Despite their growing popularity in recent years, tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons seem hopelessly foreign to most people. Expensive books, hard-to-grasp rules and the exclusionary nature of many gaming communities tend to drive off many interested in the hobby. Legend Calgary hopes to change this, while raising money for charity in the process.
Legend Calgary, a group of six U of C students dedicated to raising awareness about the role-playing game Legend, is hosting a charity game night at That Empty Space on April 5.
Free to attend, the night will consist of a marathon session of the game, geared towards RPG experts and new players alike.
Befitting such an unusual event, Legend Calgary had an unusual beginning.
"We started this as a class project," explains David Sandoz, a U of C student and the group's vice-president of external affairs. "We wanted to do a campaign for the role-playing game Legend, and we noticed that they are a part of a charity, Child's Play, which supports hospitals across North America and Europe."
From there, the group steadily began turning what was initially a school assignment into a full-blown campus event.
"We sort of started off with this vague idea that we're going to do something for Legend in some way," says Erik Gottfred, the group's president. "Gradually the idea came to the forefront that we were going to do an event -- that we were going to spread Legend by letting people actually play it."
Soon after that decision was made, the group partnered with the University of Calgary Translation Association in order to help plan the game night.
Devoted to promoting cultural awareness through community events, UCTA hopes that the game's Scandanavian-themed campaign will help players learn about Norse mythology while becoming familiar with the game itself.
Legend Calgary is also partnering with the University's Tabletop Club, who will be offering their assistance in running the games during the event.
The game itself is based off the design of other tabletop role-playing games, but with less of a focus on convoluted rules, and more of an emphasis on cinematic action. Legend Calgary has been in close contact with the creators of the game, who are overwhelmingly supportive of the group's efforts. "It's been very easy to support this new game, because its creators want our support," says Gottfred. Proceeds from sales of the rulebook at the event will go to Child's Play.
Founded by the creators of the webcomic Penny Arcade, Child's Play is a charity committed to providing hospitals with toys and games for sick children. "It's a really great charity," says Gottfred. "It brings hope to kids at a very difficult time in their lives." Last year the charity raised over $3.5 million for hospitals around the world, including the Alberta Children's Hospital.
While the game night will surely be a draw to seasoned tabletop RPG fans, Legend Calgary is hoping the event will attract people who are new to tabletop games. With its location in That Empty Space and its ties to Child's Play, the oft-maligned hobby will seem much less exclusive, and much more welcoming.
"Ideally, I want to have a bunch of people who haven't played Legend, or haven't played a role-playing game at all, to be introduced to Legend," explains Gottfred, "and for us to raise money on the way -- to get Child's Play the donations it deserves."
Gottfred is hopeful the game night will be the first of many.
"We want to establish this as an event that carries on into the future, where we can get a bunch of people together to play a game of Legend every so often in That Empty Space."