Role-playing allows you to be someone else, to explore fantastical adventures and places. But it is more than that; it also allows you to explore who you are, how you interact with others and develop skills and friendships in a safe space.

It’s day four, the last day of this block. It is fair to say that we are all tired. In a quick meeting, we come to the realisation that we are trying to cover too much in too short a time. While we need to cover certain activities to comply with the terms of our funding, we need to look at our times and get much tighter on transitioning between different activities during the day.

Of course, this needs to be achieved without restricting the amazingly imaginative and creative work that the players are accomplishing. We are also very aware that next week’s group of players will be very different, and the mix will require a new approach focused on their needs, interests and levels of experience and knowledge. The whole idea of the summer club is for the players to have fun, explore their interests and develop those interests. The learning, social and emotional benefits are almost incidental. This is one of the reasons why DnD is such a great learning tool.

It is not just the players learning and developing new skills across the sessions; so are the GMs and parent helpers. The Games Masters are working with new and returning players, finding new ways of interacting with players that meet their individual needs, and learning to balance the needs of those groups so that everyone enjoys the session and gets to take something positive from it. One GM noted that the vital thing they learned was how much DnD could boost an individual’s confidence.

Parent helpers learned new things about their own teens, saw development and growth beyond any expectation and needed to take themselves outside their comfort zones. As a highly anxious person with limited experience working with teens, I felt like I was jumping into the deep end without a life jacket. My knowledge of DnD is limited, and I have no knowledge of other RP board games. If I couldn’t try and potentially fail in front of others, how could I ask my teen to do the same? It may be something you know deep down as a parent; this experience brought that to the surface.

The morning of the last day saw the two groups face off against the big bad and win. Teamwork was essential to overcoming the final hurdle, and only one character did not survive the final battle. There was a slight shift between the two teams to create even numbers, which forged new working alliances and saw a quieter player speak up more and take a more significant role in completing the quest.

The afternoon was designed so that the teens could spend time reminiscing about the game, talking about their favourite parts and telling their favourite stories. It prompted a great deal of laughter, more accounts and planning to ensure their characters in the coming weeks and games did not suffer the same fates or at least had a better chance of survival. The session ended with certificates being given to each participant, the award being related to something their character had achieved in-game. Oh, and, of course, there was cake.

About us:

Character Creation Roleplaying is based in Plymouth, UK and is the brainchild of Chris Nichols, senior DM and Chaos Wrangler. He is aided and abetted by DM Alex, Keep of the Dice. The work best when supported by the Empress of the Office (admin, general dogsbody, and writer) and an army of parent victims (volunteers, I meant volunteers).

Chris started by offering fun and educational DnD and roleplay game sessions to home educated children. This has now grown to include afterschool clubs and holiday clubs. We are hoping to expand our offering further and reach as many new players as possible.

Character Creation Roleplaying also offers a Lego club and monthly tabletop game day, which is open to the whole community.