Dimension 20: Coffin Run, Episode 1, “Down for the Count”, as well as the accompanying Adventuring Party aftershow, are available to stream now on Dropout.
I firstly want to thank the creative team at Dropout for choosing the queerest possible campaign hook for the new season of their Dungeons & Dragons actual play series, Dimension 20. To give us vampires, arguably the queerest fantasy characters, in the middle of pride month? Inspired. To give us this cast of players and characters? It’s basically queer Christmas! Episode 1 of this six-episode mini-season, “Down for the Count”, sees Game Master Jasmine Bhullar leading Dracula’s entourage as they try to return their master to his home in Transylvania, lest they die. Zac Oyama’s Squing (a warlock) and Erika Ishii’s May Wong (a sorcerer), both members of Dracula’s vampire family, are joined by loyal humans artificer Aleksandr Astrovsky (Izzy Roland) and rogue Wetzel (Carlos Luna) on their perilous journey.
The cast of Dimension 20: Coffin Run / Dropout
This has to be the most chaotic table that Dimension 20 has pulled together, and that’s saying something for this show that always relies on a high base level of chaos. All four players have created the most insane characters full of just absolutely unhinged roleplaying. Oyama’s Squing, the first vampire created by Dracula thousands(?) of years ago, was only a child when he was turned and sees “the Dark Lord” as his father; likewise, Ishii’s May is Dracula’s vampire wife, but is a former actress from New York City. The humans are just as wild, with Luna’s Wetzel finding his flayed face constantly falling apart despite his incredibly constant over-optimism. Finally, Roland’s Aleksandr, a Jewish doctor who fled the pogroms in “the old country”, is a scene-stealer who is the highlight of the first episode; Aleksandr’s obsessive fascination with vampire anatomy and magical mechanics and inability to lower his level of excitement or the volume of his voice below an 11-out-of-10 leads to incredible roleplaying moments from Roland that is among some of the greatest character work across all campaigns of this series.
Bhullar’s work as Game Master is immaculate, creating a diverse cast of non-player characters that have shined through even with her player’s potentially overwhelming characters. Bhullar is one of the star Game Masters of the era of actual play campaigns and deserves her spot alongside Matt Mercer, Aabryia Iyengar, Brian Murphy, and Dimension 20 creator Brennan Lee Mulligan. Her GM style helps keep the story flowing while staying on rules, but without those rules impeding the story. Another exciting development is the return of model sets for the first time since the start of remote filming due to the pandemic. This season’s models, created by long-time collaborator and star craftsman Rick Perry, use a black-focused color scheme and are absolutely gorgeous. Featuring both exterior and interior spaces, these models allow for realistic and dynamic combat that is engaging and the dream of any player of tabletop roleplaying games.
The first episode of Dimension 20: Coffin Run is a massive success. Never before has the first session of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign hooked me so immediately and effectively. I already care so deeply for these characters, and I cannot wait to see where the story goes. The only downside is that I have to wait a whole week until the next episode.