About A Tale of Heroes
Welcome to “A Tale of Heroes” Thanks for reading! There are a few things about this story that I’d like to clarify.
First, it grew out of all the fun I was having playing tabletop role playing games with my sons. We often sat around a crowded dinner table with many friends, having adventures and rolling dice. If you’re into that sort of thing, there is no better way to have great bonding time with your kids. It’s amazing.
As we developed and playtested our rules system (TheHerosTale.com) and our world together, I started writing a storyblog based in that world, and on those rules and characters. The first year of that blog became Book One of this series, and the story kept growing into Book Two. Now, I get to continue on! Characters drift in and out, some retire, others join in… The story just keeps going!
Second, since it was originally written as a blog, it’s set up a bit differently than most books. Each chapter (scene) is short, only a few pages, and focuses on one character’s perspective. About every twelve scenes or so are bundled up in a “part”, and the parts are grouped into story arcs. The first four story arcs are hosted at a different site, and are cross-linked here. That’s why this site starts with “Story 5, Part 16”.
Lastly, since you’re new to the characters and the ongoing story, I’ve included a summary so you can meet them all and know what’s going on. You can get there from here.
If you like this story, I hope you keep reading as I post new scenes (Twice a week), parts, and stories, and enjoy the never ending tale of heroes!
About The Hero’s Tale
A number of years ago, my kids and I started playing Tabletop RPGs in a family game night. . At the time, my youngest (Jacob, or Jakoh of Emberfire) was 14, my oldest (Brendon, or DarkStar of Umbrawood) 16. They had been involved in many kinds of gaming for a long time, including online games (like Minecraft, League of Legends, the Zeldas, and many others), collectible card games (like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic: The Gathering). We often played these games, tabletop and online, together. They’d been pestering me for a long time about playing tabletop RPGs. Specifically, they wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons, the granddaddy of all RPGs.
I was in a unique position. First, I had grown up playing RPGs, including D&D (as well as other classics like Traveller, Marvel, Top Secret, Boot Hill, etc…). Second, I’m a deeply spiritual man, and an unashamed Christian. I remember being assailed with the horror stories from the 80s of D&D being a gateway to devil worship, and of kids losing their grip on reality and retreating more and more into the fantasy worlds, even to the point of violence or suicide. Even though I had rolled my eyes at these stories as I was growing up, there were some elements of RPGs in general and D&D in particular that troubled me, as a Christian, and even just as a father wanting to raise healthy, well-adjusted children.
I was also well aware of the benefits of RPGs, like enhancing your creativity, the ability to play games where you work together instead of competitively, and the friendship bonds that formed with the other players.
I’m going to go deeper into all of this in detail here on another page. For now, suffice to say that I was in a quandry. Should I play with my sons or not? I debated it in my head literally for over a year.
I also believe very strongly that the role of a father is divinely-inspired, and I need to take it very seriously. In the Bible, in Ephesians (6:4) we’re told, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Then, in Proverbs (22:6) it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
In other words, it might just be a biological urge to make children, but I believe it is my God-given right and job to raise my children well.
All of us know that this isn’t easy, and we make a lot of mistakes every day, and that’s true if you’re a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, Atheist, or whatever. For me, I knew if I chose to involve my kids in gaming, I would be investing a lot of time and effort. I wanted this choice to go in the “win” column, not in the “mistakes were made” side.
Since I also enjoy game design (see: http://seekersquestgame.com), I was also studying theoretical concepts in game design. One of the resources I was reading was a book called, “The Theory of Fun” by Ralph Koster. I learned much from that book, but a big part of it was this concept: That all gaming is learning. Even in the simplest games, like Tic-Tac-Toe, our minds look for patterns. We learn those patterns as we learn the strategies of a game. We grasp new strategies as new patterns emerge. This learning is what is “fun”. That means that there is really no such thing as an “educational game”, but rather ALL GAMING is EDUCATIONAL GAMING.
The question lies, then, in figuring out what you want each game to teach.
In the end, I decided that it would be better for them to play in my home, in my adventures, where I could influence the outcomes and influence the learning. We set up a weekly game night where my two sons and a mixed group of their friends would gather and co-write fantastic epic adventures of fame and glory.
When I discovered that concept, I realized that as a father and as a gamemaster, I can teach my children while they are just having fun playing a game. As we’ve played almost every week over the course of the past few years, I’ve seen the learning in action. I’ve seen it on a conscious level, as my kids and their friends see direct consequences of their choices. I’ve seen in a more subconscious level, as my sons and I have processed their feelings and their decisions after the game was done.
So, come check out our fantasy role-playing system, The Hero’s Tale!
About Mark Hansen, the Author
Mark Hansen has been writing and studying writing for most of his adult life. Though “A Tale of Heroes, Book 1” is his first published work of fiction, he has written many books, including rule books and cookbooks, as well as blogs over the years. He currently lives in Eagle Mountain, UT, and loves to play geeky games with his sons.
Other books and games by Mark Hansen
The Hero’s Tale – How to Use Tabletop RPGs to Help Raise Great Kids – TheHerosTale.com
Seeker’s Quest – A collectible card game based on the scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – SeekersQuestGame.com
Best of the Black Pot, Around the World in a Dutch Oven, Dutch Oven Breads, 4 others – Dutch Oven Outdoor Cookbooks – MarksBlackPot.com
Mark’s Social Media
@theherostaletht – The Hero’s Tale
@mrkhmusic – Mark’s Creative Mind