Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Operation KTHMA: Day 1, as it actually went down

"According to the student administration system, this is CAMS 3212, Greek Historical Writings. Now that the door is closed, however, I can reveal that what will actually happen in this room this semester is. . ."

I pushed the button on the projector control panel. Nothing happened. Groans from the students who'd been following along on Facebook, followed by sympathetic laughter. A few more button presses, and the slides sprang to life.

"Operation KTHMA."

Really the thing went better than I could have hoped. Only a couple students wore looks that suggested they had been trapped in a hot classroom with a dangerous lunatic.

In fact, two game dynamics that hadn't previously crystallized came to full realization as I was leading us through the set-up for the game: 1) discussion-grinding, where students get 11XP for saying anything meaningful, and multiples of 11XP for saying something clever (one of my favorite students is trying to figure out what the minimum meaningful utterance might be; I can't wait to see whether he finds a way to macro it); 2) the beginnings of a PvP system, where the different classes (which I have to be very careful not to spoil here) will act in opposition to one another—the story I've got planned will offer a lot of opportunity for role-playing the worldviews of the classes, which are decidely not in harmony with one another.

As of midnight last night, two thirds of the class had undergone the Psychometric Sortition Tool, and had been placed in their classes. One of the students had actually been proactive and followed an instruction the Demiurge (that is, I) had left on the site but had not mentioned in the session, to start a thread in the "Hall of κλέος." I awarded him his Greek name, Chyrsopolis, with a title, Protocletic (that is, first-glorified), 22XP, and a picture of the "Sword of κλέος," shown above, as a trophy. Subsequent posts will get diminishing rewards.

In my next update, I'll say more about the classes, since by then all the students will have been assigned to one, and about the "courseplay," since in tomorrow's session I'll be training them in one of the fundamental mechanics, the use of the Textospatiotemporal Transportation Device.