Dungeons and Dragons club fosters community at YS

Students gather in Mr. Lantz’s classroom to create characters for their new Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
Students gather in Mr. Lantz’s classroom to create characters for their new Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

By Adison Godfrey

This year, York Suburban High School got a new club—one dedicated to playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons and Dragons, also known as D&D, is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game. It has enjoyed increased popularity in recent years due to its inclusion in the Netflix series “Stranger Things. In the club’s first year at YS, it has actually been so popular that they’ve needed to split into two groups to make gameplay possible.

How has a first-year club become such a success?

Masen Senft, a senior, believes it comes down to community.

“D&D is a very group-centric game. It’s usually set up as a table with something in the middle, usually like a map or something, whatever, that you all just crowd around. D&D is all about being together and collaborating and making something out of you people. Four people, five people, whatever, can create this sprawling epic story, and it’s all because you worked together.”

Mr. Lantz, the club adviser, shared that D&D Club is unique for a school activity in the sense that freshmen and seniors game together as though they’ve been friends their whole lives. But in the world of D&D, he says this isn’t so unusual.

“You know, one of the things I’ve always loved about gaming is the different kinds of people it brings together. If you go into any kind of comic book store and sit down for a D&D campaign, you’ll have everything from 10-year-old kids to 60-year-old men playing together and being able to have a great time. It’s just good, clean fun.”

Lantz would know—he has been playing D&D for over 20 years. In fact, on Monday evenings, he stays after school to play with students for two hours, and then he goes home to play with his own friends. As an English teacher and a published author, he finds the character- and world-building aspects of the game especially appealing.

“That’s what always drew me to it. I loved the freedom to create and to invent and to develop worlds that didn’t exist before.”

This fictional world that players co-create is also one that anyone can belong to. In this way, D&D Club means something more to Spencer Burns, a sophomore. 

“It’s just an enjoyable place to be. You can meet new people. You can really just kind of be yourself. And if you can’t really be yourself in real life, you can put yourself into a character.”

Burns hadn’t known anything about D&D before joining the club this year, and they emphasize that the club will accept anyone with open arms—as long as they’re okay with controlled chaos.

Senft says creating a world with other people, especially one that can be ridiculous, is what makes the game so fun. “I really don’t think anything beats just being there with people, and it’s that sense of togetherness. That you’re all in this together. Not just your characters, but you are also on this journey. It’s those moments that just stay in your mind that, I think that’s what D&D’s all about.”

I’m Adison Godfrey, Trojan News.