Pondering a TTRPG Merit Badge for Scouts (what are the important things about RPGs?)


So the Scouts BSA in the US have a relatively new "Game Design" merit badge (created 2013, revised 2017).

It covers games in all sorts of mediums:
  • Physical Games and Sports (Basketball)
  • Board Games (Eurogames)
  • Tile Games (Dominoes)
  • Dice Games (Yahtzee)
  • Card Games (MtG)
  • Party Games (Jenga)
  • Games with Miniatures (Wells' Little Wars)
  • Text Based RPGs (D&D)
  • Electronic Games (WoW)
core game elements (based on Ian Schreiber's "Game Design Concepts'):
  • Player Format
  • Objectives
  • Rules, Mechanics, and Systems
  • Resources
  • Theme
and various play values (based on Jason VAndenBerghe's 'Domains of Play':
  • Novelty
  • Challenge
  • Stimulation
  • Harmony
  • Threat

The requirements can be found at: Game Design Merit Badge (for a .pdf with a few references at the end, see: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/merit_badge_reqandres/game_design.pdf )

They also have a Chess merit badge (https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/Merit_Badge_ReqandRes/chess.pdf) as one for a specific game. (This having a specific badge going with a general one also happens with "Collections" and "Coin Collecting" and "Stamp Collecting").

So, here are my questions:

* What would you put in a TTRPG merit badge as requirements?

* If you were listing core elements of ttrpgs (lists of varieties and important parts, akin to the ones for mediums, elements and domains of play - but for the parts of flavors and parts of ttrpgs) what would they be? What exemplars would you call out?
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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Honestly, after reading this id just slide TTRPGs in with the others for the existing "game design" badge.


Honestly, after reading this id just slide TTRPGs in with the others for the existing "game design" badge.
They can certainly include an RPG to satisfy it - they could analyze one as one of the four types of games they need to pick in #1, do some house rules for satisfying #4, and design one and playtest it for #5 (which seems like it could be a rabbit hole depending on what kind of game they wanted).

I was wondering about exposing them to different kinds of RPGs, and getting them to actually run one of the ones that has a GM.


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Thats got me thinking a template might be a good thing to create. Not just for this merit badge idea, but just for game design enthusiasts in general. Something that gives a simple foundation and step by step instructions on how to make the simplest game and go from there. I'll have to chew on this.

They also have a Chess merit badge (https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/Merit_Badge_ReqandRes/chess.pdf) as one for a specific game. (This having a specific badge going with a general one also happens with "Collections" and "Coin Collecting" and "Stamp Collecting").

IMNSHO, a TTRPG badge would be more closely related to this Chess badge than the Game Design badge. The Game Design badge is already broad enough to cover RPGs if someone wants to study that.

Based on that link, a few requirements would include

  • Discussing the history of RPGs (be sure to include the Satanic Panic)
  • Discussing the benefits of playing RPGs and associated skills
  • Discussing etiquette for RPGs
  • Demonstrating knowledge of one set of game rules, including filling out a character sheet.
  • Demonstrating how to run and resolve encounters (at least one combat based, and one non-combat)
  • Taking part in actual games with others, both as a DM and as a player character


I work with scouts. If I was designing an RPG merit badge...it probably would go something like this..

1. Do the following:

a. Describe in your own words, what a Roleplaying Game is.
b. Describe at least 6 different types of Polyhedral dice

2. Explain what 3 of the most popular Roleplaying games are currently, and the differences between them.

3. Define the following Terms in the context of a Roleplaying Game...

Player Character, Non-Player Character, Game Master (or Dungeon Master as well if the scouts could get permission), Campaign, Adventure, Dungeon Crawl, and Character Sheet.

4. Choose one of the Following to do.

a. Participate in playing in a group with a Roleplaying game over several sessions composing of no less than 5 sessions and 10 hours.
b. Participate as a player in at least 3 different types of Roleplaying games in sessions lasting over 2 hours each time
c. Create an account online with a company to play a Tabletop Roleplaying Game online. Participate in at least two sessions of a Roleplaying game online. Explain how this may be different than playing with others directly at a table.

5. Choose one of the following to do,

a. As a Gamemaster, run an adventure in a session that is at least 4 hours long, or two sessions that are at least 3 hours long.
b. Create a campaign setting. Include details on cultures, history, and societies in your campaign setting.
c. Create some homebrew rules of your favorite Roleplaying game. Show modifications of at least several different character classes/types, racial/heritage ideas, and changes to basic combat rules. Write a ten page write up of these changes, including how they may change how the game operates and works.

6. Choose one of the following to do:

a. Write a report about the history of Roleplaying Games. Include the origins of Roleplaying games and the evolution of their style and presentation to the present day.

b. Create a brochure or poster advertising a group meeting for Roleplaying games inviting new members to play. Post it and use it to gain at least one new member.

c. Contact one of your favorite Roleplaying game creators. Write them a letter or send them a message by the internet. If they respond, show this response to your scoutmaster or meritbadge counselor.

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