York County gaming marathon raises money for Children's Miracle Network hospitals
At 3 a.m. on Sunday, most people in York County were asleep in the comfort of their warm beds.
A small band of adventurers, however, spent their time awake battling centipedes, "overly friendly" ghasts and an albino ogre — all with a couple of dice, a trusty guidebook and the power of imagination.
The group, part of the board game organization Pathfinder Society of York, participated in a 25-hour gaming marathon, raising money for the charity Extra Life — which donates all proceeds to Children's Miracle Network hospitals.
This year, gamers at Comic Store West's marathon raised $3,200.
"Usually around the 20-hour mark you hit the wall hard," said Chris Kauffman, the game master for the Pathfinder Society. "No amount of caffeine really helps that."
The group, along with dozens of other gamers, gathered from 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, to 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at Comic Store West, 2111 Industrial Highway. The Extra Life event is always held on the weekend when daylight savings time ends, giving that extra hour for gaming. This is the fourth year Comic Store West has participated.
All money made during this year's event will be donated to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
The York County group wasn't alone in raising money for Extra Life: hundreds of other groups and individuals across the United States simultaneously participated in their own charity events.
Brian Waltersdorff, the owner of Comic Store West, said for the majority of the event, about 50 people crowded into the back room of the store to play role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder.
"A lot of caffeine is needed," Waltersdorff said.
Kauffman's group was at Comic Store West from the beginning of the charity event.
Pathfinder, similar to the table-top game Dungeons & Dragons, is a role-playing game that sets challenges for players such as defeating enemies and solving puzzles, which they can either succeed or fail determined by the random roll of the dice.
In the spirit of raising money, players could change the outcome of their rolls through monetary donations.
For example, if a player rolled badly and missed the chance to do damage to an enemy, they could donate $1 to have a second chance at attacking.
During the night, one player donated $20, which allowed them to command total control of Kauffman's guidebook and run their own game for an hour.
"It's a charity that they all care for, so you can tell in the donations," Waltersdorff said. "It's always fun to see the weird ideas they come up with to get more donations. It's probably our biggest charity event."
— Reach Tina Locurto at email@example.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.