Monday, September 20, 2010


Well, now that school is back in, maybe I should pull my posts back a bit. I'd love to hear my readers' thoughts on that. Supposedly, there are recommendations out there that say that to have a successful blog, you need to post 3-4 times a day! I don't have the time to read that many posts a day on a single blog, nevermind writing them! I am, however, open to your thoughts on this.

As I mentioned, school is back in. I am lucky enough this year to be teaching a handful of Creative Writing courses. Sadly, not all of the unlucky children who were stuck with my class actually wanted it. Many of my students are interested in writing, or at least entertained enough by my antics that they don't mind. Several others are merely biding their time, hoping to be rescued. With that in mind, and characterization on my lesson plans, I developed a "polyhedral character generator." Wow, doesn't that sound nice and science-fictiony? The average 13 year old should be able to take over a planet with one of my "polyhedral character generators." Fortunately, they can't take over a planet, they can only create people.

Borrowing polyhedral dice from the math department, I sketched out a set of charts that would allow the students to roll character traits. Polyhedral dice are dice with more or less than 6 sides.
From Adventures in Elvenfire
Technically, six-sided dice are also polyhedral, but the rest of them are more interesting! Once the kids rolled out about 20 traits (I didn't make them roll every chart.), they had to flip their paper over and flesh out their character, making all those random facts make sense.

No surprise, the kids loved it. Every one of them. They rolled traits the entire period and begged to do it again. My fast-rollers asked if they could make a second character that same day, if they had the time. In short, it was a success. Much of the fun was in the odd combinations that developed. One student ended up with a werewolf who had been bitten by a vampire (that would explain why he was scared of the dark). To make things even more interesting, this same werewolf's favorite food was roast chicken, and he was a vegetarian! Quite the story behind that one. Another students rolled a character who was claustrophobic and afraid of open spaces. With a little more luck, he could have been afraid of milk and we'd have an award winning detective show on our hands!

It was loads of fun and I decided to share it with all of you, in case you too, want a vegetarian werewolf, or a man that's afraid of both large and small spaces. Currently, it's hosted here in Google Docs.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting. You sure know how to make a class fun Jace.

    Posting 3-4 times a day? Well, maybe that many times a month would be good. You have a lot of interesting ideas. Especially regarding education.