Who’s your dungeon master?

Capilano’s Table-Top Role-Playing Club turns fantasy games into nights of fun and adventure

Justin Scott // Managing Editor

Dungeons and Dragons – a conquest that may have never embarked on and often gets portrayed as a game for the stereotypical movie geek. It’s something that I’ve always been extremely curious about and have wanted to try for a long time. Luckily for me, Capilano University has its very own Table-Top Role-Playing Club, where I was able to enter the fantasy realm for the first time.

On a dark and rainy Wednesday night, I joined the club’s founder, Thomas Leung, and other group members in one of Maple’s classrooms. I arrived early and had the opportunity to see Leung, the Dungeon Master (DM) of the night’s game, preparing for the evening’s events. He had a hand-drawn map as well as sketches of various characters and objects that would come into play throughout the night. Atop the table beside him were Dungeons and Dragons books and a few sets of die. As members of the club began to arrive, the energy in the room grew, and a classroom that had been calm just moments before was filling with chatter and laugher.

The club, which was founded by Leung when he arrived at CapU in 2013, mainly plays the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, which is the world’s most popular table-top role-playing game. As Leung explained at a later meeting, the game has two requirements. “There are two important parts to role-playing games. That there’s a person willing to run them, the storyteller, the dungeon master (DM), whatever you want to call it, and the players. You can’t have one without the other,” he explained.

Once those requisites have been met, a game has infinite possibilities. DMs come up with scenarios and storylines that players and their characters enter. Different characters will have different abilities and equipment and will have to work with each other or against each other depending on the game. Players will make their way through the games, with the success of each of their actions or endeavours being determined by a combination of their skills and dice rolls. A single game is the beginning of a storyline to the very end, which can take over a year to complete.

The night I joined, the club happened to introduce a number of new players into a pre-existing game, which enabled my halfling character and myself to hop aboard the journey. Starting on the deck of a ship at sea, within just a few hours my fellow players and I had been shipwrecked by an eternal storm whilst attempting to escape a pursuing ship. That night there were roughly 10 people playing the game, but that was just a fraction of the 40 official members the club has.

“I started it when I first came here. It didn’t really have any members early on, it only really started picking up about two years ago,” explained Leung. “Which is kind of upsetting because I’ll be leaving soon, just as things are getting exciting.” Members take part in the games they can attend, and with many games going on at once there’s never a shortage. “The most fun a player can have is going from the very beginning of a story to the very end and getting fully invested in it,” Leung said. “There’s nothing better than creating your own character and seeing it through till the end.”

It should also be noted that while the club’s activities mainly focus on Dungeons and Dragons, they play other table-top role-playing games as well. Mutants and Masterminds, for example, is another game the club is fond of. This game is similar to Dungeons and Dragons, but played with superhero and villains characters.

Unfortunately, the club will be saying goodbye to its founder, as Leung will be graduating soon. Although his successor has yet to be chosen, Leung is con dent that the club will continue to flourish.

My evening with the club was nothing but pleasant and left me wanting to return, even after my character was killed off by an infected facial gash (I had to leave early). Not only was the game exciting, the members of the club were nothing but kind and welcoming, allowing me to ease into things. When I told Leung how much I enjoyed myself, he wasn’t surprised. “I encourage you, if you have even the slightest interest in exploring a different character, or a different side of yourself, come along and play a game, if you want to write a story, run a game. Everybody’s super friendly and there’s nothing to be shy about because we’re all going to embarrass ourselves, the DM especially.”

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