Story by Will Wolf, Reporter
Photos courtesy of Will Wolf.
I was a fairly anxious and nervous child, until I was introduced to a game called Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in 2014. My friends and I played a few sessions, and together we fought monsters and demons, saved a town and became heroes of the region, ready to embark on our next adventure!
We didn’t play any more after that, sadly. We were all young, couldn’t drive, and school was starting back up. Jump to 2017, we all had graduated and got ready to play our first official campaign. We started out with a test run through a module called “The Lost Mines of Phandelver” to gauge interest and let people test out Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons (D&D 5e). In these Lost Mines we were ambushed by goblins, discovered a kidnapping plot, and rescued a group of brothers in search of the mine. Within the mine was the Forge of Spells, a place where magic could be channeled into a smith’s creation allowing the craft of awesome magic armor and weapons! After a few months of play testing, it was finally time to play our own game.
Our Dungeon Master set the scene and I created a Bard, a character that was meant to be charismatic and dashing, the face of the group, who could cast magic with the use of musical instruments. All of which were things I was not, nor could do. The game went for two and a half beautiful years where I was allowed to experiment and play within my own safe bubble. I got to be a dashing bard who dealt with family trauma, the betrayal of a brother, the loss of a love, and the loss of himself.
I started out the campaign as someone who would let anxiety build up, and from that I would vomit and lay in bed for the rest of the night worrying about what comes next. One of the biggest turning points for me within the game where I saw my own growth was over the betrayal of a family member, and the realization that my character’s family (which to me was my family) had a horrible past. I wasn’t sickly or anxious, I was furious and expressive, writhing with pain and anger as I had experienced a wealth of lies and loss. Emotions I felt then have since rivaled those I have felt in my real life with loss and betrayal. From this, I became someone who can deal with things. I can talk to people, vocalize my experiences and my needs, and I thank table top games for it. Now I am a captain of the Esports team and a student senator. All of that because I felt safe to grow in a little game known as D&D.