Biag ni Lam-Ang

I’ve always wanted to create a board game/table top based on Edgar Samar’s 101 Kagila-gilalas na Nilalang. Little by little, I’m building the mechanics. Yesterday’s activity was inspired by a few features of Dungeons and Dragons. I’m still mastering the scoring system, how the characters will level up and fight each other (in short, I still have not come up with the fun part). Instead, since I teach Creative Writing, I focused on challenging the students to build scenes. As the Dungeon Master, I read Biag ni Lam-Ang (Damiana Eugenio Philippine Folk Anthology version) because this is the plot that we are going to follow.

First, I asked the students to introduce their characters. Unlike in DnD where they choose the race and class of their character, I had to provide them with heroes and villains: Ines Cannoyan, Sumarang the giant, Lam-Ang the hero with short description for each character. Then, each student was given a paper with a writing prompt. Each prompt contains something like this: The giant Sumarang blocks his way and belittles him. Lam-ang defeats him in a duel and hurls him nine hills away.

Their task was to create the entire scene. They must write dialogues, description of the characters (they may add magical powers and other abilities), weapons and setting.

They were given half an hour to write. Aside from writing, they were to think of how their classmates could participate in the storytelling. For example: Namongan carried Lam-Ang in her womb for months. She ate all the fruits, vegetable and meat that she craved for. On the first month she craved for ___. On the second month she craved for ____. The students can provide the answers. It becomes a bit interactive that way.

The students had fun reading their scenes aloud and hearing the wild answers their classmates gave. It could have been more focused if they provided answers that really fit the milieu. We finished the entire epic and I was very happy with the scenes that the students created.

I’m determined to polish this game. Next time, maybe we can make collectible cards based on the characters. One student asked me if Lam-Ang carries a sword. I said that I was not very sure but I knew that he carried : a stone of sagang, a stone of tangraban of lao-laoigan and wild carabao’s amulet. He also carries with him a yellow-legged hen, a white rooster and a hairy dog. He also wears a striped trouser, embroidered shirt and ornate handkerchief. All these are significant and the animals possess powers that could help Lam-Ang defeat even death.

Update: In my Basic Creative Writing Class for Theater Arts, Music, Dance and Visual Arts students, we’re making maps and character cards:

I gave them DnD character sheets as reference.

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