Along with December comes the stress of finals. Some students have found a unique way to cope — the classic tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
Tabletop fantasy games have been popular for decades as a way to adventure with friends in magical worlds. Wearing masks and keeping distant is easy to do while playing D&D, but some students opt to use Zoom or other calling platforms to play remotely.
Cartersville student Daniel Maloney said, “I personally find Dungeons and Dragons to be an excellent way to escape the problems and stresses of everyday life as it allows me to place myself into the mind of another person in a foreign land where all things are theoretically possible. It allows me to make decisions and experience interactions with no direct consequences that will interfere with my life. One of my favorite parts of playing D&D is the ability to sit down with good friends and experience new ways for us all to interact with each other and generally relax around an interesting story, much like going to the theatre with friends, but you can control the plot.”
“At times we all need to take a break from our life, with D&D I found a way to pretend to be in another life you can shape and be together with friends.” said Cartersville student Logan Gepfert.
Stress is often tied to other mental health conditions, so students use D&D to cope with illnesses like anxiety and depression.
“Because I suffer from depression and anxiety, the stress of finals causes me to freak out and get into a dark place. However, through D&D I was able to push my worries away even if it is just for a couple hours. I’m able to be a different person and just have fun with my friends. It’s the same feeling I get when I play video games or go longboarding. I’m able to just be in the moment with no stress,” said Cartersville student Stephen Clark.
D&D also provides its players with a safe space to express themselves through storytelling.
“It’s great to fantasize and take your mind off things with it though. For me personally, it’s more of a challenge to see what kind of creative things I can come up with and how I can contribute to the story” said Cartersville student Amanda Bishop.
Cartersville student Bailey Temples is the Dungeon Master — or game organizer — of a D&D campaign on campus. “Being a DM, or Dungeon Master, is a unique experience and something I haven’t been able to recreate in my many attempts. What makes it so unique is the amount of control the position gives you. You make your own world and people choose to experience the world that you made. With finals going on all around us, life tends to seem chaotic and out of our control, so using D&D is a fantastic way to gain back some of that control. Luckily you don’t have to do it alone either, having your friends there experiencing the world you spent hours upon hours making. With everyone laughing as friends makes the whole experience of college and finals fade away for a few hours, being replaced with the joyous time of friends,” said Temples.