The Grand Adventure v0.9 (PDF)
Previously I created Party of Light to play with my nieces. But over Christmas this past year I wanted to run an RPG for my nieces and nephews on my wife’s side (so in-law kids). The oldest one had played D&D once before, but I’m not sure with how much complexity/full rules or what. So I figured Party of Light would do the trick. I was wrong, haha. They were much more interested in a narrative adventure and not big on the grid based combat, and the rules seemed a little too complex for them in some ways. So I threw together a very basic, off-the-cuff system of roll 3D6, succeed if any dice is a 5 or 6. From my Fickle RPG days I knew this was better than 50/50 odds and would work fine for a resolution mechanic. Then we did away with the map/board/grid, but still used miniatures for relative positioning (and because kids like miniatures).
After Christmas was over I decided to write down and codify that system into a new RPG that plays well with a younger audience. So I started on The Grand Adventure. The idea is to keep the same basic resolution mechanic, but add in Attribute Tests (for non-combat stuff or certain situations during fights), and also the idea of gaining Power (mainly because missing on your turn seemed to be a real downer for kids). Power can be spent almost like Surges in Glowquest to use cool abilities from your class.
So the game got a bit more complex, but it’s still simple enough for my oldest daughter (5 years old at the time of this post) to be able to play it competently, so the nieces and nephews that are double her age but don’t play games as much should find it suitable.
Oh also speaking of Glowquest, I used a similar concept for “dying” here. A dead player (with no Stamina left) misses their turn, then heals back to full, BUT the party gains 1 “Fear” (very likely represented by a spooky plastic skull token). Then if the party ever reaches their limit of Fear, they lose/session ends/something bad/whatever. I HUGELY like this approach (that I figured out as Resolve for Glowquest) much MUCH more than the traditional “you’re dead or dying, you can do a super limited action and must rely on your team mates”. Basically implementing “multiple lives” from video games as far back as Mario for NES.
As for the rulebook I’m pretty happy with both how it turned out and how quickly I put it together (rule writing + formatting was only a day). That tends to happen for me when I’ve played through the concept or thought about it for a long time. Honestly editing the title image took nearly as long (an exaggeration, but not far off!).
Anyway just another option for the next games night I host. I still need to make Jobs (aka Classes) but I think evolving those organically with player input is better than giving a fully fleshed out list (since so far my kids have helped me make a Rainbow Warrior and Bomb Thrower whereas I was thinking Healer and Knight). And otherwise just playing the game a few more times to smooth out any rough edges. But these simple rulesets are pretty easy to throw the stamp of approval on when there are so few mechanics and moving pieces.