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?