Slaying monsters twice a week just for fun

Role-Playing Game Club members convert library into dramatic dungeon where heroes battle villains to the death


Mendy Yaffe

Serving as the dungeon master, RPG Club sponsor Dave Insel sets the scene of the game and prepares his figurines to play while player Weston Robinson-French looks on. “The players and dungeon master work together to build the story,” said Insel, who added that it is unusual for him to play that role. “Most of the time the students are dungeon mastering,” he said. “I have some great ones this year.”

Mendy Yaffe, Mac photojournalism

The McCallum library is typically one of the more peaceful, quiet places on campus.

But SCORES teacher Dave Insel recounts one of many dramatic moments that have occurred in the library’s small, unassuming conference room.

It’s a lot of fun to just roll dice and kill monsters a couple times a week.

— RPG Club sponsor and occasional dungeon master Dave Insel


“There was a situation where we were talking to this magic sword, and we had to prove ourselves worthy to wield [it].”

Insel remembers it like it was yesterday. 

 “‘I’m the best! I should wield the sword!’ And then another guy said, ‘No, I’m the best!’”

This is not a real-life magic sword battle, but a scene from McCallum’s RPG Club, where twice a week, students (and some teachers) get together to play Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) in the McCallum library. 

The RPG Club has been around for a while, becoming official in 2008. “There were some seniors that were running a club informally, and didn’t have an official sponsor,” Insel said “I joined the club and then expanded it to include everybody, not just seniors.”

“And it’s going really strong. We have two different groups and we have around 10-15 players that show up routinely.”

For student Kilian Oppel, RPG Club is a great way to meet new people and hang out with friends. His favorite part of the club, though, is  “the imaginary journey that you go on with your character when you play it.”

Insel rolls the dice to determine the results of actions taken in the game. He joked that he talks with his hands a lot when he plays the role of dungeon master, but he was a bit more serious when he shared how important the dice are to the game. “Players are kind of like protagonists in literature, but they are not guaranteed any plot armor,” he said. “The dice decide who lives and dies in a good game.” (Mendy Yaffe)

“There are some conflicts that happen sometimes because you think the rules will go this way and it turns out to go another way you weren’t expecting,” Insel said. “So we have to collaborate to work out how that rule is going to work out in that situation, which is part of the fun of the game.”

“We have three or four different kids who play as DM,” Insel said, “so they’re the ones that kind of moderate the group and kind of organize everything around their personal campaigns.”

Not everyone has the time and energy to make and run a campaign as the Dungeon Master, but there are plenty of opportunities to play casually. As Oppel explained, you don’t necessarily have to memorize a wizard’s spellbook to play.

“My favorite character [to play] is usually a barbarian or something,” Oppel said, “because all they do is get angry and hit stuff, and it’s very easy to play a barbarian.”

Insel feels that its the students who bring the true magic to the club’s meetings.

“The kids are so creative and fun,” Insel said, “They bring such energy to the game. And it’s a lot of fun to just roll dice and kill monsters a couple times a week.”

RPG Club meets every Wednesday and Friday immediately after school in the library. 

We are pleased to present video footage from the last RPG Club session so you can see what you missed by not going. J/K. Classic D&D scene from Season 4 of Strangers Things when Lucas missed the D&D game of all time and his younger sister Erica was left rolling the dice in his place. Accessed on the Izwan YouTube Channel.