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Interview: "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" Creators Chat D&D

We chat with Matthew Lillard and Bill Rehor about the new D&D show, "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" debuting this week.

Article Summary

  • Matthew Lillard & Bill Rehor reveal new D&D show "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!"
  • Unique format with high stakes and potential character death sets the show apart.
  • Diverse casting and impromptu gameplay aim to capture authentic D&D spirit.
  • Show part of the D&D Adventures streaming channel, hopeful for audience love.

This week, a brand new D&D show will debut as the minds behind Beadle and Grimm's will launch Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! This show will be the ultimate guest-appearance showcase of Dungeons & Dragons players, as they have reached out to form one-off parties of celebrities and well-known Twitch players, coming together to play one-shot campaigns for your enjoyment. All of which will air weekly as part of the new Dungeons & Dragons Adventures streaming channel. We got a chance to chat with Matthew Lillard and Bill Rehor about the show, from planning it out to filming it and their thoughts on the debut.

Interview: "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" Creators Chat D&D
Credit: Beadle and Grimm's

Hey guys, how have things been going for you both lately?

Matt: I'm freaking exhausted right now… not gonna lie. I think I may have actually finally bitten off more than I can chew… but I'm hopeful I make it!

Interview: "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" Creators Chat D&D
Credit: Beadle and Grimm's

How's things been going with Beadle & Grimm's these days? It looks like the company is thriving more than ever.

Bill: It's been a growth year, which is equal parts exciting and challenging. We're making a real effort to expand the definition of what B&G does. Part of that is the TV show. We're creating a Home Goods line for D&D that's really exciting. And we have our first original game on Kickstarter, called Ring of Chaos, that has had a great launch so far. But trying new things involves a lot of risk, a lot of dead ends, a lot of projects that never see the light of day. We're taking the good with the less good and not complaining.

Matt: I do all the complaining. It lightens the load for everyone else.

How did the idea of wanting to do a D&D TV show come about?

Bill: It was almost the opposite. We felt like we should do some kind of live play show since so many others in the space were trying it, but we didn't WANT to dive in unless we could come up with a take that felt really personal to us.

Matt: The idea for Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! really clicked for us as a company — I sorta believe it was all of the "!'s". We tend to look for that special something in a project, that charm, before diving into the business side of things. It's not always a given that the creative and business aspects align, but in this case, they did.

What was the process like in coming up with the format of the show? What steps did you take to make sure it was different from all the other TTRPG shows out there?

Bill: I remember one time Matt had just wrapped up a guest gig on someone else's game. I could tell he wasn't totally happy with it, and when I asked him, he said, "There just aren't any stakes in these things. Everyone knows the DM will never kill them in a livestream game." And that was a launching point. We wanted stakes, and that meant death. A lot of death, as it turned out.

At what point did you decide to chat with WotC/Hasbro and get D&D involved? What was their reaction to it?

Matt: After Bill pitched the original idea, we decided to try it out on a Twitch stream — I think 18 people watched!?! Despite the low numbers, the night was a total success. We had a blast, and everyone in the chat really enjoyed the show. That minor success was enough for us to pitch the idea to Wizards of the Coast for a celebration streaming game in 2021. After seeing the show play out on camera, we knew we had a really cool idea.

Bill: The next step was sheer serendipity. We came to them mostly to ask permission to make it a licensed show that we would take somewhere else because we had no idea they were planning this D&D Adventures channel. They were actively looking for shows that could present an authentic D&D experience in a one-hour format, so we were in the right place at the right time.

Interview: "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" Creators Chat D&D
Credit: Beadle and Grimm's

How did you go about choosing who would be in every cast, and how DMing would work for this one?

Matt: That was a long and engaged journey. We took the casting of the show very seriously as we needed each show to capture a chemistry at the table that would make it not only fun to watch but represent the diversity of this incredible community. We worked with our casting producer Brian Baldinger to bring both elements together. In the end, I believe — as humbly as possible — that we've captured one of the most diverse shows in the history of television. Something we take a great deal of pride in.

Interview: "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" Creators Chat D&D
Credit: Beadle and Grimm's

What was the process like for everyone involved to create their adventures and their characters?

Matt: As a player, it was absolutely a dream come true. I've always had a pretty active imagination, so during prep, I was constantly picking up little ideas and inspirations to shape the bevy of characters I was scheduled to play. The game's pace really pushes you to be decisive and bold in defining your characters to help the game and the players around you succeed. On the Dungeon Master side, the B&G team worked with everyone to help deliver a great show — total team effort. 'Purple Worm' has a pretty steep learning curve for the DM, especially weaving stories that had to unfold within a 48-minute window. The good news was that we had played the format enough during pre that we developed a deep understanding of what would work and what wouldn't. That really helped us steer our DM's in the right direction when it came time to shoot the show.

Did you do any kind of Session Zero's ahead of the show, or were you more into the idea of throwing everyone in head-first with no prep?

Bill: For the most part, the show actually works better with little or no prep. When you start trying to plan out moments or a comic bit ahead of time, you close yourself off to the possibilities that you weren't expecting. In fact, we often deliberately threw the cast a serious curveball early in the show just to make sure they were totally in the moment. The second episode is a great example of that – none of them knew they were going to be playing goblins. That really was dropped on them in front of the audience, and they did such a great job of taking it and running with it.

Matt: We definitely left our players in the dark, so all they had was their natural reactions and performance instincts to work with. That said, the production team did a shit ton of prep so that whatever happened during the show, we'd be able to pivot and adapt with confidence.

Bill: Agree. The structure around the performers was super prepared, and that's essential when we're winging it onstage.

Interview: "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" Creators Chat D&D
Credit: Beadle and Grimm's

What was it like filming the episodes and seeing each one of them come to life?

Bill: A dream come true. It's as simple as that for me. For better or worse, they let us create exactly the show we had pictured in our heads, and that's a real gift.

Matt: Watching each episode come to life was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating.I vividly recall the night before we began shooting, I made the bold, half-joking statement, 'Well, we are totally F'd here.' You should have seen the look of fear in everyone's eyes! What I meant was that we had assembled everything we could've asked for. If we shit the bed, we had nobody to blame but ourselves! Happily, we're pretty proud of the results!

The content for the show is basically a one-shot for every episode. Are they all meant to be one-and-done, or is there room to bring any of them back?

Bill: Never say never. Every time I see an ad for The Walking Dead they're following some character that clearly died like five seasons ago. So, who knows?

Matt: I would LOVE to bring back the offspring of some of the heroes that died in season one. Vengeance is best served in second seasons!

What are your thoughts going into the show's debut?

Bill: Our hope is that with success, D&D Adventures can become a platform for a wide variety of D&D content. There really are infinite ways to enjoy this game, and the channel's in a position to give a voice to a lot of different people all over the world who have their own ideas to share. But that only happens if people tune in and watch. In entertainment, you vote with your eyeballs.

Matt: I hope that people find the show and fall in love with it. I hope it brings people joy. I hope they're inspired to gather their bestest friends in the world around a table to play games all their live-long days together. If this show can make that happen for even a handful of people… that's a win for humanity!

Interview: "Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!" Creators Chat D&D
Credit: Beadle and Grimm's

Is there anything else you'd like to talk about in regard to the show we didn't get to?

Bill: Beadle & Grimm's just launched a game called Ring of Chaos on Kickstarter. We would love your support.

Matt: Just the company in general. While this is a big moment for us, there's still lots of people in the TTRPG space who don't know about who we are or what we make. That sort of exposure is always helpful and appreciated.

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Gavin SheehanAbout Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, Bluesky, Threads, and Hive, for random pictures and musings.
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