When it comes to conventions, sometimes you can find the best things by just wandering the con floor. That would be the case as I wandered past the booth for College Humor's actual-play RPG show, Dimension 20: Fantasy High. As an avid player of role-playing games, it was hard not to stop and take a look at the elaborate displays of minis and battle maps. I couldn't help but stop and chat. I mean, check out the image below:
You might notice there is a rather large dragon on what appears to be a basketball court. And that is the fun of Dimension 20: Fantasy High. The show takes the fun and mechanics of the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game and adds in the teenage angst of your favorite John Hughes film. You can find the series on College Humor's premium streaming service, though the first 8 episodes can also be found on YouTube.
For those unfamiliar, Dungeons & Dragons is a game of storytelling and improv. It typically follows the adventures of a group of characters as they slay fearsome monsters and gather fabulous treasure. Originally based on epic stories of Greek myth and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, the game has remained popular for decades and has had a significant increase in popularity in the last few years. Actual-play shows like Critical Role (who's own DM, Matt Mercer, will be making an appearance on Dimension 20 later on this season) and the popularity of fantasy television such as Game of Thrones, has led to much larger presence than ever before. Dimension 20 takes the classic game and adds its own unique twist.
At the C2E2 booth, I had the opportunity to talk to some of the folks behind the show. Brennan Lee Mulligan is the Dungeon Master for the show/game. Coming from a background in theatre and improv , Mulligan pitched the show to College Humor hoping to present a game that finds humor in the fun of role-playing rather than tongue-in-cheek jokes. As Mulligan sees it, just about every major franchise these days has fantasy elements and what might have at one time been called 'nerd culture' is now just pop culture.
Lou Wilson plays the character Fabian Seacaster, a half-elf fighter, who happens to be the son of a wealthy adventurer. Fabian is basically the cocky jock rich kid of the group. Like Mulligan, Wilson has a theatre and improv background. However, unlike Mulligan, Wilson is much newer to gaming. One of his favorite things is how accessible role-playing games is to everyone. Other characters from the show are the rebellious rocker, the hippie girl, and an emo half-orc.
The approximately 2 hour episodes alternate between role-playing and combat which take place on the elaborate set pieces created by production designer Rick Perry. He and his team create each battle map for the show. Hear are a few more examples on display at the convention:
Dimension 20: Fantasy High sounds like a lot of fun whether you are a fan of RPGs, fantasy, or teen high school angst. Its definitely something I will be checking out.