When I wrote Amazing Tales one of the things I felt was important was that parents and kids be able to sit down and make up an adventure right then and there. No preparation required. So a published adventure needs to offer something special to justify the investment. In the course of writing The Quest for the Dragon Crown I’ve worked hard to deliver on that. Here are some of the principles that guided the writing.
1. Small players deserve big adventures
Just because children are young doesn’t mean they can’t imagine big stories. The Quest for the Dragon Crown asks them to save a kingdom. On the way they’ll have to face down monsters, solve puzzles and make new friends. As the cover makes clear, there are dragons to fight. Because fighting dragons is awesome – so why wouldn’t you include that in your game?
I’ve never been able to understand why games for kids often assume the players will want to play as child heroes. Role-playing lets you be anything you want – and a lot of kids want to be big.
2. Build in regular moments of awesome
In writing the game I tried to include what I think of as ‘moments of awesome’, events that are so cool they’re unlikely to emerge in games that you make up as you go. They might, of course, but a written adventure lets you try and hit these highs consistently.
I might be wrong – but play-tests suggest that the moment the players find out what the Dragon Crown does for the first time is going to be something that sticks with players for a long long time.
3. Make the game tangible
While I couldn’t quite work out how to include a real magic mirror in the game (that plan is on hold while I do more research) I did manage to include a few cool things. There’s a map of the kingdom to colour in, there’s your very own dragon crown to cut out and colour in, and there’s a multi-stage puzzle for parents to print out and kids to solve.
4. Pack it full
Quest for the Dragon Crown features a ghost, dragons, mermaids, fairies, and an enchanted forest. It’s not a series of adventures about dragons and mini-dragons, because that might get repetitive. Each session brings in new fantastic material and escalates the stakes. If your kids only ever play one Amazing Tales campaign they should come away from this with a ton of brilliant stories about the things they’ve seen and done.
When you’re playing with your kids it’s easy to add extra excitement by asking your players questions. As the heroes approach a village ask questions like ‘What makes this village special’ or ‘The people who live here aren’t human, what are they?’ and watch as your story takes off.
5. Leave plenty of room
As a game Amazing Tales has a focus on improvised story-telling. So while The Quest for the Dragon Crown provides a structure there’s plenty of space for players and story-teller to go off-piste. Does your kid love mermaids? Take a few extra sessions to make up stories in the mermaid kingdom, the quest will still be there when you get back.
I hope you like the Quest for the Dragon Crown, and I hope it helps you take your games of Amazing Tales to the next level.