Recently, my twin boys turned six. It now feels like a good opportunity to begin working on something I have wanted to do for a long time: write and run RPG adventures for them.
We’ve played a couple of games with them in the past, mostly Monte Cook’s No Thank You Evil!, which the boys enjoyed. This time I wanted to do something a little more tailored to their interests as well as my own.
In order to do that, I decided to take a step back and look at the reasons why I want to do this and what I’m hoping everyone gets out of it.
My first reason is purely educational. I am a long-time believer that RPGs like D&D are great educational tools and how they build problem-solving, literacy, history, math and social skills. Most of my youth was spent researching games, monsters and cultures for D&D, so naturally I gravitate towards sharing it as a learning method.
My boys are just now really digging into learning to read on their own and doing basic math. It feels like a really good time to go for it.
Interest is High
The boys are really into the How To Train Your Dragon and Harry Potter. They like Alexander’s Prydain books, and loved the Black Cauldron movie. They are excited for us to read the Spiderwick Chronicles soon. I think they are just a bit young to make it through The Hobbit, but they go through a lot of my illustrated monster manuals and books on folklore to check out all of the strange creatures. They like the monster drawings I do and make requests for their favorite beasts.
I naturally associate all of these subjects of monsters and wizards and Vikings with gaming. Why not strike while the iron is hot?
Like most kids, my boys are awesome at creating tales and situations. They are natural storytellers. Creativity and improvisation are required for RPGs and will only improve their skills.
It’s something I want to foster and give them permission to carry that on into adulthood.
Coming Together with Passion
My wife and I make a point to read, draw, and play with the boys. One thing we haven’t done is make time for regular family game nights. This is almost entirely my fault as I just don’t like board games all that much. I have a difficult time getting excited and passionate about them. I feel like I’m faking it for them and that isn’t how I want the game nights to go.
I don’t know what it is about games that I don’t like, but I get really uncomfortable and put out when I have to play games meant for more than one person. Ask me to participate in a trivia night, a board game or even a white elephant gift exchange and I’ll show you my magical disappearing act. The exception to that is RPGs.
I’ve been passionate about RPGs for decades since I first discovered D&D in the mid-eighties and can show true passion when putting a game together. There’s no better subject for me to play with my kids than this.
RPGs are really only limited by our imaginations. Anything we want to add, we can. If there is something that the boys are having trouble with or are really interested in, then it can be integrated as a parallel subject/character/adventure within the game.
Finally, I want to give them the chance to play characters that they create themselves. Not something from a TV show or comic or toy that they have, but from their imagination. Since they are six, the initial characters will start off pretty derivative (So far the requests have been to play Toothless or Thor), but with time, they will develop their own personalities and histories of failure and success.
This is a lot to put on a simple game night and I don’t intend to focus on all of these for every gaming session, but I’ll try to have a specific goal in mind when we sit down to play. No matter how the game evolves, I know that we’ll all have a lot of fun and that is always be the number one goal.