One of my favorite parts of RPGs (role playing games) is the ability to select an avatar type. This first meaningful choice of the game can impact the style of play throughout the game experience and helps make the game replayable by changing the player type. In the most basic RPGs players can become some version of a ‘warrior’ (a close combat specialist that has strong melee skills and high HP but little else) , ‘magician’ (little melee or defense ability but can cast long distance spells), ‘archer’ (able to strike from a distance but little defense), or ‘healers’ (like magicians but act as battlefield medics). Each of the types changes the players experience and comes with obvious trade-offs. I’ve always been interested in this element for classroom design so students can play into their strengths by choosing their type at the beginning of the quarter and allowing for some opportunities to change types along the way. Below are my thoughts on initial types but first a couple of reminders about my narrative.
- My narrative is based on a dystopian future where Historians have to work in secret underground cells. My goal is to keep a common aesthetic so there will be no Palidins of Holy Light or TechnoMechs.
- The initial choice is a bit of an interest inventory so these are based on preferred classroom activities. So writing, researching, collaboration preferences, tech abilities, artistic abilities, etc will be options.
- I’m trying to figure out ways to ‘impact gameplay’ which I’m thinking of in terms of influencing the students activity choices.
So with these basic understandings here are my first thoughts on avatar types and their powers.
- Curator – the basic role of my player/students are ‘collectors’ and the job is to watch and summarize key recordings located in secret government archives. Curators are advanced collectors. Power Bonus – They will earn a bonus for 100% completion of required collections and then access to Curator Missions – extra collections worth extra points. Special Skill – with 100% completion also earn a test card that will allow elimination of 2 incorrect answer choices for 2 Questions.
- Scholar – at the bunker (the underground HQ) the collections are turned into public history. Scholars have research abilities that add value to the collections. Power Bonus – scholars can earn extra XP by locating, summarizing, and presenting primary sources related to the currency collection materials to fellow bunker colleagues. Special skill – scholars are able to look at their notes to help with 2 test questions
- Protege – ‘Red’, the resident technical expert, is always looking for tech minded collectors to help out with her work. Power Bonus – 10% XP bonus for ‘public history’ missions. Secondary Power Bonus – 100xp Bonus for making a tutorial for apps, websites, and other necessary tools. Special skills – student may ask Mr. Powley to define up to two terms per test.
- Artisan – creative students can apply their skills to public history missions. Power Bonus – 10% XP bonus for assignments labeled artistic. Secondary Bonus – ‘gold’ bonus earned Special Skill – with 100% completion of the collection mission student earns a 3×5 index card that can be used as a cheat sheet for that unit’s exam.
- Collaborator – some bunker members are adept at organizing and collaborating with others. Power Bonus – if unlocked, can invite one friend to special breakout mission Secondary Bonus – after successful completion of a collaborative mission, collaborator can distribute up to 100xp among the group members. Special Skill – with 100% completion also earn a test card that will allow elimination of 2 incorrect answer choices for 2.
- Rogue – some people just like to work alone. They may have specialized skills but prefer to be by themselves. Power Bonus – if student scores above an 80% on the common assessment their notes average for that unit will be replaced with the test score average. Special Skill – Once per unit a Rogue may challenge a non-Rogue in to a USA test prep winner take all battle. The winner will earn a 100xp bonus.
This will be tied into the ‘necktie ranking system’ previously discussed. Each of the types will have different tie paraphenalia (stripes, paisley, polka dots, etc…) to differentiate on the ranking board. I’m also thinking of having different titles for each rank. Some alternative powers/skills may also include working an alternative economy piece into the types.