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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Power of Simplicity

The King conscripted us, promised us wealth and power, and sent us out to save the Kingdom.  Three ancient dragons desired to eat all the gold in the Kingdom, and the Kingdom needed heroes to stop the threat.  Victory promised our ascension to royal status as The King's adopted sons and daughter.

My son created a simple enough story, without the nuance and intrigue I might be tempted to add into my own stories and role playing campaigns.  Yet even at nearly nine years old, the boy understands what makes a good story.  The people are in danger and they need the reluctant heroes to step forward and save the day. 

Our group had a lot of fun over our three sessions.  My son got to stretch his creativity in creating the evil dragons, who rabidly saught out and destroyed all wealth in The Kingdom. 

Each dragon was unique (one with two heads, one with no wings, and one more typical but purple beast), though none were exactly original.  They were each based on toy dragons I have in my office.  He used what was at hand to craft a fun "hack and slash" adventure.

To create fun, interesting battles in D&D, my son needed my help.  It gave me the opportunity to experiment with various "boss battle" mechanics that I want to bring into my own campaigns.  I learned a lot, without the risk of throwing untested ideas into my own campaign.  Plus, I found my eight year old is more than capable of thinking on his feet and adjusting to his own style of play.

As I sit here and reflect on the last three weeks of D&D, I realize that sometimes complexity in a story, for the sake of complexity, takes away from the fun of the adventure.  It is OK to be simple as long as the motivation is there and the story is worth telling. 

I get the sense that even in the midst of a more complex story, with its many characters and subplots, the main part of the story should be simple and easy to recognize.  After all, that is what will be remembered when the story is finished.