Dungeon Masters

Each year, self-proclaimed geeks across the MU campus gather for Geek Week, a week of events sponsored by the Honors College. Last year, Aaron Harms, Director of the Writing Center, introduced a new activity to Geek Week as he hosted a Dungeons and Dragons event on Geek Week’s annual game night.

Harms has been playing D&D since he was a kid. His wife, Honors College advisor Darcy Holtgrave, suggested he bring the game to Geek Week. Harms loved the idea and ran with it. Calling it the greatest roleplaying game of all time, Harms loves D&D because players can flex their creativity and collaborate to create a fantastic story.

“D&D is a three-hour adventure where you’re sitting with maybe friends, or maybe strangers, being someone you’re not,” Harms says. “What I really like is there is an intersection where anyone can play this game. It doesn’t matter the training that they’ve had, once they get the few rules down, then it becomes really cool.”

Harms described D&D as a game that employs the theatre of the mind. There are no visuals, other than a board, and players are encouraged to think, speak and perform completely in character. While this can be a challenge for some, Harms says that after a while, players get a hang of it.

According to Harms, many of the players at last year’s event were new to D&D. Junior Tony Vazquez has attended every Geek Week since his freshman year and is now a member of the Honors Programming Board, the committee that plans Geek Week and other Honors events. Game night is traditionally one of his favorite nights during Geek Week. When he saw the sign-up for D&D, he decided to give it a shot, even though he had never played before.

“I didn’t really know anything about D&D, but it seemed really inviting,” Vazquez says. “Plus, it’s hosted by the Honors College, so I knew it’d be fun.’”

The game went on for about three hours and Vazquez was immediately hooked. He and some of the other players made a GroupMe so they could continue to meet up and play. He enjoys the ability for players to stretch their imaginations.

“The main idea of D&D is to just let your creativity go wild,” Vazquez says. “That’s what’s most fun about it. There are rules to it, but it can be whatever you want it to be.”

Harms says that last year, the D&D players were equally gendered. He emphasized that anyone, no matter their gender, race or class, can love this game. This year, D&D will be returning to the Geek Week game night, 6-10 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4 at Mark Twain Residence Hall. To sign up for this year’s D&D event, click here.

Harms is looking forward to this year’s Geek Week game night and is hoping to have a larger turnout to further grow the D&D fandom at MU.

“I think there are a lot of bad things happening in the world, but when you look at the little bits of beauty that are in this game, that can let you meet someone that you would never have met before,” Harms says. “Maybe you can even learn something about yourself.”