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, Pt 9 Structural Outline, and Pt 10 Battle Mechanics

The central narrative theme of the quest is that the students are superheros and have received their powers from the “Source Energy”. There powers came from an accidental explosion of source energy near the Declaration of Independence on a class field trip when a mysterious stranger couldn’t control the energy they were trying to capture. The short version of the story is that certain primary sources are so powerful that they create an energy field that can be released through various means. Unfortunately the Big Bad guy has also learned how to do this and must be battled. As the students gather more skills and complete more quests they will learn how to harness the “Source Energy”. This will take the form of “weapons” and “items” which can be used during boss fights and other classroom situations.

A slide from the short comic story that introduced the narrative.


I don’t like using actual “weapons” in a school setting so for this particular narrative the weapons will be more like “wands”. They will be common school instruments that can harness and redirect the source energy held within the student. Pens, pencils, and paintbrushes jump to mind. As the semester goes along I may allow students to propose new devices that suit their personalities better. The weapon of choice though will be responsible for the attack dice rolled, starting hit points, and other boss fight modifiers.

  • Dynamo Pen – 8 sided die attack, 3 hearts, no modifiers
  • Flash Pen – 6 sided die attack, 4 hearts, no modifiers
  • Pen of Bone and Ink – 2 – 6 sided Dice, 3 hearts, can only attack if one of the dice is an even number
  • Pencil of Power- 10 Sided die attack, 2 hearts, no modifiers
  • Pencil of Concentration – 8 sided die attack, 2 hearts, 1 chain attack
  • Brush of Doom – 6 sided die attack, 3 hearts, once per boss fight can multiply attack with a 4 sided die roll
  • Brush with Death – 2-8 sided dice attack, 1 heart, no modifiers
  • Unity Brush – 6 sided die attack, 2 hearts, select one partner can advise. If advised max attack is 4 sided.

I will develop more of these and students will be able to add these weapons to their existing superpowers. In the past I have made items using MTGCardsmith but my district now blocks the site. I have also used Google Draw templates to create item cards which are serviceable. In either case students will start the quest with

  1. Three laminated Heart Cards
  2. A starter Weapon
  3. a 9 slot polyethylene card holder that will serve as their “inventory”.
The laminated hearts will be a variation on this old “Hunter’s Heart” card from years past…


The inventory will be populated with “Artifacts” that students receive during the quest. For example, in the Civil Rights Quest students will collect 3 pieces of an artifact during the road of trials that will then be combined to open the portal to the first boss fight. Once combined it can also serve as a battle implement with either a single use or permanent effect. I have created a great deal of items in the past and most would be applicable to these boss fights.

Powercards: Unit 3 Items, By the Power of Grayskull…, Item Cards: Symbols and Images Meaning Map