This is the second post in a series about creating an RPG campaign world for children; the first post can be viewed here.
Work has continued apace on my 7-year-old’s campaign setting, which he has a hand in designing. Dubbed during our previous work session by my son as “The Land of Good and Bad,” the setting is starting to take shape beyond the land forms and settlements that we placed last time. Our most recent work on the setting map involved labeling the various features and settlements we placed, which became a productive, collaborative exercise. We took turns providing names for the most important areas of our setting.
Granted, naming a bunch of villages on a map isn’t really newsworthy. But what appeared worth noting after the fact was the ease with which my son imagined what could be found there and why. For example, when naming the evil city in the northern mountains, the lad casually decided (while munching on a stick of string cheese) that the site would be inhabited by “evil grape men.” When asked what evil grape men were, he answered, “I don’t know, but they’re there anyway.”
That point in the conversation marked a moment when I suddenly found myself a pupil instead of a teacher. After nearly 30 years behind a Dungeon Master’s screen, a 7-year-old reminded me of a pretty basic tenet: any project like this is fantasy, and it is your own, so you may as well run with it and not worry about what others think.
As a DM, I’ve spent considerable energy managing player expectations for a D&D game, and the results have been generally good. But I’ve never devoted much energy to creating something without a specific audience, such as players or blog readers, in mind. There is a chance that, by doing so, I may come up with something totally unique. Or not. But either way, it’s an exercise worth attempting.