Saturday, August 20, 2016

D&D School Has Begun!

The first day of D&D homeschool sessions has begun.  The hardest part, character creation.  Chase's character is a human fighter named Kai.  We started with character rolls, using 4 six-sided dice and taking away the lowest.  The other three numbers are added up for your Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence and Wisdom stats.  Looking at the Player's Handbook, we check the recommended builds for Fighter class, Strength and Constitution being the most important traits.  Chase chose to put his highest roll into Constitution to give his character more fortitude in combat.

Each roll is given a modifier, for example +3 on the roll of 17 for Constitution checks.

He did all the math himself.  Adding and modifying, customizing his character.  Moving on, we have Inventory after rolling for gold.  Our DM gave us some basic items to start with, but we bought the rest of our items, weapons and armor with our currency.  The Player's Handbook has a guide for the cost of each item.  Some items are only silver or copper, so the conversion works like this:  1 gp = 10 sp, and 1 sp = 10 cp.  Chase only bought his weapons and armor, but I spent nearly every coin my rogue had on adventuring trinkets to fill her pack.

Choosing skills and feats is the most time consuming part.  For this sets your character's abilities and will affect game play as we go on our adventures.  All told, the complete character creation process and a little bit of intro narration to place us in our setting, this took approximately 3 hours.  And he wasn't bored for a single second of it.  He sat in rapt attention as he did basic math, came up with creative stories for his character's personality and background and had quite a lot of writing to do.  He hates writing, but this was not something he hated at all.

Besides his character sheet, he also has a notebook, where he will be keeping track of his numbers, writing in notes about our adventures and adding background story for himself and other characters we encounter.  We're going to use his notes when we work on his school project, to build his own Role Playing Game (RPG) via RPG Maker VX Ace.  The story and characters from our D&D sessions will be featured in our game.

Not sure how long this will take us or how much we can finish, but perhaps we'll release the game for free at the end of it.  We'll be following tutorials to begin with.  RPG Maker Web has enough posted to give us about 11 weeks worth of lessons.  He can also earn badges for his progress via, they have several categories for game design, character creation, and table top gaming.

I may make resources for this game engine, releasing content for others to use.  He may be doing a lot of the pixel art characters, but I may work on portraits and tile sets.  He should have no difficulty with the character sprites.  He really enjoys that style of art and can do it with most basic programs.  I think we have GIMP 2 on his computer, which he can use to work on this.  Any support for this project is appreciated.  I will be releasing content here and exclusives on Patreon.  Some resources may be released in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

We didn't unroll the map yet, that will be revealed next Friday.  Kevin made the map via Pyromancers, and simplified the textures for ease on our printer.  He had to use a program to do poster printing so the pieces would print actual size as our game mat.  Each square in the grid is 1"x1".  Then, he added texture with a crayon and I helped taping map pages together.

He made the cover for his notebook.  And he'll be adding pages in the Table of Contents as we go, just like all his other subject interactive journals.  Hopefully, his handwriting will improve.  It is pretty rough and we struggle getting him to write in proper case with legible spacing.  He loathes writing, though he loves to read.

This summer, he read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy after having read The Hobbit.  Currently, he is reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 'trilogy'.  I think he just started book 3.  I believe I own all 5 books, 4 are in a collection along with the short story Young Zaphod Plays it Safe.  His reading is on a high school level, but his maturity is on a juvenile level.  So, finding appropriate books is becoming a challenge.  Suggestions are always welcomed.  Our limits are on sexually mature content and darker themes.  A bit of violence is okay, but not too graphic or cruel.

For our upcoming art class, we will work on character portraits.  We plan to also select and paint miniatures.  Kevin plans to make tokens, which he may release on Roll20's marketplace.  So, there will be a lot of focus around gaming day this year.  Kevin isn't currently working, so we can maintain this for a while.  Plans will need to be adjusted once he does get a job and the baby is born.  For now, there will be plenty of motivation to keep school interesting.  Besides being cool, it is something we are all doing together.

I don't think we will be streaming game play.  One, our camera isn't very good and our lighting is awful.  The whole ceiling fixture doesn't work.  Secondly, Twitch has rules about underage persons appearing in a stream.  Even though I think there would be plenty of interest in D&D homeschooling, I agree that children should not be on that site.  We could use YouTube, but for the same reasons, moderation, etc...  Finally, there is Skype for the Classroom, however, we kinda hate Skype and it's a terrible program.