It’s not an introduction to Satanism, says Bohdan Dowker, the dungeon master of Clearwater Library’s ongoing Dungeons and Dragons game.
“We’ve been going for several months now,” said Ember “Jinx” Simms-Godwin, one of the players, while leaning over her notebook drawing a character.
Another player adds that it’s almost been a year now since Dowker put the campaign together.
Trina Pinkson, one of the older players, also adds that it has been the same group throughout even though sometimes other players go missing every now and then due to a lack of ride to the library. They also get new people joining every now and then.
“There’s a long story that I’ve prepared before the whole thing started and I kept it really vague so it could be open to a lot more factors like the players doing things they don’t expect and basically they’re the people who experience the story and I narrate it for them,” said Dowker about the fantasy role-playing scenario he has imposed on his friends.
In a game full of creativeness, where players like Simms-Godwin and Pinkson draw their characters in notebooks and giving them life outside of the tabletop board, Dowker gets to flex his own creativity despite not having his own character. As the dungeon master, he has created and organized the game, creating each detail, challenge and adventure while keeping track of everything the seven players sitting in front of him have done.
And none of them knows how it will end, except him.
“They don’t know and to say so will spoil it, but I have one prepared which they’ll eventually reach,” he said when asked about the ending. “At a certain end, there is a level system [or] progression the players go through from 1 to 20 and at level 20 they are at the strongest and usually campaigns end somewhere around there. But it can go forever if you want it to with things get progressively strong.”
But despite Bowker’s narration of the story the players’ experience, it doesn’t stop players from creating chaos.
“This one [Alex Sauve] started one over there. I don’t know what happened to the other ones,” said Simms-Godwin of a bunch of red squiggly lines drawn on the map with a magic marker. It’s one of three fires the players are trying to navigate through.
Sauve plays as a Kobold, a small dragon without wings that stands on two legs. As the other players discuss the fire and his role or lack there of in the party, he shrugs and simply says, “funny joke,” as if it’s something anyone would do.
“It’s a rogue, so he’s sort of a sneaky crime-doing thing,” he said.
The two other fires were created by something else, however, Sauve’s Kobold has retreated away from the other players.
Pinkson and Simms-Godwin both play as Tieflings, a species of humanoids whose ancestors are humans who paired with demons and other evil deities. The two characters are vastly different though.
Pinkson’s character is a warlock who was raised in a temple all her life who can cast quite a few spells and his companions with almost everyone in the party except Sauve’s character, as well as another player’s (Dominque Miller) character. Pinkson also described her character as one who would simply ruin someone’s day just because.
Simms-Godwin’s Tiefling is a druid, who grew up in a hut in the forest. He had a pleasant family life and went to an academy to learn, becoming a sage.
“They’re not necessarily demons, a lot of them live normal lives,” she added.
Each player had their own reason for playing the game. For Pinkson, it’s the role-playing. For Maple Peel, it’s the violence. Simms-Godwin said she enjoyed the story building but also enjoyed what she called the “chaotic socialization” that comes with it.
Miller provides both violence and chaotic socialization to the party.
“My parents suggested it to me because they used to play it a lot when they were younger and I decided to go and I just kept going,” Miller explained about how he started. “I blow up a lot of things.”
Nathan Lever cuts in, saying he threw a gnome once. Miller explains himself, adding that he actually bellyflopped on a gnome before throwing it away and that this was actually an older character he had and not the current one. Apparently, that character was seven feet tall and over 300 pounds.
Peel, who is actually one of the newest people to the group, only started a month ago. But it’s clear that she’s a welcome addition.
“It’s really fun and I made a few new friends also. My friend Phoenix [McFadyen] over there, she encouraged me to start and that’s basically why I started playing Dungeons and Dragons,” she said.
Her character is a water jinx who is also a sage.
“It’s not a very fully-made character yet but I’m working on it.”