Foster Creativity

Sure, its often easy to dismiss a kids silly, or plagaristic ideas as trivial. I mean my kids usually add material into their games after watching Indiana Jones or Lord of the Rings—but remember, this is their experience base, they learn initially what they see. Only by doing this over and over again can they unlock what they don’t see.

So I said I would talk more about our trip to Hawaii (working on Sword of Air while there). The girls are water fanatics, and spent most of their time diving and chasing dolphins. While John (age 9) and I did some of this as well, we really just wanted to hang at the beachfront pool and swim in the “non-shark infested” waters. Too many episodes of River Monsters I guess…

After a couple hours in the pool by himself, while daddy was diligently banging away on his laptop. Little John had an idea for a magic item. He came and told it to me, and since I was feeling neglectful (kid had been alone for 100 minutes), I decided to humor him and write it up.

Guess what, it was pretty good. “Ok” I told him, go swim some more an think up another. Long story short, this went rinse repeat until we had over 50 new magic items, all conceived by a 9 year old, in the book. At least 200 pages of the Sword of Air book have no previously seen magic items. Pretty cool huh?

The main point here is that you, as an adult, know what you know from your own experience. You often know what you don’t know too. You don’t know what you don’t know. Kids view the world a little differently than do adults. It is impossible for us to understand the way they view the world. I have found that many times my kids are my best players, because they just see things and think differently. Impossible puzzle for the adults? Easy for the kids. Kobyashi Maru scenario? The kid solves it every time.

The difference in how they think was the difference between a TPK and a 100% survival rate at NTRPG three weeks ago. Who got the big magic item at the end? The 12 year old kid who saved the entire party by solving one of my better riddles in 1 melee round. The table voted it to him unanimously without a roll. I may hire the kid to write when he turns 18.

The whole point in this is that by giving kids the comfort space and opportunity to stretch those noggins, they very frequently come up something completely new that no adult ever would have thought of. We all grew up in a different time and place. The world today teaches new skills and creates experiences we never would have dreamed of. Encourage your kids to create.

Oh yeah, make sure they read Howard and Tolkien too.

Next week is pre-PaizoCon announcements and the next discussion on kids at the table.