Dungeons and Drag Queens’ is a game that’s reshaping queer nerd culture in Dimension 20.

Dungeons and Drag Queens' is a game that's reshaping queer nerd culture in Dimension 20.

Dungeons and Drag Queens: Where Nerds and Queens Unite

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Dropout, the genius behind Dimension 20, did it again! They’ve treated us to another dose of fabulous queer content with their latest creation, Dungeons and Drag Queens. This miniseries is a beautiful fusion of nerdy tabletop role-playing and the vivacious world of drag, bringing together both geeks and the LGBTQ+ community in a glorious celebration.

But hold on, this is no ordinary celebrity D&D stream. Dimension 20 stays true to its unique style of storytelling, where everyone at the table fully immerses themselves in the adventure, even if they haven’t quite grasped all the rules yet. The result? An absolute triumph, showcasing the essence of Dropout, the art of drag, and the sheer magic of experiencing your first tabletop role-playing game.

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Fans of indie streamer Dropout are singing its praises for its inclusive programming, and Dungeons and Drag Queens takes inclusivity to a whole new level. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that many of my queer friends who play D&D are huge fans of Dimension 20. On the other hand, most of my LGBTQ+ buddies who don’t engage in tabletop role-playing games have always felt like it wasn’t a space for them. Well, up until fairly recently, they were unfortunately right.

Throughout its history, D&D was far from being a safe haven for queer and marginalized communities. The early guidebooks were written as if they were exclusively catering to white, cisgender, heterosexual males. The main objectives of the game were centered around looting ancient ruins and battling intrinsically evil races. However, in the past decade, the rise of actual play shows like Dimension 20 and Critical Role have sparked a movement to decolonize the D&D canon (with varying degrees of success). Nonetheless, marginalized individuals have always found solace and community within tabletop role-playing games, despite an actively oppressive system. And boy, do we have centuries of experience in that!

Now, in a world where the LGBTQ+ community is constantly under attack, Dungeons and Drag Queens is a shining beacon of queer, geeky bliss. The four legendary queens, Jujubee, Monét X Change, Alaska Thunderfuck, and Bob The Drag Queen, go on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the miniseries that resonates deeply with anyone who has embarked on their first ever D&D campaign. From the initial awkwardness of role-playing to the chaos of making spontaneous choices, they traverse the realms of emotion, ultimately surrendering themselves to the game and spinning a tale with their beloved companions.

“I know this isn’t real…” Jujubee beautifully expressed during a talk-back show called Adventuring Party. “We’re just having a good time in this little made-up board game, but there’s some real-life energy that goes into a game like this. We’ve all been lost, and we’re going through this together to fix something. And I think anybody can relate to that.”

For those queer individuals who have never felt safe delving into the intricate world of D&D, Dungeons and Drag Queens provides a captivating entry point. By watching these four episodes, along with a few installments of Adventuring Party, one can acquire a basic understanding of the game. The Dungeon Master, Brennan Lee Mulligan, assumes zero prior knowledge from the queens, offering a masterclass on DMing for new players. With patience, humor, and a charmingly energetic approach, Mulligan guides his players through their first D&D experience, providing explanation for each mechanic. Through his “yes, and” style of play, he encourages his players to fully commit to their characters, reminding new viewers that making bold choices can make the game all the more enjoyable, even if they haven’t quite mastered the numbers or dice rolling.

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Conversely, seasoned TTRPG players who have little exposure to the enchanting world of drag get to witness firsthand the immense talent, charisma, and humor of these four queens. It’s a rarefied space where veterans can truly comprehend and empathize with the incredible performances. Once they grasp the game mechanics, all four queens effortlessly find their rhythm in this new medium, delivering awe-inspiring performances that leave us in absolute awe.

Dungeons and Drag Queens effortlessly merges two seemingly unrelated art forms: drag and tabletop role-playing. Surprisingly, it becomes evident that these two vibrant communities share more similarities than one would expect. Both require an exchange of passionate energy from everyone in the room. Both have unfortunately faced misguided moral panic. And both involve immersing oneself in a new identity for a collective and transformative experience. On multiple occasions, Mulligan has likened playing D&D to portraying a version of oneself through the lens of stained glass. As he eloquently states on Adventuring Party, “Isn’t that what stories are all about? A place to feel safe… If you want catharsis, if you want to feel sorrow, if you want to feel rage, if you want to identify with somebody, come to this story.”

As Dimension 20 demonstrates not only in this season but in all their programming, D&D should be a sanctuary where you can fully embrace who you are. As a trans Dungeon Master and player, I know firsthand how embodying characters within the game allowed me to explore different aspects of my gender in a safe and trusted space. And that’s exactly the kind of exploration Dungeons and Drag Queens welcomes with open arms. I can easily envision the ripple effect of this season throughout queer culture, inspiring a wave of individuals to embark on their own adventures, explore diverse worlds, and create spaces where we not only belong but are wholeheartedly celebrated.

So mark your calendars! The first episode of Dungeons and Drag Queens premiered on June 28 and can be freely viewed on Dimension 20’s YouTube channel. The grand finale, episode four, will be exclusively available on Dropout.tv starting July 19. Get ready to embark on a journey of epic proportions, where queens reign supreme and nerds unite!

Source: Nerdist