So, it came to pass that I might run something for a group of 10-11 year old girls (all but one with no RPG experience). Not this week, not the next, but sometime, possibly.
I've started thinking about what I should run. The system isn't much of an issue - it's probably going to be some sort of simplified D&D, or maybe WEG D6 -, but coming up with themes, styles and a setting is a tougher nut.
See, there's already something out there that would be perfect, were it not for one issue: Pendragon. Not the system, the setting. I mean, it has:
- A background that even young non-roleplaying girls can relate to: King Arthur, Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur, etc.. They haven't read Mallory, but they'd know enough about it from pop culture.
- Several reasonably simple themes that might give them something to think about (and getting them thinking about things is good, this should be an educational experience): good versus evil, chivalry versus villainy, etc.
- Things that are a bit more complicated but probably still crackable: loyalty versus freedom, mercy versus nipping evil in the bud, idealism versus pragmatism. Depending on the game's angle, racial (Britons vs. Saxons) and religious (christians vs. pagans) tension.
- A soft sort of setting. I mean, these are young girls. You don't want S&S-style shades of grey and amorality, or low fantasy cynical nihilism. It's about noble knights and fairies and dragons.
But there's one glitch: it's about the Knights of the Round Table. Not the Ladies who stay at home knitting and swooning. And let's face it, even at our adult age, most of us roleplayers hardly (if) ever roleplay the opposite gender. 11 year old girls won't be doing it. And I'm NOT going to go the "your lady characters are so smart King Arthur makes an exception and says you can be knights" way; it'd just break the setting too far for me, plus it would teach the wrong idea of how the players' individual desires get to override the DM's setting assumption.
Sure, if I was a dad myself with my daughter in the group, I probably wouldn't bat an eyelid over allowing armour-clad Lady Knights of Camelot, or a cuddly Conan who respects women and doesn't kill people, or a Darth Vader who can be persuaded to shut down the Death Star if the heroine looks at him cutely enough with puppy eyes. But I'm not a dad, and I'm not going to twist established source material to fit the players any more than I would twist the players into a game style they just can't do.
So, there it is: what would be a good setting - possibly built from the ground up - that's like King Arthur in themes and sensitivities, but readily allows for female PCs? Chirp up in the comments!