Fairy Rose and the Spider Witch

This write-up originally appeared back in October 2013 on the actual play forum of UK Roleplayers. It’s an account of the very first roleplaying game I ever played with my daughter, who was then aged about four and a half. The rules have changed a bit since then – but not a lot. The game went really well, and was the first of a linked series tales about Fairy Rose – the rest of which are sadly lost to history…

Character gen worked as follows. Lisa chose from from the classes of adventurer she’s familiar with – Princess, Pirate and Fairy, and selected a Fairy. After a bit of pondering she was named Fairy Rose.

Fairy Rose was assigned a D6 for Bravery, a D8 for Strength and a D12 for Magic

“Help, Help!” Bushybrow the squirrel came running through the forest. “Princess Melody has been kidnapped by the Spider Witch and taken to her castle! Can you help Fairy Rose?”.

Fairy Rose was sure she could. She walked to the castle. It was very frightening, but she was very brave (roll brave vs 3) and made her way to castle’s door, which was locked tight. After realising she didn’t have a key Fairy Rose used her magic wand to unlock the door, the end of the wand turning into a key that fitted the lock perfectly. The door swang open.

Inside was a dark room. Fairy Rose had a choice, she could bravely go into the dark, use magic to make a light, or go and gather firewood to make a torch. She bravely went into the dark (roll vs 4). Inside was a big room, as her eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light provided by strange glowing fungus she saw a giant spider dropping out of the roof to catch her in its web.

Fairy Rose waved her magic wand and the spider was sent back into the ceiling, where it waved it’s legs helplessly. (roll magic vs 4). Her opponent dispatched Fary Rose saw stairs going up and down, she went up.

On top of the castle the roof had fallen in, making it easy to see. There was also a chest. It was too heavy to pick up (strength vs 3), but with an extra special effort (bravery vs 4) she managed. It rattled when she lifed it. Fairy Rose put the chest down and opened it. Inside was a silver ring, with a blue jewel. Fairy Rose put it on. Immediately it glowed with a soft blue light, and Fairy Rose felt much braver. (magic ring, +1 bravery, provides light)

Now she decided to go all the way down the steps. She went deep, deep down underground. But with the magic ring she could she what she was doing. At the bottom of the steps was a rope bridge, stretching across a deep dark cavern. The bridge didn’t look safe, so Fairy Rose just flew across+. On the other side of the bridge was a tunnel, she went further into it.

Suddenly, she heard someone calling out. “Help, help. Can someone save me? I’ve been trapped here by the Witch!” It was Princess Melody! Fairy Rose rushed over to find her trapped in a big spider web. Bravely (roll brave vs 4) she climbed into the web to free her.

On the way back Priness Melody was too scared to cross the rope bridge. Fairy Rose tried to carry her, but Princess Melody was too heavy (roll strength vs 3). So instead she used her magic to give Princess Melody wings (roll magic vs 3). The two were at the foot of the stairs when they heard the sound of the witch coming home. “Princess Melody – It’s time to eat you up now’ she cackled, and her footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs.

Princess Melody and Fairy Rose tried to fly past the witch, but she made a magic spell and cobwebs appeared everywhere. Their fairy wings wouldn’t work (failed roll, magic vs 4). The witch cackled “Two of you then? Well, I like eating fairies too!”. Fairy Rose tried to magic her way out of the webs* but it didn’t work (failed magic roll vs 4), and she couldn’t struggle free either (failed strength roll vs 3). As the spiders got closer and closer the ring on her hand suddenly glowed with bright light, sending the spiders scuttling away (bravery roll, vs 2). Now Fairy Rose used her magic to make the webs disappear (magic roll vs 3)

The witch cast a spell to turn Fairy Rose into a slug. Fairy Rose tried to grab the witches wand to stop her (failed strength vs 3), but the witch was too strong. Fairy Rose could feel her legs getting slimy. Then she used her own magic to turn the Witch into a Spider (roll magic vs 4). The witch turned into a big fat spider, ran away and hid.

Princess Melody and Fairy Rose ran out of the castle. Princess Melody was very greatful to Fairy Rose for saving her.

+ Yup, I’d forgotten fairies have wings. Four year old girls don’t forget stuff like that though.
* I didn’t do this. Lisa decided she’d been trapped in the web.

Notes : I’ve been thinking about trying this with Lisa for a while. We tell lots of stories to each other, which I try to draw, but this was a big step up in terms of decision making. My basic GM technique was to ask lots of questions to get narrative answers, and when Lisa seemed stuck to give her an option for each stat. Strength had started out as Fighting, but made more sense as ‘any physical task’.

Difficulty levels for dice rolls were kept really low (especially once she was getting +1 on brave tests) but to my surprise she was completely OK with failed rolls. When a roll failed I’d immediately offer an alternative action based on a different stat, but try to leave the narration with her e.g ‘she’s too heavy – do you want to try magic?’

She hasn’t really worked out yet that the bigger dice are better. Either that, or she’s determined to test Fairy Rose’s courage at every opportunity.

And for those who like such things, this story conforms nicely with both the Hero’s Journey and Booker’s ‘Defeating the monster’ story structures…

2 thoughts on “Fairy Rose and the Spider Witch

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