So Many Pets, So Little Time

The Dire Rugrat Family Tails of Equestria Campaign, Part 1

Who’s Who in Equestria

Excitement was high in the Dire Rugrat household, Daddy Rugrat had read the Tales of Equestria rulebook, and all three rugrats, as well as Mummy Rugrat, were excited to make their PCs (pony characters) and start adventuring in Equestria. I went to the River Horse website, downloaded the PC sheets, one for each type of pony, and everyone set to work.
Rugrat 3 created Cup Cake, a riotously coloured unicorn with purple head and flanks, green legs, black eyes and horn, crimson tail, and I think a green mane. Cup Cake’s cutie mark is a diamond on a purple and green cake… maybe. It’s hard to be certain. Her chosen talent is the ability to create force fields, and her very appropriate quirk is a short attention span; her Element of Harmony is Magic, which has yet to have much effect on her…
Rugrat 2 created Thunder Gust, a pegasus with green body and blue mane and tail. His cutie mark is three clouds with lightning shooting out of them, and his Element of Harmony is Honesty.
Against my better judgment, Rugrat 1 was allowed to create a changeling (rules for changeling characters are in The Bestiary of Equestria [review forthcoming], which Rugrat 1 was expressly asked to not read…. but he did anyway, because children know it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission…) named Shiftwing. Shiftwing chose laughter as his Element of Harmony, a fear of bees (just like his player) as his Quirk, and chose to upgrade his innate Morph Talent rather than selecting a second one. Rugrat 1 will be a rules lawyering powergamer in the future, I fear… but we will love him anyway.
Finally, Mummy Rugrat created Calm Heart, a light brown earth pony with darker brown mane and tail. Her Element of Harmony is Kindness, her cutie mark is a heart with two crossed band-aids set on it, and she selected Healing Touch as her Talent, and Messy as her Quirk.

A Day at the Market

The game started with the PCs at the weekend market. Calm Heart was looking for more bandages, Thunder Gust wanted some eggs, Shiftwing was searching for a solar powered lamp, and Cup Cake wanted toys. So many toys. While they were shopping, they came across a cute, but very rude bunny. The ponies interacted with the aggressive rodent in humorous fashion, until his pony, the famous pegasus Fluttershy, found them together. Realizing their obvious animal wrangling skills, and needing someone to take care of the Mane Six’s pets while they went off adventuring, she recruited them like a a shy, pony Gandalf asking Bilbo Baggins to give up his comfortable hobbit life. The PCs agreed of course, as there’d be no game otherwise, and they visited Fluttershy at her home outside the Everfree Forest.

Look at the cute little bunnies!

Everything Goes Wrong

At Fluttershy’s house, the PCs met the rest of the Mane Six, the most famous ponies in all of Equestria! And after a brief introduction to the Mane Pets, the Six were on their way.
It didn’t take long for everything to go wrong. The unruly pets, spurred by the very poorly named Angel Bunny, misbehaved. The PCs attempted to treat them to their favourite things, Cup Cake obsessively looked for the chocolate mice that she knew were the favourite of Twilight Sparkle’s owl, Owlowiscious, but Calm Heart stepped on Angel’s tail and set the foul tempered rodent off! He bounced through the house, riling up the already agitated pets. They smashed things, knocked over furniture, and finally escaped out the front door left open by Cup Cake in her fruitless search for chocolate mice.

Well, That Happened…

Sorting themselves out, the PCs realized the pets had escaped… in different directions into the ominous Everfree Forest. Deciding that the mess in Fluttershy’s house could wait, the PCs set off into the forest to effect a rescue. They started by following baby alligator tracks down the river which eventually led them to a small island. Flying above the island was a blue bird with a funny green feather frill, a mohawk! Pinkie Pie’s pet alligator, Gummy, had firmly chomped down on the frantic bird’s tail feathers, and wouldn’t let go. Thunder Gust and Shiftwing (morphed into pegasus form) flew up and attempted to remove the alligator from the bird, which they did, but their actions resulted in Gummy plummeting toward the ground (and near certain doom), until the distractable Cup Cake used her telekinesis to catch him.

Don’t Let the Cuteness Fool You!

Scary Monsters (and Diamond Dogs)

After rescuing Gummy, the PCs decided to follow the faint dog howls to a small hut, surrounded by variously sized holes in the ground. Applejack’s dog, Winona, was tied up in front of the structure, and she was upset about it. Using stealth and guile to approach Winona without her making any noise, the PCs managed to free her and made it nearly away before attracting the attention of something underground. Moving quietly, the PCs managed to avoid the diamond dogs who had taken Winona captive, though those greedy hounds may come into play again if the PCs don’t escape the Everfree Forest soon.
While following a smoke trail, the PCs ran into the mysterious rhyming zebra named Zecora! Zecora gave some cryptic advice and gave each pony a healing potion for their journey.
Continuing to follow the smoke, the PCs left the Everfree Forest and entered a craggy, rocky canyon with pits and holes in the canyon walls. From the canyon mouth, they could see Rainbow Dash’s turtle Tank! Tank’s helicopter backpack apparatus was broken and the poor turtle was helplessly caught on a stone spur. Thunder Gust flew toward the turtle and got him free, but drew the attention of a fearsome quarray eel in the process. A breathless scuffle with the quarray eel ensued, in which Calm Heart, as well as Thunder Gust were swallowed whole by the monster! Cup Cake and Shiftwing (morphed to look like Cup Cake) used their telekinesis to get their companions free, and the four narrowly escaped back into the Everfree Forest with Tank.

What Happens Next?

With three of the Mane Six’s pets rescued, who will the PCs attempt to find next? Will it be the wise owl Owlowiscious? The prissy pussycat Opalescence? Or naughty Angel Bunny herself? You will just have to wait until part 2 to find out!

The Reason For Silence

Hello! Wondering why we are so quiet?

No, we haven’t gotten sucked into a new run Netflix programming, nor have we so fully immersed ourselves in a new gaming campaign we forgot to come up for air….. (Usual reasons for our absence to be sure!)

First off, we had big plans for near future. We were going to bring a fun collection of Flawed Foes for April fools. You can already find some of these characters on our website, but many of them are all new.  We’ve also been looking at some Starfinder content. And another Tangible Tavern. We were working hard at this while juggling our less exciting day jobs and life with kids, and then something happened….

Our youngest child, Rugrat #3, got sick. Really sick.

She was incredibly puffy, lethargic, and just not herself at all.  That was about four weeks ago. She is having kidney issues that are being attributed to post-infectious GN. Her kidneys are not able to process the liquid in her body, causing her tissue to become incredibly puffy. Her face is swollen to the point her eyes barely open, her feet are too big for her shoes, she is wearing clothing two sizes bigger than she should be. There is little the doctors can do but manage the symptoms until her kidneys start working again, but typically this should have happened after about ten days. We aren’t making progress.

It’s heartbreaking.

And we’re shattered.

Long story short, she and I are currently staying at a children’s hospital in Vancouver, BC. Her brothers and father are currently visiting, but won’t be able to stay until we come home as it looks like we’ll still be here awhile.

We are so grateful to live in a country with universal health care, we are also grateful to the family and friends who were bringing us food and grocery store gift cards while we were still on the island, and we are also grateful to all those who have been sending healing thoughts, prayers, and well wishes.

Rest assured we love our fans, we love writing, and one day, when things settle down, we’ll be back with some of the projects we were working on before this happened, and some other ones we’ll be inspired to do.

In the meantime, we need to focus on our little rugrats.

We wish you and your family much health and happiness.

letters from the flaming crab logo

Imaginary Friends: A Child’s Best Friend

Are you familiar with Letters from the Flaming Crab? If not, it is a monthly series of Pathfinder-compatible supplements; each Letter focuses on exploring a different topic to give gamemasters and players new, exciting options that can be dropped into any campaign. We’ve talked about them before (Murder Bunnies, Dinosaur Companions, Gnomes vs. Gremlins, and Household Magic Catalog), and we’re back again about the most recent one.

Letters From the Flaming Crab: Imaginary Friends features a new type of creature: imaginary friends!

These ghost-like creatures assign themselves to children and act as companion and guardian to their chosen ward. Each has a different appearance, shaped by the imagination of the children they protect.

Nine children, including two of our rugrats, contributed to this entertaining collection of “monsters.”

Rugrat #1 and Rugrat #2 had a great time with this project, and Rugrat #1 even went so far as to write two of the imaginary friends found within the magical pages. His growing love of Pathfinder, combined with an urgent need to acquire enough money to purchase a new package of Pokemon trading cards, meant working in the gaming industry was the best thing ever. While we don’t love his obsession with those cards, we had to applaud his work ethic on their project, and his desire to take part in RPG design.

Truth be told, both Ken and I think Rugrat #1 could make an excellent GM in a few years, and FCG giving the next generation a chance to test the waters is a really cool thing.

Letters From the Flaming Crab: Imaginary Friends book coverRugrat#2 brought his favourite stuffed elephant (named Ella) to life, while Rugrat #1 created two monsters whole-cloth. His creativity in their abilities, what they were, and how animatedly he described them admittedly surprised us, even though we know he’s an avid reader with a pretty cool imagination. Rugrat #2 mostly held onto Ella in a loving/territorial fashion while we asked a lot of questions, but I could sense his excitement hidden behind the understuffed lovie.

The colour illustrations included in the PDF were all created by the contributors, and watching our rugrats focus so intently on creating these imaginary friends was so enjoyable. They colour a lot, but we see way too many Pokemon, so watching on as Rugrat #2 painstakingly drew his beloved Ella, well it was a nice change.

For people worried about the stat-blocks for the imaginary friends, rest assured they were created with input from the children named in the project and then (at least in our house) written by the adults before (per usual) being edited and developed by the amazing J Gray at FCG.

I’m a little biased, but I whole-heartily recommend you hurry over to DriveThruRPG and pick up this fun little PDF. Then, when your PCs make trouble in town, you can put them up against something a bit different: the imaginary friends of the local children.

Dinovember 2017

For those who haven’t heard about Dinovember: welcome! We wrote a blog post last year that can bring you up to speed, and I encourage you to check it out. For those who followed our dinoescapades last year, welcome back! We’ve been doing this for a few years now and the dinosaurs have done everything from smearing cupcakes on the cupboards to colouring on the fridge to playing with the shaving cream in the bathroom. The kids have found them building outside, hijacking a ride to school, and having music concerts. Book forts, colouring pages, cereal across the floor – they’ve all been done at least once, maybe twice.

As Halloween approached this year, I started to hear the dreaded word murmured from the corners of the house : “Dinovember.”

Almost as scary as the house on down the road with the carnival decorations and the clown hiding behind the red balloons with a bowl of candy, the word made my chest tighten. My mind searched frantically for answers. I wondered if it was too late to take a month long vacation (or send the dinosaurs on one).

dinovember mummy

After hearing at length from the rugrats that they hoped the dinosaurs wouldn’t eat their candy *again,* I had to come up with something new.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how exciting and magical Dinovember is.

I do.

And I started the whole thing in our house.

But the thing is, I didn’t expect (foolishly) that it would be such a hit. I didn’t think through the part where I would have to come up with 30 things each year for the dinosaurs to do. Or that the kids would remember just about every single thing the dinosaurs did, shaking their heads disappointingly at any repeat shenanigans. (It really is only fair I warn you, just in case you were thinking of introducing it into your household.)

So just as the pressure of Halloween costumes begin to wane, the anxiety of dinocreativity begins to rear its ugly giant reptilian head in our house.

dinovember pumpkin snowman

One of my favourites so far this year, I fear this make-shift snowman may have been part of an elaborate snow dance done by the dinosaurs as it snowed 24 hours later.

There have already been the moments of panic where I wonder what to do tonight, and sometimes I wish I could take the same tactic as some do with elf on a shelf (no way is that creepy creature coming into our house on the heels of Dinovember).

But I digress. Dinovember is happening.

It’s in full swing.

And the dinoventures abound!

Here are just a few of the things the dinosaurs have been up to this month:

Dinovember tea party

Rugrat #1 wasn’t the biggest fan of this, but Rugrat #2 enjoyed it, and Rugrat #3 loved it so much she insisted on napping with these lovely ladies, their tea set, and the table (while chanting “Tea Par-tay!” right up until she fell asleep).

 

Counting with Cheerios during Dinovember

The rugrats enjoyed the early morning snack created by this dinosaur game. The game, not so much, but it is a bit too easy for most of them (though these poor dinosaurs struggled).

 

dinosaur nests for dinovember

The rugrats, in unison, declared this “awesome.” I liked that it was super easy (and in fact done after everyone woke up, in a tiny seldom seen corner of our second kitchen).

 

castle home for dinovember

Desperate for their own place to call home, the ground-bound dinos set off on their own adventure, far from the picture perfect bird town houses. This was the biggest hit with Rugrat #3 who has exiled the dinosaurs and minis alike in favour of her ponies.

 

After last night’s hard session of castle building and takeover, the dinosaurs elected to try something a little more relaxing.

 

 

Sick of their meat and plant-based diets, the dinosaurs decided to plant a candy garden. The rugrats were sad to see the dinosaurs had stolen their candy for this fruitless project.

 

The dinos went wild with the erasable marker, colouring all over photos and the windows. The rugrats were not pleased.

 

While the two of the rugrats enjoyed a sleepover at Nana’s, the dinosaurs went went with a movie marathon – complete with snacks galore!

 

The kids thought the dinosaurs did nothing… then we found this.

 

 

 

“Yep, that’s what they did.” – Rugrat#2   Well, that’s a late night mess… and a lot of caffeine.  

So tell us, have you participated in Dinovember?

Do you know anyone who has?

If you are looking for more inspiration than our posts offer, there is tons of material out there. (Dinovember has quite the following!)

What’s your favourite one of our dinoshenanigans?

Tell us! We’d love to know. Some of our favorites haven’t been such a hit with the kids. (But man did I enjoy colouring all over the fridge and watching the kids clean that up so the dinosaurs didn’t get in trouble!)  Some of our random/last minute adventures are beloved by all the rugrats. It can be hard to tell what’s going to be a success and what will be an eye roll. So chime in! Let us know what you love!

Adventures In Wonderland (1-4)

Last October our family started this fun series of children’s adventures. We had an ESL student we had hosted some time ago visiting for a few days, and it seemed like a great activity we could all enjoy.  We shared a review of Adventures in Wonderland #1: Chasing the White Rabbit at that time, and the kids loved it. So much so Kelly ran the second adventure the same night with only a quick scan of the PDF before playing. The third was played the next day.

Then a long time passed. Our former student returned to Japan. The kids begged and begged to find out what happened to the white rabbit. We played another fun kids adventure. And eventually a new chapter in the AIW series came out.

With Rugrat #3 old enough to not be napping, but young enough she can’t quite grasp everything that’s going on, we set her up as Kelly’s animal companion. She sat on Kelly’s lap, rolling her own set of dice randomly and chiming in to repeat what people said.

“Perfect summer day.”

 

Continue reading Adventures In Wonderland (1-4)

Gaming and Family Values – A Quandary

As gamer geek parents to a trio of rugrats, Kelly and I are always looking for ways to get our kids involved in our hobby. Something that troubles me however, is that the methods that most RPGs use to resolve tasks are pretty much the exact opposite of the values we are trying to instill into the ‘rats. It isn’t that we are utopian idealists; the ‘rats are still pretty young. The whole fantasy-reality divide is still a pretty complex notion for them. Rugrat #1, age 7, is sweet and sensitive; he finds violence scary and wants to find a diplomatic solution to every in-game challenge (this is not mirrored in his interactions with Rugrats #2 and #3; violence and disdain are his go-to methods for handling disagreements with them). Rugrat #2, age (nearly) 5, wants to hit everything. Hard. Finding the balance point between the two styles of play can be a challenge. Additionally, we frequently tell the Rugrats that violence isn’t a solution to their problems, but in most RPGs, the reverse is often true. How do we instill the value of discussion, compromise, and compassion in real-life while laughing at the slaughter of innocent, imaginary kobolds in-game?

Nonlethal combat isn’t really an answer; it is still violence after all, and while I’ve seen plenty of suggestions for pitting kids against non-humanoid adversaries, in the real world it is no more acceptable to beat up a dog, cat, wolf, or rat than it is another person. Many games feature mechanics regarding the use of social skills, but they can also be troubling, as often they revolve around intimidation (bullying) and bluffing (lying).

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of answers to the issues I’ve posed above; mostly I write this because I’m trawling for ideas. However, listening to the kids’ entertainment selections does provide me with a few ideas.

Environmental challenges are great to pit children against. While I’m not certain that I’ve seen a full episode, I’ve heard approximately one billion episodes of Octonauts and Paw Patrol. Often the drama and challenge faced by the protagonists is provided by the environment: some innocent creature is caught up a tree / has fallen in the water / is lost… you get the idea. While I’m not keen on having them slay dragons quite yet, I can definitely see the value in having them rescue people from a village that a dragon is burning down.

Stealth based challenges are also quite nice for kids. While I don’t want to teach them that sneaking around is a good thing to do, I think that letting them attempt to tiptoe around a table full of goblins who are dozing due to drinking too much bug juice is fun. It also helps to teach the rugrats that, dire as they are, there is real value in looking at a problem from all angles and selecting the best resolution method at their disposal. To further this, I think there is a benefit in placing obvious items in a challenge environment that will allow the protagonists to trap, avoid, or otherwise neutralize a threat without resorting to beating it with a stick. If the players don’t catch on to the obvious items, mention them a few times. Be obvious. These are kids. Teaching them this lesson now could very well lead to more excitement at the game table when they are older.

So What’s Out There?

white rabbit coverBefore I wrap this up, there are a few companies making quality RPG material intended for a younger audience. In the Pathfinder and D&D 5th Edition space, Playground Adventures has released a number of excellent modules that we’ve run for the rugrats (The Chasing the White Rabbit series by J Gray has been very much enjoyed with repeated queries from the kids regarding when the remaining parts will release). I particularly like that PGA offers adventures with diverse challenges and offers non-violent resolution methods in many cases.

Legendary Games also offers the Legendary Beginnings line of adventures in both PFRPG and 5e. Legendary Games’ offerings, such as the Trail of the Apprentice Adventure Path have a more “traditional” presentation than PGA’s, and hew a bit more toward classic RPG tropes such as dungeon delving. It needs to be noted as well, that Legendary Games’ adventures spend less space than PGA’s on suggesting non-violent task resolution. All of the above aside though, and Trail of the Apprentice is a really nice series of adventures that I’m looking forward to running when the children are a bit older.

Outside the big two of fantasy RPGs, No Thank You, Evil! By Monte Cook Games strips down the already lean Cypher System even further to present a family friendly game that I haven’t read but know I will get to sooner than later; No Thank You, Evil! has great word of mouth, and I really like Monte Cook Games’ other games.

young centurions cover

Evil Hat Productions’ Young Centurions is a FATE Accelerated game of teenage pulp heroes. Young Centurions is a great read and an exciting setting for those who are looking for something other than typical fantasy/sci-fi. FATE Accelerated is also a fantastic system for first-time players. It provides the structure that the game needs while keeping out of the way of the story being created.

Comment Below

Do you have suggestions or ideas regarding this topic? Any favourite kid-friendly roleplaying games or adventures? Let us know in the comments!

Rugrat #1's Electric Shocker Weapon

Weapons Galore by Rugrat #1!

There is a lot of variety in PFRPG weapons.  Like a lot.

Perhaps designers love them some weapons. Perhaps every PC needs a chance to have exactly the right weapon.  Or perhaps PFRPG just has so many darn rules and mechanics that it is inevitable there will be countless magical weapons. (I mean, there are seriously a lot of weapon properties.)

Regardless, one day Rugrat #1 walked up to me and handed me a stack of papers.

Here mum!  I thought you’d like these. You can use them for your game!

He had been sitting at the table for a little while, focused on his colouring, and unknown to me, whipping up a few weapons.  He loves to colour. We’ve even shared some of his RPG inspired art before.  Now, stats and such are not a lot of interest to him, but the ideas and art – that he was all over.

Rugrat #1’s Weapons

Dragflash
“This weapon can move at night time, and it scares people in their bed.”

 

“This is a fire type weapon.”

This is a ground type weapon. It makes the ground shake! There’s a huge earthquake!”

“This is another ground type weapon. It makes the ground shake, but not as much as the other one. It also helps you dig through the ground, and you can ask it to dig for you.”

 

fairy weapon by rugrat#1

“This is a fairy weapon. It’s really good at fighting goblins and ghouls. It has water and fire gems.”

“This water blast weapon blasts people with water, like 1000 water guns together! Like 13 water hoses!”

 

“This weapon scares people awake. It has ghost heads!”

 

Electric Shocker Weapon

 

“This is a steel weapon. It can freeze things in its tracks. It makes people wonder if they should keep going or just stare at it. If you don’t keep staring at this weapon it will attack you with shields and swords.”

If you have kids, how involved are they in gaming? Do they draw pictures about it?

Two bees on a flower

A Buzz on Spring Break – “For The Hive” Play Account

Ah spring break. A glorious time full of fun and excitement and a break from the monotony of every day life.

And as a work from home mother of three small children with no child care, it is also a really long two weeks where I struggle immensely trying to juggle work  and rugrats intent on getting up to no good (I believe it was day two that Rugrat #2 shoved half a dozen smurfs into the baseboard heater while I was showering).

Gardening, baking, colouring pictures, and Pokémon Go can go a long way, but Ken and I decided spring break was also the perfect time to break out another RPG adventure for the kids. We agreed it was time to play For the Hive, a really well reviewed adventure written by J Gray and published by Playground Adventures.  I thought it could be fun to add a fourth player to our game, and I suggested we try bringing another child into the mix. So a couple of weeks ago I called the mother of Rugrat #1’s best friend.

It was an awkward call because I have never broached the topic of RPGs with other parents. “So, uh, hi Parent! Do you have a minute? I wanted to talk to you about something.” Immediately I realized it sounded bad, like her child had done something wrong.  She was driving, using her car’s speaker phone, so there was also that awkward bit where you feel like you have to talk extra loudly while introducing role playing games to someone when you can’t even see their face to gauge their reaction.  She’s awesome though, so with the promise of letting her look over the adventure before we played it, she said it was a go.

Time to Game

A week and a half later, the first Saturday of Spring Break, was the big day.  Rugrat #1 & #2 were bouncing off the walls with the impending arrival of Friend 1, who arrived grinning ear to ear.  Getting the game started proved a bit tricky. We had gone ahead and premade the characters for the kids, guessing what type best suited Friend 1. The sheets were bang on, but the lure of the pawns, tokens, and visible map were strong. The kids kept trying to play them like a board game and had trouble listening. Eventually, with food in their bellies, Rugrat #3 safely in her crib for a nap, and pawns and character sheets sorted out, we began.

for the hive coverHere is where I jump in and say that if you want to read a review of For the Hive, you can find Ken’s here.  There are also some reviews with the product here.

Really Time To Game

With everything set, the adventure began.  Ken adjusted it slightly, setting it at a nearby library we like to visit, but as written, the adventure makes it easy for players to become invested – who doesn’t want to help a friend, and save a bee hive while they are at it?

Friend 1 sat quietly and super still, listening intently as the story unfolded.  Rugrat #1, who is seven next month, squirmed and wiggled, which is typical for him.  The key things Bzzercup had to say could have been stressed better to the kids (the Rugrats had trouble focusing), but that was not the adventure, it was our kids and the delivery of those facts – a good reminder not all kids focus as well as Friend 1! GMs playing with kids for the first time: remember your audience! 

Rugrat #1, who is an anxious child, had a lot of difficulty with the idea of shrinking in size, even when we stressed it was just pretend.  With some convincing from Friend 1, he reluctantly agreed, and we were are able to set off across the grass to the hive.  Here the beautiful map came into the play.  The kids loved this map, and we had to run off to print a few extras (how hard sharing can be).

One of the big things I noticed running this adventure for kids is how much (at least mine) needed to be reminded we were doing this together, that we were a team, and that we all had to help each other.  It’s a hard thing to learn – accepting you won’t excel at everything, but that what you may not be able to accomplish someone else on your team can.

A great example was the magical looking glass lost in the huge expanse of grass.  Rugrat #1 was super upset he couldn’t activate it, but I pointed out that without him we wouldn’t have even known what is was or what it could do. Teamwork let us jump forward across the lawn (but downside – he didn’t get to come across the praying mantis he saw in a piece of art, and there was a bit of an upset about that).

So How’d They Do?

Simply put? They succeeded in the goal of the adventure.  And not all groups do.  There were some hurdles though.

One major thing Rugrat #1 had trouble with is things not going his way.  This is a fun little educational adventure, but (much like any other RPG session) the joy gets sucked out a bit when a player throws a tantrum and storms out of the room because his dice aren’t rolling well. After being given the chance to calm down, Rugrat #1 did rejoin the party, and he was just in time for the big final show down.

Rugrat #2 remained quiet for most of the adventure, chiming in during combat to grin and yell “I hit it!” (naturally we made him a barbarian). He was feeling a bit under the weather and lounged across his chair, with his feet on me, or sat on my lap for most of the adventure.  When Ken and I game we sit in the basement on a big day bed with a table nearby.  It’s super comfortable. It’s also a space that would have kids bouncing all of the place and playing with pillows.  Be sure to find a space the kids can focus, but everyone can be comfy – sitting on our hard wooden IKEA chairs for a couple of hours with a four-year’s bony bum wiggling around wasn’t exactly ideal.

Over the course of the adventure, Friend 1 would randomly grin and exclaim “This is so much fun!”, making the afternoon so much better. He was the wild card for us as we’ve played with the Rugrats on a few occasions, and I must say he was a delight.  (There may have been mumblings afterward of sending Rugrat #1 to his house next time and having Friend 1 come by and game on his own.)

Final Thoughts

Rugrat #1 and his friend told us they had completed a unit on bees in school, and knew most of the bee facts that were shared during the adventure, but Ken and I found them interesting. I would recommend that anyone GMing to the younger crowd makes a point of these facts. It is really easy for them to get lost in the excitement of the adventure, and they are pretty interesting (plus a great educational take away).

Rugrat #1 hates conflict. And not being awesome. Obviously these are serious hurdles with Pathfinder.  On more than one occasion he stormed off, hiding in his room. I’m not sure there’s a great way to avoid this if you have a similar child in your life, but reminding him (or her) ahead of time about teamwork is a good idea.  This adventure also did a great job of not having the players “kill” anything.  Opponents were paper wasps.  Wasps actually made of paper (and it was a great tie-in to a previous PGA adventure).  This meant instead of killing a living thing, characters destroyed or ripped the paper, defeating the paper wasp – a very nice touch for children who are sensitive or otherwise upset by violence. I think this made it easier for Rugrat #1, and Rugrat #2’s favorite thing was “ripping the paper wasps.”

All in all, the Rugrats and Friend 1 had fun with this adventure, and both older kids said their favorite thing was helping the queen bee, but it seems Adventures in Wonderland is still the reigning favorite, and the Rugrats are eager for more of that soon. (More on that later!)

Colourful goblins

Rugrat #1’s Great Goblin War

Goblins are a hot topic of conversation in our house right now.  Dire Rugrat Publishing is hard at work on a product that features this mischievous little creatures, and our little ones don’t miss a beat.  We’ve been talking about goblins in general, but also sharing some of the tales and legends of this usually evil little creatures.

Rugrat #1 was particularly interested in the story of the Benevolent goblin whose magical drinking horn was stolen by a traveller, and was eventually gifted to a king.

The other day I found Rugrat #1 hard at work on a picture. He loves to colour and is always drawing things: the solar system, pokemon, dinosaurs, whatever is on his mind. This particular day it was goblins.

When he was done, he presented it to me.

All the goblins are fighting. Whoever wins get to take over the town hall.

It was quickly evident Rugrat #1 hadn’t drawn typical goblins, so we talked about them.  Turns out his love of pokemon (and their various types and attacks) coupled with his new interest in goblins merged for something pretty cool.

The Great Goblin War as drawn by Rugrat#1

The goblins you see are different types.  There’s “Stoney” the stone type goblin, “Electry” the electric type, “Icey” the ice type, “Grasser” the grass type, “Flarey” the fire type, and finally… “Klanger” the king type. You can see their various “attacks” as they fire electricity, fire, etc at each other.

I asked for a bit of clarification.  Are they teams? Are they all fighting? Who is in charge now? (I was not naive enough to assume it was the king.)

Some work together.  The King and fire type work together.  The grass and ice work together.  All of the others work by themselves. The king types don’t always take over the place.  Right now the stone type is in charge.

I think he’s got the start of a pretty fun sounding adventure, but I think my favorite part to learn was this:

The ones that win usually have a team

He understands how important team work is.

Comment Below:

Have you had any fun goblin encounters? Ever used any goblin variations?

If you love goblins, or are hoping to give them a bit of a make-over in an upcoming game, keep an eye out in March.  Dire Rugrat Publishing has just the thing!

Dinosaurs go fishing

5 Things I Didn’t Do for Dinovember

Thirty days.  For Dinovember we had to come up with a new idea for the dinosaurs. Every. Single. Day. For thirty days. And with us being several years into this tradition, and the rugrats horribly disappointed if there are repeat adventures, it gets harder.

dino-builders

I always mean to spend the time between one November and the next coming up with new ideas, but time ticks by. At first I’m just happy to be rid of the prehistoric dino-trouble, and then as the next November gets closer, I get excited – but I forget to get planning.

dinosaur rockstars
So Dinovember arrives and, inevitably, midnight rolls around, I’m exhausted from being up so late working, and I curse those damn plastic reptiles – and myself for ever introducing it.  Sometimes I have something brilliant planned, sometimes something basic, but each time I was at a loss I would look hopefully at my husband and he would either suggest something that’s been done, or come up with something a little less than helpful.

dinos making Christmas cards

Here are 5 ideas I did not use this Dinovember:

  1. dinosmoothie“Just stick them all in a pot, and turn it on.  We can have a big plastic dino-soup. Maybe stick a dinosaur head on top of it. They can find it like that in the morning.” (While I was away for a night this month, he actually did go for the blender, but he fought the urge to turn it on.)
  2. “What if we just sent them to live with someone else?” (We actually sort of did this here.)
  3. “Just skip it.  Maybe they won’t notice.” (I thought about this one more than once, especially after Rugrat #1 started making his own when he couldn’t find what we set up.)
  4. “You could just hang them from the ceiling fan, Mission Impossible style.” (You know, because the kids wouldn’t use them to pull the whole fan off the ceiling, or turn the ceiling on and have the toys become dangerous weapons.)
  5. “They could kill me.  The kids could find them standing over my dead body. Please. I’m so tired. And the police would have photographic evidence of the killers.”

And now December has arrived and the dinosaurs’ home is once again the plastic bin. While I still stumble on them from time to time (darn those rugrats for not cleaning up!), the trouble they cause is mostly nil until next year. Which should hopefully mean I can spend less time assembling dinosaur buildings and accessories, and more time on writing projects.Dinosaurs watching Rex play in town.

Dinosaur terrorizes cardboard city.

And, in case anyone was wondering, Elf on the Shelf does not visit this home.  No, if that obnoxious little creature shows up here hoping for a new pose, it might just inspire me to use idea #1 above, or a Christmas variation; I’m all tapped out of creativity when it comes to toys for a bit.

Time to relax with a glass of wine and get back to thinking about gaming projects.

Merry Christmas from the dinosaurs