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Fantasy gaming shapes couple’s journey to love

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Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

Cheryl Foster and her fiancé, David Campanelli, are immersed in the fantasy tabletop game Pathfinders at the first gaming session at the Copperas Cove public library Saturday. Foster is a first-time player but her fiancé has been playing since elementary school. The couple will be married in two days. Their 9-month-old daughter, Keira, sits quietly next to mom.

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Cheryl Foster knew her mom loved gaming — the pen-and-paper fantasy role-playing game was her pastime. She knew she was never allowed to play. She even knew her mom’s best friend loved playing, too, and that she had a son named David Campanelli who lived in South Carolina.

What Foster didn't know was how important this 16-year-old boy would become, or how their destinies would be forever entwined one day in a small town called Copperas Cove.

“I knew of him but we really didn’t connect until 11 years ago,” Foster said.

Spc. David Campanelli, a Texas Army National Guardsman with Alpha Troop, 124th Cavalry Regiment, remembers vividly the first day he met Foster.

“We met when I went down to Florida to hang out with my mom,” he said “I still remember it like it was yesterday.”

Through training and deployment, and as time passed, Campanelli knew in his heart he wanted to be with Foster. They finally settled down and moved to Cove two years ago.

Unlike Foster though, Campanelli has been playing Shadowrun, an older version of today’s Dungeons and Dragons, with his dad since he was 10 years old. Gaming is a tradition that still exists today, though they now play Pathfinders.

Foster had her first gaming experience at the Copperas Cove Library’s first gaming session Saturday.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to play, and I couldn’t wait to get started,” she said.

Foster and Campanelli, who have a 9-month-old daughter named Keira, were married Monday.

“I didn’t propose ... I just told her we were getting married and she said OK,” Campanelli said. “It’s the same way we decided to come to the gaming session. It was simple and it all fell in place at the right time.”

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

2 images

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

Cheryl Foster and her fiancé, David Campanelli, are immersed in the fantasy tabletop game Pathfinders at the first gaming session at the Copperas Cove public library Saturday. Foster is a first-time player but her fiancé has been playing since elementary school. The couple will be married in two days. Their 9-month-old daughter, Keira, sits quietly next to mom.

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