This year, my husband and I have introduced roleplaying to our son. He was 6 at the beginning of the year, so we thought it was time.
I never got to role play as a kid. I had the games, and I would have loved to play, but I had no-one to play with. I was the only nerd in my class (not that I even knew the term). I spent hours making characters, drawing maps, and planning adventures. It was difficult to plan the adventures, though, as I did not really grasp how the game was supposed to work, never having tried it for real. It wasn’t until I met my (nerdy) husband, who DM-ed for me, that I got to play. I love that we did that together! I even got to DM for him.
But we haven’t played at all since the kid came along. Then, last Christmas, my husband got the kid the Little Wizards roleplaying game. During our first session, I teared up so many times. I couldn’t believe that I got to game with my husband and my son. And it was so wonderful seeing the game through his eyes. He caught on so quickly and had the most creative ideas to solve problems. He also didn’t come into the game with any of the “let’s just kill it” mentality when we encountered a monster or some king. He talked to the monsters. Tried to help them. And when one of them gave him an item, an important clue to our quest, he completely unprompted gave the monster his own sword in return (cue me bawling again).
This is what gives me joy. Sharing the things I love with my son: reading fantasy literature, playing board games and roleplaying, watching animated movies, making our own games. Being able to share my passions and seeing the spark ignite in him. And yes, reading the books I have written to him (the ones that are age appropriate) and seeing his eyes grow big: “Mom, how on earth have you come up with something like this?”
Maria Turtschaninoff is a Swedish-speaking Finn who has been writing fairy tales from the age of five. However, there was often a twist: the poor farmer boy and the princess he had just saved from the evil witch did not end up marrying, because they “didn’t feel like it”. Her biggest grief as a child was that no wardrobe led to Narnia. After a detour as a journalist for a few years Turtschaninoff debuted in 2007 with a middle-grade portal fantasy and has since published five more novels, all YA fantasy. Naondel, the second book of the Red Abbey Chronicles, is out in hardback in the US with Abrams Books on January 9th, and the paperback edition of Naondel is out in the UK on January 25th with Pushkin Press. The third book in the Red Abbey Chronicles should be out in Finland in the fall of 2018. You find out more about her work at www.mariaturtschaninoff.com and can follow her on Instagram (@turtschaninoff), Twitter (@turtschaninoff) and Facebook.