The dark, rainy streets. The shadowy alleys. Women looking at the middle distance through a PI’s grimy office window. A nightclub of questionable legality where all the big players happen to patronize. Synaptic highways, pia mater, and personified mental functions. Dropout’s Dimension 20: Mentopolis has it all in this mash-up of Osmosis Jones/Inside Out and noir film. And it’s a hit right out of the gate!
Series creator Brennan Lee Mulligan (he/him) is the game master for this season, which uses the Kids on Bikes tabletopsystem modified to fit a film noir theme. He is joined by a table of players both new and returning to the Dome. Series regular Siobhan Thompson (she/her) plays Imelda Pulse, a femme fatale-type. Returning player Danielle Radford (she/her; Misfits & Magic) plays reporter Anastasia Tension, while Um, Actually host Mike Trapp (he/him; Escape from the Bloodkeep) plays private eye Hunch Curio. New players include Alex Song-Xia (they/them) who plays the newsie Conrad Schintz, Dungeons & Daddies’s Freddie Wong (he/him) playing nightclub owner Dan Fucks, and Crash Course’s Hank Green (he/him) playing The Fix. Set in the mind of “the big guy”, this six-episode series follows this group of mental functions as they begin to uncover a plot that might lead their body down a path he might regret.
The initial episode of Mentopolis is a real delight. Set in the grimy underworld one expects from a film noir setting, this campaign is just chock full of tropes. Every classic, over-the-top noir scene you can think of is playing out inside the city/brain in the best way. Noir fits so well into the kinds of genre-specific work that we’ve come to love in past seasons of Dimension 20, and the exaggerated personalities and dramatic monologues play so well into a tabletop format. It is clear how much of a pleasure it is going to be to enjoy every hardboiled minute of this six-episode side adventure. The art direction of this season, as well, is just incredible. Rick Perry, Carlos Luna, and the production and art teams do a fantastic job overlaying noir aesthetic on the miniature set. Of particular note is the excellent lighting decisions and the inclusion of a track system that delivers moxie tokens to the players when they fail a roll.
There are a lot of really great moments in this first episode from every person at this table, but Song-Xia’s Conrad and Green’s The Fix are particular standouts. Conrad’s demure, soft-spoken newsie who rearranges the pages of the newspaper hoping that readers will start with what he considers the most important story breaks the mold in such a fun and unexpected way. And Green’s The Fix is a pleasant surprise for the ease at which he is brought to the table. In particular, I personally was convinced that newly-crowned Internet’s Favorite Bisexual Hank Green was going to be flustered interacting with Mulligan (which I mean very much in a positive way). What a delight it is to see, however, that Green has unexpectedly turned the tables and flustered Mulligan with a perfectly delivered monologue on snake dicks.
I will admit I am biased about this season. I’m a huge fan of Dimension 20, Brennan Lee Mulligan, Dropout content in general, and Hank Green, so this season was basically made for me personally. That being said, I do think that this might be a perfect first episode of what promises to be a great campaign. I can’t wait to see what noir trope the Prefrontal PIs are going to end up in next!
The first episode of Dimension 20: Mentopolis and the corresponding post-episode chat show Adventuring Party, as well as all episodes of previous seasons of Dimension 20, Adventuring Party, and Adventuring Academy, are available on Dropout. Some seasons and select episodes are also available on YouTube. Materials for Hunters Entertainment’s Kids on Bikes and other tabletop roleplaying games can be found at your local independent bookstore, game store, and many comic book stores, as well as on the Hunters Entertainment website and digitally from sites like Roll20.