My child was curled up on his bed, giving me that adorable “but I don't wanna go to sleep!” look of his. “Mom...”
I sighed, but gave him a smile. “Yes, love?”
“When we were playing Dragons and Dungeons.... You and Rory were acting like it was a joke.”
Well, we were certainly laughing a lot as we played his free-form di-less roleplaying adventure, yes. I mean, our friend Rory was a half-orc half-ogre ninja and I was a human potato mage. As in a mage who specialized in spells involving potatoes and whose main motivation for questing was finding something to cook potatoes in. But... “We were having fun.”
“But it wasn't Dragons and Dungeons!”
“Dungeons and Dragons,” I corrected.
He narrowed his eyes at me. “The order doesn't matter.”
It did, kinda, but I didn't feel like arguing about it. It's not like the game was really D&D anyway. Maybe Dragons and Dungeons was a better descriptor. “I'm sorry if we upset you. We were enjoying ourselves. That's how I play these games, you can ask your dad about it.”
“Maybe I should have made a demo level.” He nodded to himself in thought.
“That might have helped,” I agreed, smoothing down his blankets and starting to tuck him in.
His eyes brightened. “Okay, make a character.”
Um... I smiled gently. “Can we do this tomorrow, honey? It's late.”
“It'll be fast,” he promised. “What do you want to be?”
“An elvish potato mage? I liked being a potato mage.”
He sighed. “You're a human wizard. You are in a padded room. There is a gnome attacking you.”
A gnome? I was being attacked by a gnome? Okay... “I throw a potato at him.”
Eric sighed. “It knocks off his hat. You are struck by lightening. You are dead.”
“What?” I asked. “How'd that happen?”
“It just did. You are a human wizard in a padded room. There's a gnome attacking you. What do you do?”
I smiled. “Throw a rutabaga at him!”
The child let out a moan of despair. “I don't even know what a rutabaga is!”
“It's a root vegetable. Like a big turnip.”
“You are struck by lightening. You are dead.”
I had similar results from throwing a banana, a bunch of grapes, and even my pet dragon. Thought I had a shot at doing damage with the dragon, but no...
I eventually defeated the gnome by casting a freeze spell on him, but then killed myself when the spell that was supposed to break through the wall bounced back at me. Spell-reflective padding. My kid's an evil genius. But he was an evil genius who was already up past his bedtime, so I stopped playing then.
A few days ago, I had a strange idea that I shared with my son. The last two Novembers, he's done National Novel Writing Month with me, producing short pieces of video game fan fiction as I cranked out novel rough drafts. This year, I've been doubting if I want to participate because, frankly, I think I've gotten past the point were it really helps me and it adds a lot of stress to my family life. But it occurred to me that if I were writing something with one of my family members.... Well, my husband may still feel neglected but he won't be able to accuse me of neglecting the kiddo. So, I asked Eric what he thought of the idea of writing a middle grade novel together.
He's excited about the idea, even though I set the rule that we had to do something original rather than fanfic. Me... I'm a little scared to be honest. I've never co-authored before and never written a middle grade novel. But it has the potential to be a great adventure. :)