You will need
- Device with access to the internet
- A4 paper
- Pens or pencils
- A coin (anything with two different sides will do) or online coin flipper
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.
- If flipping a coin for everyone to see online proves tricky, you could use an online coin flipper and share your 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.
Create your character
- Everyone should work together to create a character. They should decide on a name and what strengths and weaknesses the character has. You'll only need one character for the group to share.
- Everyone should note down the character’s name, strengths, and weaknesses. It doesn’t matter whether they write on a piece of paper or type into a document, as long as they keep it safe and can add to it throughout the game.
- Everyone should also think of around five items their character is carrying that they can use in the story. It could be something like a sword to hack through bracken or a rope for climbing.
Begin your journey
- The person leading the activity should start the character’s story with a descriptive opening to set the scene.
- The first person should take control of the character. They should speak out loud and add a piece of detail to their character – they could talk about what they’re wearing or carrying, add a strength or weakness, or add a detail about their family or backstory.
- Everyone should add the detail to the description of their character.
- The first person should decide what the character will try to do.
- The person leading the activity game should flip a coin. If it lands on heads, the outcome is positive and the character succeeds. If it lands on tails, the outcome is negative and the character fails.
- The second person should take control of the character. They should narrate the outcome with as much detail as they can, then repeat steps two to five to add a detail and set up a situation for the next player.
- Everyone should keep taking it in turns until they’ve all had a turn at narrating an outcome, adding a detail, and setting up a situation.
- Once everyone has had a go, the person leading the activity should help everyone to start bringing the story to a close by moving the character towards completing a final challenge or goal. If you've got more time, you could repeat the steps above so that everyone can have more turns.
- Once the character has completed the final challenge, everyone should share the details they noted down on their sheets. Was everything captured? Did anyone miss anything?
Creating a character in lots of detail and having outcomes decided by chance is part of what Dungeons & Dragons is all about. How did it feel to create a character as a group? Was it easy to remember all the detail everyone added? How did it feel to rely on chance for the outcome of the character’s actions?
In this activity, everyone worked together to improvise a story and decide what the character would do when faced with a decision. Did the character successfully navigate any challenges? How did it feel to try and creatively approach a problem? How did people feel when the person in control of the character did something different to what they would’ve done?
- 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.