GM'ing with Kids - Crisis Adverted


A couple weeks ago, my daughter (age 7) uttered words pulled directly from every GM Parents worst nightmare:

“Daddy, I don’t want to play your game anymore.”


After some conversation she said: “the goblins are too scary looking for me.”

At that point I laughed in relief: “if I can find some different goblins, would you still want to play?” “Yes”

And thus began my quest to find non-scary goblin minis.

Not sure if any other GM Parents here have had a similar problem, but figured I’d share my solution anyways.

The guy who does the webcomic Order of the Stick also has some reasonably priced paper-mini packs in the same art style.

I printed the black & white version and had my kids color the goblins. So far there have been no more complaints about monsters looking too scary!

As a bonus, it’s the best coloring book I’ve ever bought. I’ve printed sooooo many pages for them just to color & make their own stories with. Definitely money well spent!


I’m glad that the crisis was adverted and you are still able to play! Thanks for sharing the link, the art is super cool!

This makes me think that there is in fact a need (though perhaps small) for lighter, more cartoony tokens/minis. I tend toward this style in my own art but worry it is not popular or a sought after choice.


That’s an adorable story. My 6 yo has been a little luke warm on the gaming front, but maybe some monsters to color would make it more fun. And the twins in a couple years give me another chance.


It’s certainly worked for my kids, they picked images they liked for their characters & had a great time coloring them. It’s basically character generation for kids. They get invested in what they color.

Also check out First Fable & Hero Kids - both on drivethrurpg - they’ve given me lots of good ideas.


I got Hero Kids. It was too much structure for the first born. We’ll see how it’s taken going forward.


You could make a whole system about which color is used for character generation to give them stats! 8D


@The_Merlitron - for sure. The game I’m running for my kids is all homebrewed with inspiration from lots of sources and evolving as they get older. I’ve never ran Hero Kids as written. Those are just some resources I found helpful to pull ideas from.

@BlazingPolyhedron - like what colors they use are keyed to different stats? I think I misunderstood. For the kids I only use 3 Stats: Strength, Speed & Smarts.


Have you seen the awesome stuff from ?

The art style is very accessible, and the Phandelver set is really great:

I think he’s not toooo far off a complete monster manual too…



Oh wow! These are super cool! Thanks for sharing


This is a great story! I play almost exclusively with 4 of my 5 kids and have similar fears all the time. Sometimes one of my kids likes the setting while another wants something completely different. The monsters are always something I am cautious of because I know that I’ll be the one who has to tend to them at 1am becuase they can’t sleep haha. Its for this reason I tend to go with Robots, Giant Bugs, Aliens, or Bandits as my main “bad guys”. This color book resource is great.

Also with Strength, Speed & Smarts - if you add Empathy you pretty much have the Year Zero Engine. (STR/AGL/WITS/EMP). Its definitely on my mind as I have been working on a Twilight 2000 hack lately.

The first ruleset I ever played with my kids was TinyD6 by Alan Bahr. While it doesnt have a lot of depth even my 4 year old can recognize a 5 or a 6 and understands that more dice is better, so it works out pretty well.



But that would ruin my Alliteration! :yum:

I have the same situation. Two of mine are super into How to Train Your Dragon and keep wanting to play as dragons. I’m gonna try something this weekend to help scratch that itch.

A Dream One-Shot - someone falls asleep with a headache & has a crazy dream - all the players are in the dream but they’re dragons - weird monsters are attacking a castle, they defend as dragons (so they get +5 on all their rolls - super power fantasy).

Then, the dream shifts, as dreams do, and the castle they’re defending is actually the players home town. They wake up with a vague sense that the party needs to go defend this town for real & away they go.

I’m hoping that satisfies the “we want to play as dragons” desire without having to completely switch settings… I’ll let you know how it goes.


2 of my kids are also always trying to play as Dragons from How to Train a Dragon!..that or Unicorns. At first I had a hard time with it.

Like how would you use all this gear? How would you open a chest? How would you pick up or interact with the world? But eventually I just rolled with it and didn’t think too much about it. Really makes me think creatively that’s for sure.

Not sure if anyone has done ICRPG adjustments for playing as 4 footed friends. I’m curious to see.

If it helps this is what is on their character sheet as a reminder.

D4=Basic, Timers
D6= Claws and Tail
D8= Bite
D10= Poison Spit/ Fire Breathe/Energy Blast
D12= Ultimate

They like lots of Armor options which I guess works for dragons but other items I adjusted a little. Although I don’t think they would care too much about realism anyways.


BodieH has the most funky looking goblins ever… Some green goblings straight out of the breeding ooze pit.

He has one sweet adventure where the players (goblins of course) have to hop into a slow moving steam train, to get back some stolen goblin “artifacs” (basically random nonsense stuff) that some thief is selling to its passengers.

EDIT: the image is from the kickstart, but it already ended. The idea is not to spam, but to actually show how cute this goblins are!


Those are awesome! Thanks for sharing!


Just ran my Crazy Dream One-Shot today. It’s was excellent. The kids all picked out fantastical creatures & helped draw the battle map. They had a great time playing as dragons.

The battle map: most of the dream happened at the beach.
Top right: my kids crazy dream characters
Top left: the frost trolls trying to freeze the ocean

I made up a little sing-song chant for the frost trolls: “freeze everything, freeze it all! Freeze everything, freeze it all.” Very catchy. Post game I’ve had multiple kids complain of it stuck in their head!


I appreciate this because I run a game with my father, who has never played D&D before, and my three children. Most of my inspiration comes from Blood & Snow, but I’m working to add more material from Adventure Time.


I stumbled up on this on DriveThruRPG and thought it was a good fit for this thread.


I LOVE this guys illustrations, they are great!