Teacher Group Plays Dungeons and Dragons


Photo courtesy of Jordyn Tagle

Danielle Serio, along with the other members of the teacher Dungeons and Dragons group, and students of the “She Kills Monsters” play production gathered together for a junk food filled evening of Dungeons & Dragons.

Nikki Iyer, Staff Writer

Teachers on campus, Danielle Serio, Leo Spengler, Michael Ushino, Cambria Graff, and Kaitlin Naccarato, get together every Sunday evening to play in their Dungeons and Dragons group.
Dungeons and Dragons was invented in 1972 as a fantasy, roleplay game. The game has made many appearances in popular culture, as featured in the show Stranger Things, or even in the school play, She Kills Monsters.

The teachers had not played Dungeons and Dragons as kids, but found the game interesting as adults, and so they created the group with the intention to learn more about the game and grow closer to their colleagues.

To play the game, the group’s Dungeon Master (DM) will create a storyline for the players to follow, and evolves the story through each decision made in the game. The DM is the narrator of the game, while game players will portray their own character. The DM will place the players in tricky situations, and the characters will have to find a solution to it.

As teachers, as the year goes on we find reasons not to hang out… there are so many things going on. D&D is a good excuse for us all to hang out together.”

— Serio

In order to make decisions and resolve issues in the game, a character will roll a 20 sided dice. Rolling a one means the solution is completely ineffective, and a 20 means the solution worked flawlessly. However, the effectiveness of a solution is subjective to the DM.

Michael Ushino, SJHHS’s choir teacher, is the group’s DM for their current storyline. He has placed the group into a five act fantasy plot. The teachers have been playing this storyline since June 2019, and five months later are still in Act 1.

“We could be on this story until one of us actually dies, versus our characters dying,” said Serio.

The group gets together weekly and are good friends. “When we meet, our start time during the school year [is] at 5 and [we] go to 8:30 or 9 but a lot of that time is getting Chipotle and hanging out together,” said Serio.

Only once every few months will they have to cancel a game session due to the teachers’ busy lives.“Consistency is key with Dungeons and Dragons,” said Spengler. If a Dungeons and Dragons group is not consistent with meeting, they may forget pieces to their plot, and lose crucial details to their story.

In the game, Serio plays a fighter dwarf named Ismene, who fights all things bad with her hammer, while Naccarato is a dragonborn sorcerer named Kava. Graff is a half elf rogue, and while she does not have high health, she plays a powerful thief that can shoot arrows and intimidate others.

Spengler plays a human bard, who is named Spotgogginloloquacious.“He is supposed to help us by healing us and motivating us. What he chooses to do is stab things and he doesn’t do that very well,” said Naccarato.

“I have a high level of charisma which means I can persuade people very well and I can intimidate people very well. Whenever there’s a situation when we need to get someone to do something for us or tell us something, I use my silver tongue to extract the information and typically there is some musical accompaniment. I type Didgeridoo [a bard’s musical instrument] on Youtube, and play it full volume until Mr. Ushino gives me what I want,” said Spengler.

Being in this group allows them to take a break from their busy lives and socialize with other teachers.

“As teachers, as the year goes on we find reasons not to hang out… there are so many things going on. D&D is a good excuse for us all to hang out together,” said Serio.

While the intention of their game session is to play Dungeons and Dragons, playing the game together has made the teachers better friends. Playing the game is not what makes their Sunday evenings so enjoyable, the people in the group is what creates memories.

“Playing D&D is the last reason I go to hang out with this group,” said Spengler.