I’ll never forget an old cartoon they showed us at journalism school. It featured a reporter spinning a big wheel like on Wheel of Fortune and on that wheel were various topics that reporter was going to be talking to somebody about that day. The joke, although I’m not sure it was really all that funny, was that being a reporter made you an expert at learning a tiny bit about something new every day.
While it’s not all that funny, it’s certainly accurate. That said, my journalism training never primed me for the conversation I had with south Cowichan’s Chris Lumley the other day.
Through my conversation with Chris, I entered the world of the fantasy tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D for short.
In short, it’s a game in which players create their own characters and set out on an adventure concocted by the game’s Dungeon Master. During that adventure they solve puzzles and do battle and other stuff I don’t know anything about, and they explore and overcome obstacles dependent on the Dungeon Master’s story line. The results of which are based on what their type of characters are and how they’d react.
I told Chris it sounded very convoluted and he assured me is isn’t.
“It’s essentially like improv really, and any action you do is pretty much dictated by a set of dice, which can be upwards of 20-sided,” he noted.
Anyway, Chris is a big D&D fan.
During the pandemic, he could always play online.
“I’ve played for several years now. I would play online with my friends from time to time but that can be pretty hard to schedule and playing online is just different,” he admitted.
What Chris really wanted was a group of locals to play with.
“When you’re together you have the roll of the dice and you’re around people, you’re talking, you’re laughing and whatnot. Surely there’s other fans in the area who would love to roll the dice,” he said.
He wasn’t wrong.
After he bonded with his fiancée’s cousin over D&D, he threw out some feelers on Facebook and was surprised with the results: a community D&D game has been going on over a month now and shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
“We’ve definitely made some new friends and I look forward to it every time we meet,” Chris said.
Ideally five or six players is good for a D&D group but this group is different. There are often 12 or 13 around the table.
For whatever reason, it works.
“No one is bored, no one is not having fun,” he said. “It’s been really fantastic and definitely eye opening to what you really can achieve with a large group.”
The group is so big, Lumley needed to find a space outside of his own house to host the game nights.
After looking around, they settled on an unusual venue.
“The Shawnigan Basin Society has a long table that fits our group perfectly,” he explained. “And I thought what’s better as well that it actually goes to a great cause, that it goes to support the Basin Society.”
Members chip in $10 each time they meet toward the rental of the room for the few hours a week they play.
Anything left over goes toward snacks. I mean, what’s a game night without the snacks, right?
Aside from a somewhat roundabout way of supporting a local non-profit, what’s cool about the D&D game nights is that the people that come together to play every week are pretty diverse.
Chris and his fiancée are both 26 but there are couples there who’ve got young children, and folks ranging from roughly 25 to 60 years of age and everywhere in between.
“It’s definitely wide ranging,” he said.
Sort of like the topics I find myself talking and writing about at work every day; and the funny thing is that diversity is what makes it so cool — both D&D and my job.
What fun would life be if we all had cookie-cutter lives? What makes life interesting is that we all lead separate lives that intersect at very specific points and when they do, we benefit from each other’s experiences and points of view. These days it’s so easy to lose sight of that. So, be it the news or D&D or something else entirely, I challenge you: become an expert at learning a tiny bit about something new every day.
Maybe Dungeons and Dragons.
You won’t be sorry.