Pictured: Richard Mortimer

An emergency services hero turned professional games master is capturing the imagination of players from Atherstone to Arkansas after adapting to the need for online meetups.

While many children dream of growing up to fight fires and save lives, Into Adventure Ltd has been helping fans of one of the world’s biggest board games on both sides of the Atlantic fulfil fantasies of their own.

Richard Mortimer, from Dordon in Warwickshire, has spent the last 20 years protecting communities across the West Midlands as a firefighter, but has been playing Dungeons and Dragons in his spare time since he was 16.

Richard, now 46, has served as a Dungeon Master for the popular fantasy game across North Warwickshire for more than a decade after he originally founded Into Adventure Ltd to support his local library in the wake of funding issues by hosting D&D sessions.

Like many businesses, Richard was forced to operate almost exclusively online throughout the last 18 months due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The video conferencing software used by Richard in his online sessions, however, has allowed him to host games like never before by visually transforming himself and his guests into orcs, elves and other fantasy creatures, while taking advantage of digital marketing has enabled him to expand his customer base.

He has since been able to access markets across Scotland and Ireland and, most recently, the United States after seeking advice from Warwickshire County Council’s start-up service which is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

The programme for start-up businesses is part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale project which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Warwickshire County Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council and the other District and Borough Councils.

Richard said: “The pandemic highlighted the ways that not having an online presence can severely impact the potential of your business, and the support I received from the Chamber helped me to enhance my ability to connect with new customers in ways that would have never crossed my mind.

“The Chamber put me in touch with other business owners to exchange advice on how to be flexible and deal with the challenges of operating across different countries and states, and I have since enrolled onto their digital training programme with a view to boosting Into Adventure’s Online presence.

“There is a huge demand for Dungeon Masters across the UK but also a very strong following in the local area, including three of my crew members at Tamworth Fire Station.

“It would be great to hear from even more players across the UK who might have been unable to play with their friends over the last year or so.

“Our games are always extremely fun and held to a very high standard, and the ability to appear as a range of characters adds a whole new dimension to the experience.”

Hardeep Sandhu, Enterprise Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce said: “The team at the Chamber can offer a range of support to start-up and early-stage businesses to help them not just survive but grow.

“It’s been great to see that Richard has made the most of the support we offer and started to see the material results in the growth of his business.”

The Chamber will be holding online clinics for individuals thinking about starting a new business and those candidates that have started a new business in the past 24 months.

Hardeep added: “People need to be almost ready to start their businesses, as the start-up programme is geared up to supporting those that have a business idea, are clear about what they want to do and need guidance on how to start and what to do.”

Anyone interested should email Rita, with an overview of their business and contact details and include in the subject, ‘North Warks Clinic Booking Request’.

Clinic dates are September 7, 14 and 21 and take place between 9.30am and 2.30pm, all sessions are delivered online and meeting links will be sent out after the initial phone call.