Rolling the digital dice
Library receives $760 worth of D&D supplies
By Taylor Hale
STEVENS POINT – The Portage County Public Library System soft launched their online Dungeons & Dragons program on March 1, with meetings taking place every other Monday throughout the month.
The program is filling the gap for the county’s in-person program, which offered students in grades 5-12 a chance to connect with their peers while playing the mythical role-playing game.
“This is kind of a dry run for our summer program that will start in June,” said program founder and co-director Lisa Pett.
Pett runs the program with her co-worker at the library, Addison Swenson. The duo decided to start the online program when the company that makes Dungeons & Dragons , Wizards of the Coast, kicked-off their D&D Beyond program to help schools, libraries, and other organizations gain access to the tools they need to play the game digitally during COVID-19.
“They started offering PDF versions of their story campaigns, manuals, and starter guides online, so we signed up,” Pett said. “We got the supplies in January.”
After receiving over $760 worth of digital goods, Pett set to work on assembling the pieces to create a virtual world for the participants on Zoom. She set up online maps, with digital character pieces that can be easily moved to represent the players.
“We show some pictures of monsters and backgrounds to set the atmosphere,” Pett said.
Pett sees the online game as a way to keep kids social during COVID-19 while staying away from traditional video games that require less creative input.
“Everyone’s interpersonal relationships are changing, more kids are being cut off than ever,” Pett explained. “So finding ways to get them to connect with their peers, safely, during COVID is more important than ever. Not just for their skills, but their mental health and well-being.”
The program currently serves nine students. Pett and Swenson noted the online program will be open to a larger number of participants.
The library’s full online Dungeons & Dragons program will launch in June. Students in grades 5-12 can call the library at 715-346-1544 to request to be added to a waitlist for the program.