It was my pleasure to interview Miranda from the World of Corde blog on her experiences running D&D with her kids, getting into tabletop RPGs, the benefits of playing tabletop RPGs with kids, and how to start your own journey with kids in tabletop RPGs! Please, take advantage of her wonderful insights and experiences.
This second part 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.
Note: this is a transcripted interview, edited for ease of reading
- Interview part 1
- In game learning tools
- Coming up with the world
- The party
- Favorite stories
- Final words
What tools do you include in your game to create learning experiences?
Stepping out of game time
We do metagame a bit because we want to explain to [my daughter], “here’s what’s going on, how would your character react?”
We ‘zip out’ and talk for a second, and then we ‘zip back in’. That way we can talk to her, explain what’s going on, and make the connection to whatever’s happening.
We throw in extra characters that just show… this is not good, don’t behave this way. But it’s also not just don’t do it, it’s… what’s a better way to do it. Let’s take a moment, let’s thing about what’s a better solution to this problem?
Check ins and checkouts
I do recommend that too. The check ins and the checkouts. It helps to integrate you. It helps you get into the headspace for the game by answering as your character and at the end we’re coming back out of the space. That’s a great thing for kids. It kind of also helps with regulation, keeping worlds separate there. Then, it’s not a sudden, we’re done! It helps ease us out and get into the headspace of reality.
We’ve done a couple of trainings with Game to Grow, which is wonderful. We’ve done a couple of these training sessions that have taught us just so much, and with my experience in music therapy we are seeing these benefits as well.
I mean, you can even work in fine motor. My daughter does have a fine motor delay, and it’s helped too. Writing, rolling dice, stacking dice, all these little things! All these benefits!
How did you come up with the world together?
Building a world
My husband drew a blob on a piece of paper, and that became the continent. And then, we took turns adding, first, land masses. I added the volcano. Cordellia added the mountains. Victor was a very big part of that as well.
Then, after we added all the environment, we added the cities. Then we added magical elements. We each picked one place that held a magical element or entity or something mysterious within the world.
Naming World of Corde
To name things, we added one letter at a time. For the first place, my husband picked the first letter, and I picked the second, and [Cordellia] picked the third, and Victor picked the fourth, and it would cycle until someone said to stop. Then the next one, the next person would pick the first letter. And that’s how all those names came about.
As we’ve played over time and added the uncles and added the godparents, they helped add and name things as well. So everyone has had a hand in creating this world. And I will never do it another way again, I think. Everyone now feels that they have ownership, they’re invested in it.
[Cordellia] had so much fun creating the desert area. She did a project on Egypt when she was in first grade; she fell in love with it. After everything was made, we started building on the main city, which is Delvogue in [Cordellia’s] area. She created a temple of Bahamut. And the fish stew is the delicacy, and this is the drink, the desert, the music, the holiday.
And then my brother, the Professor, one of the areas that he created, he’s starting to flesh that out, and we’re going to let him! We’re going to let him. Because it gives us ownership, and it gives us backstory.
Finding new places
Sometimes when we’re going to explore a new place, my husband, who is the DM, will ask our kids, “OK, what do you think? What should we be doing here? What kind of place should this be?”
It is still continuing to grow, it’s still going to continue to get fleshed out. When we go to explore another area, we’re going to flesh it out together again. I will never do it another way, I think. It’s great.
What is your party of characters like?
I’m going to start with my kids. Surina, she’s a gold dragonborn, and she is very righteous. She is like this well known paladin of Bahamut. She’s a hero. If you are doing bad, she is going to stop you! She loves to fight monsters and undead, and she was created totally by our daughter. This is her character. She is our leader, even if she doesn’t do much leading because she still is very shy, but Surina is starting to speak more, which is nice.
This is the whenever-he-feels-like-participating, Draggy. He made his own character as well, but he wanted to be a dragonborn, like his sissy. He didn’t really look at the other ones because he just wanted to be like his sister. We chose to make him a fighter, because he wanted to swing weapons at things, so we were like, OK, going to be a fighter.
My character is Lysithea, and she is loosely based on a character from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. She is smarter than you, and she knows it! I tried playing her one way at first, and I was like.. Oh, this doesn’t work, so it took me a while to kind of figure her character out. She takes pride in her knowledge, and she has some secrets that we haven’t gotten quite around to yet. She does not like dealing with stupidity… even though a couple of our characters are pretty questionable! Now that she has her fireball, that’s like her favorite thing.
Playing new character types in games with kids
I’ve never played a sorcerer before. Everyone in the group plays a character type that they’ve never played before. We figured, this is going to be the safest environment for us to try something new, because it’s new for our kids. They’re trying something new, so we’re going to try something new as well. This is my first time playing a magic user. I’m usually up in your face, DPS, but I’m having a lot of fun with this.
Speaking of new, our ranger, Octavia, this is her first EVER playing a tabletop RPG. EVER. She was very hesitant. She has a few friends that play, we were all trying to get her to play, but we were like… this is it! You’re playing with children! This is the best introduction because they’re going to be asking all the questions, and she said yes. She’s been having a great time with it.
Her character has been banished from her homeland, she wants to try and find a way back in. She speaks in a Scottish accent. I love when she speaks in character because she’s starting to kind of go all out for it and having a lot of fun. I love seeing what her character does.
Uncle Ian plays Professor, which is our dwarf artificer. A crazy hermit. He is one of my favorite characters! He always speaks in a voice, and sometimes at the end of the he’s like, oh, my throat. His character is absolutely ridiculous. Every time he speaks, my son and daughter will turn to him and watch him play this character.
We still actually have no idea who or what Professor is! That’s not his real name. That’s just what he told us to call him! I don’t even know if my brother’s figured out what his actual name is… He was like… *uh… Professor* I love that character. He’s got all his stuff… he’s got his fancy lady hat.
K’un-Lun is played by the other uncle, and he was trapped or lost or frozen in time for 1000 years. Back in his time, he was a hero. He’s awoken in this time and thinks everyone still knows he’s a hero. He’s very on par with Surina wanting to smite all evil. He will come up with the craziest stunts, and we’re laughing so hard and amazed with what he said.
And then… There’s Gobbles, the goblin, who is played by our kid’s godfather. Gobbles is so weird and ridiculous! He is this tiny little goblin who thinks he’s this big mighty warrior. He’s also a paladin of Bahamut, but whenever he takes a level, he takes a level in something else. So, he’s got a level in paladin, warlock, sorcerer, bard… forgot what the fifth one is, but he’s just this cacophony of different things, and he’s so young and naive and full of hope. And then he has his “patron”, and I’m putting that in quotes because it’s not an actual patron, he’s a fey, Thistle Winklefrost, played by my husband, which is a fey dragon that is usually invisible and sits perched on top of Gobble’s head most of the time.
We found a very silly dungeon, which was Thistle’s dungeon, and we were the first people to survive it, and he loved Gobble so much, he decided to stick around. And sometimes he just messes with us, like he turned Gobble’s camel, which he named Sir Eagle, hot pink, so we have a pink camel.
This is our party of characters. We are quite the bunch, but it works! It’s one of the most fun parties that I’ve ever gotten to play with. Because we’re playing with kids, we can play these ridiculous characters, and it works.
There’s no big overarching evil, yet, there’s no ominous tone, we don’t have to take time to be serious, because we’re playing with kids. We just get to have this ridiculous adventure. It’s just so much fun.
What is your favorite story about something your kids have done in the game?
Here comes the boom!
I’m going to go with my first favorite story, which was the thunderous smite, and that one is typed up in session 5, Here Comes the Boom. I will remember that one forever.
We’re in this cave, which leads down to a temple, and we are attacked by undead. My daughter had gotten some new spells, and she wanted to try them out. She just very confidently said, “THUNDEROUS SMITE!” when it was her turn, and it threw us all for a loop. If you don’t know what it does, it creates this booming sound that can be heard within 300 feet… and we’re in a cave, underground. It threw our DM, her dad, off. He was like, “yeah, you can do that”.
But he had to sit there and think about what the repercussions are for the next time.
Oh my god, she blew us all away with it. Just the confidence, the eagerness to attack, the genius of the attack that she chose to do, how effective it was, and just her sweet little voice calling out the attack.
I have so many others. Like her, “good bye forever!” catchphrase. The first time she did “good bye forever!” and threw up her arms and did this little bouncy thing, it was just so cute.
She spoke in character! Yes! We were still talking about it the next day, and we could see her face light up when we were talking about it. She does it all the time now. I love her catchphrase!
Other people are starting to say it too. Gobbles will say, “good by for at least three years…” and she’ll be like, “No! It’s goodbye forever”! She’ll correct us if we say it wrong. I love her catchphrase!
I want shirts for the party that say goodbye forever on it. No one else would get it, but it would be special to us.
Any final words?
I hope people actually read the blog and our little adventure.
We are starting to play more kid’s tabletop RPGs. I’m going to do write ups of those and review them and how they can help. I want to help spread the word because I know a lot of these people are new, but their creations are amazing. It needs to be boosted.
I do hope people actually read it. For me, I want it to inspire people to play with kids. These are things you can do to play with kids as well. Get some ideas from it.
Thank you so much for doing the interview!
Thank you for asking me! I’m honored!
Good bye forever!!
Find the World of Corde blog at: https://cordednd.com/
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