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Adventures in the World of Imagination - Running the Game - Part I

It's been a while, but I am back with more preview of the develpment of my Kid's RPG called Adventures in the World of Imagination! Today, let's look on some of the articles the chapter dedicated to Referees! We will look at the rest in a future post.

Chapter 4: Running the Game

One of the participants of the game, normally an adult or older brother, will be the Referee, the player responsible for act and a mediator and arbiter of the game.

What Does the Referee Do?

Referees are movie directors and producers all rolled into one. They aren’t also screenwriters because in a Role Playing Game, the story is only created as the game is played, not before.

They are responsible for setting the stage for the characters to have great adventures. Referees create locations, other characters, monsters and other things that will interact with the player characters. They provide everything the players need to have fun playing the game, while also acting like judges and deciding how to apply the rules of the game.

It’s important to notice that when playing with kids, one might need to have some flexibility on how and when to apply the rules. Sometimes an action and a scene might be resolved just by conversing with the players. Learning rules and when their characters win or lose is important, but having fun is more important. So apply the rules whenever you can, but do not stop the flow of the fun if the players are having fun just narrating what’s happening and what they are doing.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Young kids usually won’t be able to play for long periods of time, thus it’s important to start the game straight into action and establish what’s is going on. This means setting the scene telling where the characters are, what problem are they facing and maybe even suggest some courses of action.

Besides that, adventures should not be too big and should comprise just a few challenges (3 to 5 should be fine), such as obstacles, enemies, puzzles, riddles and social interactions. Gameplay usually should last for 30 minutes with the maximum duration usually going to 1 hour. However, some kids will want to play more and Referees should adapt to that.

Keep Challenges Varied

To keep players engaged and the game interesting, vary the types of challenges the characters have to face. Not everything needs to be about fighting monsters and villains. In fact, it might be better to try to convince an enemy of the error of their ways. Talking is a lot safer than fighting.

In order to help creating varied challenges, we provide below a small list of examples that can be used to spark the imagination of Referees.
  • Combat: Monsters are attacking innocent people and friends of the characters, can they stop them?
  • Negotiation: The two kingdoms are fighting each other while they should unite to defend themes against the evil warlock on the mountain. Can the heroes help them make a truce?
  • Obstacle: Something has blocked the path the heroes were following to arrive at their destination. Can they surmount it or find another way?
  • Investigation: Something strange and unusual has happened. Can the characters find out what’s is going on and who is responsible?
  • Race: The characters must arrive some place before something or someone. Are they fast enough?
  • Riddle: In order to help them, a mysterious figure proposes a riddle. Can they answer it correctly?
  • Puzzle: The door is locked and it can only be opened if the heroes can put together this strange puzzle. Can they do that?
  • Escape: The characters are being pursued by a great devouring worm and need to escape. Can they lose it?
  • Traps: The evil lord set lots of traps on his dungeon to harm intruders. Can the character avoid them?
  • Rescue: A friend of the heroes has been put on a cage with a dinosaur. Can the heroes save him?

There are possibly many other types of challenges that can be presented to players in a game, but those should give you a good starting point.

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


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