CLEVELAND — Strength, dexterity, intelligence and charisma all are important characteristics of a good football player—but they're also attributes three Browns players consider for their characters as they take part in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.
On Thursday, fullback Johnny Stanton, defensive end Myles Garrett and offensive lineman Wyatt Teller got together for a D&D campaign—which is not new to the trio as they've played the game together numerous times. This time, however, was a little different.
Joined by professional streamer Aabria Iyengar and comedian Ify Nwadiwe, the three Browns players began a campaign inside Tabletop Board Game Cafe in Cleveland with Brandon Tharp serving as the dungeon master for the evening.
"We had such great actors, everybody was in character, everybody was having fun. It was awesome," Teller said.
Fans watched the NFL meet RPG as D&D merged with their favorite Browns players. Tickets were sold to the event and a silent auction was held as the campaign was streamed on Twitch, and nearly $20,000 was raised for Red Nose Day, a charity aiming to end childhood poverty.
But while the event was a fun way to raise money for a good cause, it was also an interesting way to see sports culture meet gaming culture, and to showcase the unique personalities that aren't always expected from NFL players.
"It was a lot of fun, I think it was my 10th time out actually doing D&D," Teller said after the event. "It's so funny how everybody has an outside view of it, like only geeks play it. No, it's a role-player game. It's like a board game but in your mind. There's so much imagination and there's so much to it."
Teller had the crowd laughing often during the D&D campaign, thanks in part to his character Xero's familiar—a creature summoned by a sorcerer or wizard that holds a special link to its master—named Beans. And as Teller said, "everybody loved Beans."
Stanton, whose character is named Heller Highwater and boasts a southern accent, was excited about Garrett's character Zax, who "gets sacks and breaks backs,"—but was really looking forward to seeing Teller showcase his fun personality.
"Wyatt's pretty fun to play with," Stanton said. "He really hams it up."
Stanton introduced the game to his teammates, playing together last season and bonding in the process. Now, it's something that Teller and Garrett enjoy as well.
While Stanton, Garrett and Teller have played before, Thursday was a new experience—one that Teller said made him more nervous than playing in front of a full crowd at an NFL stadium.
"At first it was kind of like 'Woah, this is weird, this is different,'" Teller said. "I play a game in front of hundreds of thousands of people all the time but this was cool, I was a little nervous at first."
Tough guys on the gridiron, Stanton, Garrett and Teller showed a different side of themselves on Thursday, proving that pass-catching, bull-rushing and pancake-blocking guys can have a goofier side as well—but also showing that D&D can be for everyone.
"So many people have this view of what D&D is," Teller said. "It's not just people sitting around with staffs and there's smoke going and it's all this crazy mystic stuff. It's a lot of fun, good times with good people and storytelling."
You can watch a replay of the stream, here.
RELATED: Next Man Up: Browns FB Johnny Stanton is a versatile football player with a nerdy side
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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