This month, we’re kicking off a new article series highlighting the various communities around the UK and the rest of the world dedicated to tabletop gaming.
This issue we caught up with Dean Henry and Anthony Wright, two of the administrators of the Dungeons and Dragons Community Group, a Facebook community of nearly 12,000 members.
Hey Dean and Anthony, thanks for chatting to us! First off, how and when did the Dungeons and Dragons Community Group start? What did you set out to achieve?
Myself and a few other moderators for another D&D group saw that the group we were moderating was quickly turning toxic, and decided the best thing to do was to start our own. Our main goal was to build a community that could have conversations about D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs).
Is the group limited to Facebook or are you active on other platforms?
We have a Discord as well as a Reddit page, at r/lootthecorpse. We’ve thought about expanding further but aren’t at the moment.
How much effort does it take to manage?
It’s not too bad. We have a team of skilled and attentive folk who keep an eye on things. We’re also lucky that a lot of the members are conscientious enough to report most out-of-place things.
Dean: Honestly, the mod team straight up kills it. I spend the day, for the most part, sorting by recent posts and looking for rules that have been broken.
Is the group mainly for coordinating online games, or do members meet up to play together too?
I’m not sure if there ever have been meetups from our group. I do know our Discord has helped quite a few digital games get going.
Are a majority of the group’s members based in a particular region, or is it worldwide?
The majority of our members definitely are from the USA; however, we also have many members from the Philippines, Europe, Russia… All over.
Have you seen an explosion of members in recent years as D&D has boomed in popularity?
Most D&D affiliated groups have skyrocketed in popularity with the recent renaissance of the hobby. It’s heartwarming really. I honestly couldn’t be happier about it.
We have only been around since May but I think you can attribute our 11,000 members in such a short time to the boom in popularity we have seen in the past several years.
What does D&D mean to you?
I had a particularly troubled youth and, as I grew older, my father passed on his love of fantasy and science fiction in the form of books. It was helpful for escaping from the trials and tribulations that plagued my everyday existence. When I discovered what D&D was, it took over. It was everything I loved about books, but amplified a million times over. I can honestly say the hobby probably saved my life.
It’s the game that brought me so much closer to my friends. I went from seeing them every couple of months to every weekend and spending five or six hours a week with them. And of course, by extension, this group has introduced me to some of the coolest people I’ve ever met.
Does the group focus exclusively on D&D, or are other games or formats dealt with too?
We try to make sure that players of most tabletop RPGs feel welcome, but we do primarily focus our attention on D&D or D&D-like games.
What kind of things do you do to engage with members?
We have artists we partner with for promotional events, we host polls for favourite monsters, and we have a moderator who often generates conversation by asking for members’ opinions on things like group dynamics and good social etiquette.
What are the benefits to joining a group like yours?
We’re welcoming. Every single day I see comments about how people feel they have found someone new to bond with. I see folks remark that they didn’t know there was such a safe and wholesome place to express their passion for the hobby. It’s honestly very heartwarming and affirming that we are doing a good job.
Is there anything you would change about the D&D community?
Nothing that I would change about the community per se. I would only hope to see continued growth and a permanent and pervasive sense that it will continue to be a loving and safe place for folks to respectfully share their passion for a beautiful and fulfilling hobby.
What’s the best way for communities like yours to use the internet?
Well personally, I really like to try and foster a sense of community within the group. I want people to feel like they can pose any D&D-related question to the group without feeling or being made to feel foolish or stupid. We get parents and teachers, even ministers sometimes, who come to the group and ask how to handle introducing their children to the hobby, or how to use it as a teaching or learning tool. The people who have questions like that, the folks who don’t yet play themselves but are looking for a way to connect with their relatives, those are the folks we want around.
I think for anything to really be considered a community it has to have the elements of care and consideration. I think the best way we can use the internet is by providing a place where anyone is free to seek D&D knowledge without feeling outnumbered or ill-at-ease.
Do you have any plans for the future you can tell us about?
At this point, I think we are just looking to continue on with giveaways and art contests. We have several artists and other talented people that have agreed to work with us.
Thanks for taking the time to chat to us!
Thank you for your time, and may all your rolls be 20s!