Gaming With My Kid

     My son, Augustin, is now 12 years old and is a veteran rpg player.  I have been running and playing RPGs for his whole life.  He was born 2 years after I had started a Forgotten Realms game using the then new D&D 3rd Edition rules.   When he was about 3 he started asking to play with me and the "Big Boys" as he and my wife referred to us, adult players.  I told him he had to wait because he wasn't old enough to play yet.  A year later and my son was still asking when he was going to be able to play. 
Now some of you with children will know that children when they get something into their heads they just won't let it go.  And since I was still playing every other week with my group he was constantly reminded that he couldn't play.  So at the ripe age of 4 years and 9 months, I decided to run a simple rpg for my son.  Just me and him, a one on one game.   But I wanted more than just and adventure game, I wanted a game that would teach a moral of some kind.  I was thinking of Aesops fables and moralistic anecdotes from my parents.  
     So I kept the story simple,  a princess kidnapped, a king's request and a journey to find the troll the kidnapped the young lady.  Along his travels he encountered a blind hermit that was lonely  and blind.  The hermit's hut was in disrepair.   Augustin's character talked to the hermit and told him of previous adventures that he had been on, fixed some things at the hut and told him he would love to stay but he was on an important mission for the King.  But he said he would come back when he could.  The hermit did give Augustin some information about trolls, they liked living in high montains and in caves.  So on ward Augustin went into the mountains.  He evaded large groups of orcs because, "He wasn't there to fight orcs but find the princess." I smiled.

    At last he found some caves that could house a large troll.  But Augustin decided he didn't want to just rush in he wanted to sneak in and find out what he could see.  And he snuck into the cave that housed the troll.  There he heard a conversation between the Princess and the troll.  It was a conversation about letting her go and the troll saying that he would just be lonely again.  I asked if he was going in and attack the troll but Augustin wanted to hear more of the conversation.  Again the Princess argued that he could find a friend and let her go, but the troll countered that he was too ugly to be anyone's friend.  I remember telling him that "It doesn't look like the troll is going to willingly let her go, so are you going try and sneak up and attack the troll. " 
     To my surprise Augustin said, "No, I am going to put down my sword and take off my armor. "  I shook my head in disbelief, I thought Augustin had not understood what I was saying.  Augustin was only four, well  ALMOST five he would remind me, so I asked again.  "Yea, that is what I want to do."  Alright I was trying to figure out how he was going to trick the trolll?  
     Augustin walks to the area where the troll and Princess are at while announcing that "I don't have my sword or armor. I just want to talk"  I played the troll as nervous, and suspicious as I could.  The troll lifted his massive club, but Augustin just said he wasn't there to fight, just to talk.  And so slowly the troll eased up and Augustin sat down. 
     Ultimately, Augustin told the troll of the blind hermit who was in desparate need of someone that could help him keep his hut in good shape.  Augustin went on to explain that the hermit was also lonely and wanted to share stories of his adventures.  All he troll had to do was to let the princess go home.
    My near five year old son was excited to hear what the troll would do and so "With some regret and not to sure of the deal the troll said he would let her go."
     It was amazing for me to have my young son not want to fight his way out of a problem.  And it was also a proud moment for me as a gamer dad.
    Here is Augustin with a Band Of Orcs:


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