Over on Google+, John Ward introduced me to a product called Rory’s Story Cubes as an idea-generation tool for the bedtime stories I tell my daughters. I ordered the base set and the Voyages add-on. There are several ways to use the dice, but for my purposes, the three of us took turns rolling dice and making up the story, with the goal being a complete story in nine dice.
Here’s a transcript of my first attempt at using them with my daughters. Given that they’re two years old, I took a lot of control, but they enjoyed rolling the dice and getting in to the story. As they get more used to making things up, I will happily relinquish the reins to them.
Dad: Okay roll the dice. [Daughter 1 rolls die.] So what’d we get? Oh, it looks like an insect, a bug. So is this going to be a story about a bug?
Dad: Okay, so, what’s the bug’s name?
D1: It’s called Cristers. [Crickets?]
D1: Yeah. I want to get more!
Dad: Okay. So we have a bug named Cristers. And then Daughter 2, you pick a die and let’s find out some more about the story. Okay, roll the die. [D2 rolls die.] Uh, it’s a shrine, a temple. So we have Cristers and he’s going to the temple to pray about… What? What is he praying for? Why is he going to the temple?
D2: Because he’s um going to craaaaaassssshhhhh! Again!
Dad: He’s afraid he’s going to crash again? Okay, so we have a bug named Cristers who’s going to the temple to pray because he’s afraid he’s going to crash again. He’s obviously an airplane pilot of some sort. So I’ll roll one now. [Dad rolls die.]
Dad: Oh, glasses… So he goes to the temple and he says to the monk, “I am very afraid that if I fly a plane again, I will crash again.” And the monk says, “Perhaps you should wear glasses the next time you fly the plane.” And Cristers says, “Glasses! Why didn’t I think of that?” Okay, pick a die. Roll it, let’s see what we get. [D1 rolls.]
Dad: Oh, stars and a wand. So let’s think what happens next. At that moment, a fairy godmother comes down and says, “Cristers, you have one wish. What will it be?
D2: My turn!
Dad: Okay. And Cristers says, “I wish for a pair of glasses that will allow me to see a hundred miles away.” Now you roll the die. [D2 rolls.] And you got, hmmm, looks like… a trap door in the floor with stairs going down? And the godmother says, “Okay, I will give you the glasses, Cristers. But first you must go down the Flight of a Thousand Stairs into the darkness.” And then what happens next? Cristers goes down the stairs into the darkness and he finds… [Dad rolls.] A pyramid! A pyramid deep under the earth. So he goes into the pyramid—
D2: My turn! My turn!
D1: A castle. I bring a castle!
Dad: It’s D1’s turn. So he goes into the pyramid and… Roll the die. [D1 rolls. Dad gasps at skull and crossbones.] Oh no. And he walks into the pyramid and he discovers that there is a curse and it says, “Anybody who enters this pyramid will surely die. And then D2 rolls. Oh, a fountain. And Cristers would die, except he discovers the Fountain of Life, and he reaches into the fountain and he pulls out… [Dad rolls.] A goblet. And he uses the goblet to drink from the fountain.
D1: A trophy!
Dad: Oh, is it a trophy? Okay, he gets a trophy that says, “You survived the Pyramid of Death by drinking the Waters of Life. Your reward is a pair of glasses that allows you to see a hundred miles away.” And Cristers put on the glasses and he got in his plane and he flew away and he could see perfectly and he flew and he flew and he landed fine and he didn’t crash and he was happy. The End.