Tonight I got to experience a moment I have been waiting and hoping for since becoming a parent, but didn't expect to happen for quite a few years down the road. My 6 year old daughter Katie ran an RPG adventure of her own design for me and my husband!!! Her very first adventure, and she did REALLY good. I am so proud of her style, creativity, attention to detail, voice acting, on-the-fly problem solving, descriptive language use, world building, and storytelling skills! She has always loved stories and had a very imaginitve mind, but seeing it all come together so well was quite amazing.
We played through a 3 scene adventure in the regular Story Realms style, and Katie tried very hard to use the full system of Story Realms to run her adventure. In the Story Challenge, she stated the goals for the players, and told us how to reach them on the progress bar. She had us describe what we want to do an make skill roles. She gave amazing scene and character descriptions. During the action challenge (the most mechanical part of the game) she set out the progress tracker and again told us our goal and how to reach it. She pulled out the disaster tracker and told us about the monsters goal and what would happen if they reached it. She got out the threat tracker and explained to us how threatening the encounter was, and what would move it up and down. It was a very clear execution of our resolution system for Story Realms, and I was very impressed because while young kids (age 5 and up) can play Story Realms, it take quite a bit of skill to be the Storyteller, and I was just so pleased to see her do it and to comprehend what the trackers were for enough to be able to use them as a core part of the challenge. She did all this with the bare minimum help from us, we weren't leading her through any of it!
My favorite part was when the Queen of Summer Fields was helping to equip us for our quest to go recapture the dark creatures that had escaped their prison and were rampaging around and causing destruction. In this room she described, there were several types of weapons. I asked about the dagger and Katie says in her very eloquent sounding Queen voice "That's the Dagger of Hope, it will bring light to you on your darkest hour" I was so suprised and awed by the great description and had to pick it, half because she made it sound really cool and half because I couldn't WAIT to see what she had in mind to do with it.. When would my darkest hour fall, and how could I not bring hope to light the way?? The sentiment was beautiful, and I couldn't help think "This was made up by Katie when she is only 6, what kind of amazing ideas does this girl have in store??"
I'm biased for sure, but I also think that Katie is a natural storyteller with an amazing gift for weaving together dramatic tension, humourous moments, elegant descriptions, interesting personalities, and most of all paying attention to her players and incorporating their ideas. I can't wait to play her next adventure. I am so glad I got to experience this with her tonight, and that shared memory of her first RPG adventure will be one the three of us cherish for a long time to come.
There are so many benefits of this type of experience: imagination and creativity development, positive social skill building, paracosmic play, problem solving, creative writing, public speaking, and story structuring, and as a parent who is also a teacher I can't hep but think it's really cool to see our family having so much fun playing together, while also providing an opportunity for all of us to develop and refine these valuable skills. Win-win! Roleplaying games has been a big part of my life for many years, I even met my husband Randy though a roleplaying group in college. I look forward to enjoying many more adventures my children bring to life, as long as they're running games, I'll play!
|I can't wait to experience all the stories they decide to tell!|
To wrap up, I'm really happy because I had a fun gaming experience with my daughter and husband that I'm not likely to forget anytime soon. That 1 hour and 23 minutes was some very meaningful interaction because we were bought into Katie's world and worked together to bring her story to life, and make it OUR story. She was so proud of herself throughout it all, and all of her hard work and careful consideration in planing was really obvious.
I HIGHLY recommend trying out a rules-light or story-driven roleplaying game with your kids. Play a few times with them to get the general rules down, then if they are interested turn them loose to guide you through an adventure.... you'll be glad you did! Don't worry about getting the rules just right, focus on fun and enjoy the glimpse into the world of your child's imagination!
Have you played a RPG ran by your kids? I'd love to hear about it, and how you felt afterwards! Leave a message in the comments below and lets celebrate our kids' leap into the wonderful world of RPGs together!