Castle Death! A Dead Simple RPG for Kids and Parents, Part 1

Yay, time for another “Gaming with Nico” story. I haven’t done one of these in forever and it so happens that an occasion presented itself last week.

Ensnaring the Unwary

Nico: I’m bored, I wanna play something.

Chatty: Do you want to play World of Warcraft? Some Magic Commander? How about some Poker?

Nico: Hmmmm, I don’t know…

Chatty: Okay, join me in at the kitchen table then, I’ll teach you a new game.

Nico (wary, as always when I get all mysterious): What kinda game?

An adventure game. Trust me you’re going to LOVE this one.

Oh, what’s it called?

Hmmm… it’s called CASTLE DEATH!

Oh cool! How does it play?

(Hook line and sinker!)

Character Generation

Chatty: It’s real simple. We play with a pad of graph paper, a stack of index cards and a d6. Here’s a card for you…

(On it I wrote “Name:” and “Equipment:” but Nico started doing his own brand of game design…)

Nico: What are my class and race?

Why do you ask? Do you feel you need them?

Yes. You know, because whenever I make a new character, I always combine the name of my class with that of the race I’m playing.

(That’s so true, in World of Warcraft he plays a character named Shamataur)

Chatty: (Adding “Class:” and “Race:” to the index card) Okay, what class and what race are you then?

Nico: I want to be an Orcish Berserker. My name will be Bersork!

That’s a fine name you have. Okay so if you’re a barbarian, I guess that means you have…

A huge, huge axe!

Niiice. And how about a metal helmet…

With horns!

Of course and a loincloth.

Of course!

All right then lets finish this with a large leather bag to hold your loot, a torch and a lighter.

Task Resolution

Chatty: Okay so here’s how the game works. You explore this Castle. Whenever you want to do something that we’re not sure if you’ll succeed, you roll a d6.  On a 1, something REALLY BAD happens to you, on a 6 something REALLY GOOD happens to you.

Nico: That’s neat! What about the other numbers?

We decide based on the story. Closer to “1” is usually bad and closer to “6” is usually good.


The Quest

Chatty: Okay so you’re about to enter Castle Death, the most evil Dungeon in the kingdoms of man. You are an orc, what could possibly bring you to this dungeon? This means we need to create you a quest to explain why you came. Usually a quest means…

Nico: I know what it means dad. I’ve been playing WoW for a year. Lets say I need to find a treasure.

That’s a perfectly fine quest. Is your character looking for a specific treasure?

Hmmm. Oh! I know! Get those item cards you have! (He means the Paizo gear cards I purchased in droves in the D&D 3.5 era).

That’s a GREAT idea! Let see… You need to recover a (draws card) magical ring that’s hidden somewhere in the dungeon

Great! Let’s start!

And so Bersork made his way from the village of Outlets to Castle Death.

Up next: Exploration begins and Bersork meets the Ogre

Image Credits: ©2011-2012 *kenartcorp (Castle Greyhawk) and Paizo (Item Cards)


  1. Francois B. says:

    J’ai hate de faire pareil avec ma fille.. est-ce que tu crois qu’a 7 ans c’est trop jeune ?

  2. A 7 ans, je faisais des histoires interactives avec mes enfants à l’heure du coucher. Mais je pense que ça vaut la peine d’essayer.

    (If you have a 7 y.o. the game might just work. I suggest you hold on to the character card but encourage her/him to draw the character on another Index card).

  3. Great! Moar pls! )))
    My kids are already playing the real thing, but I think the older one may need this rather soon 🙂

  4. Absolutely adorable! Can’t wait to hear more of how this went. I love these posts.

  5. Hi Phil! Great!

    Last week my kids (age 9 and 11) have asked me to play “the game dad plays with his friends each friday nights”…D&D. 😉

    but I find difficult to choose the “right” edition to begin with: D&D (the red box), AD&D or D&D4 (I’m not so fond of D&D3.5). I think the first roleplaying game you play with will remain forever in your memory and I don’t want them to have a mixed impression of the roleplaying experience.

    Maybe a game like the one you play with Nico is a good start. What do you think of?


  6. @Bruno: I suggest that you steer away from formal, structured RPG rules when you introduce your children. Then let them set the pace at the addition of complexity. At one point, they’ll probably ask for more “realism” or more rules. That’s when you pick the next system. Red Box is great but it does show its age. I have a really hard time reading it and imagining having fun with it… although I still do at times.

  7. Thanks Phil! Judicieux conseil comme toujours !


  8. @Bruno: Ca me fait toujours plaisir! Passe un excellent weekend!


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