OGDEN — Move over, D&D. It’s M&M time.
Remember Dungeons & Dragons, the fantasy tabletop role-playing game with the oddly shaped dice that first surfaced in the 1970s? Well, it’s still around, but this weekend the women are taking charge of the traditionally male-dominated game.
On Saturday, a charity D&D gaming event called Maidens & Mimics will be held at the Ogden UnCon offices, 2254 Washington Blvd. The fundraiser has been designed with two objects in mind: To empower the small-but-growing number of women who play in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, and to raise money to support the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
The event is being presented by Ogden UnCon and Under the Wing Gaming, along with Rocky Mountain RPG Guild and Mount Ogden Gaming Company.
Dave Knighton of Ogden is the organizer of Saturday’s gamefest. He said that while there are a lot of female gamers out there, they haven’t always gotten a lot of support or encouragement. The Maidens & Mimics event is designed to change all that.
Knighton admits D&D can be a little intimidating for women.
“There’s still that stigma, and sadly there are a few people in the gaming community who can be a little overbearing, who can be a little too much,” he said.
With the M&M event, Knighton says it’s open to both men and women, but they’re catering toward females.
“We’ve gathered a bunch of female Dungeon Masters, and they’ll be running the games,” he said.
The Dungeon Master is basically the storyteller and referee of a D&D game.
Russ Adams, operations manager for Ogden UnCon, says in the past women have been marginalized in Dungeons & Dragons.
“It seems like the female characters were always a little subdued,” he said. “But now the adult ladies are the Dungeon Masters, controlling the game and wreaking havoc on all these people playing.”
Adams recalls playing Dungeons & Dragons once, back in 1985. About all he remembers about the experience was that it was a very long game.
“I just remember thinking, ‘I don’t have the stamina for this,’” he laughs. “As I’ve gotten older, a long, drawn-out game seems OK. But as a teenager, I couldn’t sit still long enough.”
Although D&D is known for its marathon-length games, Knighton says Saturday’s games will be shorter, one-hour games.
“In theory anyway,” he admits.
“Every hour, a new adventure from the same story will start,” Knighton said. “We’re asking a $2 donation each hour from players; or for $10 you can get a seat at the table for the whole event.”
Adams says they’ll also have dice up for “adoption” — players can purchase sets of dice.
The two men say 100 percent of the proceeds will go to UCASA.
“And the longer people play, the more money goes to charity,” Adams said.
The “Maidens” part of the event title is self-evident, whereas Knighton explains that “Mimics” are a well-known monster in the D&D gamescape.
“A mimic is a creature that can take the shape of anything,” Knighton said. “So you reach into that (treasure) chest and it suddenly becomes a monster’s mouth.”
Although most people assume Dungeons & Dragons faded away decades ago, Adams doesn’t think it ever went away completely.
“There’s this huge RPG (role-playing game) re-emergence,” Adams said. “I don’t even think it’s a revival as much as it was a hidden-away subculture that is just starting to come back. More and more celebrities are starting to play this, making it cool. And jocks who were rolling their eyes at it back in high school are now playing it.”
Seating for Saturday’s gaming event is limited — Knighton says they’ll have just six tables going. He encourages gamers to register in advance to reserve a seat.
“Right now we still have seats available, but we’ve have a lot of people who say they’re interested in coming,” he said.
And Knighton said everyone is welcome, no matter their skill level or knowledge of D&D.
“If you’ve never played before, just show up,” Knighton said. “We’re welcoming anyone to come play, and learn to be comfortable with the game.”
Almost everyone is welcome.
“We want to create a positive, welcoming environment for all,” Knighton said. “The only caveat is, if you’re coming, we want everyone to feel welcome. So anyone willing to help us provide a safe and welcoming environment is invited.”
And Adams says there’s no telling how long Saturday’s Maidens & Mimics event might last.
“I figure if it gets too late, we’ll just shut off the heat and the lights,” he said. “If they’re still going after that, more power to them.”