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Gabe / on Mon, Jun 3 2019 at 11:50 am

D&D as a tool

It’s true that I’ve done a lot of work trying to incorporate Sea of Thieves into D&D. Unlike the comic, however I’m not mad that there is an actual SoT role playing game on the way. There are a lot of reasons to sit around a table with your family and tell stories together. I will tell you that one of the reasons I did it is to help my son Noah who has struggled (like his Dad) with math. D&D has a lot of numbers in it and you’re often being asked to quickly add, subtract and even multiply. These are all things that Noah really needed help with but the normal methods of practicing these skills, like flash cards and pages of number problems were not working for him. His test scores were getting very low and Kara and I were not sure what to do next. We decided to try and use D&D to see if that could help Noah focus and work on his numbers.

For example one of the things I tried to do in my game was mimic the discovery of treasure chests based on following riddles which is something Noah loves to do in the game. The way I ended up doing this was turning the riddles into simple word problems that required some math and some role playing. In our story we are following a trail left by the Pirate Queen Eva Norton. She happens to be the mother of Noah’s character and she is leading the party through the places she lived as a child. Here’s one of her riddles from an earlier game we played.

Ten shells upon a sandy beach
Two thieving crabs will take two each
The sea takes three although it pains
Now add my age to what remains

So the party had to do a little work here to find out how old Eva was when she lived on this particular island. That required talking to some folks but eventually they learned she had been 9 years old. Once everyone at the table thinks they know the answer to the riddle they get out their “shovels” which is a d20. You place your d20 in front of you with the number you think is the answer up and that represents you driving your shovel into the sand. If it’s right then THUNK! you hit the chest!

One of my other mini games is diving for treasure. This one is really just a fun take on an old game called Shut the Box. In my version I used 9 d10 and lined them up with the top numbers showing 1-9. These dice represent the gems down in a chest deep below the surface of the ocean.

Two players stay up on the boat to pump air down to the player trying to get the gems. In my game of three players this worked great. The two players on the boat each roll 1 d6 and pass it down to the player in the diving suit. This represents their air and they can keep getting gems only as long as their air lasts. Each time they get handed two d6 they must look at the sum and try and remove a number of gems whose face up numbers equal that sum. For example if the players on the boat pass down a 4 and a 3, the diver has 7 to work with. They could take one gem with a seven face up or they might take the 5 gem and the 2 gem. When they can no longer retrieve any gems they are out of air and have to return to the surface with the treasure they collected.

In my game the players were trying to work together to gather enough gems to appease a giant Dragon Turtle. Noah loved it so much that he kept “diving” by himself after we had finished playing.

I cannot express how much I love our Friday night games. Sitting down together and role playing is some of best family time I could ask for. It gives you insights into your kids and lets you teach and guide them in way they don’t even really notice. So has it helped at all?

Just take a look at our refrigerator.

-Gabe out

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