Real Talk By: Brian DK
Playing Dungeons and Dragons has always been a passion of mine. The escape from reality, the unforgettable times spent with friends, and the pure creative release all come together in such a special way. I’ve used it to bring people together for nearly twenty years now, and last month my friends and I managed to use the game to do some real good.
Two years ago, some other friends and I participated in an Out of the Darkness walk to raise funds for suicide prevention and awareness. In 2014 we had a friend who died by suicide, and we try to do something every year to honor his memory. I was blown away by the sheer number of people that came out to support the cause and it really put things into perspective for me. We met families, friends, coworkers, and other kind souls that were all touched in some way by suicide. This was a cause we could fight for.
About a year ago, my Dungeons and Dragons group and I started kicking around the idea of a marathon for charity. We, as a group, would play the game for 24 hours straight in an attempt to raise money for a good cause. The idea sounded exhausting, expensive, and difficult, and we all fell in love with the idea immediately. After tossing around some more ideas Relentless Endurance was born.
As our marathon began to take shape in the coming months, we needed to find a worthy charity for the cause. Plenty of charities out there support gamers, such as Extra Life, Child’s Play and AbleGamers, and I’ve even had to pleasure to meet some of their representatives in my work with Play Legit, but none of them quite fit our specific ideas. But we soon stumbled upon a group called Take This.
Take This is a major mental health focused gaming charity. Their work is mainly about providing resources and support to the gaming community. One of their major projects is their AFK rooms; Quiet, safe spaces where people can go to get a break from crowded conventions, or to seek help from one of their trained volunteers. These rooms can be found in some of the most popular gaming conventions every year. A charity that supports mental health, gamers, and their name is a Zelda reference? We had found our perfect charity.
Flash forward. We’re now only a month away from our big marathon. We had our charity, we had our game, and we had our players, but I still had no idea what my players would be doing for 24 straight hours. Dungeons and Dragons publishes several major adventure books each year, and our group has enjoyed fighting their way through these pre-made campaigns in the past, so I decided we’d use one of those to make my job as Dungeon Master a little easier.
In a stroke of luck, Dungeons and Dragons was releasing a new adventure, titled Descent into Avernus, just a few days before our marathon. It would take some work to prepare for a brand-new adventure, but I had faith in my crew as I desperately read through the book just days before the event.
Flash forward again, and it’s the night before our marathon. We had stocked up on caffeine and unhealthy snacks. Our two media masters are frantically setting up cameras, microphones, and soundproofing foam. My basement was transformed into a streaming studio and we were ready to go.
The next day we kicked things off, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. My players skulked around a crime-ridden city, seeking to solve the mystery of a vanished city while uncovering, and unraveling, the plots of a devilish cult. We chugged energy drinks, rolled dice, and reveled in exhaustion. One of our players made a Monster Energy Ham, and eating it was a surreal experience on its own. My cat often sat in for players during bathroom breaks, much to the delight of the audience. It was a fantastic night.
In the cold light of morning my players all went their separate ways. We had finished our stream, and raised hundreds of dollars for Take This in the process. I was feeling absolutely giddy as my body finally caught up with my mind and I passed out on the couch while watching highlights from the marathon.
It was a ton of fun. If you have a cause that’s close to your heart, I greatly encourage you to get out there and try something like our marathon for yourself. With resources like Twitch, Youtube, and Tiltify, the process has never been easier.
If you’re interested in checking out Relentless Endurance, head on over to RelentlessEndurance.charity to watch the videos of the stream, or even donate if you like the cause. Donations are still open, and will be until the end of October.