though I haven't noticed a slowness in development. If you're comfortable with it, if love to hear more about his experience.

    2. Well, his development wasn't slow in any respect (he's very artistic, tall, and healthy with great balance and hand-to-eye coordination), but he has always been 6-12 months behind the curve with talking. He has completely understood my wife (German) and I (English) from a very young age (we both speak to him exclusively in our own languages), but he only started talking around his 3rd birthday. He's now 3.5 and his language is much better (though still not at the level of kids his age who have one language). I think by the time he is 4 (this summer), he will be more or less caught up, so in the grand scheme of things it's no big deal. He's speaking about 90% German (we live in Germany, and I'm the only one around him who speaks English), with the odd 10% English being mixed in.

  3. I am tryig to pull out a game for my son, one year older. great reading!!! Amazing.


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