Learning a new language can be difficult, and people integrate it into so many things to try and make it easier. Things such as dvds, music, audio, video games, etc. but Magicians RPG adds learning a language hand in hand with doing what we love most, a tabletop RPG. You can take a look at the kickstarter for this project here.
I got a chance to read a bit about Magicians RPG and watch some videos and even speak with the creator, Kyle Simons. Taking the first look at his initial playtest, you will require a handy app called Dragon Dictation, which should be a free app. Well lets look into why.
Obviously, Magicians RPG involves, well, Magicians. Think a korean harry potter, with a lot of twists. Kyle describes it as when we watch movies with Magicians or Wizards like that, most magic is tied in with speech, and often in other languages or made up words, so with this the spells are done in Korean. With the potential for Japanese hack and Chinese characters later on, Kyle really has his stuff together. Getting help from all corners and a lot of people working on this.
With his game he also sends videos that are learning videos, to help you learn the language. Why would you need to do that you ask? Simple. Each spell you need to use a Korean word, but in order to know if you fail or succeed is your pronunciation. You use Dragon Dictator, speak the Korean word, and if you fail, the spell fails, succeed, and so does your action.
He has a very detailed set up for campus, school, areas in the school etc. For me it’s hard to describe just how interesting the concept is, it’s filled up just like a decent tabletop with that little twist of the Korean language, while speaking with Kyle I was able to ask him a few, in my opinion, key questions.
Firstly, is there an alternative for PC or something? I myself don’t have a fancy-shmancy phone, so I have to make due. He mentioned that Dragon Dictation for iOS is based on a PC software, though the software is not free on PC but it is on iPhone, Windows 7 has a built in voice recognition that is suppose to get Korean support soon. He also mentioned that Android apps actually use Google’s voice recognition software which has to be available on PC somewhere, I haven’t had the time to take a look for where, but I’ll update here if I find it. (Feel free to comment down bellow if you know something.)
I asked him what he felt the most important thing about the game is, here’s the response.
“The most important thing about the game is the fact that it finally combines education and gaming in a way that hasn’t been done before. It’s a hard thing to do – making a game that is actually fun and that tells a good story while also still being educational but I’ve built on tropes and what people naturally think of as magic to actually make the learning part of it add even more to the roleplaying game aspect of it. Whenever we read novels like Harry Potter, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Magicians or most other novels that use magic, magic is always tied into speech, language and there is always a vocal element. Instead of making a system to abstract that or to limit power and creativity with other mechanics I’ve simply used a language in my game as the magic system. There are no limits to what you can do – the only thing holding a player back is their knowledge of the language as you, as the player learns the language (a language you can use in real life), your character gets better in the game at becomes a powerful magician. Education as advancement – simple but powerful!”
He stressed to me that his playtest he sent me was rather rough, and if that’s a rough draft I’m excited to see the actual playtest. It was extremely well written, precise, and just a beautiful playtest. Easy to follow and very direct. I’ve got a lot of learning to do before I become a pro Korean Magician, but I’ve learned a few things just from the simple things I’ve seen so far. Kyle was also kind enough to send me some images to share with you guys, if you want to know more, check out his kickstarter above. But all in all I think an amazing idea, unique which is rare to find, and just great. He works really hard, you can tell immediately he has a lot of support and really has his stuff together, so thank you Kyle for introducing this tabletop to us and go check it out. The language learning integrates seamlessly into the RPG.