“Noooooo!” Kurtzhau – aged 9 – is flabbergasted.
Five minutes earlier, we’re setting up to play my home grown Old School Lite roleplaying game. Kurtzhau’s friend Brunhilda is over, and we have a tradition of doing one-page dungeons, in this case The Tomb of Nesta the Mischievous, using Heroscape figures and a big roll of lining paper.
Little Morgenstern – aged 5- wanders into the kitchen in her princess dress. “What are you playing?”
“Dungeons and Dragons,” I say. “Probably too old for you.”
“Go away!” says Kurtzhau.
“No,” says Morgenstern. She settles into an empty chair, arranges the skirts of her Sleeping Beauty dress and rummages for figures. “I want to play too.”
“OK,” I say.
And Kurtzhau is flabbergasted. (“Noooooo!“) He’s normally happy to play with Morgenstern, they build dinosaur lands together or play “princess and guards”, but right now he’s enjoying a grown up game with a classmate. This is not kid-sister territory.
“It’s only for 45 mins,” I say. “She has a playdate soon.”
So, we roll up characters. Kurtzhau is a 15-century-style Crossbowman. Brunhilda opts for Thief.
Cute little Morgenstern…?
She picks out a Valkyrie figure. “Barbarian girl.”
And, god help me, she plays.
She doesn’t just play, she’s first through the door in her armor and takes out 3 kobolds in as many dice rolls. There are carved pillars, so she pokes them with her spear, thus finding the secret passage. She checks down the stairs, sees the gemstones, but decides not to risk the green slime…
Yes, my pink loving princess-dress-flouncing 5-year-old daughter turns out to be an adept dungeoneer.
Possibly, the reason for this is the same as her motivation for wanting to play: she spent several months last year utterly hooked on the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoons.
At the time I thought she regarded them as “The Adventures of Uni the Unicorn and her Friends.” Turns out, I was wrong.
An hour later, I’m getting Morgenstern ready for her play date. “You were brilliant!” I say and give her a hug.
My little girl giggles angelically. “Yes. Stab stab! I killed the kobolds!” She rummages in her dressing up box. “I’ll wear the Snow White dress, now, Daddy.”