It was my pleasure to interview Miranda from the World of Corde blog on her experiences running D&D with her kids, getting into TTRPG’s, the benefits of playing TTRPG’s with kids, and how to start your own journey with kids in TTRPG’s! Please, take advantage of her wonderful insights and experiences.
Note: this is a transcripted interview, edited for ease of reading
- About World of Corde
- Kid’s ages, what they are into
- The best part of playing TTRPG’s with kids
- The benefits of playing TTRPG’s with kids
- Affect on relationship with kids
- Starting playing TTRPG’s
- Advice for parents and teachers
- Interview part 2
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am Miranda. I am a mom. I am a string teacher in elementary schools. I am a former music therapist. I did that for 10 years, and I am a lover of all-things nerdy. Disney, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Tolkein, and then of course D&D and tabletop RPGs.
Can you tell us a little bit about the World Corde blog?
Why World of Corde started
We started it with our kids, I think in September, and we really didn’t expect it to become what it did. We first started playing with our kids because we wanted to work on a couple of things with them.
They’ve been playing with dice and seeing us play games with our friends, and when the pandemic hit, they needed something else. We needed something else. We really missed playing. So, we were like, let’s play with her kids!
I started the blog a few weeks after we started playing for a few reasons.
- We wanted to share the stories because we were just having so much fun with it, and this can be beneficial for other people.
- A lot of it was for me. I’d been in isolation because I am very high risk [for Covid]. I couldn’t go back to work, so I needed something else for me to do.
- We saw that we could be doing a lot of good getting other families and kids to play tabletop RPGs. We actually would like to take it further when things are safer. We want to try to find a way to play these games within a therapeutic and educational setting.
We didn’t expect it to become this, but it just evolved over time, and we just saw that we have a lot of potential here so let’s go with it!
Coping with the pandemic
My kids and I have been home since last March. My husband had to go to work. We are just in this little bubble, but through all of this, that bubble, even though we’re still physically in a bubble, the bubble burst! And we’re getting to talk to all these amazing people and do things with our little family adventure. It’s been fun. I’ve been having so much fun.
How old are your kids? What are they into?
My daughter is 7 and our son is 5.
Our son likes combat, but when we played the Family Fantasy RPG games, he’s been all over those. He loves those. I think D&D itself is just a bit much for him still.
I think he gets a little overwhelmed by the silliness and the craziness that is his uncle’s, and he just wants to play with them. He doesn’t want to play in this realm, he just wants to take them and go play.
Fairies of Mistglade, loves it! and No Mice, No Meowsters, he wants to play that one again too, he loved that one. He’s really excited for the Dino Riders one that they’re going to come out with. So, he’s finding his niche here, finding what he likes.
What is the best part about playing D&D with your kids?
Oh, the best part – seeing my daughter’s face, seeing her come out of her shell, seeing her progress…. her face, the way it lights up. Something clicks with her as she does something amazing. It’s just the best part for me. She’ll just every so often do something and it’s just… YES! It’s the best!
She’s a very strange and weird little girl… takes after me a lot! We love it! The second other people come around, she cloisters up, but she’s been slowly coming out. Everyone else is starting to get to see this weird little girl.
She’s becoming more comfortable. The one time she did thunderous smite… we were in a cave, and she just so confidently said, “I WANT TO DO THUNDEROUS SMITE!” and were like, OH MY GOODNESS! OK! Just seeing her face and seeing her come out of her shell like that. That is the best.
It’s one of the reasons we started it with her, and to see that it is working and to see her joy – it’s the best feeling as a parent.
You mentioned a couple of benefits already – what are some of the other benefits that you see playing D&D or another TTRPG?
Well, definitely social skills. You’re going to develop social skills when you play a tabletop RPG. There’s team-building, cooperation, confidence-building.
You can use it to show how certain behaviors are not going to get the results that you think. A lot of times, I’ll have my character react in anger so that [my daughter’s] character can come in and react in a more gentle way. This shows that throwing a tantrum… you’re not going to get what you want.
This is great for teens too, they can explore parts of themselves that they’ve been wanting to in a very safe environment. It creates a safe environment. There’s no real world risk when you play these games. All the risk is fictional.
For teens that are exploring with their gender identity, it’s such a safe place. They can give their character the pronouns that they want to try out. They can start coming out as themselves in a safe place.
How has playing World of Corde affected your relationship with your kids?
OH my gosh! It’s helped! We’ve really gotten to bond over it, especially my husband and [daughter], they’re creating a dungeon together, and she’s going to DM it.
It’s given us a way to talk to her about her anxiety and her confidence without her realizing that that’s what we’re working on. When we point it out blank, it doesn’t quite connect. But when we have this other way of talking about it with her, it seems to set more.
She’s more willing to listen; the brain doesn’t go, “nope, don’t want to hear it”. She’s more willing to receive it, and it’s been helping her. As a mom, seeing it help her with things like anxiety, it’s a relief. We’ve definitely gotten some special bonding through this.
Also, with their uncles… between me and my brothers, we have the busiest schedules, we never really got to see each other. Through this pandemic, through D&D, we’ve gotten to see more of each other than we ever have since becoming adults… haha, “adults”. Getting to see my kids bond with their uncles, too is just… YES. Family bonding. It’s been a wonderful experience.
How did you start playing TTRPG’s?
As a kid
I did not play it as a kid. My husband did forever, but me personally, no. I did not know anybody that played it, and I was pretty nerdy already. I got bullied a lot and I didn’t want to add any other nerd stigma to it.
As an adult
When I got older, most of the people that played it made me uncomfortable. I did not want to play with them either. So, I didn’t start playing until I was 22. My husband, who was my fiance at the time, had been trying to get me to play, for years. No, no, no.
We were living in an apartment with our roommate, and they were starting a campaign. He said, we’re going to be doing it here anyway. I said, if our roommate is going to be here too… fine, but I get a dragon. And that was the deal!
That campaign did not last too too long. Some people that we did play with, they did make me uncomfortable, but my husband was the DM, and our roommate was there, and that helped. But I had fun with it. I did have fun with it.
The campaign ended when three of the characters got killed. Not mine or my roommates who remained alive, it was the other three who made me uncomfortable, and they never came up with new characters, so it just died.
Finding the groove
After that, we started playing with another group of our friends. We played several other tabletop RPG’s. We’ve done Edge of the Empire, Firefly Serenity, we’ve done Cyberpunk, we did the Game of Thrones one. We’ve done a lot of different campaigns over the years, but it’s nice to actually do D&D again.
At this point in my life where we started, I had kind of embraced my nerdiness and stopped caring what other people thought. I’ve been a lot happier ever since I did that. My husband really helped me embrace [the nerdy obsessions]. He made them worse! And I thank him for that! If I’m doing this, I’m going all in, and I’ve been so much happier.
And the group that we play with now are like my best friends. The friend who plays Gobbles is a childhood friend of my husband’s. Hhe plays with us in all the other campaigns.
I’ve made my best friends through these games, now. I am so grateful for them, and I’m glad that I finally started playing them so that I could make these friends and be a part of something like this.
What advice do you have for parents, teachers, etc. who are considering starting TTRGP’s with children?
Do it. Just do it. There’s no reason not to.
If it’s teachers trying to start a school program and they want to justify it to their principles, there are articles out there. Look up things like Game to Grow that show the benefits of these in children and in teenagers. There’s starting to be research, conducted research.
Alternatives to D&D
It doesn’t have to be D&D. There’s so many other wonderful ones out there!
I know we talked for a little bit about the Family Fantasy RPG’s. No Thank You, Evil! Is a great one to start with, especially if you’re wanting to play with younger kids. There’s the My Little Pony RPG. That’s actually the first one that we ever played with our kids. That one is great for showing teamwork and cooperation.
There’s a lot, so if you’re like… I don’t know about Dungeons and Dragons, there’s so many things out there.
If you know your group has certain interests, there’s Star Wars ones, they’re coming out with one for Avatar the Last Airbender, and Animon Story just came out. I’m so excited we’re going to be doing [Animon Story] with our kids over the summer, which I’m going to DM.
There’s a lot out there, and there’s ones out there that are educational! If you want one that’s musical, there’s one called Time Cellist! I have that one, and I can’t wait to find a way to use this one! Like, Tchaikovsky is a villain! It’s the maestro of mischief, and it’s musical, and it’s great!
There’s many different ones that you can use.
One shots and mini-campaigns
If you’re hesitant about doing an entire campaign, there’s a lot of easy one-shots or mini campaigns that you can do as well. If you go look them up, there are so many creators that are happy to tell you about their games. Go to your local comic book store and look through the games. Browse, go through them, see what your kids would like and what would work for your program.
In the end, don’t hold back, just do it.
Interview Part 2 – Building a world by and for Kids
Part 2 of the interview continues the discussion and delves into how the world was created in conjunction with the kids of World of Corde and methods used to help engage children in the story.