For the past six months or so, my eight year old son has joined us in playing D&D on Friday nights. I admit, I worried he would not handle it well and that I would have to gently tell him he was no longer allowed to play.
While he is eight, he surprised me in his ability to hang with the adults! We must remember some times there is an eight year old in the room, and we play around his early bed time (9pm on Fridays, earlier during baseball season!), but I enjoy him at the table with us. He looks forward to it each week, and his six year old brother also wants to join in. I must say, this warms my heart.
It surprised me when, a few weeks ago, he voluntered to be the Dungeon Master! In the past, he never wanted to lead (even in little games with his brother and sister). He felt the DM played the role of "the bad guy" and there was no way he could be bad.
His first try at creating a story and leading a D&D group through was this last Friday. The holiday allowed him two weeks to put it together, and I helped him create the battle encounters (so they would be balanced). Of course, a one week game will not do, so he created an adventure that should take about three sessions to complete.
This particular adventure probably won't win any awards (our party is to slay three dragons for the king... the dragons keep stealing and eating the king's gold), but the boy impressed me with his ability to put together a story. I expected to help him plot out his story, but his confidence and excitement made that unnecessary.
He also impressed me with his ability to think on his feet. It would be an understatement to say our group is not a very cooperative set of players. We like to joke around and push the limits of whoever is DM that week. His adventure and play style is just absurd enough to fit right in. He never acted discouraged or frustrated, and he had a lot of fun. He kept four adults, from mid 20s to early 50s, entertained as well! We defeated our first dragon, and even cleared out a goblin camp on the way to the second.
Most of all, I enjoyed the creative bonding experience I had with my son. I peaked inside the mind of my eight year old, and I enjoyed working with him. I also saw enough of myself in him that I cannot help but beam with pride.
A little off topic this time, but I had to share!