Game of Tropes

Photo credit: Andrea Schwalm.

This past weekend, my 14-year-old woke up deciding to create a new Dungeons & Dragons-inspired board game. Over cereal he printed out an image of a map, divided the map’s islands and waterways into territories with a black pencil, and populated each region with indigenous people and creatures. After this, he scripted out a list of quests and adventures based on what he’d laid out. By lunch he was meticulously rendering on paper the dozens of wyverns, warriors, royals, and adventurers that would inhabit this game.

By midnight, as I was getting into bed, he was ready to show me his work.

“This is the alpha-female Flame Breather,” he began somewhat breathlessly. “She’s a little like a kappa: She has a flat trench on the top of her head that’s filled with magma–that’s where she gets her power. No magma, no power. This is a Botanical Dragon. Its wings are made of leaves and its body will be brown and will look like it’s made from tree branches. This is a Sand Colossus. It’s made of stone and has faces on all four sides of its head so that you can’t ever sneak up on him. He has 250 health points and is inhabited by the spirit of an ancient warrior king who wanted to live forever. He’s the most brutal enemy in the game but appears impassive as he’s attacking you because, you know, his soul is dead.”

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