adventure dice's andrea driedger
love letters to storytellers july 2022
This newsletter has always been based on my belief that everyone is a storyteller. Nothing makes this clearer than the fantasy tabletop roleplaying game (RPG), Dungeons and Dragons, which is basically just playing pretend with your friends. If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter, or follow my Instagram, or know me at all, you know my love of Dungeons and Dragons. What’s better than a story you’re creating in collaboration with a bunch of friends for fun?
One of the most fun aspects of playing Dungeons and Dragons is the collection of dice. In Dungeons and Dragons (and many other tabletop RPGs) you play with sets of all kinds of dice with different numbers of sides, from a four-sided die to the classic 20-sided die which you use in most rolls in the game. There are all kinds of dice out there, with different colours, patterns, designs, or toys inside. Many people (“dice goblins”) collect them, for fun and fantasy (I am one of them).
In 2018, Andrea Driedger, a communications professional based in Metro Vancouver, along with her husband Blair, started Adventure Dice, a Canadian online retailer for dice of all kinds. They started it as something positive to focus on after Andrea had gone through a year of cancer treatment, beginning with 10 sets of 18 different sets. Now they have released their own dice designs, and sell dice subscriptions and, my favourite, a dice Advent Calendar. They are also organizers of Terminal City Tabletop Convention (TCTC), a two-day convention of board games and roleplaying games in BC. From the beginning, Andrea and Blair, with their work in the tabletop RPG and RPG space, have committed to creating the community they want to see in the world.
Part of the reason Andrea and Blair are committed to creating a welcoming community space is that in the past they often felt like outsiders. Andrea in particular felt out of place in nerdy spaces, especially “as a geeky girl growing up in the 90s when it was very looked down upon to be nerdy, never mind being a nerdy girl.” Game stores could sometimes feel unwelcoming to women; “Some stores were dark or stinky. The staff and other customers just didn’t want me there or thought I was just buying for my boyfriend. I didn’t feel safe.” One of Andrea’s first experiences playing Dungeons and Dragons in high school with her best friend, where they were told they were “playing it wrong.”
However, there were stories throughout her life that made Andrea feel like she belonged, starting with a childhood love of Sailor Moon. “I don’t think I’d ever really seen myself represented in a way where girls could be the superhero and still be themselves,” Andrea said. In university, an online friend from the Sailor Moon world introduced Andrea to the world of RPGs with a Star Trek play-by-forum RPG. Joining the Star Trek RPG community opened up the RPG world for her. She found support, friendship and, eventually, her husband and Adventure Dice co-owner in RPG community spaces and conventions. With their business and events, their “goal has always been to make a space that is safe, welcoming, and inclusive of everyone.” With Adventure Dice, that means creating and selling products they want to see at their table, spending time on quality assurance, supporting other local businesses, and even making their product packaging welcoming with fun little puns on them.
The space that Andrea and her husband have created with their ventures is a continuation of her belief in the “power of stories, and also the community they can create.” The stories that Andrea is interested in are all about belonging, she says; “it’s about people wanting to find that place where they fit, and then finding joy in that space.”
“Stories have power. There’s a magic in the way they can provide us comfort, they can bring us hope, they can resonate lessons with us. They can bring people together. And that meaning is also what they’ve brought to my life. Stories have helped me feel not so alone in a world that often saw me as different.”
You can follow Andrea on Twitter and Instagram @wisdomcheck, and Adventure Dice on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok, @AdventureDice.
This month, continuing with the community theme, I participated in a couple of writerly events (both put on by Prairie Fire); a writing workshop and a launch. It is both fun and weird to now know people in these circles. Also always fun to do in-person things with writers and realize as eloquent they are, and as full their bios are with publication credits, they’re still maybe a bit socially awkward, they sit alone sometimes, are friendly, commiserate over imposter syndrome (it’s contagious apparently, everyone seems to have it) and mumble into microphones.
It’s also nice that at the same time you’re having an existential crisis about other people asking you, “so, what do you write?” someone else says they’re excited to read your book. :)
And the book chugs along, inching closer to getting out in the world and having people read it, which is both a terrifying and exhilarating thought. Thank you, as always, for coming on this journey with me.
P.S. I am still very proud of the Canada day post I wrote last year (click here to check it out). I still have all the books by Indigenous authors saved in a highlight on my Instagram page you can check out!
love letters to storytellers is a monthly newsletter for you to keep updated on my work and discover new storytellers :)