New DMing Challenge: RPG Improv with my Son

I just finished reading my 5 year-old son’s bedtime story from a Pokemon pocket novella. When we were talking about the story after I could not help but notice how much he still loved Pokemon and the whole concept of being a young pocket monster trainer.

This gave me an idea. I have wanted to introduce my son to RPGs as a father/son activity for some time. (We’re already finished Paper Mario and worked through both Lego Star Wars on the Gamecube). I also happen to own a copy of Big Eyes Small Mouth 2nd Ed. I looked on the net and I can get a Pocket Monster expansion for 5$. So I think I’ll start a mini-Nicolas the Pokemon-Trainer campaign.

BESM is a fast, easy game that really does a great job to simulate the Anime Genre. I liked GMing it a lot. While looking over the net, I got another idea! Why not have my next DM challenge with this father/son campaign.

I keep saying that I don’t do DM Improv very well. I tend to over prepare and structure my adventures a lot (ask Yan). So I’ll go out and buy a few Pokemon figures and/or cards, I’ll make a character for my son based on Ash and I’ll make him a Pikachu (of course). I’ll then create generic stats for trainers and Pokemons (just switch the elemental powers and they’re more or less all the same for a 5 year old). I’ll make Team Rocket the campaign’s Big Bad and I won’t write anything else. (I’m honest enough to appreciate the irony of saying that the above paragraph is supposed to represent ‘not a lot of preparation’… baby steps people, baby steps)

Since I’m dealing with a non-threatening audience (my son), a simple concept and a ton of material (I’ve watched all movies and a ton of TV show episodes) I would be near enough my comfort zone to wing the story and encounters and learn from it.

I’ll keep you posted…


  1. You might be interested in the kids-RPG mailing list at

  2. Thanks for the tip. I’ll have a look tonight.

    I bought 2 starter sets of the Pokemon Collectible Miniature Game (on special) and I have enough to start (2 trainers and 6 Pokemon)

  3. Dave The Game says:

    I think this is an awesome idea. I know I got better at doing improv when I was very comfortable with everything going on (I set the game at the college campus we were all at and everyone played a normal student so I didn’t have to expect crazy powers or rules.) This seems like an ideal place to hone your skills… just tell your son not to go easy on you!

  4. He’s actually quite a softy. We played the Pokemon Miniature game tonight (combat is done by spinning the figurines on their bases, Weeeee!) and he refused to win everytime he could get the chance. Saying ‘You need to win too daddy’…

    I’m soooooo soaking this up to compensate for his teens.