In the Forest (Na Floresta) – A Narrative Game

Kids have the ability to outsmart us in creativity, because their imagination has no boundaries, yet!

We are all gathered here to congratulate our heroes for their heroic effort! They have saved us all! The blueberries are saved until the summer! And the river is safe now with all the Evil crocodiles pushed away from our forest! – the Forest master said.

And in a flash the narrator tells the story of how the four forest creatures saved the day!

In the forest was developed as a tool to create stories and to change the way, we parents, tell them, at bedtime. 

But somehow, in the middle of play testing, it started to show a new attribute. Into the forest also serves as an introductory tool to narrative games, given its simplicity and the low time investment required for a single play session.

One of the characters

Into the forest is one of the themes currently being developed, inserted in a range of storytelling products from Rola Iniciativa, a portuguese organization that creates narrative games for educational, training and social purposes.

Storytelling is part of our DNA – the human plan comes with it. 

Sometimes it happens and we don’t even notice. 

You can find stories in memories, movies, books, games, conversations, images, and the list goes on and on! 

If we learn how to channel the power of storytelling, we can enhance our ability to listen, to understand, to create, and overall to exist as people.

One of the characters

That’s what Into the forest has become, an inspiration to create more games, new stories, and better experiences for people, parents, kids, students, teachers, you and me.

The system behind Into the forest, is simple to learn and to apply. One of its first goals was to allow kids that don’t know how to read, to be able to open a book, and tell a story!

With Into the forest you are able to introduce themes that can be hard to discuss in a “normal” conversation with kids. Themes like bullying, racism, taking care of others, sexuality, death, can be played and visualized without the feeling of a formal discussion, where kids don’t find meaning in the words that they are listening.

One of the characters

The theme chosen is universal. Forest is part of any kids stories, it exists in books, cartoons, movies, and even in school handbooks. Animals also play an important role in our kids development. They learn letters from animals names and/ or animal sounds. Cartoons use the humanization of animals, as a way of telling the story message, so… why don’t we use something that is already being used with great results!

For positive reinforcement, we have created the hero power that is applied to normal forest creatures. In doing so, we create the feeling that they are real heroes, able to solve any problems or challenges that may appear. But we needed balance. So, we created Weakness – but it has to be something fun, so we don’t loose the idea of fun and positivism.

“Ok, kids, we all have chosen our super powers, now, let’s choose some fun weaknesses! Duarte you start! – Ok, my weakness is … when I eat pineapple I poop!” 

And that’s it! 

One of the characters

Kids have the ability to outsmart us in creativity, because their imagination has no boundaries, yet!

This game has lots of potential – but it’s the process of creating that I am enjoying the most! And where I think it is more meaningful..

My desire is to change the way people feel about roleplaying games. I want it to be a tool for education, for solving problems, to be something more…And I believe that by introducing role playing games in schools, libraries… that can be achieved! It’s a good way to start to develop this long term project!

… and it might have just started with this small game of 200 words…

Follow this game here:

By Bruno Ribeiro (Rola Iniciativa)

Rola Iniciativa is an online platform that aims to expand the tabletop RPG community in Portugal. This growth is obtained through our Facebook and Patreon pages, our Discord server and our endless Twitch streams and YouTube videos. Contact with the community is key, and even though Dungeons & Dragons is a common interest, there are many other games that come to our attention (Vampire: The Masquerade, Call of Cthulhu, Mouse Guard), some of wich come from more independent sources (Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, Demon Ninja). There are many more games out there, both to play and create. And we want to play them all with everyone.RPG Design is also a goal, since 2019 we have reached a lot of rpg designers to understand and learn with them, and to show our community that they can count on us, to help any project that they might have.

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