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How Dungeons and Dragons Became the Highlight of My Summer

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Lutheran chapter.

Dungeons and Dragons: by now you’ve probably at least heard of it due to popular media shows like Stranger Things and Critical Role, but the game itself stretches back many decades ago. The entire worldbuilding of a particular game (a ‘campaign,’ in D&D terms) comes from the imagination of the Dungeon Master and is run in multiple ways according to them. Most campaigns are run in person, with many players gathering around a table and listening to the DM narrate, but this summer I was invited to my first ever text-based campaign where everything was held online instead. Because of its different formatting, it quickly became the highlight of my summer, as I got to spend more time with my friends virtually on our own schedules rather than waiting to schedule in-person sessions. Here are just a few benefits of being in a text-based campaign:

  1. More Character Development (my favorite part!)

I think one of the biggest strengths of a text-based campaign is the ability to develop characters more fully. Typically most of the character development happens before the campaign starts by making a character sheet, which is a detailed process of doing research about various races, classes, and attributes, which can be a bit tedious at first. I’ve found through this campaign that there’s more time to explore what my character would do because I can think out what I’m going to say before sending it off in a chat message. It also helps me to get into the headspace of my character easier as there’s more time to do so than say a four-hour session. Though I’ve only been in my current campaign for approximately four months, this particular character is one of my most in-depth, thought-out characters and I’m grateful for being able to plan her character arc without feeling rushed.

  1. More Time to Explore Character’s Backstories

This kind of ties into the above point, but with more character development, I can delve into the backstories of all the characters, not just mine. Though the open-world aspect of my campaign might make it seem one-sided, getting to interact with other characters on a seemingly endless time schedule is more fun (in my opinion) than barely chatting one-on-one at a normal party. An example of this is when my party traveled to the hometown of one character and met his family, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. 

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  1. Hosting One Day Sessions in Person

Though text-based campaigns are typically online, sometimes there are “one-shot” sessions held where all the players meet up for a one-time in-person campaign. These are particularly helpful if there is a side mission away from the main plot of the campaign. Over the summer, I had the chance to participate in one where most of the characters were brought together in a shared goal to slay a dragon, which we accomplished. Though one-shot sessions don’t happen often, they can help revitalize the campaign if it’s slowing down.

  1. Sense of Community Amongst Players

Saving the best reason for last, my favorite part of joining a text-based campaign over the summer has been getting to meet new players and enjoy a nice community of people who are just as excited about the characters as I am. We’re all super invested in each other’s character developments, and when really exciting things happen in the text channels, everyone gathers around to celebrate, which makes it feel just as immersive as a normal D&D campaign. 

Though this is the first long-term D&D campaign that I’ve been in, I can’t wait for what backgrounds or plots we discover next, and I’m super grateful I got invited into the campaign.

Alex Warrender

Cal Lutheran '23

Hello, my name is Alex, and I'm the Senior Writing and Editing Director for the Cal Lutheran University chapter. I’m a senior Psychology Major who loves to devour books and write poetry in my spare time. I also love to play D&D and go thrifting when I can.