Children Suck at Role Playing II: The Age of Elsa

By: Jacob Lewis

Six months ago I attempted to introduce my daughters to the exciting world of role playing. For context, my oldest daughter, Hera, is eight years old, and my youngest, Jessica, is 4 years old (these are fake names). I wrote a blog post about that experience. In case you are too busy to read it, I’ll summarize. It did not go well and I decided that they weren’t yet ready to enter the adult world of rolling dice and pretending to swing an imaginary club at a Satyr.

A few weeks ago I was trying to think of something to do with my girls. It was a bright, warm and gorgeous Saturday morning and I wanted to pick an activity that would expose me to none of it. When I asked them what they wanted to do, Hera mentioned the roleplaying game we had played on Thanksgiving. Jessica joined in on the request and I decided to give it another go. This time, I chose to base this game on Superheroes rather than do another Greek Mythology setting to liven things up a bit.

I started by telling my girls that they would need to each pick a toy to represent their character in the game, think of a name for their character and describe what super powers they have. The following is my best account of what occurred.

Jessica immediately picks one of her many Elsa plastic figures, from Frozen.

Jessica:                 I’m going to be Elsa.

Jacob:                   I want you to create your own character.

Jessica:                 But…I love Elsa.

Jacob:                   Well it will be more fun to create your own character. Also, I hate Elsa. You know this child.

Jessica:                 Okay [said like I just forced her to drown a basket of puppies].

Jacob:                   Hera, what’s your character’s name?

Hera whips out a dancing elf figure.

Hera:                     My hero’s name is Misty Copeland.

Jacob:                   Is she an ice skater?

Hera:                     Daddy, Misty Copeland is a Ballerina [said like the snottiest of arrogant teenagers, so god damn happy that they know a thing].

Jacob:                   So you’re playing as Misty Copeland?

Hera:                     No, that’s just her superhero name.

Jacob:                   Your hero is a Ballerina?

Hera:                     No.

Jacob:                   Then…nevermind.

Hera:                     Good.

Jacob:                   I do want to make it clear that you’ve picked a terrible Superhero name.

Jessica:                 It’s the best name Hera.

Jacob:                   So [pausing to give Jessica the stink eye] what is Misty Copeland’s superpower?

Hera:                     She’s a princess that can make ice and control winte…

Jacob:                   I swear to god Hera you had better be joking.

Hera:                     ….I’ve changed my mind.

Jacob:                   Good.

Hera:                     She has every power.

Jacob:                   No she doesn’t.

Hera:                     Then, she has the power to take away other people’s powers.

Jacob:                   No she doesn’t.

Hera:                     Why!?! What was wrong with that one!?!

Jacob:                   Because you’re just going to use it to take away your sister’s power. Don’t think for a second I can’t see your evil plan.

Jessica:                 You better not take away my powers Hera! [Jessica shakes her fist]

Hera:                     Fine [Sulking because I ruined her plan]. She has the same powers as super girl.

Jacob:                   That works. Jessica have you decided on your character?

Jessica:                 My character’s name is Roseabell (pronounced: Rose-A-Bell)

Jacob:                   What kind of character is she?

Jessica:                 She’s going to be a princess.

Jacob:                   Of course she is. What are her superpowers?

Jessica:                 She can control winter.

Jacob:                   Uh huh

Jessica:                 She can create ice.

Jacob:                   Uh huh

Jessica:                 She can make snow men.

Jacob:                   Uh huh. I have to tell you Jessica, Roseabell sounds an awful lot like Elsa.

Jessica:                 It’s not Elsa Daddy.

Jacob:                   Okay.

Jessica:                 She also has a little sister.

Jacob:                   Is she named Ana?

Jessica:                 Yes.

Jacob:                   …

Jessica:                 …can I call my character Elsa

Jacob:                   Just…just go ahead.

Jessica:                 Cause its Elsa.

Jacob:                   I know.

Jessica:                 Good.

Jacob:                   Okay, final decision, who should be the bad guy?

Hera:                     Nazis!

Jessica:                 Donald Trump.

Jacob:                   Wow, excellent choice Hera! Nazis it is.

Hera:                     Wait, I want to change mine to Mama.

Jessica:                 I hate Donald Trump!

Jacob:                   Hera, you can’t make Mama the villain. I hate Donald Trump too Jessica, but it’s not a good villain for this story. I did like that  Nazi idea that was being pitched around.

Hera:                     Than I pick Daddy.

Jacob:                   What?

Jessica:                 Donald Trump is the worst ever…wait…yeah Daddy’s the bad guy.

Jacob:                   Really girls?

Jessica:                 Either Daddy or Mama is the bad guy.

Jacob:                   …okay…what powers does Mama have.

Both girls open their mouths to respond.

Jacob:                   If these powers include the words “butt” and/or “fart” then this game is over and I’m going to make you sit on your beds until the heat death of the universe.

Hera closes her mouth. Jessica remains undeterred.

Jessica:                 What if Mama’s butt can…

Jacob:                   I’m just going to make the bad guy the Joker. Is the Joker okay with everyone?

Both girls nod.

Jacob:                   Okay, our story starts out with…

Hera:                     Do we get team names?

Jessica:                 Yeah!

Jacob:                   Ugh, I guess…but you have to both  agree on one.

Jessica:                 The Magic of Moana.

Jacob:                   What? Is that a song?

Jessica:                 No. It’s a team name.

Jacob:                  Oookay, Hera, what do you want.

Hera:                     I’m okay with that one.

Hera:                     Really? That’s going to be your team name?

Jessica:                 Yes. It’s beautiful.

Jacob:                   But what does it even mean? You know what, whatever, never mind, let’s just start. Our story starts at the Magic of Moana headquarters…

Hera:                     Do we get a pet?

Jessica:                 Yeah!

Jacob:                   Jesus Christ girls, really? Can we just start the game already?

Jacob breathes in and remembers that it’s all supposed to be a fun experience.

Jacob:                   Okay, you can each pick a pet.

Jessica:                 I get a pet fairy named Roseabell.

Hera:                     I get a pet fairy and her name is Emily.

Jacob:                   Fairies aren’t pets. They’re tiny people.

Hera:                     These are our Fairies. We take care of them.

Jessica:                 Yeah, they have to do what we say.

Jacob:                   So you have fairy slaves?

Jessica:                 Yes.

Hera:                     No. We don’t have slaves. They’re our friends.

Jacob:                   You called them pets. Do you tell them what to do?

Jessica:                 Yes.

Hera:                     They aren’t slaves.

Jacob:                   Do you pay them?

Hera:                     No.

Jacob:                   These are slaves. I’m not letting you have slaves.

Jessica:                 I want a slave!

Hera:                     They aren’t slaves. But, can we have dogs instead.

Jacob:                   No, you’ve lost pet privileges.

Both girls:            Not fair!

Jacob:                   Yup. Neither is slavery.

Jessica:                 I’m not playing anymore! This is the worst game in the whole wide world!

Jessica storms off to their bedroom and slams the door.

Hera:                     Can we still play?

Jacob:                   I don’t know, this isn’t really working.

Hera:                     I want to play though.

Jacob:                   Okay, our story starts with..

Hera:                     Wait, I’m changing my character name to Elsa.

From beyond the closed bedroom door, Jessica screams.

Jessica:                 HERA!!! NO YOU DON’T!!!! NOT EVER!!!!

Hera:                     You’re not playing anymore. I’m Elsa.

Jessica kicks open the bedroom door and, wielding a Xylophone mallet, body tackles Hera. I pull her off and get a few haymakers to my knee for my troubles. Jessica is punished for assaulting her sister with a blunt object (Gross Misdemeanor Offense) and assaulting her Father (Capital Offense). While I drag Jessica back to her room, Hera takes the opportunity grab Jessica’s Elsa figure and throws it down the stairs. Hera now gets punished as well, officially for throwing her sister’s toy (Minor Infraction, because fuck Elsa), but unofficially because she demanded an imaginary pet and tried to make me the villain in my own damn game (High Treason). Also, Misty Copeland is the worst superhero name ever.

So, with both daughters exiled to their bedroom, I sit back in a chair and surf Netflix until I find a horror movie I haven’t seen already. I shudder the windows so no light can get in and enjoy the silence, punctured only be easily ignorable screams of outrage and injustice coming from the next room. This second roleplaying experiment actually turned out pretty well. I think next time I’ll try an old west setting.

Back to Top