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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Dungeons n Drafts rolls into Asheville

Thomas Solar posing with the Asheville Dungeon Masters

Last Wednesday, Dungeons n Drafts hosted its first game night at the Wicked Weed Funkatorium in downtown Asheville.

“It went beyond all expectations. It was wonderful meeting the players, the dungeon masters, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and the staff at Wicked Weed. It was a wonderful experience,” said Thomas Solar, CEO and Co-Founder of Dungeons n Drafts.

According to Solar, he wants to spread joy and make people happy by helping sales for taprooms, introducing new players to each other, and giving dungeon masters a platform to show off their storytelling abilities. 

“Asheville is known for being a beer mecca but most importantly to me, an amazing community of people looking to support each other. I wanted to try the D&D events in Asheville so we could connect with people here and drink amazing beer,” Solar said.

Solar said the aim of Dungeons n Drafts is to boost tap room sales and encourage a sense of community among new and veteran players.

Just being in the space and experiencing the sheer excitement from the players and the staff had me feeling like I was going to my first sporting event or theme park all over again,” said Noah Marines, a 31-year-old coffee roaster and Asheville dungeon master.

Attendants signed up online for $15.00 to play a 4-hour D&D campaign with dungeon masters from Asheville at the Wicked Weed Funkatorium. 

“I think the appeal for those who have never played before is being able to put their lives aside for a second to totally imagine a character they want to play and create in another universe,” Marines said.

Marines is the guild leader for the Dungeons n Drafts Asheville location. His responsibilities include making sure the events run smoothly, and helping players get checked in with their DMs for the evening.

According to attendees, The table-top roleplaying game D&D is increasing in popularity and some people think Dungeons n Drafts is an effective way to get new players involved.

“People who may have anxiety with new folks or who don’t know what to do will likely be able to find support and feel welcomed and encouraged,” said Charles Hall, 30-year-old clinical pharmacist and long-time D&D player.

Hall said he hopes dungeons and drafts will also lead to people meeting and forming their own campaign groups outside of what the events have to offer. He said he made life-long friends from playing D&D and hopes others can do the same.

“I think it’s great that D&D is accessible for so many people. I started a group with a bunch of friends and 2 strangers back in 2020 because there were no groups that I was aware of that I could join. And we have been meeting ever since,” Hall said.

Michael Vanderbeck, a long-time D&D player, said he’s excited for a company like this to exist in Asheville.

“I think business for this will be booming, D&D and beer just go well together after all. Moving this to Asheville was a good idea,” Vanderbeck said.

According to Marines, this was the first night he met all of his fellow DMs face to face and he describes the experience as incredible.

“I really can’t even describe what an incredible group of people the DM’s are. So much passion for one thing shared between people who up until now were strangers, but it feels like we’ve all known each other forever,” Marines said.

Marines said it was a great opening night with music, people in costume and a raffle event which raised money for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.

“I can’t thank the Funkatorium enough, all we asked for was use of the space and they made us feel right at home,” Marines said.

Solar said he’s already planning events for the rest of 2024 and into 2025 and wants to find even more ways to connect with the Asheville area.

“I am excited to continue learning and growing. There is always room for improvement and taking in new information, so while we had a great debut in Asheville, I know there will be more steps to conquer before we call it a complete success,” Solar said.

Dungeons n Drafts will host multiple events throughout the month of February, which can be found on their website

“D&D is something that’s become very important for me in the last few years, it’s where I see my best friends and something I look forward to every week. I’m glad to see Dungeons n Drafts giving more people the chance to get into that,” Vanderbeck said.

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