How I found community through D&D

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For months, I’ve been watching friends play Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), but it took me some time to join in the fun. I didn’t know what to make of it at first since I’ve only seen people play it in movies. I’ve heard stories of how people make great friends through the game, so I thought maybe this shy girl should give it a try… someday.

Whenever I’d spectate games, I couldn’t understand much about what was going on. My friends had characters with powers, but I didn’t know where that came from. However, they threw around familiar terms that I would hear from MOBAs, like “mage,” “warriors,” “spells” and more. Got to admit, that piqued my interest so I payed closer attention to how D&D goes.

Following fantasies

A little background for those who aren’t familiar with Dungeons & Dragons: it’s a tabletop role-playing game where players immerse themselves in a fantasy realm. The dungeon master (DM) plays god in the world he creates for his players. Each players’ characters navigate the world, interacting with elements and characters. Some interactions require the players to roll the dice to decide their fate and then the story branches out from there. For instance, a troll appears in front of you and offers you all the gold in the world. You can choose to take it or leave it and behind each choice lies consequences. It’s quite interesting, actually, watching a campaign unfold before your eyes. The stories the campaign follows are even similar to fantasy film tropes – battling orcs, greeting villagers, facing dragons, all the good Lord of the Rings stuff.

When they finished their game, everyone at the table told me to join their next game. They encouraged me to make a character to join theirs in adventure. This intimidated me because (1) I’m not good at improv or role-playing. I didn’t know if i could keep up with their lively portrayal of their characters’ actions. Most of the time, games are just chill, everyone’s just sitting, but there were moments when someone from the table would get up and swing a fake sword. I’m too shy to act those out in front of friends, no matter how close we are. (2) I didn’t think I had the time to develop my own character. Characters come with very detailed description including their race, class, skills, history, and even a backstory.

Bringing my D&D character to life

After a few more days of convincing,I came around because I also wanted to be part of the adventure. One evening, I met up with my DM friend to hang out, and out of the blue, he asked me if i wanted to make a character. If this was the universe’s way of telling me “You’re playing D&D,” I’ll take it

Creating my character was was complicated because it involved a lot of detail, but my friend helped me make the appropriate choices for my character. Thus, Fina was born. She’s a rogue water genasi who sneaks up and attacks her foes with her short swords. Together, we plotted how Fina will debut in the group’s next D&D game. My water genasi was gonna pop up to save a friend from an attacking orc. Boy, I was excited.

So that night, Fina’s attributes were decided and all that’s left for me to create was her back story. Up until now, I still haven’t made her one (Sorry, DM), but I’ll get to it when I’m free. I promise!

It’s game time

Finally, we meet at our favorite Cello’s Doughnuts cafe for our Dungeons & Dragons session. As the campaign progresses, I sit quietly, waiting for the time to strike. Then the orcs attack and there goes my cue. Fina jumps out of the bushes and hits the orc with a sneak attack. I’m not lying when I tell you, everyone at the table shouted “whoa!”

With their jaws to the floor, I shrugged cockily and smiled. I’m friends with these people, but at that moment I finally felt like I was part of a different circle, a community. Fina was only part of the game for a bit, but come the second session, she was fully involved in the team’s adventures. They even added me to their group chat for D&D games, memes, and more. You see, Fina wasn’t the only one who found her place. I, too, found a new home.

Words Ayie Licsi

Watch: ‘The Witcher’ trailer

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