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?
I am a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, focusing on “legaltech” and “regtech” (respectively, technologies for the delivery of legal services and for regulatory compliance). I am particularly passionate about access to justice and how A.I. and other advance technologies will impact the legal system, governance and individual rights in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I regularly speak and publish on these topics in different forums, including the World Economic Forum (WEF). In the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of WEF, I was the Curator of the Hong Kong Hub and a member of the Advisory Council on Hub Activity, and now I am an alumnus.
In middle school, I started playing D&D when I picked up my first Player’s Handbook from my local public library in Melbourne. It helped that some of my school friends played the tabletop game. We would also discuss endlessly the Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights series. The recounts of heroic adventures posted by DMs and players on web bulletin boards of yore really sparked my imagination. The awesome artwork in D&D publications also appealed to me as I was an avid painter. Playing D&D made me appreciate game rules, probability and the verbal craft of narratives, which later led me to study law and statistics in university.
Tell us about your D&D character
Benito Saska is a Half-Elf Wild Mage. He grew up near the monastic settlement of Monksblade. In his early years, he lost his family while fleeing annexation by the Lizardfolk of the Vast Swamp. Benito subsequently found his way to Al-Qadim, where he served a rigorous apprenticeship to a dwarven blacksmith. After several years, he grew tired of smithing as he knew he had neither the talent nor patience for it. Feeling underdeveloped in character, Benito took sabbatical and sojourned in Kara-Tur, where he studied with the Mystics of the Empire of Wa.
One night, while researching the medicinal properties of the spores of Violet Fungi in the Sempadan Forest, Benito came across a grievously injured Darkling. While trying to save the Faye, somehow dormant powers in Benito began to wake and he soon discovered affinity to arcane energies. Thereafter, as rumor has it, he lost control of his Wild Magic and one time accidentally slaughtered a family of Tieflings. He then relocated to the Underdark on a self-imposed exile. He eventually worked as a fixer for a Drow trading house after he learnt to better wield his powers. Recently, Benito re-emerged above-ground, and now travels around with his Flumph companion to seek out adventure and discover greatness.
Benito (or “Old Ben” as he now goes by) is a versatile sorcerer who has rejected the scholastic and arcane practices of typical mages in favor of tapping into raw, unfettered magic. While he is a master of “natural unnaturalness” and a character of finesse, sometimes his spell-casts go awry and he turns blue or feather grows out of his hair. “Life should not be taken too seriously, otherwise one loses perspective” he would often say. He lives and laughs by this philosophy. C’est la vie.
Why do you play D&D?
After my long hiatus from D&D, The Glowing Fool has re-ignited my interest in the role-playing game. I enjoy the game as it gives my mind a stretch and a breather. It is a fun, nerdy way to chill with friends. The Forgotten Realms offer deep, rich lores to inspire our creativity and exercise our storytelling skills. These are important for a global economy that increasingly prizes innovation and humanity, albeit in rather specific endeavors.
When I was in high school, I took cues from playing dual-class characters and parsing through skill tree tables in planning my tertiary studies. I remember that the career guidance counsellor office in my school had a set of d20s and d100s, perhaps for students struggling to decide on career paths to roll in times of frustration! Later on, I trained as a scientist and practised as an attorney – quite different fields, obviously – which unintentionally prepared me for the emerging and cross-disciplinary fields of “legaltech” and “regtech”. Fantasy and science fiction works have motivated me to take unconventional paths. But D&D in particular has always reminded me to value the majesty of chance and the serendipities of life.