Dungeons and Dragons club rolls on with Saturday summer sessions

The popular campaign is coming to the County library


Photo courtesy of Ram Rishi Pagadala

Members of Cal High’s Dungeons and Dragons Club play a session in the school library.

The Dungeons and Dragons Club at Cal High has always been known as a place to socialize and play a very well-known and popular board game.
But this year, it’s coming to the Contra Costa County Library as well for some new weekly summer sessions.
This tabletop role play game asks players to act as fantasy beings, which they use to solve challenges and get through the “campaign,” or main story/adventure. The campaign is usually managed and sometimes even created by a “dungeon master.”
Junior Ram Rishi Pagadala, who was recently elected club vice president, is one of the students who makes sure the club explores new horizons. One of his ideas for taking the club to the next level is by offering Saturday sessions at the San Ramon library this summer.
Pagadala likes the idea of expanding the club because he believes it’s a very important part of student socialization.
“The club itself is a safe haven for students to get together and have fun, and to be able to make connections that they will remember even after high school,” Pagadala said. “It’s basically a place for people to hang out.”
Pagadala said he wanted to bring the club to the county library over the summer was so people who have a hard time socializing or making friends could have somewhere to go where they can meet new people and have fun.
Freshman J.D Cardinalli thinks that continuing the club over the summer is a really good idea because it will allow him to participate more.
“I have been unable to make any meetings due to scheduling conflicts, but now that they are going to have meetings over the summer on Saturdays, I can actually participate in something I have been looking forward to for a while,” Cardinalli said.
Senior Riley Preston, who holds the role of club informant, sends out a weekly Discord message regarding the status of the club meeting. Preston strongly agrees with Pagadala’s idea of the club continuing over the summer because even though he will graduate this year, he still wants the club to continue and prosper over the next few years.
“I’m really hopeful of it,” Preston said. “We’ve been kind of trying to stretch out and reach more people.”
Preston said he’s noticed that the number of students who have attended meetings has shrunk over the course of the year, so the summer sessions could be a way to increase numbers.
“We kind of want to do this as a public outreach to get not just current students to the meetings [over the summer], but also students from the past and students who are coming to cal and are potentially interested in this,” Preston said.
The club plans to host summer sessions every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. starting June 10. The sessions will be at San Ramon’s library at Bollinger Canyon Road and Montgomery Street, across from City Hall. Registration is required at ccclib.org.
Pagadala said playing tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons with fellow enthusiasts is a fun and enjoyable thing to do and is a great way to spend some summer days. The club hopes to play other board games as well during the summer sessions.
Pagadala said the club can help studnets spend time with other people and even encourages quiet students to engage in conversations and connect with others who share the same interests as them.
“Basically, people can bond with others, even if they feel it’s hard to reach out,” Pagadala said. “And one of my goals with the sessions at the library is for people to be able to meet new people and make new connections and just have fun and bring the community together.”
Biology and AP Biology teacher Tyler Richman is in his fourth year involved with the club. He said in the past he has stepped in to be a temporary dungeon master for some groups, but nowadays he has retreated into more of a role where he just advises students on how the club can be run and how it can be improved.
Richman said he supports Pagadala’s idea and thought that it really helped people socialize more and have some fun.
“I think with D&D, one of the cool things that you can do with it is you can turn it kind of into a long time commitment, where people are meeting every week, and you’re building relationships with those people,’ Richman said.
Richman stated that if the meetings continue throughout the summer, it helps students continue on from the previous year and even start new campaigns over the summer.
“And so being able to continue this into the summer, I’ve noticed that in the past kind of there’s almost this reset at the beginning of every year, and having students be able to continue their campaigns or even start new ones over the summer, allows them to kind of pick up where they left off when the school year starts again, with those same people or with new people,” Richman said.