Sometimes a TV show or movie feels like a D&D adventure, whether it’s the group, or the random DM tormenting characters with hijinks.
With at least one D&D movie in our past that we’d rather forget and another hopefully good one in our future, let’s take a look at TV shows and movies that feel a lot like Dungeons and Dragons. without actually being Dungeons and Dragons.
Between over-the-top characters, a setting that slowly comes together as more insidious and sad than you initially thought, and a collection of very distinct side characters (NPCs) Adventure Time is the post-apocalyptic game I tried to run and couldn’t quite nail. Finn wants to be a fighter but likely dual classes as perhaps a bard while Jake is some kind of rogue, and sometimes other friends can join for sessions, but not always and that’s okay because usually adventures are written for two players. Even the recent episodes returning HBOMax for an hour at a time remind us of finishing a game, missing the characters, and coming back for a few one-shots.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy feels like when your five closest friends absolutely refuse to take the gave you’ve written seriously. The stakes are high, the plot and adventure are laid out in front of them, and you have a meaningful conclusion all planned out for when they finally get there… but one player refuses to say more than three worlds and another risks the entire endgame on a charisma roll. Because why not? And if we’re being honest, isn’t the most universal DM feeling when all of your players refuse to play your adventure the way you’ve planned it and win anyway?
The Dragon Prince
A nice mixture of magic and non-magic characters, a variety of classes, unique animals, elves, and it even has Dragon in the title; The Dragon Prince is the campaign we all wish we could play if only we’d take the game and our characters a little more seriously. But really not much more seriously, the main cast of characters are kids and teens who find a way to be goofy through even the most intense situations. Most D&D-like however, is the gorgeous world building and use of the secondary characters to push the main cast forward through hardships and puzzles.
Monty Python And The Holy Grail
They split the party, they wander into meaningless side quests that mean nothing to the plot, they have a difficult time fighting a bunny with sharp teeth, and then it ends suddenly with no real conclusion as if the DM said, “I give up, we’ll finish the adventure next week. Or not. Maybe we just won’t.” And it all takes place in generally medieval-esque times. The shrubbery was a riddle, the black knight was an encounter that was supposed to be difficult if only the player didn’t keep rolling nat20s, and Brave Sir Robin was adlibbed by the DM in a failed effort to
scare encourage the player in question to take the game seriously for a moment.
What’s your favorite show or movie that has a certain D&D feeling without actually being D&D? Do you get the tabletop RPG vibe from any of your favorite shows or movies? Which is your favorite and how does it encapsulate the essence of Dungeons and Dragons without being Dungeons and Dragons? Let us know in the comments!