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Content advisory: Because this game teaches high school level human anatomy, there will be reference to how the human body works, bodily functions, and other similar topics throughout the article and game.
The God Corpse is made to teach high school biology
The God Corpse is a D&D 5e adventure for three level 10 players that’s intended for teaching high schoolers about biology and lining up with their class material. D&D 5e is usually recommended for ages 8+, and the material in The God Corpse is made for a high school reading and comprehension level. So, I would say the age target here is high school kids/teens, however, I do think this is very adjustable to different players.
For trying this out with my kid (4yo), we haven’t really done D&D with him since we’re trying out so many systems that are geared more towards his specific age, so we didn’t try this out with D&D 5e rules. However, we do read a lot of kid’s science books with him, including ones on biology, and he LOVES them, so we wanted to make sure we still tried this out. I read through parts of the adventure with my kid, and he found it REALLY interesting. My kid was asking questions and wanted to stop to check out diagrams and was pointing to where on his body different parts were – it was really cool. We played “story mode” through several parts of the adventure, and I could see this easily being adjusted to fit different ages and systems depending on you and your players’ interests.
The God Corpse is set in the body of a god
The God Corpse takes place on and inside the body of a 6 mile tall humanoid god that is curled up and floating silently through the sky. Your mission is to explore the remains of this entity to discover what’s inside, uncover a mystery, or find a valuable treasure (or whatever else your game guide can think up).
Throughout the game, you travel across the skin, into the body, and through different body parts, learning about each area as you go along. For example, traveling through the circulatory system, you’ll learn about veins, encounter white vampiric mist (white blood cells), and need to navigate the chambers of the heart. In the respiratory system, you’ll travel through the nose, mouth, esophagus, and lungs, learning what each part looks like, what it is made out of, how it works, and how it connects to the next part as you explore.
Throughout the god corpse, you’ll find encounters, challenges, and NPCs too. There’s various mephits, oozes, and jellies that correspond to their respective organs, there’s challenges like dealing with stomach acid and collapsing lungs, and there’s some fun NPCs who reside in the body too, including a stranded druid in the guts that my kid thought was hilarious.
Your character in The God Corpse
The God Corpse is an adventure for D&D 5e, so there’s no specifics on character creation – they can be anyone! You could be a team of deiobiologists trying to understand the anatomy of a god, or you could be a party of regular D&D adventurers who are curious about what it is or looking for loot. The god corpse could float into any campaign and be part of any group’s adventure.
Game elements in The God Corpse are educational AND fun
As I said in the setting section, there are a ton of educational elements integrated into the game and taught by nature of playing it.
To get into the body through the ear, you have to learn how the ear works and what parts there are to explain how your characters make their way in. To get through the heart, you have to navigate the different chambers and understand how those chambers connect.
There’s also game elements hidden in challenges and encounters too – there’s liver flukes that attack while you’re in the endocrine system and hazardous microvilli in the intestines. You learn what they are and what they do through the encounters.
In the classroom, a lot of this is taught by reading and remembering, but this game teaches by experiencing and engaging. You are part of this exploration and are taking the time to really understand it because you need to for the game, which is a positive and fun activity that you’re more likely to remember. Instead of spending your time doing flashcards for surface memory knowledge to use on a test, you are maybe spending a full 4 hour session exploring the different parts of the brain or maybe 30 minutes fighting a parasite and seeing where in the body it lives and how it reacts. It’s like being able to have a massive group study session that both bolsters you instead of being draining and is a positive experience that can get you interested in the topic instead of it just being to get a grade.
Tongue and cheek humor
With regards to this being fun, there are a lot of humorous bits, wordplay, and interpretations interjected throughout the adventure.
From playing with how different D&D creatures line up with body functions (green slime in nose, stone gargoyles in the heart, and so many more) to just making some fun side jokes that my inner kid enjoys (the loot in the rump is referred to as “booty”) I was chuckling to myself for the whole game.
Making the adventure fun and adding humorous references gives a perfect balance to the educational parts so there’s a cycle of “learn” and “laugh” throughout the game. For students who are seeing some of these bits of information for the first time too, it’s also very satisfying to see a creature, like a liver fluke, look it up, and then be like… ah! I see what you did there! – it’s about having that aha moment when you get the joke or reference, having space to feel good about learning that, and enjoying that experience with the other players by laughing about it and getting excited together.
Awesome ideas and development
The God Corpse really handles making unique encounters for each part of the body so well. There’s a wide variety between them – each area isn’t just a fight, there’s different types of challenges, interesting terrain, and new spins on familiar encounters. They’re also very developed, particularly for the brain. There’s a literal mind palace to explore with 30 rooms that each teach something new or have interesting encounters – this one part alone could be an entire separate adventure.
What did my kid think about The God Corpse?
My kid (4yo) said that he liked going into the ear because it was just like when he learned about getting ear tubes put in and that he thought the druid was really funny and should have been called a poo-id because he lived near the bum. He was super interested in the whole game and asked a ton of questions, so this was highly educational and engaging for him.
Overall thoughts on The God Corpse
The God Corpse is a fantastic tool for teaching about anatomy and biology AND it’s also just a really fun game and campaign setting. Everything was well thought through and implemented, there’s clear diagrams to help show what the technical jargon means, and it was funny. I really enjoyed the whole game, and both my kid and I learned quite a bit from this. I’d give it an A+ and think that it’s an awesome way to teach students!
Find a copy of The God Corpse
The God Corpse can be found on Drive Thru RPG!
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