We had the good fortune of connecting with Scott Stevens and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Scott, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
At The Hero Workshop, our primary business is organizing and running tabletop role playing games for kids. We have a ton of fun, and we’ve seen firsthand the positive impact something as simple as having a regular game day can have on the kids in our program. We’ve seen painfully shy kids open up and express themselves through the hero they designed; kids who struggle with math enthusiastically adding their die rolls together and applying their modifiers; and kids who normally balk at writing deliver full page backstories for their heroes. We love hearing from parents about the stories of derring do their kids tell them after a game.
I didn’t start The Hero Workshop with social impact in mind – I started this organization because I wanted to share my love of Dungeons and Dragons with my kids and their friends. However, especially during the pandemic when we were all sheltering in place, I was moved by how important these game days had become to the kids, and to me and my staff. I received many, many emails from parents telling us that their weekly appointment with adventure gave their kids something to look forward to each week during a time when monotony dominated many of their lives.
Even now, as we come back to playing in person around a real table rolling real dice, a regular game group gives the kids in our program a safe place to be creative, develop cooperative problem solving skills, and ignite their imaginations.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Hero Workshop hosts interactive storytelling workshops for heroes of all ages. Each week, a small group of heroes gather around a table to tell the next chapter in their epic tale. The games are moderated by a narrator/referee known as the Dungeon Master (DM), and each of the players around the table play one of the heroes in the story. The DM narrates a scene, and the players declare what their heroes are doing in the scene. Then, we roll dice to see if their actions succeed or fail. Either way, something happens and the scene changes as the story progresses. Along the way, our heroes gain experience and become more powerful – allowing them to face bigger and more dangerous challenges in their adventures.

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons since I was seven years old, so more than 40 years. Everywhere that I have travelled to in my life, I have brought my rule books along and invited my friends to come over for an evening of adventure. I became a professional game designer in my early thirties, working on video games for companies like Zynga, Scopely, and Disney Interactive. I started a family, and when my own kids were old enough of course I started playing with them.

About five years ago my family moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, and I ran a game for my oldest son (who was 8 at the time) and some of his new friends from school. They had a great time, and soon there were more kids who wanted to play than I could handle at once. I started an afterschool program – taking a long, late lunch from my job as a Game Designer to run an hour long game of DnD at my son’s school.

One day a week turned into two, then three, and I soon found myself needing to hire my first employee. As we continued to grow I developed a business identity, and as more and more of my time was spent scheduling, hiring, administrating, and managing the organization’s growth – I realized that I had an opportunity to make a dream come true. I founded The Hero Workshop as a non-profit organization, and eventually (as of late spring 2022) opened our first brick-and-mortar location at 4455 Overland Avenue behind The Spot Cafe. We offer games every day of the week, retail (you can get your dice, books, minis, and unique DnD related t-shirts here!), and a fantastic camp program for Spring, Summer, and Winter breaks.

In fact, our Summer Camp this year will run for four weeks starting June 13th and ending July 8th. If you’re reading this and you have a young hero between the ages of 8 and 18 you should come check us out!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’d have to go check out Malibu Creek State Park. Great hiking, and it’s cool to check out the pond and waterfall and the site where M.A.S.H. was filmed that still has some old props and set pieces from the show. I’d also want to share Jjukku Jjukku Korean BBQ on Wilshire. It’s my favorite KBBQ place in town (a hotly contested topic with my Korean wife), but I love the smoky atmosphere and the food is delicious.
If you’re from out of town I’d probably want to take you to the Santa Monica Pier and Disneyland – I mean, you’ve got to go if you’re visiting LA!
And of course, no trip would be complete without a game of Dungeons and Dragons with some friends at The Hero Workshop!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have so many people to be grateful for that I feel like this may end up being a long list!

First, I need to highlight the love and support provided by my amazing wife Janet Kang. Not just in a “thanks for believing in me” kind of way – but also her constant help with organization (something I struggle with), her perspective during decision making, and all of her practical help have been crucial in getting The Hero Workshop to where it is today. I truly could not have done this without her help!

My amazing staff. Our small but growing number of Dungeon Masters and contributors over the years are what makes our organization work. Running a weekly game of Dungeons and Dragons can be time consuming work – like working on a live television program you are developing content each week. Many of our DM’s run multiple games a week and spend a lot of time preparing for the next chapter of the stories they run here. So a huge shout out to the Dungeon Masters from the past to the present! Thank you Alex, Tim, Randal, and Jane for making The Hero Workshop so great for all of the heroes who play here.

And lastly, of course, to all of the heroes and their parents. Thank you for signing up for a game, and thank you for telling your friends about how much fun you’re having! We have an awesome, inclusive, and fun community of heroes at The Hero Workshop that I am extremely grateful for.

Website: www.heroworkshop.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heroworkshopkids/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heroworkshopkids

Image Credits
Jane Adams Timothy Portnoy Scott Stevens Seattle Stevens

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