Castle Death! A Dead Simple RPG for Kids and Parents, Part 2

In Part 1, I described how I sat down with my 10 y.o. son Nico and prepared, in mere minutes, a RPG session using a very simple game mechanic:

Whenever you wish to perform a task whose outcome is uncertain, Roll a d6. On a 6 you succeed with great success, on a 1 you fail horribly. All intermediate  results are interpreted based on the ongoing story.

The Adventure Begins

I took my pad of graph paper and flipped to an empty page.  On it, I drew a very large rectangle taking about 3/4 of the whole sheet and put a set of double doors on one side. I then added a sinewy path leading from the castle to an out-of-scale village.

Chatty: All right, Bersork makes his way to the Castle’s entry, the huge double door seems to be barred from behind. What do you do?

Nico: Can I force it open?

Sure, roll for it (he rolled a 3), ahhh I’m sorry but it apprears you aren’t strong enough to open it…

I use my axe to break it down. Can I roll again?

Nah, you’ll get the door “open” no problem but you’ll alert the whole place, are you ok with that?


Fine. So with a few strokes of your hefty axe, you break down the Castle’s door and you see what looks like a room designed to repeal invaders with arrow slits on  both sides of the room and several murder  holes on the ceiling. You hear high pitched voices yammering behind the holes and the strong smell of oil permeates the whole room.

Okay, I run by.

Roll the dice (he rolled a 6.) Oh wow! So as you run through the room, goblins shoot arrows through the  slits, miss you… and kill each other as the arrows enter the opposed slits!


And as you pass below the murder holes, you hear a gargled scream of pain as a very crisp, very fried and very dead goblin falls to the floor behind you.  Seems to me someone tripped on the burning oil cauldron

(Laughter) Bersork takes pieces of the fried goblin.

Ewwww, you do? Why?

Orcs LOVE fried goblins daddy!

When Nico told me this little crunchy morsel (pun intended) about Castle Death’s setting, I wanted to jot it down so I could refer to it in a later game (with or without Bersork). So I reached out, picked an index card, wrote “Truths” on it and wrote: “Fried goblins is the  finest of Orcish delicacies”.

And thus was born the Table of Truth, the game’s second mechanic. I’m pretty sure that’s how many of the “we created it as we played it” published campaign settings started.

A King’s Bounty

Chatty: After you finish packing your “snack”, you enter a gigantic pillared halls with several exits. The pillars are all sculpted to represents the last lords of Castle Death.

Nico: Okay, why don’t you roll the dice to see what’s going to happen?

(and thus Nico created the third, and last, mechanic of Castle Death)

Roll a d6 whenever you explore a new element of Castle Death. On a 1, it spells a LOT of (not lethal) trouble for the PC. On a 6 something REALLY positive is discovered.

Chatty: Okay, go ahead. Oh, a 5? Well, as you explore the room, you notice that one of the sculptures of a king has a (draws card from my Paizo pile) strange amulet around his neck.

Nico: Can I remove it and take it?

Well, you thought it would be tricky since the kings is sculpted into a stone column, but as you examine it, the king smiles and bows his head, the amulet dangling from his now freed neck.

Yay! I take it! (He picks the card up and I write “Amulet” on his character card.)

(Nico then made his way deeper in the castle..).

Up next: Bersork meets Pit Trap Mac and has a harrowing meeting with an Ogre who’s a stickler for Etiquette.


  1. I love these… I couldn’t wait for you to post this, and I’m glad to see it’s going along great.

    I’m stealing your idea of a simple d6 game and running an even more simplified version for my 6 year old. We built this character, last night, while driving home from his friend’s house, and now I’ve gotta put together my inventory deck, because I wasn’t lucky enough to grab the Paizo ones.

    I can’t wait for part 3.

  2. I like this.

    I remember being bored several times with my friends and we would just sit down make up a simple basic rule like your D6 rule and start role playing. What a way to pass the time.

    I like you’re getting your kid to play D&D at an early age. I think D&D helped me a lot as a creative individual, especially when it comes to critically thinking. Maybe that’s just me tooting my own horn though 😉

  3. @Dave: Steal away! That’s why I blog about those ideas and experiences! Thanks for the kind words!

    @Gregory: Teaching Nico (and Rory) to play RPGs is a very rewarding experience for me and is really an element in helping them express themselves freely and let their creative juices run freely so to speak. Thanks!


  1. […] article series, detailing a simple RPG for kids and parents. Well, there’s more! Part 2 and Part 3 went live this week! And I have to admit, I’m loving the running dialog between […]