The Spring semester continues to zip along, and my Writing & Editing for Gaming course progresses very well. Thought I would give you an update.
The big step in the course recently required the students to submit their Final Project Proposals and Timelines, which resulted in some amazing ideas. Six of my students are working on editing projects for two different publishers. Thanks goes out to Chaosium and Battlefield Press for providing real world projects for the students interested in editing. Both publishers were willing to go with extended timelines and allow students an opportunity to work on projects planned for publication. The other students all have writing aspirations in various directions. I have students working on their own roleplaying game, working with Chaosium to write a scenario for them, writing a scenario for D&D 5e, writing the first few chapters of a campaign world for D&D 5e, writing a post apocalyptic adventure for Fate Accelerated, and writing a thematic monster supplement for D&D 5e. Each of these students is working on projects that could lead to self publication or products with publishers. I am excited to see how they progress throughout the semester and their final presentations at the end of the course.
The other big event recently resulted from requests by the students. A few students in the class had minimal experience playing roleplaying games, and others were interested in playing with a game master who had more years of experience than them. I give them credit for not calling me the old gamer, but truly desiring to learn from me regarding roleplaying and game mastering. So, this past Friday (March 3rd), I ran a D&D 5e one shot for the first group of students. I have another similar game night planned in April for the other half of the class that is interested. For this first group, I developed my format of spending the first hour teaching about gaming and the other three-ish hours running Part I of the Lost Mines of Phandelver from the D&D Starter Set. I gave a basic overview of the D&D 5e core rules, focusing on the storytelling aspects, dice mechanics, Inspiration, and Advantage/Disadvantage. Other rules I would discuss as they were necessary. I then spent some time discussing the interactive storytelling and theatrical aspects of roleplaying games including Theater of the Mind (which I would be using) compared to miniatures, descriptive combat, the roleplaying of character personalities and alignments, and In Medias Res. I also spent a short time mentoring those interested in leading a gaming group, discussing DM/GM/Storyteller styles, running modules compared to self-written adventures/campaigns, impromptu storytelling, and reacting to player discussions and actions to help with immersion and engagement. Then we started the adventure, and oh was it a fun night of adventuring. For those interested, the party consisted of a dwarf tempest cleric who sailed underground oceans, a halfling rogue with a penchant for acquiring other people’s items, a young human warrior still unsure of her capabilities, a human warlock with a fiendish patron, and a wood elf monk who has wander lust. My students dove into the adventure and their characters, which helped me relax. Understand that I was a bit nervous. This was my first time ever running an adventure for students in a class, and my first time running any of these players in a one shot. We all had a great time as we quickly found a rhythm in the adventure and our gaming together. The night ended late, but everyone was so happy with the results. There were requests for more adventures, but I had to pass, for I have another student group to run next month! I encouraged them to continue the adventure on their own.
As you can see, the class is going very well. I don’t know if this course will ever be taught again at Taylor, but it has been a wonderful experience, and I feel the students are very passionate about the subject matter. Many have the interest in continuing on with writing and editing in the game industry, so I look forward to watching their progress over the coming years.