Roll for Initiative: The Jenks Dungeons and Dragons Club

By Jackson Lee

Calling all dwarves and elves, humans and halflings: there’s a story in need of telling. A mystical adventure filled with monsters, danger, adventure, and treasures beyond your wildest dreams. So suit up, grab your character sheet, scoop up your 20 sided die, and roll into a world bigger than you could ever imagine.

Dungeons and dragons has always been a big name in nerd culture for decades, with groups of friends spending weeks at a time gathered around a table for an adventure that brings them into an imaginary world of fantasy. There’s always something new going on with the game, and no two games ever end up the same. Though the games long running popularity has been ignored by mainstream popularity and more commonplace games, there is one place that snuck into the spotlight of current day culture: Stranger Things. The show has the main characters deeply involved into the tabletop game, even naming the demogorgon after a monster in the game.

The game consists of any amount of players with two important roles: The dungeon master (DM) and an average player. The dungeon master is like an advanced storyteller, verbally creating a world for the players to explore and interact with. They choose settings and then create events based on a player’s choice.

Ian Mays (12), a first time dungeon master, is extremely excited about the club popping up.

“I’ve been interested in the game for about a year, year and a half,” says Mays. “I’d been trying to find a group, and I eventually saw that someone started the D&D club at Jenks. So I decided to show up, and around 20 others showed up with me. I was also assigned role of dungeon master at the first meeting after I volunteered for it.”

Though he knows a lot about the game already, Mays still has to get ready for his new job of leading the players through epic stories.

“As a dungeon master, you have to be able to prepare. You realize that the players are relying on you to tell them their actions will have consequences or rewards. You gotta make them see that they can influence the world you’ve constructed before their eyes.”

But not everything goes the way dungeon master’s plan for them to go, and when things start going south, they have to be ready.

“It just kinda happens, and you gotta be ready for it. I can’t control what the players can do. I tell them the situations they’re in, and they react the way they want to. I base all the outcomes on what and how they react.”

But it’s not a smooth ride at all for the dungeon masters. It requires quick reactions and transitions to create a world of wonder to the normal players. Mays wanted to give a few tips to people looking to become a dungeon master themselves.

“If you wanna be a dungeon master, prepare for everything to go off the rails. You gotta make a plan, expect the plan to fail, forget the plan, and then start improvising. The role of dungeon master is about 80% improvising the story, as it never turns the way you want it to.”

Unlike the dungeon master, the player is on the other end of the story. As the dungeon master crafts a tale, the players job is to react to events with how they see fit.

Players rely on the dungeon master for interesting encounters, and for them to deliver an outcome that’s equal to what they chose to do.

John White (11) is just one of the many players in the club, and the game is still a new experience to him. He played back at JMS, when the recharge was available. The only difference is that this group wants to play a legitimate game.

“The first time I played it wasn’t very organized,” says White, “but this time I feel like I’m not being bombarded with a lot of ideas, and this group has really eased me into it.”

The club itself has a collaboration of players that would be considered as professionals, beginners, and players anywhere in between. This doesn’t affect the game itself however, as everyone is willing to learn and play according to everyone else’s skills.

“It’s both beginner friendly and pro friendly. My Dungeon Master has really helped me figure out the game world. He didn’t make fun of me for not knowing the name of certain enemies or the name of the currency we’re using. It’s really a lot better than the recharge.”

The club is always welcoming new members who are ready to play, but you might have to wait until the next campaign is available, as the current one is still ongoing. Contact Ms.Ward in building 6, room 6169 for more information about the club.

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