While Mam is away, Dad and the girls shall play. Yes, finally I had the chance to try A Faery's Tale out on my daughters - Lara (9) and Emma (7). We'd been talking about it for a while and it proved the perfect opportunity to fill in a Sunday afternoon.
So we all sat down in the conservatory, with some dice and beads and pieces of paper. I explained to them what a roleplaying game is and how it differed from make-believe. We looked at rolling dice and how AFT handled successes. We then wrote out the basic character sheet so I could answer their questions about the stats and gifts etc.
Emma created 'Sneaky Sarah', a B5/M2/S2 Pooka with Agile, Hardy, Sneaky and Strong gifts. She lives in a tiny cottage, which she described in the faery village. She also insisted that Sarah was naughty but brave.
Lara created 'Jenifree', a B3/M3/S3 Pixie with Charming, Fortunate, Magical and Musical gifts. She lives in a tree in the forest outside of the faery village, with her squirrel friends.
Naturally the two faeries are best of friends.
The Mystery of the Missing Cygnet began!
It was the day before the Faery Queen made her spring procession down the river from her castle and through Brightwood Village. Riding her beautiful swan, she visited each of the children in the village and have them an acorn shell full of nectar, which granted them good luck through the next year.
A guard from Queen Leanan's palace arrived at Sarah's house and told her that one of the Queen's handmaidens needed her help! Being a good faery she went straight away and was met by an elfin handmaiden called Goldpetal. The handmaiden explained that the Queen's swan was upset and ill with worry because one of it's cygnets had gone missing. Sneaky Sarah was the best person they could think of to find the missing bird! Emma decided that the swan pond was on the same path as Jennifree's Tree! She also decided that she would need a weapon (a small buckler shield and a stabbing sword) and a pack with some water and cheese to eat. She went to get her friend.
Explaining the dilema to Jennifree, the pixie decided to press home her natural resources and persuade her squirrel friends to take part in the search. She decided that the father of the squirrel family was called Knakfree and she successful got him looking - even though he was reluctant because he didn't like getting wet!
They went to the pond and Sarah changed into a fish to investigate under the water, whilst Jennifree looked around the pond. They found some goblin arrows, a cart track and some feather down - a sure sign that the cygnet had been abducted by goblins!
Following the tracks, they realised that they were leaving Brightwood and entering Darkwood, the realm of the Goblin King. Soon, they realised that they were being followed by two four-armed spider goblins, who challenged them and told them to give up this silly search. The girls were tentative on whether they should be using magic, violence or talking to get around the situation (which was kind of cool in itself) until one of the Goblins started trying to stab at the flying pixie and we saw POOKA POWER for the first time. Sarah stabbed at one goblin when it stabbed at her. They both defended and then she asked whether she could have shattered the Goblins spear on her shield. I explained that she would have to spend an Essence which she did. Meanwhile, Jennifree used some of her Pixie Dust to turn the other goblin into a puppy! Needless to say, they retreated.
The pair found the day drawing to a close and needed somewhere to camp, in the depths of the horrid forest. Emma decided that Sarah had built her own house before and she would gather some sticks, if Jennifree would help, and build a camp 'like Ray Mears does'. Well, that was worth an Essence point! She then, thoroughly getting the hang of this, spent said Essence point to have one of the Faery Queen's falcons appear above them in the night, watching and making sure they had a good nights sleep. After some food and drink they slept.
The next morning they continued their journey and finally came to a swamp, infested with goblins and a black iron cage, holding the missing cygnet. They concocted a plan where Sarah would distract the goblins by hurling huge rocks whilst Jennifree swooped down and popped the lock using her Pixie Dust. Sarah also decided that some of the swamp would be icky mud like quicksand and if she did really well, some of the Goblins might fall into it. She threw her big rock (on the back of 7 dice and 6 successes!) and scatted the Goblins whilst Jennifree freed the weak and feeble cygnet.
And then the Goblin King arrived with his troll champion!
In true villainous style he revealed his plan. If the Queen could not ride her swan she could not give out the gift of luck to the children of Brightwood and therefore his goblins and wolves and smelly things could pick them off in the forest throughout the next year and Leanan's magic could not save them.
Throughout his monologue the two faeries were adamant that the cygnet was not his, and it belonged to the swan and that he would have to give it back. He laughed at the concept of them taking it back and Sneaky Sarah drew her sword and squared up to the massive troll!!! I explained the disparity in power and size and she thought about it for a second and then said that she had to protect the cygnet (and earned another Essence point for bravery). Jennifree, in the meantime had concocted a cunning plan (they had also been talking about what to do, working out that Troll vs Bear might not work, Troll vs Mouse was too risky and a plain tickling defence was also unlikely - I kid you not).
Using her Musical talent, Jennifree started to sing a lullaby (which Lara made up on the spot) to make the troll fall asleep. Lots of successes followed and the Troll fell into a deep sleep. The Goblin King roared in impotent fury and the two faerys and their swan friend made a run for it, pursued by Goblins. Sarah used her Travel Magic to create a path in the forest that lead STRAIGHT HOME and they escaped.
The cygnet was returned to it's mother who perked up no end and the Queen was able to do her procession. Knakfree did do a search and found a load of old nuts which Jennifree offered to cook up into acorn stew as a show of thanks. Both of the faerys were summoned to the Queen's Palace and she thanked them for the great task they had done for her. She noted the bravery of Sarah's stand against the trolls and goblins and the beauty that Jennifree's voice had. She said that Sarah would no longer be called Sneaky Sarah, but now Sneaky Sarah The Brave, Lady of Flowers. Jennifree became Jennifree the Beautiful, Lady of Flowers and both were welcome in her court. She also gave them a drink from the children's nectar, giving them a one-shot +2 success to any roll made in Brightwood Forest, to be used in the next year.
And that ended the tale.
The aftermath was a cacophony of excited kids, all very enthusiastic about playing it again next week! They loved the idea that they would be playing the same characters and that they could become better etc.
For me, it was simply amazing. If I was to look at it from an analytical POV, even though it was very rudimentary they thought around problems, didn't use violence as an answer to everything, performed in character when needed, owned their own environments and edited mine to make the game more exciting and added their own NPCs etc. as needed. Not bad for a first stab at rpgs!
Apparently the mission next week is to get Mammy to play. I'll believe it when I see it!