On Oct. 29, Stirling Books & Brew in downtown Albion hosted a Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) event featuring a Ravenloft campaign. Ravenloft campaigns are among the many premade campaigns for the game.
“A while back Jason Raddatz from the Nature Center had overheard me saying something about D&D and he got excited about it,” said Joseph Lee-Cullin, assistant professor of geology. “He asked if I wanted to play with students at the Nature Center with him at some point, and I said sure. He emailed me at the start of October and asked me if I wanted to run a Ravenloft thing, and I said sure.”
Dungeons and Dragons is a popular fantasy role-playing game created by Ernest Gary Gygax and David Arneson in 1974.
“It’s a roleplaying game where you create this character and a person leads you and a group of other people through this world that has either been pre-built or they’ve created themselves,” said Grant Partridge, Royal Oak junior.
While Raddatz was in charge of organizing most of the event, Lee-Cullin was the students’ Dungeon Master. The Dungeon Master (DM) is the game organizer in charge of creating the details and challenges of a given adventure.
“I was in charge of running the game,” said Lee-Cullin. “I am usually a player, not usually a DM. I have done a few one-shots and some campaigns that have started and fizzled out.”
Partridge describes the campaign that was chosen as a Halloween special.
“Our campaign was kind of Dracula-ish,” said Partridge. “Where there’s a vampire named Strahd and we go to his castle and we have to hunt him down basically. He gives us four hours to search the castle and then fights us.”
The event was scheduled for 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Partridge confirmed that the campaign lasted hours after that.
“It was very fun and very well run,” said Partridge. “It was also very long. It did not last until two, it went until 7:20 in the morning.”
Lee-Cullin also stated that while the intended play time did not match the original schedule, none of the players stepped up to stop the campaign from continuing.
“Until 6:30 or so in the morning no one really stepped up and said hey maybe we should stop, we just kept going,” said Lee-Cullin.
The event was advertised through the weekly emails from Office of Campus Life. It was a way for students and faculty to interact with one another and build community at Albion College. In total, there were around eight participants.
“There was only one person who had signed up that didn’t come and a couple people who I didn’t see had signed up but had been integrated into it from the beginning,” said Lee-Cullin. “So we had seven total players, which was roughly what we were expecting.”
One of the aspects of playing D&D is creating a character that fits into the campaign players will move through. Partridge explains that he created a character that not only fit the Halloween campaign but was also one he had liked the idea of playing too.
“I played a nun who was a vampire hunter,” said Partridge. “I really like the monk class, and so I’m thinking that this is a horror campaign, cause it’s Halloween, it has to be a vampire hunter, and nuns both fit the monk aesthetic, so I couldn’t not play one.”
The Monk Class are among the many different classes of characters players can create within the scope of D&D. There are online forums that detail the different types of characters individuals can create for their campaigns.
When asked if this was something he would do again, Lee-Cullin said it was something that they would definitely be interested in the future.
“I would absolutely DM again, I would never, ever, ever let it go for that long,” said Lee-Cullin.
When asked about what is the most rewarding part of being the Dungeon Master for this event, Lee-Cullin stated how they enjoyed watching the players interact as the characters they created.
“From my perspective, I love seeing people interact as these characters who have pieces of themselves but are not themselves,” said Lee-Cullin. “And seeing how they take this idea of this character that they’ve created and how they take that to its logical conclusion.”
Correction: The original publication of this text used the incorrect pronouns for Joseph Lee-Cullin and has since been corrected. We apologize for any confusion.