From Apprentice to Dungeon Master: Odyssey’s First Camper-Led Intensive

Teens playing Dungeons & Dragons

This next blog post comes to us from Richard DeVivo, a long-time camper who spent his final year at OTC leading an intensive on his own. His passion for Dungeons and Dragons turned into an ambition to lead a campaign as Dungeon Master for a small group of people at camp. Here’s what Richard has to say about the benefits of the game and his experience running his first-ever intensive as a camper.


I spent a good portion of my time last summer running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for my fellow campers at Odyssey Teen Camp. DnD is a tabletop fantasy roleplaying game made in 1974, in which players are put into an adventure and pitted against monsters by a dungeon master or game master. I had spent some time working at a comic book store to become an experienced dungeon master, so I decided I could organize a fun adventure for my friends.

My first experience with DnD was five years at OTC

I was instantly hooked. Every year I returned, I would take a Dungeons and Dragons intensive course and would fall in love with it every time. At home, it was a useful tool for making friends. I was able to convince my friends to play, and we had a game that ran on for months on end where we all developed our own characters while I built an extravagant world for them to adventure in. That’s how I landed a job at a comic book store running DnD campaigns, where I got to meet all sorts of people and learn many different world-building and game-running techniques. I am currently in college now, and I still play with friends, both old and new.

But you may be wondering, what does DnD have to offer me? There is a wealth of skills that you can pick up by playing the game. For starters, you will most likely make some fast friends. When you are playing the game, it encourages teamwork and cooperation between players as they build their characters. All the players are assembled into an adventuring party, and one of the golden rules of the game is “never split the party.”

DnD is a game where critical thinking comes into play at every turn. Solving a puzzle, defeating a monster, or finding the way to get the most out of your adventure involves thinking outside the box. Most of DnD’s visuals rely on basic props and maps, so the rest is left up to the Game Master’s description and the players imagination.

DnD helps keep your mind active

Control of a character in an active world is an exhilarating concept. As the person who ran the game, I gained a feeling of responsibility as I helped lead my players on a riveting adventure where they could make interesting choices and use the game’s rules to weave a memorable tale of their character’s deeds.  There will be funny moments, intense fights, puzzling situations, and complete character control, which makes each player’s decision have consequences. 

So, if you come to the camp, please consider taking this course. The people here are extremely creative and have adventures to share that will make you excited every time you meet to play. I know that DnD was the favorite part of my day every summer I came to camp. I remember all my campaigns to this day and all the people I taught and played with at OTC. It was a labor of love leading a DnD intensive. I hope to do it this summer to show people one of my favorite games and take them on an awesome adventure. I hope to see you there!

Find out more about gaming at Odyssey Teen Camp

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Adam Simon, Odyssey Teen Camp Director

Adam Simon

I'm Adam Simon. I started teen camp eighteen years ago with the vision of creating a space where teenagers would know they are safe from bullying or negative judgments and would feel free to show who they really are and to become their best selves. Let's connect, discuss, and engage...

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Find Out About Odyssey Teen Camp

A Non-Profit Overnight Summer Camp For Teens Ages 13-18
Located in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.