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Dungeons, dragons and Muskies

Aaron Laube Jon jee Editor Published: March 5, 2012 9:11 AM
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You see a group of group of high school students huddled intently around a table littered with an incomprehensible maze of maps, notes, character charts and dice. Its the dead of night, and the basement youre in doesnt have any windows in it anyway. The dim light from the hanging lamp over the table reveals the outlines of various collectible figures stashed along the walls, but the rest of the room lays in darkness.

Give this description of their surroundings to any one of the members of John Glenns Dungeons and Dragons Club, and they would probably recognize that theyd been dropped into an inaccurate stereotype of their meetings. Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D as its often abbreviated, is a tabletop roleplaying game where players create and take on the role of fictional characters that they create. These characters are then dropped into an invented world and circumstances, usually in a medieval theme.

Rather than the basement described earlier, the D&D Club meets in the room of social studies teacher Aaron Phelps on Tuesday afternoons after school lets out.

The John Glenn D&D Club was the brainchild of junior Dylan. I started it because I loved the game but it requires a group to play, said Banta.

As the only member who had experience with the game when the club started, Banta became the Dungeon Master (DM) as well as the clubs leader. In this role, Banta is in charge of coming up with the campaigns that the players follow and the worlds they take place in. After that, things are a lot more in the players hands. I like the variety of the game and not being limited to some choices If I want to punch some random guy in the face and then steal his son for my own, there is nothing stopping me except a bad roll, said senior Hope Gordon.

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Gordon also enjoys several video games that offer a similar experience to D&D. Some of these, such as Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and the Fallout series, have achieved fairly widespread success. Hope argues that this broader appeal applies to the tabletop game as well. It is fun for anybody who has an imagination! Plus, it is a lot cheaper than most of the RPG video games out there, said Gordon.

In some ways, the obscurity has worked out in favor of the club. Because of the turn-based nature of the game, it becomes more complicated, especially for the DM, when a large number of people get involved in a campaign. Were pretty well at the limit of people we should have; smaller groups play faster, explains sophomore Levi Angel.

At one point, the group actually split into two separate campaigns with different DMs to accommodate a growing membership but have since slimmed down to a single group again. A group of friends that Banta originally brought with him from card club when he started has stayed a consistent core of the group.

Angel says that for him, the club is enjoyable beyond the freedom he has to control the outcome of the worlds Banta creates. I find it to be an intriguing game, but I really like the company of my friends, and there are possibilities I couldnt have imagined on my own.

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