The Chatty DM recently had a post about planning adventures for children, and his post reminded me that, while I was teaching English part-time at Matsue College of Technology in Matsue, Japan, I ran a short role-playing adventure in my Special English Class, as a kind of English practice task.

For completeness and because it was a fun adventure I thought I’d give a brief outline here. 

The setting was Matsue College of Technology, and our 4 characters were:





  • kenichi, a Ninja, an 18 year old boy, member of the Kendo club
  • midori, an 18 year old girl who is a witch, member of the shooting club
  • shouhei, an 18 year old boy who is a type of high-school Shugenja, a member of the baseball club 
  • yuki, an 18 year old girl, who is a thief, and a member of the Kenpo club

All four characters were also members of the magic club, whose senior member is an 18 year old girl called Sayako (pictured at the top of this post). 

(By way of background: I had 8 students in this class, all 16 years old; they played 2 to a character so as to avoid embarrassment when they couldn’t think what to do, or got confused about the English; club life is a very important part of Japanese school life; the drinking age in Japan is 20 years old; Matsue is one of only a small number of Japanese towns to have its original castle still intact, and also has a very fine old section of town, and a lake. Also, to ensure no confusion about the task and the goals, all background material was handed out in Japanese as well as English).

So, the adventure began at Matsue College of Technology, after Midori and Sayako had an argument about black magic. Midori gathered her companions and they burst into the magic club rooms, which were empty, but contained these two notes:


Fellow members!

This is the moment we have waited a year for! Tonight we will go to Matsue Castle and summon a Demon on the top floor! Once we have summoned the Demon, we can take control of Matsue, and people will give us everything we want! 

To summon the Demon we need to collect some things: 

  •       The bones of a Samurai child
  •       10 people to feed to the Demon
  •       A lot of sake 

If we go now, we can have everything ready before midnight. It is best to summon the Demon at midnight on Halloween! Meet me at Matsue Castle when you have collected these things! We have planned for this for a whole year, so please do it correctly!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Your evil master


The second note they found gave more detail about what had to be done:

  • Samurai House
  • Naked Space bar
  • Bar EAD

    was all it said.

    So the characters rushed off to rescue Matsue from the Demon-summoning boss of their school magic club. Amusingly, there  was some debate about the best way to get into town (the College is a way out of town) and eventually they settled on… the bus!

    Unfortunately, as they were running down the hallways towards the main gate, they heard a gunshot behind them. Turning around, they saw the head of the English Department, Professor Takahashi, shambling towards them, clearly enchanted, waving a gun. (At this point my students worked out how to say “A spell has been cast on him” in English, clearly an essential part of their education!)

    Because Takahashi Sensei is very popular at Matsue College of Technology, they did not want to hurt him. So Midori cast a sleep spell on him and stole his gun, and they ran off to the bus.

    The bus goes directly past the Samurai house, so they hopped off at the bus stop and wandered over to the house. Yuki crept in ahead, and found an undead Samurai warrior in the courtyard. They attacked this warrior and, after some difficulty, managed to defeat him. Scouting some more around the courtyard, they found to their horror that the Samurai had been buried in the garden with his child many centuries ago, and now his child’s body had been disinterred and stolen! (I didn’t bother teaching my students “disinterred”). So, they realised, they had missed the first stage of Sayako’s plan and must rush to Naked Space!

    Fortunately, Naked Space and Bar EAD are only a short distance from the Samurai House, and all Japanese school students can run a marathon, so off they jogged. They reached Naked Space quickly, but were disappointed to discover, when they walked up the stairs and through the little foyer into the nightclub proper, that the club was empty. Shohei heard the sound of sobbing and, wandering through to the bathroom, found Sayako’s boyfriend (who owns naked space) sobbing in the toilet. There was some initial confusion in which Shohei tried to kill him, but then everyone calmed down and learnt that Sayako and her acolytes had burst into the Naked Space bar, and abducted all 10 of its customers (Naked Space is very small), who were guests at a halloween party. So, the characters had failed again!

    Despairing of their speed (perhaps a cab would have been a good idea), the characters dashed around the corner to Bar EAD and charged up to the third floor, to find it in a state of disarray. The door had been smashed in, chairs torn apart, all of the pretty ornaments scattered around the room, and the collage of French movie posters torn and wrecked. Behind the rubbish-scattered counter, the waitress sat hunched over, trying to hide. Upon interrogation, she revealed that Sayako had charged into the bar, trashed it with her magical powers, and then run away with all the sake, liquour bottles and wine to be found in the building.

    So, again the characters were late! (Perhaps they shouldn’t have jogged). There was only one place left to go – Matsue Castle! Off they went, back the way they had come from the bars by the lake and over to the car park at the front of the castle. However, as they approached the Castle they were attacked by a group of Kappa, of whom they made fantastically short (and gruesome) work. From there it was in through the broad swathe of gardens inside the main gate, and up into the inner citadel. The castle was strangely empty and a strange, evil light was glowing above its keep as thick stormclouds gathered.

    Once inside the Keep, the characters found themselves facing a strange sight.  A couple of goblins, a witch, a Harry Potter, a Football player, a Hobbit, a soldier, an Oni, Yuki Onna, and 2 maids, all stood in a circle on the ground floor. After a moment’s confusion they realised these were the halloween party guests from Naked Space, still in their costumes, and held in stasis within columns of light stretching up to the ceiling of the room. As Midori considered how to break this magic, Sayako’s acolytes attacked them, and the characters had to do battle again, this time against wizards.

    They survived this battle too, but not quickly enough to prevent the entrapped halloween guests from dying. “Oh well”, said Kenichi, and I taught them the phrase “If you want to make an omelette…” They ran up the stairs to attack Sayako, but found a demon between them and her. Battle was joined, but they realised that Sayako had to concentrate hard to control the demon – she had conjured more than she could control! Yuki ambushed Sayako, breaking her concentration, and the demon ate her whole. Then it thanked them all for aiding it, and disappeared with a loud bang.

    I ran this game in a kind of simplified AD&D 3.5, with very few skills, a few simple attack and magic rules, and limited magic items – these guys were playing this out of their own language, so bewildering character sheets and extensive language for rules were definitely out. It worked though, and I recommend it as a fun way to pass two lessons. I’m not so sure that it actually helped anyone learn any English. But then, none of my other classes did either…