D&D in the Classroom

One of the things I love is introducing games to new players. I was a Heroclix Judge, I ran VS System demos, I was a Press Ganger for Privateer Press, not just because I loved the games, but also because it’s so incredibly rewarding to introduce nascent nerds to a new hobby, to welcome them into a whole new world of experiences and good hobby times. This is part of why I’m so chuffed to see what Paris Conte’s been up to with the GenU GAMER program back in the old country, and why I was so excited to learn that one of my friend’s wives actually ran a Dungeons and Dragons group for students at her school.

Dungeons & Dragons can be so much more than just a bunch of people sitting around a table. It can help break down social and mental boundaries as players use roleplaying to explore not only the worlds of the game itself, but also to test personal expression and interaction. There’s a reason counselors often use roleplay excercises to help people work through some of the barriers they’re facing.

So when I was asked to paint some custom Heroforge models for some of the players in the school group, I was excited not only because, well, painting is good times, and painting for friends can be even better times, but also because these models were actually tied to a French Language assignment.

Each of the kids was tasked with describing their character in French. The description couldn’t be as basic as “My dude is a dwarf fighter” either, the descriptions included a glimpse of the personalities and backgrounds of the characters, which will only in turn enrich their D&D experience as they put their characters on the table with a better understanding of who the characters themselves are.

NB: The varnish frosted the models to a degree that wasn’t noticeable until I took the photos – darn you, brighter desk light! – but I put a correcting coat on after I took the pics.

Drizzy was a challenge, because when you’re told the model you’re painting is a Drow and they’re both hooded and masked, it’s difficult to showcase the traditional features of the dark elves – black skin and white hair. His mysterious nature is no doubt part of why he (looks at the translation) is very handsome, very cool, and has lots of female admirers. His self-resurrecting pet snake Ekans just adds to his bad boy mystique. A paladin, Drizzy delivers justice at the end of a steel crossbow bolt, and while he has a fine sense of humor, he knows that battle is no joking matter.

Tauriel is an elven ranger, and lover of animals. I was thrilled that she had a rat sitting on her hand, because I was able to paint it in honor of my own first rat, Joff. I’ve never owned a badger or a pony, but they were fun to paint too.  Tauriel and her friend Lia are both from the realm of Elfalona, where Tauriel disappoints her father by constantly taking off on adventures. So what if he’s the king? A rebel at heart, her skill with a longbow has been developed since early childhood.

Where Tauriel likes advetures, Lia would rather stay home in Elfalania (clearly, a different region from Elfalona), but Tauriel keeps dragging her along. If nothing else, it does mean that she gets to ride Tauriel’s unicorn. The notes  I received indicated that the player was a metal fan, so I thought I’d up the ante a little by having her ride a black unicorn. I’m a complete dork, so I have no idea, but that sounded kinda metal to me.

Frappuccino is a Dragonborn Monk with a noble heritage, who had everything stolen from him in his youth and now seeks vengeance. His Bronze Dragon heritage grants him lightning as a breath weapon, but channeling his Ki into destructive attacks is his preferred method of returning the suffering he felt as a youth to those who dealt it. Frappuccino’s player loves the Seven Deadly Sins anime, so a quick online search provided the color scheme.

Whistling Wind  is a Kenku Bard who was actually able to regain her own voice after defeating an ancient enemy. This came with a cost, however, as she was exiled. Her friends include the Tiefling Bard Vengeance, and a small white dragon named Tickles. Whistling Wind turns her bardic talents to creating joy whenever possible, and soundly trouncing Vengeance in the annual Battle of the Bards.

 

While Heroforge models often lack the crisp definition of dedicated sculpts, the window they open for creating a model to represent your own personal character is fantastic for those of us who have no idea how to sculpt ourselves. Painting this models for the class was a fun experience, and a change of pace from Crisis Protocol and Monsterpocalypse models. Here’s hoping they help the players engage with their characters even more.