The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

D&D Leaves The Dungeon

A glimpse into the tabletop RPG at Summit

While faced with the stress of an AP exam or a night spent lonesomely revising an essay, the ordinary student’s mind wanders. It wanders to fantastical feats, possibly dungeons…and possibly dragons as well. 

Dungeons and Dragons is a tabletop roleplay where a player involved with a small team of like-minds bets on dice to guide their character’s future. The game never lost its niche since 1974, even considering the rise of the internet and its popularity boom of the 2010s. Its nature suggests a human need to simulate medieval combat with spells, like fireball and disintegrate, or fighting with a wide array of bladed weapons. The substitution for everyday mundanity kept its appeal, but the exception is its association with nerd culture.

Summit’s D&D Club is an enigma as a result, tucked away in the library and hidden in school emails. The experience walks a fine line with geek roleplaying and brilliant collaboration, so which could it be?

“D&D sounds appealing with the fantasy of a story,” said senior Ewan Mortensen. He’s no stranger to the library and frequents the comfortable atmosphere, although he’s not part of D&D club. “Everyone enjoys stories, so being part of one is really fun. If you’ve ever done a ‘choose your own adventure’—maybe like that but cooler.”

Upon stepping into the library on Thursday to greet the club, everything appears more organized and laid-back than one would expect from such a secretive club. Members share their wisdom, stories and tips that influence decisions made in the quest, referred to as a campaign.

The first table started their weekly session by subjecting their characters to near-death, fighting against a boss where various weapon slashing and charisma charms are thrown around. This point is one of a grander story yet to unfold. Being thrown into the unknown by the dungeon master—the overseeing player who controls the world—can catch the eye of any curious thrill seeker.

Ian Sterling, a senior and frequent dungeon master, shared his insight on the club. 

“I honestly don’t do D&D for roleplay. I enjoy the creative side of it; writing something engaging for my players that might pull them into the story, or fail to do so. It’s a great space to get feedback on your storytelling and speaking skills,” said Sterling.

A staple of the nature of D&D is ‘choosing your own adventure,’ which can be an act of freedom to live a life completely unlike your own and to simply have fun. When the players put down their fantasy personas on the board, it becomes a circle of friends that find the club to be their common interest. The ability to escape for a few hours is transformative. And for those who need that social outlet, joining the club is one of the most creative ways to meet new people.

However, the reputation of nerdiness is not an unfair deduction by any means. Developing a character, its species, class, background, stats and equipment could take up to an hour for the player. Given that they have to read all this and dedicate too much time, D&D is clearly not for the faint of heart. Headaches are prone to the indecisive considering the commitment that eager players hold; it appears daunting and geeky to others. But it allows those dedicated fanatics to fixate on worlds that don’t reflect their real-life struggles.

Overall, greater exposure could shed a positive light on the game, reaching out to individuals who might be genuinely interested, but have no idea that it’s more than obsessively gripping onto uniquely-designed dice. Clubs at Summit are a great way to connect people seeking new hobbies to artisans of the field. Dungeons and Dragons should be no exception to this statement.

“While I think that some parts of the game probably won’t shake the reputation, D&D is slowly becoming more popular, and with that will hopefully come a larger number of people being exposed to something they might decide they want to study or do as a hobby,” said Sterling. “Writing, acting, painting, programming, graphic design, improv—these are just a few examples of skills myself and other club members have explored and found passions for through D&D.”

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About the Contributor
Felix Finley
Felix Finley, Staff Writer

It dawned on Felix, during a sleepless night, to become passably decent at English.

A delivery of news requires a heart of college-grade ramen and an ear for fresh ideas, by his little senior mouth. Aside from obsessing over deer (lovely creatures) and psychological literature, Felix enjoys the solid, straight-forward, and nifty life of editing online writings; but also leads a passion for theatre! Sadly, our lad has not tasted boredom in all of his years, for better or worse.

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