Friday afternoons are seemingly quiet on Truax’s second floor.
But tucked away in a nondescript classroom, gods and monsters engage in battle while a group of flamboyant self-described nerds play Dungeons and Dragons.
They call themselves “Nerds of the Round Table,” and club president Tierney Miller says they’ve been around for “a very long time.”
Miller joined after being rejected from other Dungeons and Dragons clubs in high school because of her gender. “I always wanted to learn [Dungeons and Dragons] but the boys wouldn’t let me in,” Miller said. “I think in college, people in college are more open.”
Miller started with Nerds of the Round Table not knowing how the game is played but found herself openly welcomed. She originally wanted to sit and watch but was encouraged to join in.
Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D, is a game where the Dungeon Master, or DM, is a combination master of ceremonies, storyteller and referee. The DM tells a story, and the players take on the roles of various characters. As the story unfolds the characters battle with dragons, zombies, vampires or whatever the story calls for. The players use several different types of dice to see who is successful at swinging a sword, shooting an arrow or even casting a spell.
But it’s not all violence. There’s the appeal of role-playing as well. Miller says, “You play the character instead of just killing things all the time.”
During one session, one could overhear a story of boarding a ship, encountering hallucinogenic plants and the occasional reference to Rick and Morty thrown in. Here the fantastic is commonplace while strategy is met with imagination and all with a sense of enthusiastic harmony amongst the players.
There is no animus towards the term nerd here. “A nerd is someone who knows how something works and enjoys it,” says Miller.
She went from first time player to low level officer and eventually became president. Currently, The Nerds of the Round Table are looking to fill a few vacant officer positions and Miller has concern for the position of president as she will be graduating soon. “I want to leave it in good hands,” she said.
Until then, nerds of all sorts are welcomed into this world of adventure and unity. This is a club that is about, as Miller puts it, “Finding that group of people that [you] have commonalities with and just want to have fun.”