*As a note, the intro for this was written by Steph from TTRPGkids, and the below description was written by the game’s creator
Stories RPG: Luna Uni is a game designed for learning to write.
Created by ELA master teacher Michael Low, Luna Uni is a game that helps anyone create collaborative fiction; the teacher’s guide lets educators transform classrooms from teacher-led to student-led, and writing from a task to celebratory, creative play!
My last project, Starsworn, was a play-at-home, literacy-boosting game for families. This edition, made by and for teachers, is focused on helping educators, families, and anyone who wants to write for fun and to learn find a way to collaborate to generate stories that are as unique as the people they work with.
The game helps structure play and inspire writing, all while emphasizing the elements of good storytelling. What’s more, it creates a joyous, collaborative writing workshop culture for players, where shared fiction and editing isn’t about judgement, but the excitement of building an immersive world in with all the laughs and drama of your favorite shows and books!
Tested with groups of students from age 6 through high school, the approach adapts easily to different levels of student skill and need.
Luna Uni is a game in three parts:
One is an illustrated PDF of a game in which super-science students in the near future explore an expanding and mysterious universe. Writing is how characters grow and gain abilities, including lore seeds, scenarios, a story arc, rules, and digital tools to help in composing collaborative novels.
A second is a digital slides toolkit designed as a shared space for writing play – a place to illustrate, reference rules, plan characters and scenes, and share the world of the game as you build it.
The third is a teacher’s guide that explains how to use the approach to help students master writing, including pacing guides, assessment strategies, content standards alignment, and everything needed to put play into practice to transform writing from a chore to a joyous collaboration. Developed with classroom teachers who are currently working with the author to fine-tune the approach, there will also be extension suggestions for ways to incorporate other subjects – primarily the biological sciences, math, and social sciences.
Fund the game and tools it provides for you and your friends, or if you’re an educator (or plan to become one!), fund the full classroom toolkit!
Role-playing games have received a lot of attention …
… as excellent socio-emotional and therapeutic tools in recent years, and many teachers have been bringing elements of the story-telling approach into their classrooms.
Stories RPG is designed both to help build a collaborative, playful culture AND help players learn to write. Players design a world by answering questions about it and coming to consensus on how they want their universe to work, building a collaborative slides document in with they write, illustrating with whatever art inspires them. They build characters, then play through story scenes using a dice-based resolution system.
Play alternates between “Lore” sessions, in which players read, edit, share, and celebrate their fiction, and “Live” sessions, where they take on the role of characters facing challenges, embarking on adventures, and finding inspiration in improvised scenes. Playing together and rolling dice adds inspiration and surprise, taking away the “blank page pressure” of the solo author; each week, players can re-write the scenes they’ve played through, using the action and dialogue to inspire, or create new worlds, characters, and plot lines to introduce in the next session. This leads to a living portfolio of work – a collective novel that grows as students work together.
Unlike traditional RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, Stories RPG encourages players to take on the role of not JUST their own “avatar” – the character they play in the game – but also that of an author on a team of writers working on a collective tale: creating antagonists, protagonists, settings, themes, and plots of their own. It’s not a game about “winning,” but rather telling great tales: if failure looms, players might need an “author break” to discuss whether the trouble failing causes for the character might be GREAT for the drama of the story.
In short, this immersive approach is centered on student voice, autonomy, creativity, and collaboration, and fueled by the creation of a shared play-world that inspires, energizes, and makes academic skill acquisition joyous, rewarding, and purpose-driven.
As the approach is relatively new, there is some theoretical and light research support, but not yet a full impact study. We’re beginning implementation research now; we hope to complete a full-year impact study in the 2023-2024 school year!
Luna Uni is a setting …
… one of many I’ve developed for the Stories RPG approach! – that invites connections to the sciences.
In the far future, humans leave Earth to find the universe is populated by myriad peoples, all united by genetic connections back to “the Progenitors”: a mysterious, ancient species that seeded the universe with life before disappearing. Now, the peoples send their best and brightest – the misfits who can’t settle in to the humdrum peaceful life of a Coreworlder – to Luna Uni, the center of learning, research, and super-science!
Players take on the role of new students at Luna Uni with amazing abilities and punk rock scientist sensibilities. “Lunies” don’t just go to class – they hunt ancient artifacts and face the kind of galactic challenges no Corworlder could.
Not only do players create the story and abilities of their own characters, but other students and teachers as well, in addition to mysterious planets, creatures and more! There is a strong ecological theme in this setting, and it will include lesson plans on creating otherworld ecosystems and explaining the niche fantastic creature’s occupy there, in addition to helping players design compelling challenges and immersive scenarios as fiction.
Thank you for checking this project out, and go check out the Luna Uni Kickstarter here to support this project and try out this awesome game and resource!
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