My daughter Pinkie Pie has been clamouring to play Heroes By Trade for some months now. She built a character quite some time ago and has been wanting to play, and I couldn't quite tell if it was a real desire to play roleplaying games or more just curiosity about the game I have built. In any case we finally got around to playing last night and Pinkie Pie got to test out her elven warlock.
Wendy played too, and I decided that a three person party was best so I ended up running an NPC to follow them around. As is usual for these sorts of things I made a character that was a tank, designed to run in and block for the two ranged characters that Wendy and Pinkie Pie were playing. I also made sure that my character had a few skills the group otherwise didn't have but was a quiet sort, not much inclined to negotiate or make decisions. That way the players would be able to make the choices rather than me, but I would have access to a vehicle for producing suggestions should it be necessary.
The character I was running was a troll called One Ear, named in a practical sense in the way that trolls do in Heroes By Trade. Pinkie Pie immediately decided that he should be called Steve and took great delight in addressing him as Steve throughout the game. She was thrilled when I roleplayed One Ear being all grumpy at being called Steve and seems determined to make this into a regular feature of our game.
Of course when you play RPGs with children you need to railroad them pretty hard. If you just let them act completely of their own accord the game is a mess and nothing happens, so I had the characters start in a bar and a local ran in to try to sell them a treasure map. It so happens that the map was real and the temple it showed the location of even had treasure locked away deep inside. I didn't have to make anything up from scratch though as I had used this adventure as a testing ground for HBT years ago and I just picked it up and ran it again.
One potential issue with getting the adventure done is Pinkie Pie's tendency to seize on things and pursue them relentlessly. When she heard about an old gold mine that was all mined out and abandoned as part of the adventure backstory she desperately wanted to run across the endless jungle to find it. I wanted to keep the group on track, for the first adventure at least, but thankfully Wendy could tell what I was trying to do and insisted on following the actual adventure instead of just heading to a random cave to see what was inside. Having an adult around who can mostly let the kid run free but shove her back into a useful path occasionally is excellent.
I wasn't particularly sure that Pinkie Pie would enjoy the game once she finally tried it. I thought there was a real chance she would get bored halfway through. However, she had an absolute blast and wants to play again as soon as possible, as often as possible. She figured out what her character was good at that the rest of the party wasn't good at and looked for opportunities to shine, but she was perfectly content to let other people do their thing; One Ear is talented at smashing stuff and she took great joy in asking him to shove things around and break stuck doors and such.
Pinkie Pie's introduction to RPGs is going to be so much better than mine was. I just found Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay at the bookstore and puzzled out how to game by myself while she is getting an introduction tailored to her from a grizzled veteran.
It feels good to be back in the GM's seat. I think this is a thing I need to do more of, and not just for Elli. I think it is time to run another campaign; I need a creative outlet and building a world and a story is a grand way to do that.