This is part of my Road of Trials series in which I am chronicling my effort to plan a Hero’s Journey based Lesson in my 11th Grade HIS202: American History from 1877 to the Present. Click Here to see Part 1 Introduction, Part 2 Call to Adventure, Part 3 Meeting the Mentor, Pt 4 Road of Trials, Pt 5 Crossing the Threshold, Pt 6 Approaching the Innermost Cave, Pt 7 The Ascent and Resurrection, Pt 8 Returning with the Elixir, and Pt 9 Structural Outline

The majority of the quest will be students researching and working with sources as the Mentor guides them to the various “Tests”. Two of the three tests will involve a Boss Fight though so I will need to have that prepped and ready to go when the students get there. Part of the preparation is to have Battle Mechanics ready. How will the student’s deal damage to the Boss’ hit points? Will the Boss return the attack? Can students use items? What will the “Weapons” be in the fight? An important element to consider first is what the actually delivery mechanic will be for the fight.

My initial thought was to develop a system similar to Mr. Sederquist’s Form Fights but the variables and personalization necessary has made my brain break a little bit. Instead, I am going to mash up some of my old Dreadsheets concepts with some physical in-person aspects.

Student Battle Prep

After students have reached the Boss Fight challenge I will provide them with either a physical (if they are in class) or a PDF (if they contact me while in distance learning) with the questions that will be in the Boss Fight. The will then have until the next class meeting (or if they would like a special session) to answer the questions. Students will need to write their answers on a physical answer paper for quick access.

The In Person Boss Fight

At the designated time, students will take out their physical answer paper, attack dice, hearts sheet, and any potential item cards. Students will also access the Dreadsheet’s Spreadsheet (a link will be posted on Google Classroom) where they will input their dice rolls. I will act as “Boss” during the fight controlling the “Boss Sheet”. The in person boss fight will be done quickly since the questions will have already been answered. I will call the question and student will give their written answer. If it is correct then they are allowed to attack by rolling dice. If it is incorrect they will highlight their incorrect answer and I will give them the correct answer. Incorrect answers will cause students to lose a “heart”. If the student loses their hearts before the Boss is defeated then the fight ends and the student is defeated.

Recovering from a Defeat

Before the student can continue their quest they must “heal”. In order to do so they will need to complete a heart recovery activity based on the questions that they had answered incorrectly. This will be based on the test credit recovery form I have modified from Blake Harvard. Depending on the phase of the quest, once the hearts have been recovered students can “Replay” the Boss Fight or can simply continue onto the next phase.

Multiple Concurrent Boss Fights

This system will also be useful if several students ready to “Boss Fight” at the same time. As long as they are at the same phase of the quest I can administer the fight to several students with individual fights at the same time.

Attack Dice

During the first semester students created Superhero Avatars. Their superpowers determined special powers that they have when “playing” the class. They focused mainly on Common Assessment effects and some in class mechanics. I did not have a Boss Fight effect so this will need to be added to their superpower skill set. The simplest way to do this is allow them to select a combat weapon with attack capabilities. To offset students simply taking the most powerful weapon each weapon will also have a weakness. A powerful weapon may cost X number of hearts to activate prior to battle or some weapons may have an average attack but include special powers like once per boss fight an attack can be multiplied by a 4 sided die roll.


Students will start each boss fight with 3 hearts. With each incorrect answer they will lose 1 heart. Some items and special weapons abilities will reduce the amount of damaged faced.

The heart damage will be monitored in an old fashioned pen and paper fashion. Students will have laminated heart cards. At the beginning of the semester they will be given 3 heart cards. They may earn more hearts through certain side quests. When they miss a question they will use an expo marker to mark off the amount of damage to the hearts. If an item is used to recover hearts they can simply erase the damage. It is pretty analog but the digital options were bogging down my overall planning.