Experiment Starting:

Experiment Starting:

Experiment Starting:

My oldest daughter has autism. I’ve been very wary of trying RPGs with her. But she loves storytelling and writing, just has trouble dealing with the open-ended question. I think DW, with its simple set of rules and Moves, might be worth a try.

I’d need my other daughter involved, too, so … I can’t really start the experiment until after her Exams are done for the semester. But I’ll let you know. 🙂

11 thoughts on “Experiment Starting:”

  1. I haven’t been sure if she has the ability to do fiction from the first-person. She can write about characters (usually her favorite TV/Movie characters), but it remains to be seen if she can “get in the head” of a person she creates. (This is why the “menu” items in DW might work.)

  2. My 6-year-old son also has autism. He’s still far from this kind of experiment, but I certainly hope to try it when he’s ready. Following with interest.

  3. Honestly, I say just go for it. If she can’t do first person, let her just use third person. That’s maybe not the most PbtA compatible advice, but you have to work on what works best for your table.

    Also, side note: I know there’s always a YMMV disclaimer when it comes to autism, and with new players, as well, but I wonder if perhaps something with more mechanical crunch might be more spectrum-friendly. RPG’s provide an interesting blend of the concrete and the abstract; the rules and the narrative they structure. That might possibly be something to keep in mind.

  4. Problem is, I’M allergic to systems with crunch these days. 🙂 Plus DW has the crunch exactly where I think it will do her the most good: “Is that a move? Okay, roll for that.”

    I probably mis-expressed myself on first-person. She’s never going to get into character the way some might, but she plays video games and gets how a “PC” works. Visualization is not something she’s been good at, though. And she’s ever so very concrete about language. Metaphors and comparisons often only get a blank stare.

    For the visualization thing, I may have to resort to maps and tokens. Or at least sketches and tokens. For the rest … try to hold myself to a place where we both can agree on “real.”

    I can totally see your point about how someone on the spectrum, say in the Asperger’s zone, would be all over a more elaborate system. That’s not her. 🙂

  5. honestly, I think DW is too metagamist, much more for a kid, not getting into autism because I don’t really have experience with it. For RPG starters, specially kids, I’d try something more simple. Personally, I’d let them choose classes/archetypes they feel confortable with, and just use 4 core attributes to cover everything roughly (something like fight – quickness – knowledge – survival); then roll a die under it. On a success, is good. On a miss there is trouble

  6. My son is also on the spectrum and we’ve been playing together for some years now. But like Nathan V mentioned, every person on the spectrum is different and the same is true for people in general. Some people will love crunch. Other people, like my son, just want to roleplay.

    We started out with something really simple and over time we landed on a system that looks a bit like Lasers & Feelings mashed with World of Dungeons. I did try introducing Dungeon World as written, but he didn’t have much patience for it. I also struggle with all the D&D-heritage-bloat so I don’t blame him, but he has a very particular taste in stories and DW just doesn’t deliver that.

    I think ramonthe3rd’s suggestion to piece together your own framework is great. If you are comfortable with pbta and plan to introduce her to more pbta games in the future, maybe go with 2d6+stat and let every action be defy danger. You don’t even need things like hp to start with. I really enjoy collaborating with my son to come up with interesting complications on partial successes, although he does try to get off cheap.

    I recommend starting out with just the two of you. It is not unlikely that her approach and play-style will clash with other players. I do hope you find a way to cater to everyone when you all play together as a family, but it’s easier to figure things out at first when you can give her all your attention.

    I am always excited when I see people getting into roleplay with their children and with your daughter also being on the spectrum it is even more relevant to me. I’m looking forward to hear how your experiment goes.

  7. I’m autistic, albeit more on the Asperger’s end, and while I get it about the literal-mindedness, I honestly can’t think of a better or more fun way to practice understanding of metaphor and imagination than via RPGs =)

    ETA: if she’s bad at visualizing, what I’d do is stock up on a LOT of visual aids. Maps, NPC portraits, cool looking weapons and scrolls and other stuff.

    ETA 2: a close friend who isn’t autistic, but has several auties in the family, suggests that this is the perfect time to break out minis. Not to do D&D-type grid-based movement and stuff, but to help her see where her character is in relation to others.

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