Title: Dungeons and Drag Queens
DM: Brennan Lee Mulligan (Dimension 20)
Players: Monét X Change (as Troyánn), Alaska Thunderfuck (as Princess), Bob the Drag Queen (as Gertrude), and Jujubee (as Twyla)
Streaming Service: Dropout ($5.99 / month)
Dimension 20, Dropout’s tabletop RPG comedy show, just finished airing its latest season — Dungeons and Drag Queens. These four 2+ hour episodes had Brennan Lee Mulligan acting once more as dungeon master (DM); however, while the majority of seasons follow veteran tabletop RPG players through a variety of adventures, this season saw four relatively inexperienced players take on Brennan’s Dungeons & Dragons 5e homebrew.
In this teaching-heavy season, Dungeons and Drag Queens follows four travelers uniting on their way to the Underworld as they each seek to solve their own problems and discover secrets.
Monét X Change plays Troyánn, a level 5 fighter (subclass: arcane archer) half-mer, half-elf charged with collecting seven souls each season to deliver to the Goddess of Death in order to prevent the fall of her mother’s kingdom of Everdeep. She holds her mother in poor regard, but Troyánn thinks fondly of her father who is dead.
Monét jumped on the drama. Her dedication to Troyánn’s backstory, building it out even further without hesitation. As the only character who has previously entered the Underworld, Troyánn acts in part as guide while also having the quest which becomes the center of a lot of the chaos which moves the plot forward.
Alaska Thunderfuck plays Princess Foehammer, a level 5 orc barbarian berserker whose entire family died in a mysterious fire. She is determined to find out what happened, take revenge, and, if possible, bring her family back. Though a woman of few words, her actions and style speak for themselves.
Alaska’s dry delivery stole the show whenever she spoke. Throughout the whole campaign, Princess proved to be a reliable tank while Alaska provided a voice of reason, quickly picking up on the nuances of Brennan’s DMing style. While all four queens get into character by the end, Alaska jumps right in, going full orc without any hesitation from her first scene.
Bob the Drag Queen plays Gertrude, a level 5 tiefling sorcerer (subclass: shadow magic) cursed with immortality. Exhausted by her life of being hunted and ostracized, Gertrude seeks an end to her seemingly never ending life.
Bob the Drag Queen plays Gertrude with a quiet dignity, bringing life to a character exhausted by life and unable to find peace. From the beginning, Gertrude is helpful, putting herself at risk and drawing unwanted attention to aid others. Bob is a master of description. Eagerly taking up the narrative, she meets Brennan’s creative energy with vigor.
Jujubee plays Twyla, a level 5 fairy ranger gloomstalker who is the last of her people. With the last seed of the All Blossom, Twyla seeks both a place to plant it to start anew as well as revenge for the slaughter of her people.
Jujubee was an agent of chaos. Whether comedy or tragedy, she threw her all into the game. She also never hesitated to praise Brennan and the Dimension 20 art team, so while Twyla causes a number of problems, she comes into her own by episode four, and the creation of Buddy Bear, a cat tree she summons, truly embodied the ability of Dungeons & Dragons to give players a safe place to deal with emotions which may be difficult away from the table.
All four of our Questing Queens are quip masters. Despite their lack of experience, their quick thinking and witty comebacks were immediately apparent. All four players were comfortable enough to tease each other, celebrating as they improved throughout the campaign. Their willingness to learn paired with Brennan’s patience enabled them to quickly follow the steep learning curve of such an intense campaign.
The first episode has a few exciting interactions, but it was an instruction heavy episode as the four queens became used to the nuances of the game, bouncing between actual gameplay and joking back and forth as they enjoyed Brennan’s mastering of pop culture references and various voices. While the back and forth proves entertaining, it is a far slower start with more pauses than most, making it somewhat difficult to get into despite some very strong moments during the character introductions and their first combat.
Heading into the second episode, we meet Princess’s uncle, Kerwyn Foehammer, on the wrong side of the Underworld. His emotional reunion with Princess had the table enthralled. Brennan plays his sincerity, portraying a sweet and dedicated uncle that is easy to believe. Kerwyn also works as a way for Brennan to advise them in-world.
After approaching Nyruth, a demon shopkeeper, about the soul, Twyla gets the group into trouble, which a number of bad rolls makes worse. Though they do manage to make Troyánn’s exchange in time to give Shalila of the Half Mask the seven souls for the Goddess of Death, Thanara, their solution only offers more problems.
The episode ends with the group learning Troyánn’s mother has lied. Her father was the previous assassin of Everdeep, but the deal wasn’t to preserve Everdeep. The Queen of Everdeep promised seven souls for every season to elongate her own life, but that isn’t the only secret revealed.
A risky return to Nyruth proves high risks provide high rewards. Gertrude manages to convince him to help them, earning transport to Thanara’s keep. Along the way, Twyla finds the wisps are all that remains of her fairy kin, who join her in their journey which nearly ends due to a dreadful sandstorm. Reaching the keep, the fierce foursome separate to get the keys needed to see Thanara only to discover that they aren’t the first to reach the keep, and they aren’t the only ones who wish to request a boon from the Goddess of Death.
Though the third episode starts slowly, the Questing Queens truly hit their stride, embodying their characters and throwing themselves into the RPG headspace. At the end of this episode, the character design between Thanara and Gertrude did have some suspecting the tiefling would discover Thanara was one of her parents in the fourth episode, and while this discussion never came to pass, a further explanation of why Thanara gave Gertrude her cursed blessing of immortality would definitely be something watchers would love to see if there ends up being a second season for these characters.
In the fourth and final episode, the Questing Queens face off against their various enemies, working together to take down the people who had hunted them. Brennan reviewed their weapons, helping to prepare them in the first ten minutes before having them roll for initiative with the new sets of dice which the art department had gifted each player.
The Questing Queens’ creative strategies showed how far they came over this quick campaign. They worked together wonderfully, but while the 4v4 battle took up the majority of the episode, it was the ending negotiation with Thanara that truly demonstrated what made this foursome special.
Dimension 20 has a fantastic art department. From the set’s color design to the table and costuming, this season was on point. Brennan, who is usually more casually dressed, took a note from Aabria Iyengar’s book and performed in character. In interviews and during Adventuring Party episodes that have the players and DM discussing what happened in the campaign, the DM credits Bob the Drag Queen with inspiring his look.
Unlike other seasons of Dimension 20 which have multiple sets during combat, the only interactive map came in the final episode despite earlier combat. The beauty shots that Dimension 20 takes of Thanara’s throne room combat set were gorgeous as always. From the glowing crystals to the chasms and piles of skulls, the set continued the cool colored trend which the lights have maintained for the majority of the series.
It is always fantastic to see players appreciating the great work of the Dimension 20 art department, and the emotions which arose when Jujubee saw Buddy Bear was palpable even before she shared her recent loss in the final Adventuring Party.
Final Score (3 1/2 out of 5 Stars)
As always, the dice told a story, and of all the characters, Troyánn came out of the gate on double Nat 1s. Both Twyla and Gertrude had enemies on their tails, but the mer assassin faced immediate trouble. Troyánn’s magical misstep also placed the queens into unnecessary combat upon entering the Underworld. However, Monét adapted, rolling with the punches and quickly offering options for a second season of Dungeons and Drag Queens with determined enthusiasm.
Art was, as always, on point. Brennan switched smoothly. In other Dropout shows, Brennan discussed his prior work as a D&D camp counselor, and he undoubtedly drew upon that during this season more than in previous ones.
On the downside, there were numerous pauses and often side conversations, not just teaching moments, messed with the pacing. Based on the series length, there’s a chance this was left in as they needed more content to round out the episodes. Undoubtedly, in a second series, the pacing issues which brought this one down from four stars to three would be fixed.
All in all, Dimension 20 once more underlines the inclusivity and open arm acceptance which is a cornerstone of tabletop RPGs. The wonderful Questing Queens embraced their sisterhood, supporting one another both in learning and in character. They showed there is always room at the table.
Feature Image: Dimension 20
The Boss Rush Podcast: The Flagship Podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network
The Boss Rush Podcast – The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, Stephanie, LeRon, and their friends from around the internet come together with other creators, developers, and industry veterans to talk about games they’ve been playing, discuss video game and entertainment based topics, and answer questions solicited on social media and the community Discord.
New episodes of the Boss Rush Podcast release every Monday morning on YouTube and all major podcast applications like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Patreon supporters gain one week early access.