Player Profiles: Tina Arcilla

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 Political Economy and International Relations. I work in an NGO called Community Business where I manage DIAN (the Diversity & Inclusion in Asia Network), the leading network of companies and professionals committed to advancing their diversity and inclusion strategy in Asia. For work (and for fun) I get to be involved in initiatives that promote social justice and equity in the workplace and the wider community – from promoting inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities, women, and LGBT+ individuals to navigating the complexities of a multicultural environment.

I have too many interests and fandoms to list here, but I describe myself as a sporty, artsy nerd who signs up for random activities… Including that time two years ago when my little brother told me that he was starting a D&D group and asked if my friends and I wanted to try it out.

Tell us about your D&D character

Reading is a hobby that has stayed with me from the moment, as a young kid, I picked up a beautifully illustrated story book about an elf. I had to leave before I could finish reading it and, for weeks after, I would draw pictures and make up stories about how the story could have ended. So when I had to create my first D&D character, I just knew she would be an elf. I have a love for high fantasy, mythology and folklore, and Fianna was the first cool name that came to mind (in part because the Fianna were warriors in Irish mythology led by a guy called Finn MacCool, which is another awesome name).

Fianna, illustrated by Bruno Nascimento

Fianna is a young wood elf cleric, open-minded and compassionate towards other races. But, unlike her reclusive kin, seeing different travelers unwittingly stumble through her woodland home sparked in her a curiosity to venture out and learn more about other peoples and races first hand. Her parents did not speak against her wish to go adventuring as she had always been slightly odd — interested in gods and the divine. (Sorry, no tragic backstory here.) She is calm and laid back, quietly observing those in her party and preferring to go in with a plan. Their penchant for having long, drawn out skirmishes and accidentally injuring each other in the most absurd situations gives her a lot of opportunities to practice her healing abilities.

Why do you play D&D?

Celebrating special occasions like Christmas with my extended family has always involved story telling. As a large Filipino clan, the children were expected to put on performances – from song and dance numbers, to skits and puppet shows. There were stories that were expected to be told and retold about our grandparents’ love story and wartime experiences. We would go around a circle and hear mostly funny, occasionally serious, updates from each branch of the family (my father is 1 of 10 children). There were also more creative story-telling games that I would also run in smaller groups with my cousins.

So, whilst I am relatively new to D&D, the act of gathering around to tell stories has always been an act of community building. Living in Hong Kong, far away from my extended family, D&D has been a way to recapture that feeling as well as to build new friendships and create shared experiences. My favourite part of playing D&D are the recurring inside jokes or Easter eggs that crop up when playing a new campaign with someone you have quested with before.