Strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. These are the characters traits that the student players involved in Calgary Academy’s Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) club must decide how they want to exemplify before they embark on their collaborative storytelling adventure.
Andrew Rigby, a Grade 10 teacher at CA, has been trying to create a D&D club since March 2020. Amidst online learning and gathering restrictions, September 2021 finally marked the beginning of the club two years in the making. While he originally anticipated low numbers of student participation, the club is now one of the biggest at CA, boasting 35 members from Grades 9-12.
“There was so much more interest in the club than I ever could have anticipated. I expected maybe 10 students, but when I showed up to the first meeting, it was packed full of people wanting to be part of the club. I was not prepared for it to be as big as it is, especially for its first year.” – Andrew Rigby
While D&D has been around since the 1970s, it continues to be one of the most played games around the world. Players choose one character to portray throughout the game, which can traditionally last anywhere from two to six hours, as they embark on quests alongside the gamemaster who upholds the rules. While its roots are in fantasy, Andrew can see that there are many transferrable skills that students gain outside the game.
“What I love the most about D&D is the idea that creative problem-solving leads to creative outcomes. Anytime you see a student pushing the boundaries with projects in the classroom, it boosts their confidence. While that confidence is important while playing D&D, it inevitably impacts them as a person outside the club as well, including how they react in high-stress situations.” – Andrew Rigby
Andrew has five groups of students who alternate playing at lunch over two weeks for an hour. While clubs were put on hold at CA until recently, the interest in D&D has shown that students are eager to get back to the social aspect of school that was lost.
“D&D is a great opportunity to simply have fun in an accepting and inclusive environment with friends and rebuild the soft social skills that have been lost over the last two years. One of the best things as a teacher to see is how much room students have for creativity. The idea that creative possibilities are endless in D&D also translates into the real world, and it’s incredible to see students igniting that magic outside the game.” – Andrew Rigby