Fans of CollegeHumor will have no doubt heard that they’ve released a streaming service which airs premium content. We have the return of cast favourites such as Jake and Amir alongside favourite shows such as Precious Plum. But amongst this fresh dose of nostalgia is some fresh new content, ranging from podcasts to comics and several different shows.
Within the first few months of Dropout’s release, I think its safe to say that the most popular show they’ve produced is without a shadow of a doubt Dimension 20: Fantasy High.
The series is essentially a twelve hour recording of one Dungeons and Dragon session cut up into about a dozen different episodes- each of which lasting about two hours. For those of you who have played the game before, the idea of playing for like twelve or sixteen hours isn’t as overwhelming as it would be to new people.
For those of you not familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, its a table top fantasy and strategy game which can involve up to six players. Each player has a character who they play in the game. Characters vary on abilities, ethnicity, species, personality- you name it. For example a character who is quite big and strong might have a lot of health points meaning they can take more damage in a fight, but they may have a lower intelligence points because of it. Likewise a character who is hyper intelligent and good at magic can be very useful in providing medicine and long distance attacks to opponents, but they may have lower health points as they are significantly smaller and less athletic.
It can be a pretty confusing game. There’s a lot of dice, a lot of rules- it can be a pretty intimidating experience for new players. Which is why I think this series is pretty good at actually introducing new people to the game.
I’ve played D&D a few times, mostly as a player and one time as a DM- which was disastrous. I didn’t know the rules that much and I was trying to force the players to follow this storyline that I concocted in my head which is just the worst thing you can do in this kind of storytelling format.
The way D&D plays is really fucking weird. Like you got to be prepared for some really shitty roles and decisions. In life you’re restricted with how you interact with people because A) you can get hurt and B) you can damage your social reputation. So in D&D, all those social restrictions are taken away and you can practically do and day whatever you want.
You want to randomly punch people in the face? Go for it! You want to go up to people and try to seduce them? Fuck it, worth a shot!
I remember the first time I played D&D, it was your typical medieval setting. We were your typical ragtag team of adventurers, I believe I was this wizard or something. Anyway, at one point in the game we captured this goblin that was a part of this plot to kill us. The Goblin’s name was Snarky, and we took it to an inn at this town we stopped in.
We’d planned on spending the night here to investigate the town the following day. I had this really funny idea that I wanted to pass off to the DM. I says to him; “I’m gonna try and seduce Snarky” to which he smirked and said “Ok, roll D20” which is this twenty sided dice. If you get a low number, your request is almost definitely denied. If yo get a high number, then it’s a success.
I got a nat twenty- the highest possible number you could possibly receive. Meaning, I could do whatever I want.
Right there and then, the entire table erupted in a fit of laughter as the DM described my character, this dangly ass wizard, going up to this Goblin- a Smeagle Wannabe- and seducing him. Then bringing him up to my room to which we spent the night.
The following day we went out to canvass for this bad motherfucker we were tasked to take down. When we returned to the inn it was up in flames, us stuck inside we could see out the window as the villain and his men stood outside. Snarky was there, being held by two guards. The villain took out his knife and cut open his throat.
That moment right there the game changed for us. It stopped being a joke, it stopped being a medium for us to do what we want carelessly. Our actions had consequences, characters we knew very little but had a connection too died- and we wanted to cuk up the bastard who done it.
That’s what this game is about, it’s an emotional roller coaster.
Which brings us back to Dimension 20, which has this table top game but asks the question “what if we had the budget of a small TV show?” so you get this pretty dope looking spherical set in which the panels change colour depending whether or not you’re entering battle. You also get these dope little figurines and specially designed set pieces- all of which look cool. But none of it would matter if the story was not phenomenal.
I’m not gonna sugar code it, this series had one of the most emotionally invigorating story-lines and satisfying character arcs I’ve ever seen in any medium of entertainment- and three quarters of the time this storyline was made up right on the spot.
Brennan Lee Mulligan and the rest of the cast are phenomenal improv actors, meaning they can react to changes in a story instantly and can give a character a surprising amount of depth in little to no time. In this tumultuous game, a side character can become the villain, a bully can become a friend, the dead can come back to life- all on the roll of a dice.
The players get really into their characters which really adds to the interactions between the characters that Brennan marvellously impersonates. Honestly the entire goddamn cast is phenomenal. But man, Brennan…that dude is going places.
The setting adds a twist to your typical fantasy elements. It takes place at a high school, all the players are first year students, all of whom join this adventuring group out of happenstance, each of whom bursting with their own unique and loveable personalities. It’s like if the Breakfast Club met Stranger Things and then had a baby with Lord of the Rings.
I could go on about how much I love these characters, how emotionally satisfying this series can be, how talented the cast is- but all these little moments are best suited for fresh eyes. And while I want to talk about the shit that went down so much…I don’t want to spoil it.
Honest to god this series is the best thing that CollegeHumor has produced in years. I’m so happy its been greenlit for a second season and I cannot wait till we get another session this summer. But above all else, it really makes me want to get back into playing D&D again- maybe even give another shot at DM, which is really what Brennan and the rest of the cast really wanted out of it. To promote the game.
Dimension 20 is phenomenal. If you have the time, I recommend you check out the first episode. Give it a taste, if it’s up your alley then subscribe to Dropout for more. Dungeons and Dragons is a really great way to hang out with friends and I hope the series inspires more people to play. Until then, there’s always more Dimension 20 around the corner.