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Children and young adults

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Young adults get almost the beginning skills, but (regularly) no magic. Children may have a different set of abilities based on being small that they grow out of eventually.

The lazy narrator might simply assign a hefty disadvantage "underage" and a linked ability "small", where the underage disadvantage recedes as initiation approaches. Any advantages from being small (nimble, whatever) disappear along with the disadvantage.

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If NPCs I'd not give them values as usual, If important perhaps a few notes and a distinguishing feature - Young and curious or teenager and sulky, etc.  They are covered on page  61 of HQ2 - Dependants. Lots of ways of doing this - Followers Child 17, Teenager 17, etc. If an important child of a PC, I'd treat them as a sidekick HQ2 page 64.


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10 hours ago, Joerg said:

Young adults get almost the beginning skills, but (regularly) no magic.

If young adult means they've passed initiation into adulthood, but not yet initiated into cults, I'd have them pick their Runes.  If not (i.e. still a child), then no Runes.

Overall, I'd probably go back to the HQ2 List Method.

1. Note your main area of expertise, which, depending on the series, may be a keyword. You probably already picked this when you came up with your character concept.

Children in these cultures still have a Distinguishing Characteristic and still perform daily tasks (e.g. herd, farm, etc.).  No reason not to include.

2. If your series uses other keywords, such as those for culture or religion, you may have them for free.

They are still part of the culture such as Heortling or Esrolian.  They should have that keyword.

3. Pick 10 additional abilities, describing them however you want.... Only one of these abilities may be a Sidekick—assuming your series allows them in the first place.

If they have Runes, then apply 3 of these as Runes.  A sidekick or companion (e.g. alynx, goose, mouse, etc) makes perfect sense here.  Magical charms or talents - these should be interesting characters even if children.  Talk with Birds, Hear Ancestors, Blend into Shadows, etc. would all work just fine.  I'd even think along the lines of the 13th Age One Unique Thing concept.

4. If you want, describe up to 3 flaws.

They may be Small, Scrawny, or some another physical trait.  Or maybe Child is sufficient as a Flaw as it means that adults won't deal with them. 


Assign a starting rating of 17 to the ability you find most important or defining.  All of your other abilities start at a rating of 13.

Normally, the List Method follows with: 

Now you may spend up to 20 points to boost any of your various ability ratings... You can’t spend more than 10 points on any one ability.

You could use that.  Or instead follow some variation, maybe Age + 1d10 points.  Or perhaps limit them to adding the points to no more than 3 or 4 of the abilities.

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I want to ref. Symbaroum with HQ. I dont like there rules and we want to cut our teeth on HQ in a setting that is not Glorantha, so when we come to that we dont have a double learning curve.

I am also using Beyond the Wall and other adventures, mashed up with some short adventures by Schwalb Entertainment. To run some young adult snapshot mini adventures as he grows up.

FYI, I got into Symbaroum, which has an interesting setting, but some shockingly poorly written early adventures - Wrath as the lead in to the grand campaign in particular.  Just my 2d.

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Apart from things that are in-setting limited to adults, I'd make them like any other character. Their "profession" keyword and related abilities  may be quite different than what an adult character might have, but are not inherently less efficacious at solving problems for which they are well suited than an adult's abilities are. Where the differences would appear would be in how I set resistance for certain things when relying on credibility rather than story flow. Some things will be easier for a kid, some things will be harder.  Using a youth-centric ability to tackle adult problems would be more likely to be a stretch, although there would also be angles where a kid's out-of-context approach to an adult challenge might actually be optimal.

The player's selection of abilities & flaws will also guide the extent to which the character's youth should be relevant to the narrative.  If the character is set up along the lines of Tom Swift or Tin Tin, the youth angle is seldom a big deal as the character interacts with the world much like the adults do. Contrast those stories with the Harry Potter series, where the constraints of the principals' status as juveniles and inexperience is central to the narrative.

I think the Fate-ish Flaws-as-Hero-Point-Generators variant introduced in Nameless Streets is worth considering. Deliberately choosing to fail a Flaw roll in exchange for being extra awesome later on can incentivise the sort of story flow where the adults stymie the character's progress in the middle acts, only for the character to dramatically triumph later on (though perhaps in part by having taken the adults' lessons to heart).


Edited by JonL
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1 hour ago, Aprewett said:

Thanks, that is a good eye opener to the narrative power of the system.

Glad to share. :) Here is a list method array I put together a couple years ago for playing Monster High (or Everafter High, or Descendants, or...) with my daughters. For a teen-PC game,  the characters' role within the school's micro-society replaces the profession that might describe how an adult fits within the broader world. 

1 hour ago, Aprewett said:

I dont have NS and cant find it on the net, must be out of print.

Sadly, yes, Nameless Streets is OOP and the HQ version is unlikely to be republished. You might be able to find a 2nd-hand harcopy, but I'd look on ebay or Noble Knight rather than Amazon, as the latter's price-bots think folks are willing to pay $120+ for a rare item, despite those same half-dozen hard copies being offered for sale for a year or more. 

Short version on the Flaw variant is that when the GM presents a Flaw challenge, instead of rolling the player can simply choose to Fail the roll. Doing so gains the player an additional Hero Point.  It's a nice dynamic that rewards leaning-into the Flaw, without being quite so intrusive into the flow of the game as the similar Compel mechanic in Fate can sometimes be. 

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