Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is collective storytelling. A group of friends coming together to tell a shared story. No one person has full control over where the story goes; everyone contributes to the shared success of an amazing tale. This is what makes D&D such an effective teaching tool. The sheer act of playing D&D encourages players to develop their skills in communication, collaboration, and creativity. Combine that with the fact that D&D is just plain fun, and you have the perfect storm for gamified education.
All of this is why we are very excited to announce that this summer we have partnered with PowerThru by EmpowerU, and created the course “Finding Yourself Through Collective Storytelling“. In this course, we will introduce students to the power of storytelling through D&D. We will show them how they can run their own D&D campaigns, and take on the integral role of the Dungeon Master (DM).
DMs wear many hats, they take on many roles. But there are two among them that are the most important. DMs are the leaders and the chief storytellers of the table. Between these, and many many other roles, there are three key skills that every DM needs, and that this course will focus on:
D&D is a game that occurs in the theater of the mind. There are no screens, computers, or tablets involved. Everything that happens, happens in our collective imagination. And so, in order for a table of friends to know what is happening in the game, the DM needs to be able to clearly articulate all of that to their players.
This course will look to strengthen our students’ existing communication skills. This will include being able to establish and describe a scene to their players. We will cover improvisation and impromptu speaking. As well as communicating information to those around the table so that they will be able to make an informed decision.
D&D is about working together with the players at the table to tell a shared story. And as the leaders of the table, DMs are expected to act as the main facilitator and coordinator. They are responsible for making sure that all their players are having fun, and that everyone is contributing to a productive shared experience.
Throughout the course, we will be talking about how students can reach out and engage with their players to collectively build a safe and collaborative environment. We will be touching on topics such as how to handle disagreements at the table, maintaining open lines of communication, as well as safety tools.
All the world’s a stage, and everyone are players. D&D is a game where story is integral to the experience. As the chief storyteller, it is the DM’s responsibility to design the over-arching themes of the campaign. Great DMs are great storytellers, and as they guide their players through the game they are able to weave together the different backstories, themes, and story beats to create a compelling and immersive narrative.
Through this course we will help our students gain a firmer understanding of storytelling. We will be using the narrative device of the “Hero’s Journey” to talk about how a DM can design their campaigns. We will also talk about how DMs can establish different narrative set pieces. Students will become master storytellers able to create engaging and fantastical worlds, populated by equally compelling characters.
D&D has had a profound impact on me. Through this hobby, I’ve established life-long friendships, learned about working together, and found the passion within me to better myself. Together with my friends we’ve explored the dark mountains of Barovia, conquered the streets of Waterdeep, and told stories and legends that will last through the ages. We’ve seen, with our own eyes, the power of great stories, and the power of friends around a table just being there for one another.
This is why I am so excited to be able to help others discover this power. D&D is collective storytelling at its best. It is learning more about yourself, and those around you through the stories you tell. It is about working together to create something from nothing. It is magic, pure and simple.
The PowerThru Summer Education Program is targeted at creating exciting and innovative learning opportunities for ethnically diverse Hong Kong students. If you are a Hong Konger in Secondary 3-5 and interested in joining our course, “Finding Yourself Through Collective Storytelling“, follow this link to learn more and sign up for our courses in July or August.
Let’s go on an adventure together! 😄
Earl is what you would call a Dungeons & Dragons addict. He watches D&D shows, prowls the D&D forums, and basically lives, breathes, and eats D&D (It’s no joke, he literally listens to the D&D Podcast while eating). He likes to be thought of as the “lead fool” as he guides us all through the silliness of D&D.
For his day-job. Earl is an ERP Consultant with the Nomura Research Institute (NRI). He is also a Shaper with the Global Shapers: Hong Kong Hub.