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‘Dungeons & Dragons’ in The Age of Social Distancing

During the social distancing experience, we are all yearning for closer experiences with our friends and neighbours. Hell, I’m walking out on my porch every day saying hello to complete strangers walking down my street. For geeks who are used to congregating, this is torture, given that gaming is such a social relief to a lot of us. Dungeons and Dragons is the original social interaction for geeks, but it’s not always easy to arrange in a busy schedule. Story of my life.

However, in the spirit of distanced Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, I’ve discovered a source of online D&D that not only allows me the shared entertainment of roleplaying but also allows me the interaction of being a part of the distanced experience – The Dungeon Run. I mean, I was always the player in search of a game. I was a nerd in search of other nerds. Social distancing began early for me.

“A Nerd is such a compliment today.” Jeff Cannata, Dungeon Master of The Dungeon Run tells me about he got into D&D. “I used to cringe when I heard that word because I knew it was about me. I literally didn’t have enough friends to play D&D. It turns out there were several people who had the same experience and I met Alex (Albrecht) and others at an event for people who always wanted to play but couldn’t. So, we were adults – it was 2006 and I got an email from a mutual friend who wanted to play, would I be interested? I thought, oh my God, I’ve always wanted to play! It was awesome! I fell in love with it immediately. I had friends there I didn’t know.”

I enjoy watching The Dungeon Run because I feel like I’m there. Actually, that’s what Jeff Cannata affirmed to me in our conversation.

“It’s been such a gift to have the audience interaction. It really does feel like they’re the sixth player at the table.”

Played live on Caffeine TV every Wednesday night, as soon as one goes to the site, you immediately sense there is a real community of like-minded hardcore roleplayers who simply love to be a part of the game. While I could be talking about Jeff, I could also easily be talking about Ron Ogden, Jessica Lynn Parsons, Katie Michels, Morgan Peter Brown and Jarred Kjack, who comprise the cast of the show.

However, I’m actually referring to their audience who are literally made a part of the game.

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