Players of all ages donned their elf ears, capes and armor to roll the dice in their favor Saturday, as more than 1,000 sought to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Dungeons and Dragons game ever played.

And it was broken, but not without years of preparation.

"I've always wanted to host the biggest game of Dungeons and Dragons, but that was just kind of a silly dream," event organizer Andrew Ashby said.

Ashby's family started a game store business at the Provo Towne Centre called We Geek Together, which makes you feel like you just stepped foot into a medieval tavern or Renaissance fair. Mall officials told Ashby if he ever wanted to do a large event they could work with him — which made Ashby realize his dream from eight years ago could become a reality.

To achieve a Guinness World Record, Ashby learned he would need at least 500 people to play the game at the same time. He saved up a lot of money so he could host Dead Wars — the largest Dungeons and Dragons campaign. He had 200 tables and a max of seven people on each table — all for free.

Participants play Dungeons and Dragons during an official attempt to break a Guinness World Record on Saturday at Provo Towne Centre.
Participants play Dungeons and Dragons during an official attempt to break a Guinness World Record on Saturday at Provo Towne Centre. | Cassidy Wixom, KSL.com

The official count of players ended up being 1,227 — more than enough to set a new Guinness World Record.

"It hasn't hit me, yet. So far, it's been a dream, an absolute dream," Ashby said. "The D&D community is very nerdy and very supportive."

There was very little advertising for Saturday's event — the majority of the people who came heard about it by word-of-mouth. Ashby said he couldn't have done it without all the support from participants.

"A world record here in Provo — it's the nerdiest world record ever!" Ashby said.

Each table had a dungeon master and represented an area of a battlefield. All the tables worked together to defeat the campaign's villain, Vecna, and his undead army.

Head dungeon master Dax Levine was in charge of connecting the stories of each table together into "one giant epic battle." Halfway through the game, he went on the stage to tell everyone Vecna had broken down the city's walls and was calling for the city to hand over their goddess.

Head dungeon master Dax Levine tells participants the villain Vecna has broken down the city's walls during their Dungeons and Dragons campaign Saturday at Provo Towne Centre.
Head dungeon master Dax Levine tells participants the villain Vecna has broken down the city's walls during their Dungeons and Dragons campaign Saturday at Provo Towne Centre. | Cassidy Wixom, KSL.com

"The energy has been electric. People are shouting, people are cheering, people were booing me when I told them the wall fell. I love that!" Levine said.

Levine started Dungeon Master Direct in February 2020. He got so busy with the business during the pandemic that he quit his day job and is now a professional dungeon master full time. He said Dead Wars was especially fun for him, as everyone was playing in person, together, rather than online.

Janie Eastman was a live-action role player who acted as a general in the army. She said the organizers wanted to add some live-action role-play elements because it's a big deal in the Dungeons and Dragons community.

She and the other generals were dressed up and wandered between tables to act as moderators helping to keep things orderly and connected across the entire "battlefield."

"It's so fun that there's such an awesome Dungeons and Dragons community out here in Utah. I think it's a really fun way for people to connect," Eastman said. "It's been a big deal in my life to connect with so many other amazing people."

General Janie Eastman talks to Dungeons and Dragons players during an official attempt to break a Guinness World Record on Saturday at Provo Towne Centre.
General Janie Eastman talks to Dungeons and Dragons players during an official attempt to break a Guinness World Record on Saturday at Provo Towne Centre. | Cassidy Wixom, KSL.com

Eastman said in the past few years, Dungeons and Dragons has become more accepted rather than being viewed as just a classic '80s movie nerd game.

Bryce Nelson was a dungeon master at one of the tables and said Saturday's event was quite entertaining.

"I really got taken away when I saw what the situation was," he said. "I rushed to a craft store and went all out buying supplies to build a really cool map, to make it as memorable as possible."

His wife and daughter helped him create the map, staying up until 2 a.m. Thursday gluing and painting.

His daughter joined him playing the game Saturday and Nelson said it was cool to be part of something "really big."