Training Roleplaying GMs in Ugandan Villages

by Ben Parkinson in Koro

We did it
On 14th August 2015 we successfully raised £535 with 5 supporters in 14 days

We will teach rural children in Uganda to use Pathfinder to develop their imaginations, through developing a live Hollows Last Hope in Koro

by Ben Parkinson in Koro

Project aim

We will teach rural children in Uganda to use Pathfinder to develop their imaginations, through developing a live action RP adventure in Koro

About the project

Last May, we spent a few days trying out roleplaying with children, most of whom had never left the remote village in which they lived.  Initial results were promising and we found a core group of young people 10-14, who asked us to come back and teach them some more.

During this three week holiday, we intend to run a story adventure week, based on the theme of Hollows' Last Hope, a Pathfnder adventure, where adventurers search the environs of Falcon's Hollow, to find the ingredients to cure the Black Scour Taint, a disease that is affecting the members of the village.  Eventually the heroes find the relevant ingredients, a cure is brewed and the village saved.

We want to use this adventure to show children that they can be adventurers, solve problems themselves, develop confidence, become more creative and, perhaps, in time become social entrepreneurs, able to create change in their communities, as others in our project are doing.

In addition to this, we want to encourage some children to become involved in roleplaying in the village area of Koro and we will run some wilderness themed adventures over a period of this three week holiday.  Some suggestions could be:

  • Hollows Last Hope, followed by the Crown of the Kobold King.
  • The Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale
  • Kingmaker Part 1
  • River Into Darkness, for its ecology theme, which will blend with other activities we are running

During this three week programme, we will also be identifying some children to learn to be GMs and our team will be teaching them the basics and also leaving some dice and rules material up at our centre in Koro, which is now open 7 days a week, thanks to support from RPGers last May.

Above you can see the Pathfinder pawns that were sent from Paizo, to support our project.  We like to use the iconic characters, as explaining the whole concept of creating new characters can be extremely daunting to most new players - it's something we know to introduce once they have enjoyed a few sessions.  The picture also shows one of the maps that a member of the team frew up ahead of going to Koro.

We will be showing films to the children to help establish the theme and also to encourage them in problem-solving and more "heroic" behaviour.  We find the BBC "Merlin" series to have inspired many of our young social entrepreneurs and even encouraged them to improve on their English language skills, so they can follow the action.  In the photograph above, you can see the attraction of these films, which are rarely if ever seen in remote rural places.


Children will be split into adventuring groups, representing different factions in Eagle's Hollow:

The Lumber Consortium - this group will learn about forest conservation and gain experience points for the number of trees they have planted during the week.

Wandering Adventurers - this group will be given experience points for solving problems and showing initiative in the week, as well as bravery and self confidence.

The Mayor's Office - this group will learn the role of leaders in Koro and will get to meet the local councillor and find out what he does.  They will gain experience points for showing leadership and helping organise activities. 

The Merchants' Guild - this group will be given experience points for being cost conscious, making good buying decisions and taking responsibility for all acquisitions, such as buying water and food locally.  We will teach them how to budget and help them with developing maths skills. 

The Temple of Sarenrae - this group will be given experience points for showing compassion, helping other children who have been hurt or are upset and we will teach them some basic first aid skills.

All of the groups will participate in an organised programme, for which they will earn experience points depending on their performance in the activities.  Here in Uganda, children really enjoy working towards goals and earning points for what they do, knowing that if they give their commitment, then they will receive something beneficial to them. So we believe this "experience point" system will be particularly effective in the rural area.

Learning computing will also be integrated into the programme, so the children will be able to learn Microsoft Office packages, internet and also view all the Pathfinder material that we have on PDFs.  The intention will be to teach a smaller group of children how to use email and perhaps even products like Fantasy Grounds, so that they can participate in RPG remotely, thereby learning a range of other computing skills.

The Programme for Koro's Last Hope will include (in no particular order):

Introduction and Team Allocation

RPG Sessions

Board games

Making cooking pots out of clay

Mapping the forest 


Finding herbs

Poetry and Puzzles

Building a camp

Outrunning the Hill Giant - Sports activity

Potion-making (to cure the town)

Session on the Merits of Education

Find the Mushrooms, Avoid the Wolves

Party in Koro (to finish)


The money will be spent mainly on:

Travel to and from Koro

Food and drinks each day at lunchtime for participants and morning and evening for our organisers

Equipment to run the activities


We expect to work with up to 60 children during the activity in Koro and the outcomes will be:

a) A new team of children will be learn to be Pathfinder GMs

b) Approximately 60 children will develop their life experience, ethics and self confidence

c) Our own Butterfly Project members will develop experience in leading and managing activities, as well as fundraising, video production, blogging and working in rural areas 


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