Actor Joe Manganiello is a well-known fan of Dungeons and Dragons. He appeared in Critical Role, playing the character of Arkhan the Cruel. He has also interviewed with Stephen Colbert about the game and their love for it. He has chatted about his basement that has been turned into a massive D&D room with the help of his wife and fellow actor, Sofía Vergara.
Joe and his brother Nick visited the UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh with Player’s Handbooks, character sheets, dice, and other goodies to teach the kids to play. Joe helped the children create their characters and then took on the role of Dungeon Master, running a game for them. The Dungeons and Dragons merchandise was then given to the kids to encourage them to continue to play. Joe had this to say on his visit:
“I think at the heart of this game, it’s about immersion, and it’s about being able to step out of reality for a little while. And when it comes to Children’s Hospital and kids, [who are] here for a while, I think that becomes really necessary. Kids should be allowed to play… to be kids while they’re going through these medical issue that are forcing them not to be kids, but to be grownups.”
WATCH: Actor Joe Manganiello made a visit to UPMC Children's Hospital Tuesday evening where he took on the role as Dungeon Master! Manganiello taught a group of kids how to play the immersive game Dungeons and Dragons. pic.twitter.com/36CRPJJWnJ
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (@PittsburghPG) January 9, 2019
Dungeons and Dragons has hit a recent resurgence in popularity after the release of its 5th edition. Wizards of the Coast has released three to four books a year with new monsters, campaign ideas, and magic items. Shows like Critical Role that live stream D&D games are in demand, with 2017 being the first year Critical Role brought their show to Broadway for one night.
For the children in the hospital, being able to inhabit the mind and body of another character, even if for a few hours each week, is a welcome relief from stressful reality.