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New Dungeons and Dragons Club soars with participation and imagination

With Sandburg’s assortment of over seventy extracurricular activities, one would think there’s little to add; however, last spring, two former sophomores decided that there was still room for growth. After a long and dubious journey, Sandburg can now add a Dungeons and Dragons Club to their ’23-24 extracurricular roster.

In short, Dungeons and Dragons itself is an imaginative game in which groups of people called parties follow the storyline of a fantasy world called a campaign with unique characters that they create. Each party has a leader, called a Dungeon Master, who takes the role of a narrator and guides players through the story.

Photo courtesy of Ms. Parker

“A key thing about the game is that you need friends to play it,” explains junior Allie Bragassi. “A good way to get a group of people to play and introduce new people to playing it is a school club.” Club founders Jocelyn Chan and Bragassi worked together in collaboration with their club sponsor, Ms. Parker, to prepare and plan the club’s launch all summer.

“Allie and I did a D&D club at our middle school, OJH, and unfortunately, this was during post-COVID, so we weren’t able to get the actual D&D experience of meeting up with new people. Everything was on Zoom and—to be honest—it was pretty bad, but the actual game left such a great impression on me that I wanted to continue it in high school. I found out that we do not have a single D&D club at Carl Sandburg” explains Jocelyn Chan. She adds, “but the main thing to start a club is to find a sponsor. It was really tough.”

The club sponsor, Ms. Parker, says, “The idea for it came up two years ago, and one of my other students mentioned that there were a couple of other kids that were interested in starting the club, and because I had talked about how I used to play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends…some kids told their friends ‘Hey, Ms. Parker is a nerd too, maybe she’ll be your sponsor,’ so yeah, and then they came and asked me.” Neither club founder had had Ms. Parker as a teacher, but destiny brought the three together to mark a milestone in the founding of the club.

After the initial complications of forming a club, the team was ready for the next challenge: structure. Dungeons and Dragons is a game based on a pre-written script to assist the Dungeon Master in creating a storyline for parties to follow. “Over the summer, Allie and I met periodically at my house to work on the D&D,” stated Chan.

“What Jocelyn and I had to do this whole summer, like in preparation, was we wrote our whole own story, for over the ten playing sessions we’re going to have,” explained Bragassi.

Bragassi stated, “I’m sure we could have found one online if we wanted, but we decided to write our own.” In addition to this, the two shared that they prepared lessons to teach new players how to play, gathered supplies, and formatted the general schedule of meeting dates. 

After weeks of preparation, the club made its first official appearance at the freshman activity fair on freshman first day. They further promoted the club through the use of posters around campus, an Instagram account, and word of mouth; however, it seemed the struggle wasn’t over yet.

Chan says, “I started trying to get the word out that we were starting a new D&D club, and the response back was very lackluster…pitifully, nobody knew what Dungeons and Dragons was. It’s a little nerve-wracking, to be honest.” Bragassi echoed this challenge, stating, “I was thinking twelve was an optimistic number for people joining.”

A couple weeks later, on September 11th, the club hosted their first meeting and was amazed when met with the outcome. “We got way more people than we expected and planned for,” said Bragassi.

“We have over 30 people now. As of that day, we had twenty-nine people show up, and then after that, I’ve had emails from counselors telling me that like five more people want to join it,” continued Ms. Parker.

Photo courtesy of Ms. Parker

“That got all of us extremely happy and excited,” stated Chan. 

Restored with hope and ambition, the club made minor adjustments to accommodate for the influx of people and is now moving forward stronger than ever before. The first gameplay meeting not only of the year but also of the club’s history, was hosted on October 16th and brought forth even more enthusiasm.

The club’s instagram, @cs_dnd_club, has begun and will continue to post both gameplay meeting session summaries and snapshots throughout the school year to highlight the day’s most memorable moments.

Photo courtesy of Ms. Parker

When asked about plans for the future when student club founders, Chan and Bragassi, were to leave Sandburg, Ms. Parker replied, “there’s definitely going to be like a passing of the torch.” Parker continued that “hopefully people keep coming back each year and the club stays big.”

From a similar perspective, Chan says, “my number one goal is to see this club be able to support itself after I leave Carl Sandburg. I want to be able to build a club that will be able to stay for a long time. To do that, I have to kind of pass the mantle on to the new students, and hopefully, well not hopefully, successfully, we will be able to create this sort of environment for students to just join a club and be able to learn as much as they can from it, and enjoy it enough that they’ll be able to carry it on for us.”

Whether it’s the search for something new or simply the need for a relaxing social extracurricular, Dungeons and Dragons might just be the answer. The club’s flexibility encourages students of all grade levels to join at any time.

“We’ll figure out a way to fit you into the story,” assures Bragassi. But if you are still unsure, let the die decide your fate and give it a try.

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