Dungeons and Dragons club rolls for a natural 20


Photo by Q.C. Ho

Dungeons and Dragons club debate over semantics. Pictured from left to right are junior Rowan Bell-Myers, senior Nathan Breisler, and senior Aztlan Sanchez. The other two members, senior Tyhlir Lowry and junior Aaron Mozey were not present at the session on Feb. 12. The adventuring frequently gets side-tracked when someone brings up memes or the practicalities of magic in real life.

“It was probably one of the more fun experiences I’ve ever had,” senior Nathan Breisler said.

Breisler was about 12 years old when he got into Dungeons and Dragons. His brother’s group needed a tank, so he coerced a younger Nathan into joining. The older Breisler compared D&D to a video game Nathan had liked at the time. For four months, the younger Breisler was a dwarf warden, able to shape shift into a tree at will. Even after his brother’s group had graduated and stopped getting together, Breisler has continued to play D&D.

Breisler along with senior Brady Philen, lead two campaigns at Dungeons and Dragons club with sessions every Tuesday after school in social studies teacher Jerry Washburn’s room D130. Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role playing game which was released in 1974 and is currently in its fifth edition. In the game, players roll dice and act out stories limited only by their imagination.

The Game

Every game of Dungeons and Dragons needs a dungeon master, DM for short. The DM sets up the world for the other players to explore, and challenges the players with an endless array of monsters, traps and situations. The DM is God in the game, punishing and rewarding players as they see fit.

The DM gets to create a world Breisler said, “You get to envision everything, everything your players do can be in your head. That’s amazing.”

Even though the DM is critical, the players are the ones who really bring the world to life. The players play as self made characters complete with abilities, backstories and motives. As the heroes of the narrative, the players help build the story into an unforgettable experience for the whole group.

They want active players who add to the game senior Brady Philen said, “You don’t want somebody that’s just kind of sitting there just going along with the flow because that’s not fun for them. It’s not fun for anyone elseIt’s not just like a tabletop RPG game. It’s more than that. It’s like a collaborative storytelling experience, where a DM and the players are all coming together, making this awesome story and you want players that are actually contributing to that.”

The Members

For six years Breisler has been the DM for a number of campaigns both after and outside of school. Despite wanting to be able to play as an adventurer, Breisler faithfully performs his role as the DM. Though as the DM, Breisler has to deal with the antics of junior Rowan Bell-Myers and senior Aztlan Sanchez.

In the game, the group had entered a forge because one of them wanted their sword polished. Inside they encountered a dwarf smith, who turned out to be cursed with deafness. After eight minutes of trying to communicate with the dwarf, the party finally left.

A much exasperated Breisler said, “Now, have an orc raiding party patrolling the mountains, a dwarf and a possibly corrupt barkeep and you know that the mayor’s house is very far away and very very big many, many quests, you can go on, pick one!”

Sanchez, one of the more vocal members of the group, plays as Grimm, a chaotic tiefling ranger. Despite being proficient in both stealth and animal handling, Grimm didn’t hesitate to shoot a fox in the middle of the night while his companions were sleeping.

After Breisler had given them their options, Grimm declared the group would go deal with the orcs wording, “I want to wipe out orcs from the face of the Earth.”

Bell-Myers plays as Taag, an all brawn and no brains half-orc. While not the gentlest giant, Taag does care for an owl-bear cub which he carries around in a satchel. Not much can stand in Taag’s way, he steals a drink if he wants one.

“Music man may be able to dance, but so can Taag,” Taag said.

He then proceeded to out dance the bard, who left in shame leaving a victorious Taag.

Washburn takes a very hands off approach to supervising the club. While not actively involved, Washburn does throw in an occasional comment or witty remark.

Breisler was clarifying to the group that the party was in a place called the Gnome Tavern, when Washburn said, “Sounds like a pretty popular place otherwise it would be known as the Un-Gnome Tavern.”

You get to envision everything, everything your players do can be in your head. That’s amazing.”

— Nathan Breisler

For Those Interested

Finding somebody who knows the game well can be a huge help for those getting started, joining a club even more so. However, that does not mean it is necessary, there are plenty of resources for beginners. The Players Handbook and the D&D Starter Kit are great for learning the game and remain useful as reference for veteran players.

“There are websites, like Wizards of the Coast as people that made it, they have a bunch of websites that can do it,” Philen said. “There’s a D&D starter pack that you can buy it for $9.99, which gives you a bunch of different stuff on how to play it, all the rules, and everything are all posted online for the current edition.”

While helpful, the Player’s Handbook and other D&D reference books are not mandatory. With many books costing upwards of $25, buying every single book would quickly become a large investment.

However all those items are 100 percent supplemental Nathan said, “In every rule book that they made for every editionThe first line of the introduction is or the first paragraph really tells the person reading it for the dungeon master handbook that any rules and then the aspects of the game are not set and they are 100 percent up to scrutiny and change for the DM.”

For people who have the time, Dungeons and Dragons is definitely worth checking out. Whether joining a club or spending time with friends, D&D lets peoples imagination come to life.

Philen said, “It can be anything you want it to be.”