I've just finished writing a roleplaying game for a charity project being organised by the Irish Games Association. The IGA is a voluntary group which promotes roleplaying games, board games and card games in Ireland. They're a good bunch and are responsible for running Gaelcon, the country's largest games convention, every year. I've been running games at Gaelcon for over ten years now.
Several regular game masters were asked to write some games that would be suitable for children, to be sent to a charitable organisation called The Meeting Place, based in Tramore. The Meeting Place offers after school care to children from disadvantages backgrounds, many of whom have suffered severe physical and emotional abuse. The goal of this project is to see if roleplaying games can be used to teach these children about teamwork and help boost their confidence.
Given the circumstances, the games had to be age-appropriate, which meant a lot of the more grown-up themes most gamers are used to went right out the window. We also had to keep violence to a minimum, or remove it entirely and focus on problem-solving. It was definitely a challenge to come up with ways to tell stories that would be exciting enough to keep the players' interest, but also avoid bringing up potentially painful memories.
I decided to write a game about teddy bears. In this game, the players take on the roles of stuffed toys who watch over children when they sleep. At night, the Bears guard their child against monsters who come to steal their laughter or give them nightmares. I hope that the game can show children that even scary things can be overcome if you've got friends with you.
If the game goes down well enough, and there's enough interest from others, I'll make it available publicly. I'm not sure in what format yet, but I think it's a fun idea and I'd love to share it.