Epic Fantasy Table Top Gaming
Integrated with Group Therapy
Creating a Unique Path to Better Social Skills
For Ages 12 and Older
…Autism Spectrum Disorder
…Fans of Gaming Who Need Help Socializing Without Computers.
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A 10 Week Experience for
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About Social Forge RPG
The word “person” comes from a Latin root, “persona”, which is the mask an actor wears on stage. This makes sense since in many ways developing a personality and becoming a person is like creating a role to play on the stage of life. So its no surprise that pretending to be someone else and seeing the world anew is fun. We read the adventures of fictional characters in novels, watch them on the big screen, or even take on their persona in a video game. Many times we see strange new worlds and meet wacky characters. These journeys can be emotional, thought provoking, and exciting. Just like real life. A good story makes us feel like we’re sharing experiences with the characters and provokes intense feelings. This is the power of narrative. It’s used to entertain, to instruct, and sometimes both.
The role-playing game experience takes this a step further. Players are part of a story creation process. They take on the role of their character and must interact from that unique point of view, while at the same time understand how their decisions impact the group and overall story. Role playing games are different than other forms of story telling because players must work together in the same space, in real time, through actual dialogues in order to accomplish their goals. Again, just like real life. Unlike video games, a role playing game has no “cheats”, “saves” or “re-spawning”. Every player’s decision effects the story and the other participants. Technical strategies accomplish little, only genuine communication and teamwork will overcome obstacles.
Our Social Forge program was created to exploit the fun and insight of this unique story telling method in order to use the power of fictional characters to develop the skills required of real people. Players learn about tone of voice, facial expressions, teamwork, problem solving and perspective taking. Players must understand the emotions at work within the story and the impact their decisions make.
Standard social skill practice can be boring and rote. Social Forge enlists the fun and adventure of a fantasy story to keep participants engaged. Imagine being Frodo on the trek to Mordor or that famous wizard Harry as he navigates the dangers of Hogwarts.
Of course, players come to realize, that the most important part of being a hero is true understanding of what it means to be a person in any place or time.
Players create a unique fictional character following specific steps. These are designed to improve understanding about the complexities of human motivations, perspectives, and personality. The process also transforms character qualities into numbers and statistics that will be used in game play.
Once complete, players send their characters through a fantasy adventure outlined by the group leader. Players must make choices about their characters’ actions and use rolls of dice to determine success or failure. Players are challenged to speak in their character’s role and eventually have entire conversations from unique perspectives. The subtleties of facial expressions, body language, and word choice are examined as critical aspects of game play. Through teamwork, critical thinking, and communication the players overcome obstacles in their path to reach their goals. Every Social Forge experience is different since players choices impact the story, and unlike video games, players must live with their choices. Finding ways to mend strained relationships and make amends for impulsive decisions is part of the game play as well.
Players learn to be thoughtful in their choice and consider how their actions will be perceived. Emotional consideration becomes a key element of success in each game. In the end, there is no winning or losing just the fun.