Children and Magic
What about magic and spells in Dungeons and Dragons?
Magic and Spellcasting
As a parent, you may be concerned about the use of magic and spellcasting in games like Dungeons and Dragons. You may be surprised to learn that in the game, no one actually learns how to cast spells. Everything in the game, from climbing a dangerous rope ladder, swinging a sword and throwing bolts of fire at the enemies - it’s all make believe. Fueled by imagination and a little bit of chance influenced by the dice rolls, Dungeons and Dragons is a storytelling game.
From my childhood, fantasy genre of books attracted me. Stories like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Book of Three are all set in a fantasy setting where magic is simply part of the world. Movies like Legend, The Neverending Story and Labyrinth tell similar tales with magic influencing the outcome. (By now you can guess that I spent my childhood in the 80s and 90s. As a child, I remember wanting to imitate my fantasy heroes because they could do things I couldn’t do - such as stand down a dragon or summon a faithful spirit hound. At the heart of childlike play is the use of magic. Magic means the world is full of wonder and danger, and much is left to be discovered.
When speaking of tabletop roleplaying games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, you must remember that this is not really a game, but a way to play a game. It is a way to tell stories, so if you want to tell a story of soldiers fighting with machine guns and helicopters, then there are games for that. If you want to play as a mouse army banding together against the cat lord, then you can play that game as well. Anything you want to include in the game allows you to tell that story. In short, tabletop roleplaying games are customizable and a way to create your own entertainment.
Some common genres of roleplaying games
Sword and Sorcery
Space Marine Adventures
Pirate Adventure on the High Seas
War Time Battlefield
Victorian Age Drama
If Dungeons and Dragons rules don’t accommodate a particular genre, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of RPGs out there for consideration. Some include magic, some do not. Some include dark horrific themes, some are light enough for a kindergartner. If you can imagine it, there is a game out there for you to enjoy.
With that being said, in a fantasy setting, magic is a resource for the players to utilize for the good of the world. Like with any power, magic can be used for good or evil. The players at the game table roleplay heroes who more often than not, make moves to save the world. Like superheroes, they acquire gifts from gods, study an ancient language of creation, or discover a weapon that defies the laws of physics.
In a game of fantasy including flying dragons, floating castles and fire blasts from a wizard’s wand, magic can be thought of as laws in the universe. In the same way, someone “discovered” gravity, harnessed electricity connected your smart phone device to an invisible Wi-Fi connection. We know power exists sometimes the powers fall into the wrong hands who bring about evil. But sometimes, good people, heroes, use power for good. And that’s what I encourage my players to do in our storytelling games involving magic. Use the power wisely and for the good of others. This makes for a good adventure. Use the ancient tales and allow your children to imagine the world as a safer place, a healthier place, and made by heroes.
May your story continue!