My RPG System for my 5 year old

I was chatting to Void (@grnmushroom) on twitter about role-playing with our kids. Mine is a bright, bubbly 5 year old who has a great imagination and good numeracy so I tailored this system to suit his strengths and weaknesses.

I took him on some basic adventures using the following cobbled together system . It hearkens back to my first role-playing with the Fighting Fantasy – The Introductory Role-playing Game by Steve Jackson. ( I still have these books somewhere).


Although you can role-play without any system I felt it was a nice way to introduce basic maths to my son.

Feel free to use/vary/ignore any bits you don’t want to use.


The base system

A character combines an attribute + a skill rank for a skill total.

In order to succeed at any skill (including combat, casting spells etc) a player needs to roll a d20 under the skill total.

Base Attributes

Toughness       – anything that requires physical ability

Smarts          – anything that requires mental ability

Luck            – everything else

Adventuring Class
A character picks to be one of the three basic adventuring classes each time they level

Knight          – A noble warrior who is good at Toughness and battles against evil creatures using weapons

Wizard         – A wise person who is good at Smarts and battles against evil creatures using magic

Explorer       – A nimble person who is good at Luck and battles against evil creatures by tricking them.

System information



Attributes:  T12  S8   L10

Starting Hit Points: 15

Starting Gear: A sword, shield and dented plate armour



Attributes:  T8   S12 L10

Starting Hit Points:  12

Starting Gear: A wand, robe, and book of magic



Attributes: T8   S10 L12

Starting Hit Points:   13

Starting Gear: A dagger, ninja clothes and a bow and quiver full of arrows

The player then rolls 1d4 and adds the dice total to each of these base attributes to give them a starting attribute.

Health & Armour
If a player is hit in combat then they need to roll their armour. If they succeed in an armour check verse a minion they take no damage, if they succeed verse a boss then they take ½ damage unless that would knock them out (when they instead take 1 damage)

A players hit points cannot go below 1 unless there is a neat roleplaying opportunity. If an attack would reduce the players hit points below 1 then something saves them or the monsters attack fails resulting in them falling over or similar event.

At the end of boss fight a player heals up to full health.

Armours                             Armour check total
Dingy clothes                     8
Wizard robes                     9
Ninja clothes                     10
Smelly barbarian hides     11
Clinky chainmail                12
Dented plate                     13
Shiny knights plate            14

A player begins knowing every skill for their class(es) at +0.  Each level, including level 1 a player gets to choose one skill and add +1 to its rank up to a maximum of +5).

As there is a small number of skills/spells you can download a card front from the web and print these out onto cardboard – then hand out to the players with the skill at +1 or above. This is also handy for skills that can be used Once a battle, they can be flipped over so that the player can track them easily.

Knight Skills (all use Toughness)
Swing a weapon very fast
Make a huge attack
Block an attack
Charge widely into battle
Yell like a fearsome dragon

Wizard Skills (all use Smarts)
Cast a spell on me
Cast a spell on someone else
Know all manner of things
Befuddle with cleverness
Zap things with a wand

Explorer Skills (all use Luck)
Make mischief
Sneak about
Nimble strike
Leap about like a monkey
Snipping Shot

Each time a player levels they pick a class to level up and gain another skill point to assign to a skill. The maximum a skill can get to is +5

Skill Descriptions:

Swing a weapon very fast
This attack always goes first in battle but the knight rolls only a d6 damage if they hit with a weapon.

Make a huge attack
This attack always goes last in battle but the night rolls 2d6 damage if they hit with a weapon and they fling anyone they hit back to land on their behind.

Block an attack
A knight can make a block an attack roll once a turn – if they succeed an attack that would hit misses instead.

Charge widely into battle
Once a battle, instead of having to move 5 squares the knight can move 10 squares and make a swing a weapon very fast roll against one evil monster in their path.

Yell like a fearsome dragon
The Knights yell is so terrifying that any minions run 5 squares awake and a boss trembles and can’t do anything in their turn

Cast a spell on a friend
This skill allows the wizard to cast friendly spells on themselves and friends

Cast a spell on a foe
This skill allows the wizard to cast angry spells on evil monsters

Know all manner of things
A wizard can use this skill to get hints from the GM or be told extra information about plants or monsters. If a wizard uses it on a monster then they can add their skill ranks as a bonus
To the next attack against that foe.

Befuddle with cleverness
A wizard is so cleaver that once a battle they can cause minions to be unable to attack them as they struggle about in confusion

Zap things with a wand
Using their wand the wizard can zap an evil monster with a bolt of magic that does 1d6 damage.

Make mischief
Once a battle the explorer can trick a bunch of minions so that they attack each other instead of the Explorer

Sneak about
Using their ninja training an explorer can sneak about unseen. If they attack an evil monster when unseen they roll 2d6 damage instead of their normal dice.

Nimble strike
The Explorer can dart into a battle up to 5 squares away, make a nimble strike attack that does 1d6 damage then leap back 1 square.

Leap about like a monkey
The explorer can climb walls and leap off trees like a monkey. Once a battle the explorer can use this skill to escape any evil monsters by clambering up onto an unreachable spot.

Snipping Shot
The Explorer can use their bow to shoot an attack at an evil monster up to 10 squares away. If successful the attack does 1d6 damage.


A wizard has a list of spells they can pick from each time they level. A wizard begins the game with one spell.

When they use their Cast a spell skills they name the spell they want to cast with it and follow the magic effect. In order to cast
A spell successfully a wizard must roll under their Smarts + skill to cast a spell.

As an optional rule to introduce when the player is comfortable with the system is that the level of the spell reduces the chance to cast it. So the advanced rule is Smarts + Skill Rank – Spell Level.

Friendly Spells

Level 1
Summons a swarm of fireflies that light the way until the wizard rests for the night.

Multiply me
Creates 1d4 illusions of the wizard around them. Minions will automatically attack the illusions first. The illusions themselves do exactly the same action as the wizard does, including casting spells, running away etc but they have no
actual effect.

Quick Cure
Heals one friend 1d6 hit points of damage up to their maximum hit points.

Arcane Armour
For the next attack against the wizards their robes are enchanted to be the same armour as Clinky chainmail. Even if the attack misses the enchantment ends at the end of the battle round.

Foe Spells

Level 1
Gloopy glue
Creates a puddle of sticky glue under the feet of minions up to 5 squares away. Minions are stuck fast for a battle round. Bosses in the glue are slowed so that they can only move 1 square until they are free of the gloop.

Clumsy strike
Enchants a foes next attack so that instead of missing it hits either another foe nearby or themselves and does normal damage.

Flame flash
Scorches an evil monster up to 5 squares away dealing 1d6 fire damage.

Shattering shriek
The spell sends out a beam of noise 1 square wide and 10 squares long from the wizard that breaks any fragile things and does 1 point of damage to any evil monsters in the beam.

The combat system assumes you are using a battle map of some kind with 1 inch squares and miniatures for both the players and monsters.  This helps with focusing the kids attention and allows them to visually see what you are describing which helps with their planning and excitement of a battle.

Beginning battle
The players decide what actions they want to take.
Everyone rolls a d20 and acts from lowest to highest roll (it’s easier for kids to start at 1 and go up than start at 20 and go down with maths) . Additional complexity can be rolling d20 – luck attribute.
If a knight uses Swing a weapon very fast then they will always make the first attack roll but other players and monsters may move or cast spells before their action.

On their action a monster or player may choose to do one of the following.

1.      Move up to 5 squares and make an attack against a foe.  The attack, defenses and any damage taken is resolved and their turn ends.
2.      Cast a spell – resolve any defense and damage taken.
3.      Make a skill check – some skills allow for movement or attack so resolve these as long as there is a valid foe within attacking range.
4.      Run away – players automatically flee from battle and end up in the closest safe room. Monsters that run away are defeated and removed from the board.

Minions are the most common monster players will face. They will die if hit and inflict 1-4 points of damage when they hit depending on the health of the player. Minions never check for defenses or armour.

A boss is a special foe that the adventure is designed about. Bosses will often talk to the players about their evil plans and how the players cannot stop them. Bosses always come with minions. Bosses can escape from a battle if they are being beaten up as long as its not the last battle in an adventure.

Gaining Levels
At the end of an adventure the players gains enough experience to advance to a new class level.

A player chooses what class to level and gains the following benefit.

+1 to a skill rank
1 new spell if the class is wizard
+1 hit point or +2 hit points if the class is a Knight

At 5th level a player gets to increase an attribute by +1 as well as the normal leveling benefits.



The sample adventure

This was the adventure I ran for my son. Feel free to add more/less combat etc depending on how much fun/time you have. I try and mix up fighting and non fighting problem solving.

Theos the Smelly

Theos is a wizard who hates to bath, wash or even clean his teeth. He wears the same robe very day and his only friends are ogres and trolls who don’t mind the fact that he is VERY STINKY.

The village of Grumbleton normally avoid dealing with Theos but last trip a shop keeper became so grumpy with the stench of Theos that she tipped a bucket of water over the Wizard. In a fury Theos stormed off, swearing revenge on those that dare call him smelly and throw water over him.

The village of Grumbleton is built on a sparkling lake called Otterrun – named because in the summer otter families come down from the Fernwoods and frolic about in the lakeside.

This summer however something terrible has happened – the river feeding the lake has dried up and the lake itself is slowly shrinking. In a few weeks there will be no water to drink or wash or have the otters to play in.

The Mayor of Grumbleton received a dirty note, covered in poop and snot from Theos the Smelly.

Dear Mayor and all the people of Grumbleton

You mock me for the last time
You call me smelly
Well I have stolen all your water away
My magical orb has swallowed up the river
Now you will see what it is like to be smelly


Theos the Wizard.

Desperate to avoid a stinky town and ensure the otters have somewhere to swim the Mayor has called upon his best adventurer(s) to go forth and deal with Theos the Smelly and save the village.


The dungeon was 5 rooms including an entrance way and a corridor off both sides. In the middle of the first room are double doors with two gems missing from the eyes of a tiger carved onto its surface. The right side ends in a room with a door with a letter puzzle to solve open, the left to a room with a chest and a number puzzle to solve.

The right side contains a smelly orc with a big stick to fight

health 1-2 damaging hits/spells before it dies in a cloud of green gas and the smell of rotten eggs.


Hit stuff ‘ard  12 1d6 damage


Right side puzzle

A B _

D _ F

_ H I

fill in the blanks to unlock the door and gain a tiger eye for the door – soon as they touch it have it zap away and stick into the tigers eye.


Left side has a trapped chest to unlock with the following puzzle

1 _ 3 4 5

2 4 6 _ 10

Feel free to help if they get stuck.

Inside the chest is a potion of healing

A wand of itchiness (1 charge) covers the target in itchy warts and rashes so they loose a round of actions scratching.

a tigers eyes (see above)

Once they have both eyes the door opens and there is a big hall that ends in a throne room. Theos is here but instead of fighting he flees south and lets in a big ogre to fight instead.


Big Boss Ogre

Health: 3-5 hits or damaging spells before it falls over.


Big stomp 13 success means the players fall over

Clobber 14 1d8 damage


Once defeated the players can run into the secret room that Theos fled to and find him hiding under the bed. He surrenders and gives the players the orb and promises never to do it again.

Players advance to level 2!






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