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Ryan Freels: Storyteller, Tech Guy, Dungeon Master, Friend

Written by Micah Xu, Converge multimedia journalism intern and Junior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology (GSMST)

Meet Ryan Freels, the man who inspired his friends to better themselves and those around them by running a simple game of Dungeons and Dragons. Ryan’s outlook on life is a simple one: ensure that you respect others and ensure you are respected.

Ryan applies this to everything and everybody, since, in his own words: “The world would be a lot better if people would just take two moments to consider that the people around them want respect and admiration as much as they do, even if they don’t show it, and everybody could use a bit of that. Everybody could use a bit of respect and admiration when they are down.”

This sort of outlook has let him run a successful Dungeons and Dragons game, which in turn has earned him a loyal, intelligent and ever-growing group of friends. Dungeons and Dragons is a game about exploring fantasies, but it is also a game about mutual and continual respect.

By participating in Dungeons and Dragons, a player is willingly giving up control of a character that they have spent days creating to a dungeon master. This is a sign of respect in and of itself, but, according to Ryan: “If I, as the DM (dungeon master), am given a well-written character, I am being given a piece of the player who made them, and I would do well to not do wrong by them (the player). It is a sign of respect, which I appreciate, and my sign of respect back to them is a good time at my table, where the player gets to see their characters grow and become something they are proud of.”

He is also very proud of his ability to do many different things from many different fields. Ryan believes that success is determined by how well you treat those around you, and that means being able to perform many services for them should they need it. That is why he tries to be a jack-of-all-trades of sorts, learning technology, art, writing and game design to further assist anybody who might require his services.

Ryan has also inspired me, because I respect his outlook and his no-nonsense attitude when it comes to mutual respect between friends. He is the shoulder I can lean on, and I am the shoulder he can lean on, and he treats me as if I was an equal in my formative, insecure teenage years, which I can appreciate.

After all, according to Ryan: “All anyone needs is to feel like they matter. That’s it.”