Cleveland Browns players have fun at the ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ charity event (photos)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Chants of “Here’s the Brownies, here we go” echoed as three soccer players made their way through a crowd of jubilant fans.

But this wasn’t a football match. Johnny Stanton, Wyatt Teller and Miles Jarrett were competing in a different kind of game: a one-shot “Dungeons & Dragons,” which took place at the Tabletop Board Game Café in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.

The completely sold-out fantasy role-playing event filled the board game bar with fans, many of them wearing Browns or “Critical Roles” shirts. (One tee appeared on D&D D20 dice, saying “I’m rocking with Myles Garrett.) In addition to the personal component, hundreds of viewers tuned into a live stream on Twitch, topped by about 600 viewers.

Seated at a table near the front windows of the table, the NFL players were paired up with Apriya Iyengar and Effie Nawadewe, who are known for their performances in “clips” games and podcasts. (Iyengar is a dungeon master on “Exandria Unlimited,” and Nwadiwe has appeared on several episodes of D&D shows.) Together, they complete all five — plus an additional character, a pet named Beans — Dire Dogs.

The party got into a dungeon-making adventure by Brandon Tharp, a longtime D&D player and TikTok character from Youngstown. They encounter Steelers-esque machine bots “Mecha Boargo,” with the goal of keeping medieval “Clevelandia” safe and making it into the TFL (similar to the NFL) in the process.

Rolling D&D groups die to determine their next move, and the audience chanted in cheers for any normal twenties (the game’s highest score) and groaned at a critical failure (lowest score). Bearing in mind the alter ego of a Fire Genasi Gunslinger called “Heller Highwater”, Stanton became the de facto leader of the slightly less experienced Browns (Teller, a half-elf clergyman named Tellen and Garrett, a dragonborn samurai named Zax).

Stanton has clearly been the most experienced player of the three soccer characters, and for good reason: He’s been the master of dungeons for D&D sessions for the past two years, according to Sports Illustrated.

But Iyengar and Nwadiwe were more familiar with the role-playing game. Iyengar, who plays a one-eyed celestial magician named Xero, was often one step ahead of Tharp, requesting advantages or disadvantages in death rolls based on her actions in the game. (It’s worth noting that one of Iyengar’s dice rolls was so strong, she accidentally hit an audience member in the front row.)

Nwadewe, who played the semicircle of Shepherd Priest Leverine McNacle, had a consistent personality: that he was always trying to unload the villagers’ “irreplaceable trinkets.”

Garrett showed his muscle as he took out a crew of Mica Bargos in a stadium during the climax of the campaign, killing two opponents in demon slayer style with a sword while Stanton had to stay away from the action for a few rounds to fix a dysfunctional rifle.

When the party defeated Cleveland’s last enemies, the event exceeded its $10,000 fundraising goal.

The event benefited from Red Nose Day, a charity that aims to end child poverty. Tabletop attendees were given red clown-like noses to wear during the game, and were able to bid on silent auction items such as autographed T-shirts, official D&D models, dice containers, a soccer ball and a helmet signed by Browns players.

The whole event was made possible by a TikTok video that Tharp posted on his popular account in November, in which he shared an idea to the DM for a one-shot charity game with obsessed Browns players, after reading a Sports Illustrated feature.

It ended up being a lot of fun for Tharp and the players on stage, looking at the bursts of laughter and enthusiastic punches in the air. And it was so much fun for the audience, in person and online, that it was honored with a one-of-a-kind evening of entertainment.

“What a cross between my love for RPG and Cleveland,” a commenter named Dakota Duffy said on the donation page. “Can’t imagine anything like this. Lots of fun, and thanks to all involved. Go Brownie!”

Another commentator named Ryan J said, “For a great cause too!”

See more photos from the event in the gallery at the top of this article.

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