Stromness Academy Library

Books, reading and life in a school library

Library Activities – Role Playing Games


The role playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, has been played in the school library now for over 15 years. What started as a suggestion by pupils has grown from an initial group of 5 pupils and the school librarian, to over 25 pupils earlier this session. As the term and school year draws to a close, we now stand at 16 D & D players and 7 Magic the Gathering players coming to the library for Friday afternoon activities. D & D also has been running on a Tuesday after school for more experienced players. We also run short (25-30 min) games on a Thursday lunchtime.

As with all school extra-curricular activities, Role Playing Games fits with a number of Curriculum for Excellence outcomes across Literacy, Numeracy, and Health & Wellbeing. Further details are here, in particular connected to D & D.

Over the years we have also  played a little Warhammer (including a miniature painting competition), the Warhammer RPG, Call of Cthulhu, d20 Modern, and Vampire the Requiem, as well as Magic the Gathering and D & D in 3e, 3.5e, 4e and now 5e editions.

Our Friday activities are now only 50 minutes long (used to be 1hr 10min) so effectively we are lucky to have  40-45 minutes of game time which can prove somewhat restricting in the world of D & D. However, we have adapted and it means pupils and DMs (Dungeon Masters who lead a group) have to be disciplined in terms of time keeping and keeping on task.

Since the introduction of 5th edition we have been running the modules, published by Wizards of the Coast. Lost Mine of Phandelver (in the Starter Set) has been used for beginners’ groups, Curse of Strahd is run on a Tuesday after school for more experienced players, and Hoard of the Dragon Queen is run on a Friday. On a Thursday ‘drop in session’ the players are being run through The Mines of Madness which is a very typical ‘dungeon crawl’ and is proving relatively suitable for a short time slot. Two pupils run their own adventures using d20 Modern or 3.5e D & D.

The modules are great, but it takes a LONG time to get through them due to the short sessions. As a DM, this school librarian is (slowly) adapting her style to cope and is actually ad libbing more and trying to make encounters shorter and snappier. Running a full campaign such as Curse or Hoard is looking like it will take several years at this rate so a more ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ style is needed.

Next session, the Role Playing Games activity will be running in the same format offering Roleplaying Games:

  • A: Magic the Gathering
  • B: Beginners D & D (inc. beginner DMs)
  • C: Dungeons & Dragons


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