Player Profiles: Jan Engels, PhD

Anyone can play D&D, and a D&D player can come from anywhere. Our “Player Profile” series hopes to highlight the diverse backgrounds of D&D players that have passed through our doors.

Tell us about yourself, what’s your background?

My background is in healthcare and entrepreneurship education. Full time I co-founded  a medical device company after graduating with a PhD from HKUST in Chemistry and Nanotechnology. Being an entrepreneur is a great challenge since no one teaches you how to do things, but you have to figure it out by yourself. As a founder you need to be an all-rounder and knowledgeable in a range of topics from business development, patents, to R&D. It’s a challenge, but one that I love.

I have a passion for educating students in entrepreneurial mindset and thinking, as I believe that in Hong Kong a lot of smart graduates in science, technology and engineering are too much driven to the large sectors such as finance and property industry instead of following their passions and interest.

Further, I’m a Global Shaper of the Hong Kong Hub and currently serve as the vice-curator, with a strong interest in the fourth industrial revolution which will have a profound impact on  all of us. In my free time I enjoy a good D&D session with my friends in Hong Kong.

Tell us about your D&D character

Nachtkrabb, illustrated by Bruno Nascimento

The great thing about D&D is that, compared to computer games, you are able to develop your character and story with nearly no limitations.. You can write a great backstory, give your character different abilities and characteristics and let the others know how he, she, or they looks like.

My character is named Nachtkrabb, who is a figure originating from southern Germany that scares kids. He is a half-elf, mixed from a human mum who was a whore, and an elfish dad who left his mum after impregnating  her. Nachtkrabb grew up in a brothel and is familiar with its business and street life. After an incident with one violent customer of the brothel, Nachtkrabb murdered the man brutally and decided to leave the place, starting a new life as a rogue. Wandering around the country, earning  his living and some coin through different quests and adventures he became more stable over the years and joined the Dawn Brigade of the Death’s March Army to find new purpose and direction in life.

Why do you play D&D?

In a fast pace city such as Hong Kong it is important to calm down and relax. Having some experiences in pen & paper role play in Germany more than 10 years ago (Shadowrun which is science fiction and cyberpunk theme compared to D&D which is classical fantasy style) I was eager to try something new. Sitting with a bunch of friends playing D&D and imagining a fantasy world with your mind and thoughts sounded like a good way to spend an afternoon. Taking on the role of my character lets me forget the hectic pace of daily life. I think the game itself also helps foster thinking, problem solving and communication within the team of heroes.

Lastly it’s great to move away from all the screen time nowadays. Moving from computer games and mobile phone games,  back to something classic that lets you interact with others face to face, instead of just facing a screen alone at home.