Sunday, June 16, 2024

MSU students battle monsters, explore other worlds through Tabletop Club

April 1, 2024
<p>Dungeons and Dragons first club meeting March 21, 2024</p>

Dungeons and Dragons first club meeting March 21, 2024

Doctoral student Aron Tobias would best describe the beginning of an MSU tabletop club meeting as "organic." After some initial general announcements, he explained, members are free to find one another, join pre-existing games or start playing an entirely new game together.

"It’s an organic process," Tobias said. "You don't have any matchmaking or whatever. Half the people go off and find the campaigns they've been playing in for weeks, and then others just pick up some game and get to it."

Whether it be at a club meeting on Thursday nights in Erickson Hall or at separate sessions organized through the club's Discord server, members of the tabletop club play an array of board games ranging from the popular roleplaying game "Dungeons & Dragons" to social deduction games such as "Blood on the Clocktower."

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On the club's Discord server, people looking to run games can announce their upcoming campaigns and attract potential players, the most popular game played through the club being "Dungeons & Dragons."

Dungeons & Dragons, commonly shortened to DnD, is a tabletop roleplaying game that has players create their own characters, make their own decisions and adventure inside a fantasy story crafted by a referee/narrator, referred to as the Dungeon Master. 

Players in a DnD campaign, who collectively form a party, have free will to explore the world however they wish, meaning every combat encounter and social interaction can be approached in a variety of ways. Chemistry junior Kelsey Neill said this ability to influence events and help shape stories is a large reason for DnD’s consistent popularity.

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"You have someone that can create the scaffolding for what would be a really great story," Neill said. "And then players come and they make these characters ... and it really becomes whatever you want it to be."

In the campaigns she's played in, Neill's characters have explored distant planets outside the solar system, battled countless monsters in fantasy worlds and even taken down gods and goddesses. 

"They have been everywhere," Neill said.

DnD and other tabletop roleplaying games are built on interactions between players and narrators, making them hotbeds for socializing and forming friendships. Physics senior Michael Quintieri said the club and the friends he's made through it have defined his social experience at MSU.

"Getting together with the same group of people (to play) every week and laughing about things and relaxing and playing a character, that’s a really good way to make friends," Quintieri said. "Board games in general are a way to relax and get to know people better."

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Although some members of the club have been playing tabletop games for years, Quintieri said his first time playing was at a club meeting his freshman year. Being a newcomer, however, didn’t dissuade him from learning the ropes and joining games.

"Everyone in the group that I had was really good with onboarding me and teaching me what I needed to know," Quintieri said.

Through the tabletop club, Neill said, members have the opportunity to experiment with new games, meet new people and share new experiences. Regardless of experience level or game of choice, Neill said the club has a "nice system" for connecting players with one another.

"It gives a lot of opportunity for people to connect that otherwise may have been unable to," Neill said. "And I’m really appreciative of the club for that."

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