Thursday Game Club

Photo by Lea Böhm on Unsplash

This is the fourth meeting of our school game club in which we have played Tiny Dungeons 2e. This simple rules game most closely followed the dice games that I’ve taught the students in our math class. The mechanics of rolling x number of d6’s and counting any 5’s or 6’s. The students take to it like a duck to water.

We’ve been exploring the Ancient Academy by Stuart Robertson. This is a one page dungeon with very brief room description. It is a great dungeon crawl that works well for the rules lite gaming that I’m playing.

My players, all of them my students, explored the depths of the abandoned academy. They played a karhu (grizzly bear), a human sorcerer, and a goblin. The party made some inroads into the dungeon and encountered a pair of wandering dwarves who were looking for their brothers. Other creatures encountered were a squad of goblins (that the sorceror cast sleep upon), a giant spider, poisonous centipedes, zombies, a crypt thing, and a pair of nasty robber flies.

The kids worked their way through the dungeon using their abilities rather well. One kiddo was playing a goblin and he encountered a group of evil goblins. Instead of fighting, he used his charisma and bluffed them into joining with him! They had a couple dwarves tied up and the player sent the group out of the room to meet with his friends. It was funny, but the other players were surprised by a band of goblins walking into the other room!

Play went smoothly and the combats were fun. It was interesting to see how the kids roleplayed several of the encounters. If I forgot how a rule worked, I just made a ruling on the fly and away we went.

One of the PCs lost his halberd to a rust monster. The game notes stated it was dead, but I didn’t read it correctly. It was all the better for my mistake. The only thing I wish the kids would have done was explore the arena area better and encounter the two neanderthals imprisoned there. I’m a bit nostalgic about this part of the adventure. My son was exploring this same dungeon many years ago. He met up with neanderthals and freed them. They became henchmen for him! Who knows, maybe the kids will return to the arena and do that.

Stay tuned…more to come…

Thursday Game Club no.2

We had to postpone the school game club due to conferences last week and the kids were champing at the bit to play. During the day, a couple of the students mentioned that they were ready to continue the adventure. We had only three kiddos at this afternoons meeting. Play lasts about 2 hrs 15 min and we used all of it for the Tiny Dungeon 2e adventure that we had begun two weeks ago.

I made some paper tokens (really just color copied discs) for the kids characters. They like them and they looked good on the battlemat.

Our adventure continued on the mountain trail near the city of Xao-lin. The adventurers were in search of an abandoned monastery and rumors of a thieves guild hiding therein.

The party of three (a human sorcerer, a dwarf, and a grizzly bear karhu) stumbled upon a broken stone wall along the trail. They disturb the territory of a large carnivorous ape! The ape stood at the top of the wall, beat his chest, and threw stones down at them.

The players used a combination of magic (cantrips) and combat to defeat the beast. The kids worked well together and used some tactical thinking. I was impressed with the discussion they had and the plans they made. It wasn’t just charge and hack and slash.

They found the gorilla’s nest and got a little too anxious to search it…a large centipede tried to bite one of them but missed.

In the nest was a scroll tube with the light spell and an elven dagger that sheds light 15′ radius. They discovered magical runes that allow the user to turn the dagger’s light on and off.

They decided to rest a bit and recover some strength (and hp). The trail led them into a dark valley of bamboo. A strange mist curled along the forest floor. Along the trail near the edge of the forest a small shrine marked a warning to those that pass through.

This was a Spirit Grove, haunted by greedy ghosts. As the group moved through, the ghosts swarmed them and tried to pull equipment from them. They could do no harm, but managed to swipe several bundles of iron rations. Two of the PCs ran forward to try to escape but the dwarf learned that the elven dagger was able to dismiss them with a hit.

Leaving the Spirit Grove behind, the PCs finally came to the ruins of the monastery. They crept up to the entrance and inside the courtyard saw a ruined main building and a badly damaged tower. This is where it got really interesting. One of the kids thought they should push the tower over! The others joined in to help and I had them make some rolls (I ruled three victories would do it) but they were unable to topple it.

Instead they went in. The dwarf found a bad step on the stairway going up. At the top of the stairs they found a chest and some old furniture. The sorcerer stood guard while the dwarf began to examine the chest. I told them there were a few cobwebs up in the ceiling!

A fat spider came down on a single strand of web, intent on catching the dwarf. The PCs were not surprised, but both missed! The spider poisoned both of them before the karhu managed to rush up the stairs. Luckily the great bear was able to kill the spider single handedly while his two companions lay paralyzed.

He waited while the poison wore off. Then they made ready to examine the chest. The dwarf noticed (roll) a wire inside the chest when the lid was opened just a bit. The kids discussed the best course of action. Then one of them impulsively said, “I try to disarm it!” He failed his roll and I told him that the chest lid flies open and sprays him with an oily substance….then a few seconds later the oil ignites!

I rolled (out in the open) for damage…2d6…and he had 9 hit points so I thought this would just scare him a little…

Two dice hit the table…both 6’s!  12 points of fire damage.

The poor dwarf didn’t have a chance. This was the first character death and everyone took it really well…a lot of laughing and disbelief, but soon the kiddos were busy helping the player roll up another one! He decided to go with a goblin fighter type.

The chest contain a scroll of sleep and some gold and silver, and one magic arrow.

The PCs made a retreat to the town for more supplies and rest…and time was over for our weekly game club.

We are all looking forward to the next meeting!

Game Club



A couple of days ago, I introduced role-playing to my middle school students. It was the fourth meeting of our weekly game club at school. In the first three meetings we played Catan and Risk. The kids really enjoyed both games, Catan more so. This past meeting, I started our group (three students) on an adventure. The game system I wanted to present needed to be easy to run, allowing me to improvise as we go. I choose Tiny Dungeon 2e to start them. It allowed for character customization, quick character creation, and simple rules. Another possibility was 1974 Style. What cinched it for Tiny Dungeons, is that in my math class, I’ve been using dice games to make the lessons more interesting. The kids are fairly used to rolling 2 or 3 dice and counting up the successes (5’s and 6’s). Using this mechanic we’ve done some simple horse racing, battling robots, and also a Star Wars battle with X wing fighters attacking the Death Star. So it was an easy transition to the Tiny Dungeons. Later on, I’d like to see the kids play Pits & Perils and Whitebox.

The kids selected their heritages (one chose a human, another a Karhu (grizzly bear), and another a dwarf.) It was a quick matter to select some traits and get into the game.

The characters are:

Ymir, a human wizard who is strong and carries a polearm. Traits-spell touched, spell reader, toughness, and strong.

Merek, a grizzly bear Karhu, who carries a greatsword. Traits-toughness, brawler, and berserker.

Ulric, the dwarf, who carries a war axe. Traits-berserker, defender, and toughness.

The kids started on a mountain road which led to a walled town. We brainstormed ideas to the name the village. We agreed on Xaolin.

The kids were naturals at conversing with the guard. They entered the marketplace and each bought a bag of apples. Later on, they met a wise woman and procured some healing salves and settled in to the Duck and Dragon Inn for a rest (student named as well!)

Their sleep was interrupted by a thief in the night. Fortunately, they were awakened. The dwarf chased the thief down the stairs as the wizard tried to slip out the window (second floor) to cut the thief off. The karhu (bear) threw caution to the wind and crashed out the front window to drop on the thief as he fled. Unfortunately he missed his target and bruised some ribs.

They did catch the thief after a few hilarious moments and held him for the guards. The captain of the guard found a coin purse of gold on him and as he put it away for safekeeping, the dwarf declared he wanted to pick his pocket…he rolled a success to the cheers of all at the table!

They learned that the thief was part of a guild of thieves rumored to inhabit an old monastery up the mountain. The party geared up the next day in search of the monastery, but encounter five wolves. The wizard set one wolf’s tail afire and it fled and the others were dispatched or chased off quickly.

We had to leave it there for the day. Our next game will be in two weeks due to parent-teacher meetings intervening. But I have a feeling that they will all be eager to get back on the trail to explore the monastery!

Let me know if you have had success playing rpgs with younger players. It seems to be working out. They are working together, problem solving, and using their imagination. That can’t be a bad thing.