You need more D&D gear, but where will you get it? Your local game store? Etsy? Absolutely not, you’re heading to Hot Topic. Or maybe you’re not.
Dungeons and Dragons is officially mainstream everyone. No more are the days of being afraid everyone will think you’re a loser. Nerd is chic. Nerd is in. Nerd is a very lucrative part of the zeitgeist.
I’d love to have a strong opinion on this, but I’m very torn. On one hand, it was sort of fun to be into things that most people weren’t. It made finding my group easy and felt like we were members of an exclusive little club. But on the other, an elevated popularity of my interests means more people to engage with, more fanart and fiction, and more movies, and merch. Which leads us to Hot Topic where you can now find D&D and Critical Role branded swag right next to the cute Disney backpacks and the Manic Panic hairdye. And honestly, some of it’s not bad.
Some of it… isn’t great.
What exactly makes these D&D necklaces, you may be wondering. Well, if you squint you’ll notice the itty bitty D20s and the Dungeons and Dragons ampersand. The set with the gems claims they represent air, earth, fire and water elemental, but it looks a little left over from The Last Airbender or most of a halfhearted infinity gauntlet reference to me. The necklaces are cute but a little cheesy.
These aren’t bad. They’re simple, classic, and big enough to be recognizable, but they’re generic. The black and gray tones are very subdued compared to more vibrant offerings I’ve seen with much the same general designs. And yes, I know they’re in Hot Topic, where everything is in shades of black and gray. Only that’s not the case not anymore; it’s pretty normal to expect splashes of color from the formerly mall goth store.
These I actually like a lot. If you tuned in for the stream this week you heard me mention that I’m not really a Critical Role fan, but even so I think these shirts are great. They’re simple, showing off the characters and The Mighty Nein’s logo respectively, plus there are a few other offerings with the show’s logo and different illustrations of characters. Were I a critter, I’d probably grab at least one of these.
I make fun of Hot Topic a lot, but if I’m being honest their ability to follow along with nerdy pop culture as it evolves has resulted in me making purchases there long after my oversized-pants-wearing teenage years ended. They have a Sailor Jupiter swimsuit for goodness sake, I’m not not going to buy that! But I’m also definitely going to make fun of myself as I run my debit card. Will I purchase any of their D&D offerings? Probably not. After all, I dedicated an entire post to the smaller shops putting out a much wider variety of products just last week. But is it sort of fun to watch the culture evolve into and out of popularity. Oh yes.
What do you think? Did you purchase any D&D or CR apparel from Hot Topic? Do you long for the days when the store had a bit more of a edge to it? Let us know in the comments!