Cascadia is home to a uniue brant of bed and breakfast, adventurous in more ways than one: the Dungeons and Dragons Bed and Breakfast, or D&D B&B. Staci Gvensdottir runs the establishment with her partner, Peter Smith, and like so many other desperately innovative business ideas it dates to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008.
“Peter lost his job and I lost mine, within a few days of each other,” laughs Gvensdottir. “Just after we inked the lease on this place. So we had to do something fast, because banks were feeling awfully foreclosey back then!”
The solution lay in the massive collection of role playing books accumulated by the couple. Gvensdottir purchased new books as they came out, while Smith preferred to hoard classic tomes. “I’m a third edition and before nutcase,” says Smith. “As far as I’m concerned, if there ain’t THAC0, it ain’t Dungeons and Dragons.”
Gvensdottir and Smith wrote a few quick D&D campaigns that could be played with a variety of settings, characters, and systems. They then began advertising their home as a destination getaway for couples looking to do a little role playing. “Not neccessarily the sort of roleplaying everyone thinks of, admittedly,” says Gvensdottir. “We had a few very disappointed people in gimp masks show up.”
At first, Gvensdottir and Smith’s “D&D B&B” was advertised through word-of-mouth. “Our friends at the comic book shop and on listservs and message boards, mostly,” says Smith. “The first few were really just pity stays, but once word got out, we’ve been pretty constantly booked.”
A weekend at the D&D B&B begins with rolling character sheets in a living room from a classic 1880s lumber baron house, restored to its full glory. Guests either roll new characters or adapt prechosen ones and then set out on an adventure that will last from two days to over a week. Meals are provided, as are caffeinated beverages and salty/sugary snacks, and every few hours there is a fresh-air excursion to a local Cascadia landmark.
“The standard dungeon grind is by far the most popular,” says Gvensdottir. “People just love the thrill of delving deep into a castle dungeon to defeat an ancient evil.”
At the end of the stay, visitors have the option or purchasing their character sheets or leaving a copy on file for future adventures. Nearly all do, as the experience of 12-hour marathon dice-rolling sessions is not soon forgotten.