It’s a rare situation, but what if one of your players comes to your table with the idea to play a child as their character? What would be your initial reaction? Now, I’m not talking about childlike as in, say, a kender, but an actual child. Furthermore, can we even agree on where the bar is when it comes to defining a child? Is the 16 to 18 yr old teenager staking vampires at night a child or do we have to go even further, into the single digits?
Walt briefly dipped into the well with one of his Hot Button articles , “What is your Taboo?” in discussing the death of children in adventures. A taboo I happen to share; in general I’m reluctant to include children in games in any meaningful manner. In fact, in a recent Call of Cthulhu one-shot that was planned with pre-generated characters — who were children — another player and myself had to request a different adventure.
But the child PC is another beast of its own. First, it can be difficult to integrate in a mixed game. Imagine a child PC at the table full of adults. Do the other players, by virtue of their age, have a leadership role over the child? Consider the implications of the power dynamic at the table.
Now I have to admit a bit of perverse pleasure of my own in playing Eden Studios ’ most-excellent Buffy: The Vampire Slayer RPG , specifically the Slayer. However, in a game where all the PCs are predominately teenagers this actually plays into the role of the game, not against it. Other games, such as Little Fears , also follow this dynamic and take it even further. (Interestingly both games are in the realm of horror.)
So would you have any problem with a PC minor in your game, say, in D&D? Would you give that PC any special consideration, mechanically or otherwise?