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Dungeons, dragons and beer: Kasson brewery kicks off game night

Game nights are set to happen monthly at the Kasson taproom, which gets its own name from Dungeons & Dragons.

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Dungeon Master David Sabotta, left, shows a new player how to fill out his character sheet during Chaotic Good Brewing's first Dungeons & Dragons night in Kasson on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Dené K. Dryden / Post Bulletin
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KASSON — On Tuesday, Chaotic Good Brewing in Kasson played host to its first Dungeons & Dragons night, where 20 patrons began a fantasy role-playing tabletop game based around the brew house experience.

It's something Scott Stroh, co-owner of Chaotic Good, wants to make a monthly affair.

"Our hope is to give locals another outlet to come in, meet each other, have fun together and, in some cases, experience a whole new thing," said Dave Sklenicka, an Austin High School physics teacher. He served as one of the taproom's three Dungeon Masters, who lead the D&D campaigns.

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"Essentially, it's the chief storyteller," Sklenicka said. "The DM is the person who decides what happens in the world when the characters, who are played by the other players, act. We're sort of judge and arbiter of things as well as a creator."

Sklenicka also wrote the campaign, a D&D game's story and structure. Since it's not an official Dungeons & Dragons storyline, Sklenicka's campaign is considered a homebrew campaign — a term appropriate for the setting and the story itself, named "Brewhouse Hunters."

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"They have moved to a small town in a nondescript area that I've named Waterford and decided to start their own brewery," Sklenicka said. "So tonight's adventure will be them looking at several different places around the town where they might be able to set up their business. ... And the hitch is they're all for sale for a reason, so they'd have to deal with that reason before deciding on the purchase, and that's where the adventure will come."

At each table, experienced players like Sklenicka, who has been playing D&D for nearly 40 years, helped brand new players get acquainted with the game by filling out their character sheets. Sklenicka's campaign is designed to be drop-in friendly; new players can join later, and people can miss game nights without consequence.

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Dungeon Master Dave Sklenicka, right, helps a player fill out his character sheet during Chaotic Good Brewing's first Dungeons & Dragons night in Kasson on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Dené K. Dryden / Post Bulletin

"Each month will be a self-contained game so that if you can make it one month and not the next, that's OK," Sklenicka said.

At a different table, DM David Sabotta of Rochester said he began playing D&D about 12 years ago when he started his career in mental health counseling.

"I started out playing with friends and then also with some of the clients," Sabotta said. "It's really good for skill building: social skills, communication skills, theory of mind, problem solving, teamwork, frustration."

For Sabotta, gatherings like a D&D night at Chaotic Good can meet people's need for a community-oriented space.

"This is the third space," Sabotta said. "You've got home and you've got work, and as connected as we are with social media, we're isolated. There is not a place to go without the expectation of spending money — I'm happy to buy these delicious craft brews while hanging out in public and meeting strangers who share my interest, but I think there is a powerful need for more community spaces and more places that someone could just walk in and be welcomed."

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Dungeons & Dragons players partake in Chaotic Good Brewing's first D&D night in Kasson on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Dené K. Dryden / Post Bulletin
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At the head of the table, DM Dave Sklenicka helps players prepare for a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign during Chaotic Good Brewing's first D&D night in Kasson on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
Dené K. Dryden / Post Bulletin

Dené K. Dryden is the Post Bulletin's region reporter, covering the greater Rochester area. Before joining the Post Bulletin in 2022, she attended Kansas State University and served as an editor for the student newspaper, the Kansas State Collegian, and news director for Wildcat 91.9, K-State's student radio station. Readers can reach Dené at ddryden@postbulletin.com.
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