You will need
- Device with access to the internet
- A4 paper
- Pens or pencils
- A six-sided dice or online dice
Before you begin
- This is a great activity for an online session. Check out the advice on using Zoom and other popular digital platforms and the guidance on being safe online.
- Make sure everyone has access to a dice with six sides: a D6. If rolling one so everyone can see is tricky (or people don’t have one at home), they could use an online dice and share their screen.
- Make sure that everyone knows there is no violence allowed in the story. You could use any weapons to hit targets instead, as long as they don’t look like people or animals.
Run the activity
- Everyone should split into teams of around four to five people.
- Everyone should make their character. You could create characters with Create a fantasy character, otherwise you could ask everyone to quickly create a character. They should choose a name, decide what they look like, and give them some strengths and weaknesses.
- Everyone should introduce their character to their team members. They should let them know their name, what they look like, and their strengths and weaknesses.
- One person from the team should be the first ‘Dungeon Master’ (DM). Being ‘Dungeon Master’ means this person’s character won’t feature in the scenario; instead, they’ll be in charge of narrating the story, playing any other characters, and narrating the outcomes of people’s decisions, as well as telling the group when they need to roll to decide the outcome.
- The Dungeon Master should introduce a scenario – they could use one of the examples below to help them get started. They should make sure they’re prepared to improvise extra detail and ask people to roll their D6 to decide the outcome of their decision. It’s a good idea to start off with a low target for success (such as three or above) while people are getting the feel for the game.
- Explain that not everything requires a dice roll – simple things like opening an unlocked door, walking across a flat, empty field can just happen. In these cases the DM should just describe what happens and ask what people want to do after that.
- Everyone should play through the scenario. The DM should ask people to roll their D6 to see if they succeed or fail when they attempt to do things. The DM’s decision is always final. Let everyone know that in D&D both success and failure are only temporary – the story always moves forwards and if you're unsuccessful you can just try something new next time!
- Encourage everyone to try things that can only work in a fantasy story – the DM should reward them for particularly inventive or fun suggestions, perhaps by making the target they need to roll lower.
- At the end of the scenario, the team should discuss what went well and what didn’t go so well. How could they have acted differently to have arrived at a better outcome?
- Someone else should become the Dungeon Master and everyone should repeat steps four to seven to play through another scenario, using what they learned from the previous scenario to help them.
- Once each team’s completed a few scenarios (or everyone has had a go at being DM, depending on how much time you have), bring everyone together again to share how they felt the activity went, what they enjoyed, what they didn’t like, and what they’d like to try in the future.
In Dungeons & Dragons, the Dungeon Master is responsible for setting the scene, telling people when to roll their dice to decide an outcome, and narrating what happens – they’re a key part of making the story feel exciting. How did it feel to take on the role of Dungeon Master? Did anyone really enjoy taking on this role? What was difficult about being in charge of the story?
This activity was all about working together as a team to solve problems and overcome challenges in a fantasy adventure. How did it feel to take control of a character? Was it easy to get all of the characters to work together? How did different people’s strengths and weaknesses affect the decisions the team made? Do people think they learned anything that they could apply to real-life challenges, for example, how to share skills and strengths with others?
- Online safety
Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.
For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.
As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.