Activity: Time required (approximately)
*Character creation 1- 1.5 hours
*RPG adventures (4 total) 45 minutes each
*Translation (4 total) 20-30 minutes each
Moving the "boats" 5-10 minutes per time (You will need to move the boats approximately 6x)
The absolute minimum:
Create characters, do the first RPG = approximately 3 hours (the activities that are starred)
The whole program:
If you wish to adopt the whole program, I suggest that you do this the following way: Have students create characters the Thursday before February break and finish the process the next day, on Friday before vacation. Explain process the Friday after you get back from vacation and then do one of the 3 RPG's every other week. That will take the game approximately 6 weeks to finish. It is likely that you will need to skip some weeks due to vacations, field trips etc. In my experience, the game usually draws to a close 8- 10 weeks after we start. The fourth and final adventure happens towards the end of school often during the last week of school. It is a great activity to end the school year.
Dice are rolled to determine the outcome of combat - who hits who and how hard. Dice are used also to add and subtract life points from characters, as a result of combat and thus can determine the life or death of that character. Dice rolls move the ship from one side of the board to the other and determine events on the ship.
The exact times in which to use dice and how to use the dice are detailed in the adventure. The way that combat is determined is also listed in the Guide for the Muse. If you haven't done this before, I know it sounds complicated. But trust me, it's not as difficult as it sounds and the kids will get the hang of it really quickly.
The dice above are the dice necessary for this RPG. Each group needs this set: one 20 sided die, one 10 sided die, one 8 sided die, a traditional 6 sided die and one 4 sided die. In the case of the 4 sided die, the number to read is the one that's all the same, usually the one on the bottom. Sets of these dice are easily acquired from the local gaming store in your town.
I use the roll of the dice to help students understand the role of fate in mythology. Fate is unknowable and unwavering. It is often unfair - independent of a character's good or bad acts. It answers to no one, even Gods. Of course this fact has not prevented numerous heroes and gods from attempting to alter or escape it. There are numerous myths that illustrate this point. However, sometimes the RPG makes this point even clearer. One year while leading a class through the game, one group in the class seemed to have the advantage. They did extra homework assignments to advance their group and the gods (myself) had rewarded them handsomely. They had solved all the puzzles quickly with a minimum of bickering. They had escaped the underworld and were in sight of their new homeland. But then tragedy struck. They rolled dice and instead of sailing into harbor, they hit a terrible storm and then unbelievably, another, and then a third. While this group was struggling to put the pieces of their boat together, a second group, initially very far behind also rose out of the underworld and sailed smoothly into harbor, establishing their homeland first and winning the game. Deeply disappointed, the first group asked me, "Why? What happened? What did we do wrong?" I shrugged. "You were not fated to win," was all I could offer.
Fate is a cruel master - unyielding and unpredictable, deaf to the pleas of mortals and gods alike.