Each episode begins with a message in Latin in which students learn the important task that they must accomplish in order to be successful in the adventure. The messages are given either by the gods or by ghosts. It is not necessary to do the translation to play the RPG. If you prefer, you can impart the message in English.
RPG #1: Escape from the City: This adventure most closely follows Book II of the Aeneid, specifically the part where Aeneas describes his last night in Troy. In this adventure, students will have many encounters similar to Aeneas. They will meet Hector's ghost (whose message in Latin they must translate). They will witness Pyrrhus' encounter with Priam, run into a group of Trojan fighters dressed as Greeks and of course, Helen. At the end of the adventure, Jupiter will draw the veil from their eyes and show the players how the gods are actively destroying Troy. I designed this adventure to give students' the sense of the conflict Aeneas feels between fighting to save his country and fleeing. It is, like all of the RPG episodes , not a carbon copy of Aeneas' experience but there are many parallels.
RPG #2: Island of the Lotus Eaters: This episode begins with a translation in which the gods speak to the group and tell them about the island and their mission to find the Sibyl. They meet the Lotus eaters which is always highly entertaining. It always interest me to see which characters decide to eat the Lotus and which don't. Besides the Lotus eaters, the group meets the Sibyl (from Book VI) and must find the golden bough for their trip to the underworld. They also encounters a love-sick nymph and collect much needed supplies for the journey ahead.
RPG #3: Island of the Cyclops: This adventure combines many different encounters contained in Book III of the Aeneid, specifically Aeneas' run in with the Harpies, the ghost Polydorus, and of course, the Cyclops. Polydorus whom the group meets first in the adventure describes his sad fate which is the translation for this adventure. Artistic liberties have been taken to contain these encounters on one island adventure but I believe that it captures many of the Aeneid's darker episodes.
Gods, Help Us! - In between episode 3 and 4, I usually have the students do the only graded assignment for this project. The guidelines for writing the prayer are in the Hilara drive. Each group must write a prayer in Latin to the gods and ask for the things they need to make it on the final leg of their journey. I usually give homework credit for each completed prayer and write a note as one of the "gods" that explains how many spaces they get to move or how much food and water they receive. Sometimes in the case of a particularly egregious prayer, the "god" upbraids them for their careless grammar and sends a thunderbolt to break apart the ship. Despite the fact that everyone is aware that I am all the gods, the students never question the judgement of the "gods" even when it's harsh. They have no problem however arguing with the "teacher" about grades or credit. If only the "gods" could run parent/teacher conferences...
RPG #4: Journey to the Underworld: The translation in this episode also begins this adventure. The gods tell the group about the dangers ahead and explain that they must find the Furies. This episode is taken from Book VI of the Aeneid. In this episode, characters will run into many famous inhabitants of the underworld not mentioned in the Aeneid but certainly part of Greco-Roman mythology. Characters encounter Tantalus, the Danaids, and Sisyphus. They must get past both Cerberus and Charon. Like Aeneas, the characters get a brief glimpse of their future glory. However, this glimpse is designed as a riddle that they must solve in order to escape the underworld. Each group is faced with the ghost of a future enemy of Rome and must "conjure" the future Roman hero who defeated that enemy. Students will need to do some brief in class research to determine that they must conjure a specific spirit and which spirit that is. The teacher, playing the part of the "Furies" gives them hints. However, too much conversation with the Furies may drive the characters to madness. For more specific information about the role of the teacher as Furies, read The Teacher's Guide to RPG #4 in the drive. Once students have escaped the underworld, they again move on the board to the finish line.
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