Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Theme Party

Planning an Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Theme party and looking for resources? Consider this five part Skyrim adventure activity!


Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds - NON-flat back for ultimate reaslism!
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Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds - NON-flat back for ultimate reaslism!
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Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds - NON-flat back for ultimate reaslism!
Click HERE!


Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds - NON-flat back for ultimate reaslism!
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It's tough to compete with video games when it comes to planning an engaging activity for older kids. Make the Skyrim world come alive without a TV screen!

As a professional themed treasure hunt designer, I personally love to plan theme parties for my sons. Now that they are in middle school to high school, though, it's not the same as when they were younger. The old party decorations and games just don't cut it for them anymore. They, along with their friends, love video games and would gladly play for hours. However, this isn't ideal if you are interested in something that all guests can participate in at once. When my 12 year old son wanted a Skyrim theme for his birthday party (from the award winning video game, the latest in the Elder Scrolls series) I created an experience that brought the action of the game into the real world. What was supposed to be a 45 minute activity was extended to an hour and a half at the demand of my son and his friends. They didn't want it to end!


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  To pull this off, it's best to familiarize yourself with the basic premise of the game itself. You don't have to be an expert, just understand what it's about. The basic premise of the activity is this: Allow each guest to create their own character and complete tasks that are directly from the game, allowing them to level up along the way. The leveling up process is perhaps the most important piece to the entire experience and the part that the guests found the most exciting. I will detail exactly how I accomplished this below, though you may choose to omit or make additions as you'd like based on your own time, resources and knowledge of the game itself.

There are several components that will be detailed, though keep in mind that they don't all need to be incorporated for it to 'work.' Dice are used throughout, and a lot of them. Ask around to anyone you might know who plays role playing games…they typically have more than what you'll need to borrow. Additionally, I've included a couple of resources below to order realistic looking gems for props/rewards (as explained below) and cool looking antiqued paper!

Creating The Character

This part can be as elaborate or as simple as you'd like. Explain to each player that they will be experiencing the world of Skyrim first hand, in the REAL world. The types of characteristics a player can choose for his/her character might include their name, species, region of origin, weapon specialty (archery, two handed, one handed, etc.) and physical appearance. For added fun, you can also allow the players to draw their characters (for those that enjoy drawing.)

Leveling Up

What you'll need to incorporate this aspect: Graph paper, pen and two dice for EACH player

Each player will get a sheet of graph paper. Each time he/she completes ANY activity (possible activities include creating a potion, buying an item from a shop owner, selling an item, defeating an enemy, hunting and killing wild game, etc.) they will get to color in ONE square on the graph paper. Completing missions will earn them even more. For every 10 squares that they fill up, they progress to the next level. This leveling up process will fuel the entire experience. Once a player levels up for the first time, he'll be hooked and will be all the more eager to level up again.


Medieval Dragon on Antiqued Paper


Medieval Dragon on Antiqued Paper


Medieval Dragon on Antiqued Paper

Beginning the Activity

What you'll need to incorporate this aspect: Plastic coins, pieces of paper with images of weapons

Launching the activity is as simple as explaining the boundaries (which rooms of your home, areas of the backyard, parts of the public park you are at, etc.) of the playing area and the basic rules. Once you say GO, they begin searching for the Mission envelopes (as explained later.) Make sure that each player begins with a few plastic coins (purchased at Oriental Trading Company or similar supplier) and an image of their weapon. Weapon images can be as simple as the words written on a small piece of construction paper. Images for the many different basic weapons can also easily be found online and printed from your home computer. Explain to them they their goal is to get to the highest level they can before the time is up.

You'll also need to explain the other aspects of the game that you've chosen to incorporate. Although details for each are explained in greater detail later, below are the different potential points to hit before sending the adventurers out:

1. Their goal is to reach the highest level for their character that they can before time is up

2. For each action they complete, they are to fill in one square of the graph paper. For every ten squares (starting a new line for each level) they progress to the next level. All players begin at level 1.

3. They can earn experience points even faster by completing missions. Mission details are explained on envelopes that must be sought out throughout the playing area. After completing a mission, they are allowed to take out the appropriate reward from within the envelope on top of earning the experience points detailed on the envelope itself (the experience points for their graph paper.)

 

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4. Characters will be roaming around interacting with them. If they kill an enemy, they get to loot whatever items the enemy has on them and earn an experience point. If they are killed by the enemy, the enemy gets to choose one item from the player's possessions (i.e. a weapon, coin, etc.) to take from them as a penalty.


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  5. In order to fight, they must roll their two dice. Their attack is the sum of the two dice PLUS their level number. For example, if they roll a three and a five and they are at a level two, their total hit was a 3 + 5 + 2 = 10. They have a health total of 30. The roaming character (as described below) will have a varied amount of health, depending on the character. Each person (the player and the roaming character) takes turns rolling their dice. The first player to reach the OTHER person's health total wins.

6. As they find and/or loot different items on their journeys, they can sell their items for coins from the local trader. Likewise, the trader will have items for sale that will help the players in their missions and combat.
7. Just like in the game, they will also have the ability to create their own potions. Ingredients can be found all throughout the play area and collected in a number of different ways. Potions help them in combat. If they wish to create potions, they can visit the apothecary.

Missions

What you'll need to incorporate this aspect: Envelopes, dice and rewards for the game (i.e. gold coins, plastic gems, etc.)

Throughout the playing area, place several different envelopes, each with different items contained within them items, depending on the type of mission that you create. The envelopes are NEVER to leave their permanent location. On the outside of the envelope will be their mission goal. If they complete the mission, they are allowed to take their reward from inside the envelope (whatever you've chosen as the reward.) These missions will keep the action going for the activity as the players search them out and actively attempt to complete them.

Each mission has at least three components: The details of the mission itself written on the outside of the envelope, the amount of experience points the mission is worth (anywhere from 5 to 10 depending on how difficult it is) and the reward (items inside the envelope that they can take once they've completed the mission.)

I created several different types of missions. Some of the missions involved searching for different items (images that I printed out and hid throughout the play area) - once they found the image and returned to the envelope, they put the image inside and collected a few coins as a reward (I made sure that there were enough coins inside so that each player had a chance to complete the mission.)

 

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A second type of mission was a dice rolling type. For example, I explained that a wizard from Whiterun (a city in the game) is guarding a ruby that is worth a lot of gold coins. The only way to defeat the wizard is to roll a triple with three dice in a single roll (i.e. roll all 2's in a single roll, or all 6's, etc.) They keep rolling until they either give up and move on or they get their roll and win.

A third type was a combination of the two. On the outside of the envelope I detailed that they must search out three different assassins and defeat them (I named the assassins so that they knew who they were looking for.) At different places throughout the playing area I taped up three small pieces of paper, each with a different assassin name. On each was also the type of roll that was required to beat them. Types of rolls might include rolling two doubles in a row, rolling a single die 6 times without rolling a 1, rolling the die 4 times without rolling an odd number, etc. Once they found and beat the three assassins, they returned to the mission envelope for their points and reward.


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  A fourth type, for those of you who enjoy the cleverer side of things, was a simple based puzzle. I asked a question that must be answered. Once it's answered, the mission is considered completed. A sample puzzle included "Who killed Gar? Was it Wenhilm, Mayer or Frok?" Then, on separate small pieces of paper hidden throughout the playing area, I placed two clues to help them answer the question. One said "Wenhilm is innocent" and the other said "Frok didn't kill Gar." If a player found both of these clues, then they knew the answer, returned to the envelope and got their reward.

Shop Vendors

Station a volunteer at a table who will be your shop vendor. This person will have all of the weapons, coins and other items that the players might need for game play. Make sure to have a clearly marked list of all items you have available and their selling and buying price. Make sure that the amount the vendor will buy the item for (how many gold coins) is LESS THAN the amount they will resell it for. The actual items they will have to sell is up to you - simple images printed from your computer will work. Words on small pieces of paper will work at the most basic.

Weapons and armor will be mostly what your players will be interested in buying. Be sure to have a few different weapons handy. On some put a +1 on the back, others a +2 and still others a +3. The higher the + number, the more it will cost to buy. When a player owns that weapon, they get to add that number to EACH roll during combat. Do the same with the armor pieces, but they are MINUS points for their opponent's rolls!

Roaming Characters

These are a lot of fun and really make the Skyrim world breathe with life. The exact number of them you choose to use is up to you based on your own ability to create the characters and the number of volunteers you can 'round up.' I gave my oldest son a stack of six different characters that he could rotate through, each on a separate sheet of paper. I included images of the character (optional), the name of the character and their total health. He would then roam around the playing area while the players were trying to complete their missions. If he touched a player (i.e. tagged them), the player was considered under attack and had to stop whatever else they were doing. My son rolled first with his two dice, then the player. They each took turns rolling their dice until their total sum for all rolls equaled the other person's health. For each roll, the player had a chance to use up a health potion (detailed below) to increase his total health for the battle or a poison, which would add a 'pip' to his current roll (i.e. if he rolled a seven, then it would turn into an eight.) If my older son playing the roaming character won the battle, he got to look inside the player's character envelope (where they kept all of the small pieces of paper they were collecting for the game) and take ONE item from the inventory. If my son lost (which he typically did for the sake of making sure the players enjoyed themselves) then he gave them a couple items (in his pocket was a stack of small pieces of paper and coins.) After the battle, my son would rotate the sheets of paper, showing himself to be someone new…and began searching out a new player to attack.

My youngest son played 'wild game.' He had a similar stack of character sheets, but he represented the animal life of Skyrim. He didn't attack anyone. The players CHOSE whether or not they wanted to attack him. In order to attack him, they had to catch him first by tagging him. Once tagged, the combat began in the same way as the roaming characters above. If the creature won, he picked an item out of the player's inventory. If the player won, my son would reach into his pocket and give him a couple items.

 

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Potions

In the game of Skyrim, the players get to collect all sorts of different ingredients that they get to use to make potions which will help them in their combat. I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the game so I was sure not to leave it out of the experience I was planning. To incorporate this aspect of the game, it will take some prep time, but it's worth it. I printed out different images and words of different ingredients from the game (i.e. blue dartwings, red mountain flowers, etc.) I hid these all throughout the playing area (like an Easter egg hunt.) If a player happened to find one, they got to keep it for themselves. The roaming characters were constantly replenishing the area with new ingredients. I made A LOT of these.


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  At any time, a player could go to the apothecary and combine their ingredients to make different potions. I made a small chart showing what they needed to mix together to make a health potion or a poison. If they had the ingredients to make the potion or poison, they handed the pieces of paper to the volunteer sitting at the apothecary table and the volunteer handed them a small piece of paper (either a health potion or a poison.) Health potions can be used in battle ONCE as a boost of health. Poisons can be used ONCE on a roll for a one time boost during battle. The exact amount of the boost of health or strength of poison (+1, +2, +3, -1, -2, -3) is up to you. Create different kinds of potions and poisons for the players to create. These come in very handy for the players.

When Does It End?

A beautiful aspect of this activity is that you can basically end it after however long you'd like. If you find your crowd beginning to wane in interest, sound off the five minute mark allowing everyone to finish whatever they are doing. If, however, you are finding that they are enjoying themselves even more than you previously anticipated, then you have the freedom to keep the fun going as long as you've provided missions for. As mentioned in the beginning, I originally had this activity slated for 45 minutes but they begged to keep it going as long as they could. It only ended after 90 minutes because by that time they had all completed every mission, bought every item and defeated every enemy. If I had planned more for them to do, they would have easily kept going.

Have fun with it and don't get overwhelmed with the details. If you aren't familiar with the game, pull in someone that is to explain the different aspects so that you can wrap your brain around the activity. This activity is for ANY Skyrim fan and you're sure to be a hit with your party guests!