Dimension 20 is divided into two different formats: the long-form campaigns with the Intrepid Heroes and the shorter-form “side quests” with a rotating cast. These side quests can range from four to 10 episodes with different TTRPG systems, weirder settings, and even different DMs getting the spotlight, which allows audiences to see a greater range of content from the Actual Play series.
While all the side quest seasons are excellent, some remain true standouts for the series fans. These beloved side quest seasons of Dimension 20 are great for fans of Dungeons & DragonsActual Plays that do not want the long-term time commitment of listening to full a campaign.
Coffin Run, ran by DM Jasmine Bhullar, has a fun premise: a group of Count Dracula’s nearest and dearest (Erika Ishii, Carlos Luna, Zac Oyama, and Izzy Roland) must get the nearly dead Count back to Transylvania or else they all die. The ticking clock, dire stakes, and the clear objective give the short campaign the motivation it needs to move along at a brisk pace. Bhullar is an extremely fun and engaging storyteller to watch. Roland and Oyama are the table’s standouts with their scenery-chewing characters.
However, it just never really seems to click into the high aspirations of its premise. It’s hard to tell where, exactly, the issue here is because there are a lot of things that would make this premise work. Whether it’s just not the table vibing together in an interesting way or if it needed a system other than modified D&D rules, it’s hard to say. Despite a lot of good parts, Coffin Run just doesn’t reach its hilariously lofty ambitions.
Pirates Of Leviathan
Pirates Of The Leviathan is a six-episode side quest that takes place in the same universe as the Fantasy High campaigns. It follows a group of pirates (Marisha Ray, Krystina Arielle, Carlos Luna, Aabria Iyengar, Matt Mercer, and B. David Walters) on the floating city of Leviathan. Brennan Lee Mulligan serves as the Dungeon Master for the season.
Much like Coffin Run, Pirates of Levithan never really seems to click in a very memorable way during the six-episode run. Again, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact issue. Though, perhaps, growing pains due to having the season be the first entirely filmed remotely due to COVID could probably be the main cause. However, the bright spots are definitely the PCs bringing their A-game in some hilariously fun ways and seeing the world of Spyre be fleshed out more.
Tiny Heist sees Dimension 20 meet The Adventure Zone as the McElroys come to the dome with Jessica Ross and Lily Du. Brennan Lee Mulligan leads the group as they, playing as a variety of bugs, fairies, and living toys, try to pull off a daring heist.
While the McElroys bounce off each other well, it does feel like that sort of camaraderie comes at the expense of Ross and Du, who never really quite mesh. However, Brennan Lee Mulligan weaves a tight and thrilling heist story, and the character of Rick Diggins has become beloved in the Dimension 20 fandom.
Shriek Week has Game Master Gabe Hicks lead the relatives of horror icons (Ally Beardsley, Lily Du, Dani Fernandez, and Ify Nwadiwe) through their time at the haunted Bram University. Shriek Week also uses the Mythic system, which Hicks also created.
The side question season has really great table energy with Beardsley, Du, Fernandez, and Nwadiwe playing off of each other excellently and creating a great group dynamic. Hicks is really a great storyteller with a lot of confidence and is very engaged with their players. The only drawback to the season is that it probably needed another episode or two. At four episodes Shriek Week is one of the short side quests of Dimension 20 and the length is definitely what works against it as too much happens too quickly.
Mice & Murder
Mice & Murder combines Mr. Frog & Mr. Toad with Sherlock Holmes in a mind-boggling murder mystery for the ages from Brennan Lee Mulligan. A group of anthropomorphic woodland animals (Beardsley, Grant O’Brien, Kate Marovitch, Raphael Chestang, Rekha Shankar, and Sam Reich) gather together for a party, but the party ends in murder and everyone is a suspect.
Mice & Murder strikes the perfect balance in paying homage to the comfort of Mr. Frog & Mr. Toad with the clever twists and turns of a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery. The cast connects beautifully with each other, making sure to bring their own skills and secrets to the table. Mulligan brings his A-game to the story with a mystery that will leave everyone guessing until the final reveal.
Misfits & Magic
Misfits & Magic marks a lot of firsts for Dimension 20: the first time there’s a different DM, the first time Brennan Lee Mulligan is a player, and the first time D&D 5e is not used as a system. Aabria Iyengar takes the GM’s chair as she leads Erika Ishii, Lou Wilson, Danielle Radford, and Brennan Lee Mulligan through the story using the Kids On Brooms system. A group of American exchange students head off to the UK to join Gowpenny Academy of the Arcane Arts.
Misfits & Magic has a truly excellent dynamic that largely parodies Harry Potter and mixes in a slice-of-life story under Iyengar’s watchful eye. Mulligan, Ishii, Radford, and Wilson play off each other beautifully with some of the funniest and most of-the-wall character reactions and interactions that fans still look back on fondly. In addition to the four-episode season, there has also been a holiday special and a one-shot live show set in the same universe.
Taking place in the world of Fantasy High, The Seven follows the titular group of seven young women (Ishii, Iyengar, Roland, Shankar, Becca Scott, and Persephone Valentine) about to graduate from the Aguefort Adventuring Academy and on their final adventure as students. Brennan Lee Mulligan returns as the DM and as a member of The Seven, Zelda Donovan.
Before going into The Seven, watching the first season of Fantasy High for context is recommended. The titular group were a big part of that storyline and a lot of their character background makes sense with some of that context. However, it’s not entirely necessary as a lot of the emotional fallout of being a sacrificial maiden for an evil force is explored. The table, however, is immaculate with this group (and Mulligan) exploring a coming-of-age story from angles as unique as the PCs themselves.
Escape From Bloodkeep
Escape From Bloodkeep is the first side quest season of Dimension 20 and the so-called “evil” season. In a parody of Lord of the Rings, a group of villains is left scrambling to recover a semblance of victory following their boss’ death by the good guys. The season stars Mercer, Ishii, Shankar, Nwadiwe, Amy Vorphal, and Mike Trapp with Brennan Lee Mulligan as the DM.
While Escape From Bloodkeep focuses exclusively on villains, it’s a bizarrely heartwarming and wholesome season of the group becoming a found family and banding together in the face of uncertain odds. Part of the appeal of the season is Mulligan’s exasperation with how supportive and kind the villains are to each other along with the genuinely welcoming atmosphere that they make to fellow employees, which ruined his original plan of a PvP between the group.
A Court Of Fey And Flowers
Bridgerton meets Dungeons & Dragons in the glorious A Court Of Fey & Flowers, which follows a group of high-ranking Fae at the annual Bloom in the Feywild. Led by Aabria Iyengar and combining D&D with the Good Society system, A Court of Fey & Flowers is one of the most phenomenal Actual Plays of all time.
With a cast that includes Wilson, Mulligan, Surena Marie, Emily Axford, Omar Najam, and Oscar Montoya, A Court of Fey & Flowers brings forth some of the most tender, romantic, and lovely storytelling that has ever come from Dimension 20. While the whole cast is absolutely excellent and work well off each other, the slow burn and tender romance between Montoya and Mulligan’s is really where the series shines. Iyengar, herself, deserves all the credit for DM-ing a season that feels like a Jane Austen novel that the author never wrote.
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