Corey and Lori's Quest Log


Corey and Lori’s Quest Log

Archive for the ‘School for Heroes’ Category

Talking the Talk

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Hero's QuestOn Tuesday night, Aug. 21, Lori and I were invited to do a podcast with Chris Pope, social media manager for the Guys from Andromeda Space Venture. We talked for about 75 minutes. You can find link’s to the podcast here.

Much of the discussion was about the making of Quest for Glory and tales about Sierra On-line. We have fun talking about our experiences, and the memories come rushing back. Chris did a great job as host, so we were able to share some of those old memories.

“You don’t have a game until all the pieces are there. It takes a good game design, it takes great storytelling, puzzles, wonderful graphics, and great music. The voice acting adds another layer, and when you have everything working together, that’s when you look back on having worked two or three years of twelve hour days and six- or seven-day weeks… and think, ‘You know? Maybe it was worth it.’” – Corey

That Was Then, This is Now

At the end of the talk (about 47 minutes in), Chris asked us about our current plans and the upcoming School for Heroes game. Lori started it off by saying, “Basically, the stars are aligning.” When we left Sierra in the late 90’s, the industry had shifted entirely over to first-person shooters, and publishers had no interest in making story-oriented games.

Now the tools are better, so games can be made for more reasonable budgets, and Kickstarter makes publisher-free funding possible. As a result, Lori and I started dipping our toes back into the game development water by doing some contract design work. We also had many fans asking us, “When are you going to do your Kickstarter?” and several developers saying, “We want to work with you on a game.” Suddenly the impossible began to seem possible again.

What’s It All About, Alfie?

Our new School for Heroes game is most definitely not Quest for Glory, but it has a few elements in common. We are once again reaching back into our tabletop D&D roots to make a game that combines role-playing with story and strong character interactions.

This time, the emphasis is on the role-playing. The School for Heroes will be a 2D game with two distinct parts – In the school and beneath it in the catacombs. The latter part is an old-fashioned “dungeon crawl” with tactical combat similar to Fallout 2 or Dungeonmaster. Your character will explore the catacombs to solve mysteries, fight monsters, and acquire money and equipment.

Back in school, you will improve your skills and learn how to be a Hero and a better adventurer. You are also competing against other students and trying to survive hostile instructors. Getting to know the other students and weave your way through social interaction is just as important as your schoolwork and “dungeon time”. If you’ve played Persona 2, you’ll have a feel for that part of the game, although we will give you far more choices.

We plan to develop the game in several phases. In the first scenario, you will play a Rogue. For you, the school is more like a reform school, and most of your instructors treat you like a prisoner. You need to find a way to improve your skills, and at the same time, you learn what it means to be a Hero. And it’s a good thing, because you’ll need both sides to survive.

When you come back to the game in the second scenario (as a Wizard), you’ll be in the same setting, but playing an entirely different game. The dialogue, story, and your abilities are all new. In the third scenario, you take on the role of a Warrior, and once again playing a completely different version of the story. We also plan to include the Paladin scenario in the third release, but only players who have completed at least one of the other character stories will be able to unlock and play it.

Of course, there will also be plenty of our trademark humor. After all, even great dramas usually include humor to release the tension occasionally. Our goal is to make games that are at least as fun as Quest for Glory or Castle of Dr. Brain. But we also want to make sure that every game is a new experience. Every time we make a game, we ask, “Would we enjoy playing this?” If the answer is “Uh, maybe,” we do something else.

Enjoy the podcast, and we hope all of you will join us in November on our Kickstarter Adventure!

 

The School for Heroes – A New Hope

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

New HopeA long time ago, in a Zeitgeist far, far away, Lori Ann Cole and Mishell Baker opened the “How to Be a Hero” Web site. For the next three years, Lori worked tirelessly to promote the idea of being a fantasy Hero in real life. Then there came a great disturbance in the Force, and hundreds of voices cried out in agony, then were silenced.

But the Force of Heroism is not so easily defeated. Two years later, a new school rose up to defy the Empire of Greed, Evil, and Selfishness. Based on the Principles of Truth, Freedom, and above all Heroism, the School for Heroes rose up in the Fall of 2008 with a bold new mission.

Return of the Heroes

The new school for young Padawans – um, Heroes – strove to be fun, challenging, entertaining, interactive, inspiring, meaningful, and above all, a Force for Good in the world. We wanted it to be a game as well as a school.

Since the school opened, over 3,000 potential Heroes have taken the new Hero Test. More than 600 of those took the critical next step of completing the first Hero Mission to become Rank One Heroes-in-training.

But what of the school’s Mission? How well did we achieve our lofty goals?

I think we can safely say we made the “game” of the school challenging enough. Just 74 students braved the challenges to advance to Rank Two or higher. Was the school too challenging? Or did the dropouts not find it as fun as they expected?

Seventy-four Heroes isn’t bad. Rudyard Kipling wrote about “one man in a thousand”, and Diogenes would have been happy to find a single honest man. Seventy-four trained Jedi would be a mighty Force to stand up against the Empire. But are they enough to justify the continued existence of the school and an ever more challenging job for its creators?

This is the split personality of the School for Heroes. It is a game, a school, a soapbox for our opinions, and a social site. But how well has it really succeeded at any of these? Maybe the time has come to find the school’s real focus.

School Recess

Rise AgainOur favorite saying is, “Rule #1 – The Game Must Be Fun.” And that applies to the school as well. We think we have lost sight of that in the school in our quest to “educate” would-be heroes. Our goal with Castle of Dr. Brain and Mixed-Up Fairy Tales was stealth education – learning while having fun – and we want the school to work the same way.

Everyone has worked very hard for the last three years (and many of us, for three years before that at the previous school site). It is time for a recess while Lori and I reinvent the school.

We are not going away, but we are taking a break. We think we can make the school more like a game, and less like a job. We think we can find ways to integrate the social and the learning sides of the school. We also think we can change Lori’s and my role from teachers to writers and designers. Our personal touch will still be there in our words and beliefs, but we don’t need to give a personal response to every assignment.

For the school to succeed and grow, it needs to be able to scale… even to the extent of a Galaxy-wide Republic.

But we are already at the limit of what Lori and I can handle. The current School is not scalable. To succeed at making a big difference in the world, the School must become bigger than its founders.

The New Hope

For now, that unfortunately means that we have had to stop accepting new assignments. We simply do not have time to respond individually while developing the new version of the school. It will take a while.

But we promise you that we are committed to making the school even better, and above all, fun. The School for Heroes will rise again, a new hope for the current and next generation of Heroes.

In the meantime, never stop being a Hero. We have taught you a little, and you have learned much more on your own. Take those lessons and apply them to every aspect of your daily life. It is up to you to show the Galaxy what a few committed Heroes can do.

May the Force of Heroism be with you!

New Hope

 

Authority and Responsibility on the Bozo Bus

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

“I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus” – Firesign Theater

We added forums to the school for heroes site a couple of weeks ago, and the response so far has been amazing. We had over 100 posts before we opened the forum (we accidentally made a link to them while we were testing the software). We currently have about 2000 posts… in two weeks.

No BozosSeveral forum users have raised the question, “What are the rules of the forum?” We find that an interesting question because we didn’t really make “rules” – We provided “guidelines” for use of the forum. It’s a subtle, but important, distinction. “Rules” are cast in concrete, cover only the situations they specify, and need to be enforced by Those In Authority.

That’s a bit of a problem for us, because we’re supposed to be the Authorities. We don’t have time to go through every post and red-pencil the ones that “break the rules.” We wouldn’t do that if we did have the time. Censorship is a good way to kill discussions and it’s insulting to any well-intentioned posters. It’s just not fun. It’s a good thing that there’s a better way…

Who Shall Watch the Watchmen?

Moderators on our forums have a lot of power. We can delete or edit other people’s posts, lock threads so that no more posts can be made in them, and flag users as “bozos”. A bozo can post anything, but no other user will see the posts. But power tends to corrupt, and the more it is used, the more it seems appropriate to use it in borderline cases.

Where is the line between “acceptable” and “unacceptable”, between “questionable taste” and “forbidden”? We don’t think that censorship is our job as moderators. We’re here to support and help, not to shut a conversation down. We can help direct an off-topic discussion, but so can any student. And that’s the key to making the Student Center great.

Who Watches?

 

It’s EVERYONE”S Responsibility

“… institutionally established authority [is] a weak substitute for genuine authority, which comes from having the best grasp of the situation… The issue of who owns what responsibility is not very interesting. In fact, it’s a waste of time to try to sort out ownership.” – Jim McCarthy, “Dynamics of Software Development”

Think of the power that gives every one of you! You don’t need Official Authority to fix a problem. We are very fortunate that our forums are populated by this tribe of Heroes. One of the hallmarks of heroism is personal responsibility. Every contributor to the Student Center can consider how their words will “play” to other readers and decide whether those words are Heroic. It’s really a variation on The Golden Rule – “Write unto others as you would have them write unto you.”

That doesn’t mean you need to water your message down. It’s ok – even great – to write controversial messages that will add energy to a discussion. However, there’s a not-so-subtle distinction between unconsidered and inconsiderate messages such as, “You’re an idiot,” vs. something like, “Giving spare change to beggars may seem like a great way to help the poor, but handouts don’t work. It just makes them even more dependent on continuing gifts so they don’t look for work.” It takes a little longer to make a reasoned argument, but it’s a lot more valuable to everyone reading it. We might not agree with what you say, but we will defend – to the pain – your right to say it.

Other readers may also disagree with your premises or the point you are making. That’s fine; that leads to spirited discussions. But ad hominem arguments – attacking the person rather than the ideas – are discussion-killers, not discussion-makers. Trite answers – “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard” – are equally useless. Keep it friendly even when the discussion gets intense.

Don’t Flip the Bozo Bit

Jim McCarthy wrote a great book on managing project teams in 1995, “Dynamics of Software Development” . He subtitled it, “Don’t Flip the Bozo Bit and 53 More Rules for Delivering Great Software on Time.” (The current edition is up to 56 rules.)

What, you may ask, is a “Bozo Bit”?

In software (and hardware), a “bit” is a toggle switch – It is either “On” or “Off” at any given time. “Bozo” was one of the most famous circus clowns, and clowns are best known for tripping over their own feet and in general getting in the way of progress. So “a bozo” is someone who is a net negative to getting things done.

We are wired to make snap judgments. When you see a tiger moving, it doesn’t pay to sit there and analyze whether you’re its target. You move – as fast as you can. Unfortunately, we often let that emotional wiring override our good sense. When someone does a thing or two we don’t like, it’s very easy to decide they’re a bozo.

McCarthy’s point is that once we “flip the bozo bit,” everything that person does is filtered through the clown filter. They could be making some really great decisions and doing terrific work, but we won’t see it that way. All we will see is that bozo clowning around, trying to grab personal glory at the expense of progress, and otherwise getting in the way. Once the bozo bit is On, it becomes very difficult to turn it off again.

The thing is, that’s not what people are or how they work. The wisest among us sometimes does something idiotic. What a person is and what that person does can be two very different things.

BBPress (the software behind the Student Center) provides the moderators with a Bozo Bit, and we delight in not using it. There are no bozos in the Student Center or the School. Instead we have are a disparate group of bright, goal-oriented students who work, think, and approach problems in different ways. Lori and I see that diversity as a strength, not as a weakness.

We rely on all of our students to set their own bozo bits – not on themselves or others, but on the words they might say that could be harmful. To the extent you “write as a Hero,” nobody will have to censor your words or delete your posts. Words from the heart are never truly evil. Well, not very evil – Even the Evil Meep has valuable things to contribute to the School.

One Forum All, and All Forum One

The forums are a place for all students to share, discuss, grow, learn, and have fun together. We hope you will take advantage of them – in a responsible way. If you haven’t posted something already, at least get in there and introduce yourself to the other students. Try it; you’ll like it!

And if you have to be a bozo, at least be the best bozo you can be. Bozo the Clown was famous because he knew how to make people laugh. It’s ok to be a bozo of that type! In some sense we’re all bozos on this bus, and that means it’s up to every one of us to provide some of the entertainment. Otherwise we’ll have to leave that all up to boring people whose noses don’t even honk.

Transform Your Future

The Rogue – Hero on the Ropes

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Rogue Ninja Meep - FailOf all the classes that we don’t have at The School for Heroes, the Rogue is the most controversial. More commonly thought of as “criminal” – or at least slightly “naughty” – than as “hero”, Rogues often have a difficult public relations task. And that’s why there are No Rogues in The School for Heroes… that we admit to.

Some famous Rogue Heroes include James Bond, Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Robin Hood. Note that we only listed fictional ones. The real ones are too good at disguising their Roguishness. African and Native American mythology prominently feature “trickster gods” (Anansi the spider and Coyote) in devious roles. In the old Greek stories, Prometheus was a Rogue when he stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. So Rogues have been around for a long, long time.

So why don’t you hear anything about the virtues of Rogues. Maybe they just don’t want you to know. If they told you, they’d have to kill you.

Rogue? Hero? What?

Rogues know that when you do things “by the book,” you get mediocre results. They strive for exceptional results by breaking the book, tearing out the pages, and using them for something more practical, like ransom notes or toilet paper. They tend to do things indirectly, because direct action is too easily countered. And boring. Rogues have a problem with boredom.

Heroic Rogues go a step farther. They may break the rules – or even laws they consider stupid – but they always have a Heroic goal in mind. Spiderman isn’t concerned with reading criminals their Miranda Rights. He leaves that to the authorities… and stays away from those authorities himself.

Rogues are clever. They come up with original solutions to problems. More importantly, they respond quickly and will change their plans if things go wrong. In “Stone Soup,” a old Brothers Grimm fairy tale, there is the tale of three hungry travelers who wander into a strange village. The villagers are suspicious and leery of the strangers. However, the travelers convince the villagers that they are making a delicious soup out of nothing but water and stones, but that it just needs a little flavoring to be perfect. One by one, the villagers supply all the rest of the soup ingredients, and everyone has a wonderful feast together. The travelers are Rogues, but not bad people. In the end, everyone benefits from their charade. They are trickster heroes.

Rogues “live on the edge”, always in danger, so they learn ways to avoid the public spotlight and get out of trouble. That last attribute is one of the main traits that separate Rogues from Bards – Bards love the spotlight and feel safer in the light than in the shadows. Rogues love shadows.

Rogues are also surprisingly good listeners. They’ll listen at keyholes, at parties, or tap your phone line. . . (Well, maybe “good” listener isn’t the right word there.)

Trials of a Trickster

Rogues tend to be connivers, tricksters, and willing to flout any rule or law that gets in their way. That makes it very tempting for a Rogue to go from a clever solver-of-problems to a dirty, rotten scoundrel. And nobody likes a dirty, rotten scoundrel.

Rogues sometimes have trouble in social settings because they are so independent by nature. It’s easy for Rogues to become cynical and think that others are trying to take advantage of them. This is useful in business relationships, but tends to get in the way of real friendships. Rogues need to learn to separate professional paranoia from the need for trust in a relationship. Friends frown when they catch you reading their email.

Rogues, like Warriors, tend to be arrogant. They think they can get away with anything because they’ve managed just that in the past. Well, just as spies and Old West gunfighters tended to have short lives, so do Rogues that try to get away with too much, too often. Rogues have to decide when the payoffs justify sticking their necks out. If they choose poorly, the noose awaits. And, as we all know, no noose is good noose.

A Hard Way to Be a Hero

Yes, Rogues can be Heroes, but it isn’t an easy journey. They walk a treacherous tightrope of temptation above a ravening pack of pit bulls. Rogue Heroes must keep their feet on the path of the Greater Good. One false step, and they are destined to be doggie doo-doo.

Rogues have many talents they can use to do good. Because they don’t care if they get credit for their deeds, they can use others as their “front men” by convincing them that the Rogue’s plan is their own. They can find ways to help others when bureaucracies get in the way. And they can out-con the con-men.

All Rogues know that the End justifies the Means; the goal is to succeed. Rogue Heroes know which Ends are worth justifying. Remember, there’s no justice, there’s just us. So make your sneaky plans for your Roguish Good Deeds. We’re on to you, Rogue Hero, and you’re going to have to be awfully clever to be a Hero without getting caught at it!

 

Rogue

The Art of War(riors)

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Patton MeepOn the surface, the brash, straight-forward Warrior seems like the easiest and most obvious character class to define. Examples of great Warriors abound – Genghis Khan, Caesar, Conan, Wolverine, Hagar the Horrible, Patton, Leonidas, and many others. (Okay, so some of these are greater than others.) We all know what a Warrior is and does…

Or do we?

When we think of a Warrior, it might be one of several images – the plate-armored “human tank,” the wild-eyed berserker, the big, dumb, fighter, or the calm strategist. Each serves an important role in battle, and each is a very different archetype. Here at the School, when we say Warrior, we mean Leader.

If you took the Hero Test and became a Warrior, you would rather do something than sit around. You crave excitement and adventure. You are decisive. Other people respect that and look to you for decisions and answers when the going gets tough. Our great Warrior heroes need the judgment of Right and Wrong and the heart and soul to choose the Right.

Leadership

Back in October, we wrote an article called Tribal Lore about a book called Tribes: We need you to lead us by Seth Godin. The concepts are powerful for everyone, but Warriors especially should read the article and consider getting the book.

Seth says, “The first thing you need to know is that individuals have far more power than ever before in history.” You don’t need a title to be a leader. You just have to be passionate about an idea and willing to do the work to help it spread.

Creating and sustaining a tribe is about leadership. More than any other class, the Warriors have the decisiveness, the vision, and the passion to be leaders.

No Substitute for Hard Work

The Warrior class may have some of the most difficult and challenging assignments in The School for Heroes. That’s because Warriors thrive on challenge and they know how to overcome obstacles. They don’t think their way around it like the Wizards, and they don’t sneak past it the way a Rogue might.

To a Warrior, finding a way around an obstacle is avoidance. They aren’t afraid of hard work when the goal is worthwhile.

Warriors see a problem, face it, and overcome it. They know that a challenge postponed is ten times harder than one handled immediately.

How was the Great Wall of China built? Step by step and brick by brick. If a task seems overwhelming, the Warrior breaks it down into manageable pieces, makes a plan, and starts working on it one piece at a time. If the project is too big for one Hero, the Warrior delegates, leads, and finds the people to get the job done.

Are Warriors the Best of the Best, or What?

Warriors in the School are pretty hot stuff. They’re confident, healthy, decisive, and charismatic. Nobody’s perfect though. It’s easy to go from “decisive” to “reckless.” Warriors sometimes act without having all the data they need to succeed. Somewhere along the line, a successful Warrior needs to learn control and balance as well as authority and power.

One of the most important parts of the Warrior curriculum is learning how to lead. Warriors are natural leaders because other people tend to follow the one who has a plan. However, to stay a leader, Warriors need to learn to listen, to compromise, and above all, to keep going when times are tough.

We might not succeed at every plan, but failure makes us stronger. Some of the greatest successes in history have come after equally spectacular failures. Be willing to be wrong, and be willing to adapt when the first try fails. Nike had a slogan, “Second place is the first loser.” We hate that saying, but that message is different to a Warrior than to other people. Here’s what it says to a Warrior:

“Second place is the best motivation to win the next time.”

Learn from your failures and grow. Maybe you just need a little more work, and a little better plan, to be a winner. Second place is pretty damn good, but being a Warrior is about becoming the best. Cherish your seconds and thirds, then do what it takes to become first.

“Never give up, never surrender, full speed ahead.” – Galaxy Quest

We don’t make it easy on our Warriors. One of the first Warrior assignments is to create a daily workout regimen and report on their progress after a week of following it. No other class gets a rank 1 assignment that they have to spend at least a week on before they can report it as done. It can be very easy for a new Warrior to look at the assignments, think “This is too hard,” and give up.

Give up? Even think about giving up? That’s no Warrior attitude! If they assignments are tough, that’s because we know you’re tougher! By working through them, you will become stronger.

And we need your strength. We need Warriors to help lead us into the future. More importantly, the world needs Warrior Heroes who lead with a conscience. Be that leader. Be a Warrior!

 

Sun Tzu Quote

The Entertainer – Bards in the School for Heroes

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Bards have a unique role in the School for Heroes. They tend to be outgoing, creative, and expressive. They preserve our tales for posterity and let the worlds hear of them today.

The Bard MeepTraditionally, Bards – also known as minstrels, troubadours – carried news from town to town and kept history alive by memorizing traditional stories. Others created original works of performance art to entertain their audiences in the days before books, TV and the Web.

Famous historical Bards included Taliesin, O’Carolan, and of course “The Bard”, William Shakespeare. They’re famous partially because some of their work was written down and actually survived into the present. It also helps that their work was very, very good.

What is a Bard to me? Here’s Corey’s story.

Love Is But A Song We Sing

I grew up in the 60’s listening to the music of The Beatles and Herman’s Hermits. By the late 60’s, the “conflict” (it had not officially been declared as a “war”) in Viet Nam was in full swing. Music – a blend of folk and rock-and-roll – was at the heart of the protest movement.

I discovered folk music when my mother took an adult school class taught by George Britton, a co-founder of the Philadelphia Folk Song Society. I started by helping her learn to tune, then discovered I really enjoyed playing the simple chords and singing along. I wasn’t very good, but the music touched my soul, and that was what mattered. My older brother, Barry, and I discovered a local coffee house and spent every Saturday night there listening to the singers and helping out.

Barry went on to become the folk music DJ at the University of Wisconsin radio station. I collected song books by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, and others. I joined the Vancouver Folk Song Society and learned how much more powerful the songs become when you sing them in a circle with everyone around you.

From Folk to Filk

A few years later, when I attended my first science fiction convention in Los Angeles, a young woman named Karen Willson sat in the lobby and sang her wonderful original song, “Ship Without Sails.” That was my first introduction to filk singing – the scifi/fantasy version of folk singing. The songs at a filk are based on Fantasy, Science Fiction stories, NASA, mythology, D&D games, and anything else people want to sing about. (Supposedly the word “filk” was coined when the editor of a mimeographed fanzine mistyped “folk” and the variation stuck.) Karen now runs a great Web site for girls, A Girl’s World.

Filk sings are also known as “Bardic Circles” and there’s a reason. Everyone takes a turn to perform and tell stories through their music. I got my dusty guitar out of the closet and began to play along. Nobody cared about my limited skills – They were just glad to have someone accompanying the music to keep everyone more-or-less on key. Science fiction writers like Mercedes Lackey, Gordan Dickson, Larry Niven, and C.J. Cherry occasionally joined the filksinging. Mercedes Lackey wrote a few of the best songs.

After I met Lori, we started going to the filk sings together, and they became as much a reason to go to a convention as gaming. Sure, some of the singers were terrible, but the sense of belonging and fellowship, the music, and the funny stories made each session unique and fun. We even wrote some Filk songs ourselves such as “The Mage who Lost his Glasses” and “I’m a Retriever.”

Around the time our son was born, filk music started becoming more professional and many singers were more interested in putting on a good performance than in connecting with the rest of the circle. The music got better, but filk lost a little of its heart. We moved out of the San Jose area and our priorities shifted away from filk music. We miss those good times, though.

The Music Man

The Washington Post did an interesting social experiment a couple of years ago. They arranged for Joshua Bell, a great classical violinist, to play six Bach pieces in a crowded Washington Metro station at rush hour on his $3.5 million Stradivarius violin.

A few people threw change into his violin case, most rushed by without even noticing. This is one of the world’s great musicians; two days earlier he performed to a packed house in Boston at $100 a seat. But people were not expecting great music in the subway and didn’t find time in their busy lives to listen.

Here’s a great video about Joshua Bell’s passion for music and – as we see it – what it means to be a Bard.

Being a Bard is about communicating – the message and the passion behind it. People were not prepared for Joshua Bell’s message in the Metro, and so they missed a rare – and free – treat. We hope that the words and songs of our Bards will not be as lost in the world. As a start, the rest of us in the School need to make sure we listen.

The Bards in the Band

When the How to Be a Hero Correspondence School opened its doors to students from Earth, there were no Bards. We had Warriors, Paladins, Wizards, and Rogues. But after a few unfortunate incidents in the alleys of Silmaria, the school council decided that having Rogues in a school for heroes was a little too edgy. The Famous Adventurer had to make the difficult decision to close the School for Rogues. In its place, the School would teach Bards. After all, all Rogues have a bit of a class clown in them, no? So why not turn them into acceptable members of society by teaching them to become Bards?

At least, that was the Famous Adventurer’s theory – before he heard some of the rogues sing. He began to think he had made an error in opening the School for Bards. Then came the first application from an actual Bard student. The difference between a true Bard and a pretend Bard is the difference between Joshua Bell’s Stradivarius and a kazoo. Today, actual Bards are just as important a part of the School as any other class.

In The School, we don’t require Bards to have magical ability… or even musical ability. What a Bard does need is the soul of a performer. They stand in front of an audience and tell stories or sing songs. They write poetry and prose or direct movies. Bards see deep into the human soul and find a way to touch the heart.

We look forward to hearing your stories and watching our Bards perform. We also hope they will invite us all to join their circles of music, magical tales, and wonderment. The Band of Bards is currently the smallest class in the school for heroes, but one of our most important. Our Bards will be the ones to spread the story of the school to the worlds… if we all share with them our own stories of heroism, learning, and fellowship.

Not a Bard