By Albert Chang-Yoo and Zachary Navarra
Imagine fighting off a monstrous dragon with your flaming battle axe. Your best friend and a total stranger stand by you, weapons in hand ready for their last stand. With the role of the dice, the battle begins.
Dungeons and Dragons, commonly referred to as D&D, is a relatively new club to Summit Shasta. The D&D club was founded last school year by current sophomores Joe Hernandez, Archer Prochazka and Aaron Susantin.
The club itself meets every Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Shasta’s E building. In its second year, the club boasts a relatively large 41 student members. New members are welcome any time. You can contact Hernandez when the club meets or at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
D&D is a tabletop game that consists of the player characters and the Dungeon Master. The player character is the human-controlled in-game character. Player characters are created using specialized books, the roll of dice and one’s imagination.
Shasta junior Michael Maccallum acts as a Dungeon Master. According to Maccallum, the role of the dungeon master is to “manage all interactions that are not between characters, the setting of the campaign and the story. The DM acts for the world and the player character’s surroundings.”
If a Dungeon Master does his job right, he should create an environment of organized chaos. The nature of the game itself is to be fun and not constricting. This environment allows the players to decide their own fate.
As the leader of his group, Maccallum has been able to see the unique connections that the game provides. He said, “In a sense it has definitely helped build bonds that wouldn’t have been created otherwise. The game pushes people into an environment where they have to go out of their comfort zone to communicate with people they normally would not talk to.”
However, not all students feel this way. While the club boasts a relatively large 41 members, only five of these members are female students. Shasta freshman Evelyn Archibald is one of these five students. “In my time there I was in a small group; it was a little awkward. In general, I feel like D&D is male-dominated. I have felt lonely; being the only girl in my group can feel isolating in a way,” Archibald said. “I don’t think it is the club itself; I just think it is how society has put stereotypes on D&D.”
A commonly held belief is that D&D is a game played by a bunch of nerdy boys in someone’s basement. Another common stereotype is that girls can’t play D&D, and it is only for guys.
Hernandez believes that “stereotypes do have a large role to play in why female students might feel more uncomfortable. I think these stereotypes help decide who actually joins the club. The reason for the large gap is because very few of their friends join.” Hernandez added that “anyone is welcome” and that he hopes to create an environment that is inclusive to all students.
The D&D Club at Summit Shasta provides a unique experience for students to come together in a creative unconstricted setting. It encourages teamwork and imaginative thinking that leads to a fun time. In the words of Hernandez: “D&D is a place where friends and strangers alike can come together to die trying to feed a dragon a hot pocket.”