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WendyAndMilo

DnD experts - running an asynchronous campaign for English?

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So three weeks into school and I'm changing things up already 🙂  I probably should have asked here before running this idea by DS because now he is super excited and I'm left hoping that this is, in fact, a good, workable idea!

Background: we love games - board games, video games, any kind of game and we own hundreds.

This year, as part of English, I was taking Fridays for creative writing and going back and forth with DS writing a chapter then me writing the next chapter and so on.  It was meh but we both liked the idea.

So in unpacking the last of our game boxes I found my old DnD dry-erase squares and I thought that instead of just doing creative writing, I could run an asynchronous campaign with me as the DM and let DS have 3-4 characters.  It has to be async because I'm gone till 4 or 5pm everyday, so his job for English would be to play his part but write out what he would normally be verbally telling the DM and to be descriptive.  Like if he is looking for something and writes that "xxx looked at the inn and all around town", I'm not going to let him succeed, but if he says "xxx looked in the drawers at the drop of the dresser at the place that so-and-so last stayed because they might have forgotten it and then looked behind the curtains and under the bed..." then that's a different story, literally.  And then the next day, I would write out the reactions/interactions and then he would have another whole day to plan his next move, etc.  But he has to write!

I know it's not traditional, but he is super excited about it.  Am I missing anything that would not make this work?  Is there anything to keep in mind or other ideas that may work better?

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I think it sounds like fun and if he is excited about it, then all the better. The best kind of assignments are the ones that kids can get invested in and really want to do their best effort from internal motivation rather than external motivation. My older boys would have LOVED doing something like that as part of their writing in middle school. They tended to write their own DnD type stories just in their free time but a DnD quest as part of an assignment? They would have been all over that!

I would stick to the "one thing at a time" rule when editing his writing on this type of assignment. Once he becomes consistent with getting that one thing right every time then let him know that the DM is going to be looking for whatever the next thing you want to work on is in his next turn. Good gracious! I'm excited for this for you! Such a cool and fun idea! I wish I still had some independent writers to teach using your idea lol! Sadly, my older boys are all grown up and my youngest isn't independent yet. Definitely be saving this idea for him though.

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Have you ever heard of Druidawn?  I admit to knowing very little about it except that it is like DnD and creative writing is an integral part of the game.  My older son was a member of a Druidawn group when he was in sixth grade and it was the thing that got him really writing.  

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This sounds really good.

I've had my kids write modules as writing assignments, and then we played their modules as a family, with the author acting as the DM.  They found this super motivating and did a great job.

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17 minutes ago, Farrar said:

It sounds great, but I do wonder if it wouldn’t be too slow moving.

Yeah, I had wondered about this...but given that he would be in control of several characters and I don't know that I would stick to the gameplay rules exactly, I wonder if that would help things along.

I'm going to look into the Druidawn mentioned above...ETA: scratch that, I remember why I chose this particular campaign - because of the setting and I was going to change up his literature to allow more time to introduce DS to R.A. Salvatore and Drizzt.

DS definitely has the ability to be creative with his writing - I've caught glimpses of it here and there - but it definitely doesn't come naturally and he still struggles with the "if it's not going to be perfect/great, I'm not going to do it" mentality.  The pp suggested working on one thing at a time as far as what I expect out of this writing each turn and I think that will really help.  Both of us.

Edited by WendyAndMilo
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I think it might work, the pacing of one turn - essentially being played without the DM - each day seems like it would be the biggest potential obstacle. But if you make it work, I think it could be excellent.

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You may suggest having one or two characters pursue a craft or business back at the village while the other characters are on the quest. It might allow him to write/do more with the characters while waiting for the next turn with you if you get a little creative with the passage of time for each character. You could also have him write back stories and draw maps for each character's background before meeting each other, and perhaps for important NPCs.

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My ds16 gives his stamp of approval.  

He liked Sarah0000’s idea of having characters in different places doing different things to give him more to write about.  And he agrees you’d have to break a few rules, but that’s ok.  

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