Opinion: The Big Contradiction at the Heart of the Tech Downturn Read Now

Feb. 12, 2022 5:00 AM PST

Live from his home dungeon in Orem, Utah, Dax Levine called class into session one recent Wednesday evening. “People pay me to find creative ways to murder them,” he told the 10 students who had logged into Zoom. They were there to engage in the night’s lecture on “Conflict-Driven Characters,” just one of the courses offered at Levine’s one-year-old Dungeon Master University.

Teaching is just Levine’s night job. By day, he’s a professional dungeon master, or DM, creating elaborate campaigns for private Dungeons & Dragons games. In other words, people literally do pay him to kill them, at least in the confines of a D&D campaign. For anywhere from $50 for small private groups to $500 for corporate events, he will create a D&D game, consult on character development, lead play sessions and mediate conflicts between players.

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