SLHS Adds D&D Club to Roster


Maxim Chalupa , Reporter

Stranger Things is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “Dungeons & Dragons”. However, despite what many people believe, Dungeons & Dragons does exist outside of the popular show. Dungeons & Dragons, referred to as D&D, first published in 1974 by Gary Gygax and David Arneson. This was the original edition. Since then, there have been several others published. 1e, 2e, 2e revised, 3e, 3.5e, 4e, 5e, and a new edition, which is referred to as “One DnD”. Each version made up different systems of rules on how to play the iconic dice-rolling game. 


The game was popular during its initial release in 1974, however, due to rising concerns from Christian parents about the contents of the game, Dungeons & Dragons saw a slow decrease over the next new decades due to conflict between excited fans and concerned parents, which would later have become known as “The Satanic Panic”. Luckily, the fifth edition of D&D saw a massive rise in popularity in 2018. Thousands of interested nerds and gamers bought the books, bought the dice, and became entranced by the role-playing game, which now brings forth the dawn of our High School Dungeons & Dragons Club. 


The first time we have seen one since the dawn of COVID, sophomore Hank Sanderlin was determined to revive the club. Not only for fun but for health. “I feel that it inherently helps people with their mental state. It provides a learning experience and togetherness for everybody” he explained. Having the ability to sit back and play a fun game after school with new and old friends is a gift to everyone involved. Hank continued with “People make characters who are more like who they want to be, or ones that make them someone different from themselves, and can take steps to become more like those characters and discover who they are. Putting yourself in that place opens up empathy and respect.” Hank told us that, like the adage goes, “you can’t understand somebody until you walk a mile in their shoes, so that’s what we do”. Though it seems silly, the characters each player makes can become very real. They become attached to your emotions and are as real and important to the party as any other TV role or a character in your favorite book.


Taking a deeper dive into the game itself, I spoke to Eliott Brown, one of the Dungeon Masters in our club. In his words, “A Dungeon Master is someone who runs a game and the world that your other friends play in. Your friends play their characters while the Dungeon Master is busy running every other living person in the setting.” Being a Dungeon Master is a big responsibility to hold. Without them, there would be no game to play at all. You have to be ready for anything to happen, and the game can only be as good as you are. So why take on such a large role? “I played D&D for a few years and it’s usually always just been hanging out with friends. It’s a really good way to spend time. I joined this role in the D&D club because I’ve had so much fun with it outside of school. It can be stressful having your players committing shenanigans all across your game, but it is a fun experience and I’m very glad I’ve done it.” It is true that the job of creating an entire world is filled with stress, but the bond created between a Dungeon Master, their players, and the characters they make and meet along the way is something that is now found anywhere else in our own world. 


Then I spoke to Lydia Brown: a freshman who signed up for the club after being inspired by her brother. “My brother plays D&D. I’ve seen how much he enjoys it and I really wanted to see just what was so fun about it.” I then asked Lydia about her game and experience so far as a player. “We got to learn a lot about making characters and we learned about the story we will be playing, which seems really fun. I hope I will be able to make new friends and have a lot of fun.” As a frequent player myself, and someone who helps run the club, it makes me happy to know our club has new players who want to discover more about this game and are so optimistic about being a member of the group. 


With over ninety sign ups at Smart Start, all of our club managers hope that we have created a club that is here long after we graduate. Making a permanent affixture to our school and offering a place for kinds to geek out and have fun means a lot to all of our Dungeon Masters. It is obvious that lots of passion resides within the new Dungeons & Dragons club. Let’s hope it’s here to stay!