Monday, September 12, 2016

Adventure Maximus! and Risus: RPGing with my 5 Year Old

The Young Lord Shadowmoss, who recently turned 5, has been playing far more Minecraft than is probably healthy. So, Saturday afternoon I suggested we shut down the laptop and break out Adventure Maximus! to resume the adventures of his druid wolf-kin, Squiddy, and his great white shark companion (whose name changes every time, this time it was 'Jaws').

I'm not a fan of the game system (the rules could use some clarifying in my opinion), but the Young Lord likes the  pictures on the cards (as do I), not to mention he has a restaurant with a gargoyle chef and a trimera he befriended in the course of earlier adventures The response was enthusiastic, although it was another 30 minutes before he shut down Minecraft.

That was fine, because I hadn't thought about what to do for an adventure.Thanks to the restaurant, I've used special/rare ingredients as McGuffins many times now but I wanted to mix it up a bit.

This time around, Squiddy was hired by the Big Bad Wolf to clear his name. It seems 'grandma' had been trying to frame Big Bad for some unnamed crime that she had committed. Knowing Squiddy has been desperate to find a sword, Big Bad naturally offered one as a reward - I figured, correctly, that even if he didn't care one iota about the purpose of the adventure, he'd care about that sword. According to the Wolf, grandma was camped out in her cottage at the top of Big Rock Candy Mountain, and so Squiddy prepared for his trek.

I told the Young Lord that Squiddy couldn't possibly carry all of his gear up the mountain (over several adventures he's amassed quite a haul, everything from a pillow to a bow that turns any enemy that it hits into a bunny). The first order of business was preparing for the journey to grandma's house and role-playing packing for the trip- we reviewed all of the equipment and discussed the merits and disadvantages of each, before settling on a modest number of items: 1 range weapon (the aforementioned bunny bow), 1 melee weapon (the snail flail)  and 1 oddball item (gas gun).

Gear selected, he and Jaws made the journey - which I mostly hand-waived other than asking him what if anything he was doing along the way. It turned out, he was very concerned with finding food for Jaws. After some discussion, we decided a special delivery of sandwiches by the gargoyle chef was on the way.

It seemed logical to me.

Near the top of Big Rock Candy Mountain, Squiddy and Jaws, now full on sandiwches, were assaulted by animated snow men - six in all - hurling snowballs at them. Squiddy's first move was to spray the gas gun - missile weapons can't hit through the cloud. I told him right out that I was impressed by that tactical decision and he beamed, and then explained to me why I was impressed.

He was completely wrong, mind you. Still, it's fun to hear how his mind works. I always find the way kids his age rationalize things to be pretty amazing.

In the next round, he surprised me again and instead of jumping into the fight, Squiddy cast his spell to summon a creature to fight alongside him and some pixies showed up and joined the fray. The snowmen went down pretty easily between Squiddy, Jaws and the summoned Pixies..

Grandma, it turned out, was some crazy Ursula-from-The-Little-Mermaid tentacled thing (it's a boss monster in the game, but I forget the name and I'm nowhere near the box to go find the card) and she was pretty tough. When she refused to come quietly and confess her scheme to the law (probably because Jaws broke down the door instead of knocking), the fight was on.

Her first spell charmed Jaws into believing she was his friend. This was a tough choice as a dad, but it seemed the most in character for her - after all, Jaws was right up on her and a clear threat. (I refuse to fudge dice rolls with him either, rolling everything in the open. Call me a hard-ass, but I don't believe in just letting him win.)

Of course, that didn't go over without notice, and the Young Lord did not take it well. He was confused and seemed to think Jaws was now the evil grandma's companion, and I had to continually remind him that Jaws was still his companion, he just happened to like grandma too. In any case, he and by extension Squiddy were ready to destroy grandma now.

Her second spell gave her an extra pair of arms and an extra attack each round. I felt bad about casting this one, figuring Squiddy, without Jaws, might now be outgunned. As luck would have it, I rolled poorly for her attacks thereafter, only causing 1 point of damage to Squiddy.

Besides, I'd forgotten his Summon Creature spell, so, with the help of a summoned pirate and judicious use of his own snail flail, Squiddy put the hurt on grandma, brought her to justice, and claimed his reward.

He was justifiably excited - he earned that sword.


I was pretty drained after our game (it lasted less than an hour but if you have a 5 year old or thereabouts, or ever have, then I think you understand) but he then wanted to try Risus, which I've been trying to get him to try for months now.

I had to seize the opportunity and at least get character generation taken care of.

It seemed to me that the best way to get his character created in such an open ended system would be to guide him with questions to describe what he imagined his character was like and I'd deal with getting him to 4 cliches by asking as many questions as needed.

Here, verbatim, are the answers he came up with as he ran around the room and jumped on the sofa :

  • 1/2 Stormtrooper 1/2 master wizard demon who casts crazy awesome spells and other weird stuff (4) 
  • Protector of other demons (3)
  • Swimmer (2)
  • Gun collector (1)

You can see why the after school teacher pulled me aside the other day to ask if the Young Lord has a lot of toy weapons at home.

Oh, and the character's name? Demon Stormtrooper Wizard Man

1 comment:

  1. That is a lot of information for a five year old to absorb; I'd say his skills are being well developed. As for the teacher, I think, that in your shoes, I'd be, to put it mildly, on the negative side in that conversation.