Edo Period Japan: Political Intrigue Role Play

Welcome to Edo City, Japan during the 1580s. After centuries of civil war, the lands are united under the military control of the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Edo period is an age of high art, purity of tradition, strict cultural stratification, and rigid codes of behaviour. The Imperial court is a place of spies, plots, lies, and hidden dangers. This is the world that the Adventures in World History Class has become immersed in.

The role play game takes place during the historical setting of the Early Edo Period, with key figures from history ranging from Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hattori Honso, Takeda Shingen, Araki Murashige, and Ando Morinari. Even though the setting is historically accurate, the plot of the game, and some fantastical and magical elements are fictional. The students have taken on the roles of Samurai, Yamabushi Mystics, Doshin Law Enforcers, Matagi Hunters, and Ninja; making up a rag-tag team of investigators tasked with uncovering an assassination plot targeting the Emperor.

Throughout the role-play game students are confronted with challenging social situations, difficult power dynamics, complicated castles, beautiful landscapes, dangerous combat, and legendary creatures straight from Edo period literature.

Through conflicting goals, and situations requiring cooperation, the students use their imaginations to navigate this complicated world. Knowledge of Edo period castle features, courtly etiquette, period-specific legends, and cultural understandings from the period are key to the success of the team in uncovering who is behind the plot.

Vikings and Videogames

The Grade 12 Adventures in World History class traveled through time to take on the roles of Advisors, Seers, Seafarers, and Warlords to the Norse King, Harald Hadrata. Using the video game Civilization VI as an experiential medium, students helped expand the Norse trade networks, explore the western seas, settle new lands, and conquer Scotland and northern England. Through the game’s complex mechanics students learned about the Vikings as more than raiders, but also as traders, farmers, shipbuilders, poets, artisans, and clothmakers.

The ultimate goal of the game was exploring as far west as Vinland, and establishing the first European settlement in what would later become Newfoundland. Students dispelled myths about horned helmets, and learned of the notable contributions of key figures like Harald Finehair, Egil Skallagrimson, Eric the Red, and Harald Hadrata.

While videogames can sometimes be a dubious learning tool, Civilization VI includes detailed historical information about the buildings, units, scientific discoveries, and cultural developments relevant to the period of study. Through their roles as Advisors, Seers, Seafarers, and Warlords, each group had a set of goals to work towards regarding trade, religious development, military conquest, pillaging resources, and scientific advancement. Each turn gave groups a variety of options to choose from, with many opportunities for student groups to find cooperation, conflict, and compromise. In the end, the students successfully developed trade routes to Denmark and Sweden, conquered the Scottish city of Dun Breatann, raided the Northumbrian capital of Eoferwic by land, pillaged the coasts of Wessex and Frankia, explored Iceland and Greenland, and sent a Eric the Red to explore and settle Vinland. The victorious cheers of the Viking students echoed over the waves.

Virtual ROM Tour

This February, students in the Adventures in World History class united the realities of distance learning with the excitement of a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum. Students were introduced to a series of objects and specimens from around the world and across vast periods of time. From the time of dinosaurs, to Ancient Egypt, to New France, to the 19th Century Northwest Coast, to species at risk today, Academy students experienced the stories of some of the most popular objects in the Royal Ontario Museum’s collection of over 13,000,000 objects.

Our guide explained the significance of several objects from the collection, the history of their journey to the ROM’s collections, and the stories behind them. The object most closely connected to the lessons of the course was the Mummy of Djedmaatesankh. This wealthy, land owning woman lived during the New Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt. CAT scans of her remains show that she likely died of an infection in her jaw. The art that encases her includes inscriptions about her career as a chanter in the temple of Amun Ra. The clues that this object offers us about the role of women, the types of work, and the burial practices of Ancient Egypt are priceless.

Play By Post Role Play


Thunder Clouds gather over the fantasy city of Eastmoore, where Dwarves, Gnomes, Humans, Bugbears, and Orcs coexist. After discovering that a flock of sheep has been stolen, a small group of adventurers find that their small time investigation is connected to events greater than they ever imagined. They ride off into an adventure of magic, trickery, tragedy, and heroism in a mysterious cloud city. Only by working together can they overcome the challenges ahead.

Play By Post Role Play is a shared story telling experience. It combines the adventure and cooperation of Dungeons and Dragons with the expression of Creative Writing. Students in the club are in charge of writing from the perspective of a character that they have created. Several times a week a new story post is created, which puts a challenge, puzzle, mystery, or adversary in conflict with the players. Players then consider how their character would respond to the situation and write a paragraph from the perspective of their character. Players can write back and forth, adding new narrative to their character’s actions in response to one another. With cooperation, and creativity they overcome the challenges.

Very Short Fiction Writing

At the Academy, students are taking on the challenge of Very Short Fiction Writing. A skill of concise writing to convey plot, theme, mood, and character in the shortest possible formats. Creating a cohesive storyline has its own set of challenges, developing powerful characters can be very tough, and building a theme and mood into a piece of literature is a difficult skill. Trying to do it all in a single page? Now that takes skill. The real challenge though: can you do it in only 6 words?

This is the question that was asked of the Grade 10 English class this Spring. They took on the task of creating meaningful stories in a single page, and the advanced mission of creating a story within the limit of only 6 words. The stories ranged from tragic, to comedic, to dramatic, to romantic.

What’s stopping you from testing your creativity? Try it out. You can use the examples created by the talented Grade 10 English Class to inspire you. 6-Word Stories, and Very Short Stories are a unique way to develop fictional narratives within hard limits.