I really enjoyed these two interviews on the D&D Beyond channel with actors Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood, Daredevil) and Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Justice League, Magic Mike), both D&D fanatics. In Deborah’s interview, she talks about how she got started in the hobby, what kind of characters she likes to play (fighters, surprisingly enough), and her thoughts on the current D&D renaissance.
One interesting observation she makes about RPGs as a unique form of acting/theater: When a party saves a character or survives an ordeal, or otherwise experiences a dramatic moment, there’s often an intense, visceral response from the players that she says she doesn’t experience in any other type of acting. As an actor, she longs to evoke this kind of response in people, so that’s one of the things that draws her to D&D.
In the Joe Manganiello video, we get a tour of his E. Gary Gygax Memorial Dungeon (think: MTV Cribs for nerds) and hear about how he got back into the hobby after a long hiatus and how he went about converting his basement wine cellar into this enviable game space. The large dragon, beholder, and mind flayer sculptures are very cool. Joe also talks about the impact that D&D had on him as a kid and how he learned foundational skills in storytelling, world-building, and acting that he later employed as a professional actor. D&D was his gateway drug.
In mid-December of 2018, Geek & Sundry announced a new D&D-themed show, coming in February, starring Deborah Woll. Called Relix and Rarities, not a lot is known about the series except it appears to take several steps further toward theater over theater of the mind, with changing sets, costumes(?), and an episodic storyline driven by Dungeon Master Woll and the indeterminacies of dice rolls.
The whole area of roleplaying game entertainment is still in its infancy and highly experimental. Shows and streams are trying out all sorts of ways of presenting gameplay, from the Hollywood Squares-style of Critical Role and countless other YouTube and Twitch shows, to the animated game sessions of HarmonQuest, to the hybrid style of Dimension 20’s highly-recommended Fantasy High. It will be interesting to see what Woll and G&S have in store.