Friday, February 17, 2012

Kid's RPGs

So, obviously we're geeks around here, and an essential part of any geekling's education is the RPG, or role-playing game.  While these days a lot of people think of World of Warcraft or other video games when they hear the word "RPG", right now we're talking about the good old-fashioned pen-and-paper role-playing games, the most famous of which is "Dungeons and Dragons".

Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some THAC0 on toast in the morning, but for our kids we wanted something a little simpler.  So there's no character sheets or complicated math or big rulebooks.  The emphasis is on the story, figuring out the puzzles, and fighting some monsters.
Rolling dice is always fun

Here's how we play.  Each person chooses a LEGO minifig to be their character.  Everyone starts with four red flat marbles to be their hit points.  You tell the GM your character's name and a few things your character is good at (for those of you who know RPGs, this is a little bit like the FUDGE role-playing system). For example, Sapphire's character, Gigaboo, was good at swimming.  Quartz was more ambitious -- his character Spikee has a robot gun arm and a pet alien flying fish that shoots laser beams and he doesn't need to breathe because he's an alien.  Onyx's character Fai'Ting Withswords had a coffin full of weapons that a pterodactyl carried around for him.  My character Ryori used a lightsaber for cooking.

Ryori, Fai'Ting, Spikee, and Gigaboo, ready for adventure!

Next, the GM sets up the story.  In our case, we found out that a meteor was coming to destroy a planet with no known intelligent life, and we landed there with our space ship.  We decided which way to go, and as we explored, Wes drew a little map showing  what we had found.  There were some vines that attacked us, and some little huts made of strange shells where we found some hedgehog-like creatures (one of which came along as a pet).

Combat is also very simple.  Everyone rolls to see who goes first, second, and so on.  On your turn you choose what to do, and if you attack, then the GM rolls for the monster.  You have to roll at or above what the GM rolled in order to hit it.  Wes gave most monsters 1 hit point.  On the monster's turn, Wes rolls for the monster, and the player has to roll at or above that number to dodge their attack.  This gives the player a slight advantage.  You could also just have both people roll, and whoever is higher wins, with ties going to the player, or something else simple.

Eventually we found some fungus-vine aliens, who told us about other aliens up in the mountains.  We build a raft to go up the river, and went through some ice caves where we found mysterious crystals and a tri-yeti-sopholophogus thing.

For challenges like the raft building, Wes will tell everyone what they need to roll.  For example, "You need to roll higher than a 4 six times to find enough logs for the raft".

Finally we got to the lake where there were underwater robot aliens, and we convinced them to work together with the fungus aliens to blow up the meteor by catapulting our mysterious crystals at it.

The kids really loved it, and I liked how we could all work together to accomplish our goals and talk about how to solve our hypothetical problems.  I was actually impressed at how well Sapphire paid attention, and how emotionally invested Onyx was (he almost cried when he had to give up his ice crystal to save the planet).  We'll definitely be doing more RPGs in the future!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sunny California

I thought I posted this a long time ago, but I think I was waiting for more funny quotes.  Anyway, these pics are from Christmas break.

Uncle Joshua is the coolest. He is teaching us to be K'nex masters.
Uncle Lance and Aunt Rachel are pretty cool, too.  We are pretending we are in Japan!

This is a real beach!  We want to go swimming, but it is 50 degrees!

Wes: "I am really enjoying this pepper but I think it might kill me."
Onyx: "Grandma is full of a googol kisses and a million hugs."
Sapphire: "Pick me up and spin me!"
Quartz: "I wish it it was a slush day so we could stay home and go sledding."