We’ve all been binge-watching these days, so why should your characters miss out? Here are five entertainments any adventurer can binge-watch.
Art imitates life, games are art, and life right now is a whole lot of binge-watching. As we all meld into our couches and let the days pass by in a grey haze while plots and characters unfold around us. Now your character can get sucked into the world of their favorite show, too.
Here are five great D&D shows your characters can watch (and that will also justify that art history class you slept through Sophomore year).
Theatre is an artform that’s been around since at least the 5th Century BC. So there’s no excuse for it not to be in your fantasy pastiche that’s basically somewhere between the middle ages and the renaissance.
And with many plays running for multiple hours (Hamlet goes for four hours), it’s imminently binge-able. Of course you’ll cover it in the span of a session. But it’s a great plot device to either convey information about the world, reveal backstory about the world, or better still to “chronicle” the player’s adventures.
Heck you can even have recurring characters. John Falstaff was a “crowd favorite” from Henry IV parts 1 & 2, and people would bug Shakespeare to know when he would show up again. So if you want to lean into that sort of thing, the theatre is a great place for it.
A Puppet Show
Punch & Judy are about as medieval as it gets. If you want to have shorthand for “this is old timey times” you either have to have a jester of some kind, dressed in a floppy hat with bells, or better still, have a Punch & Judy show.
They’re kind of on the later end for “D&D” stuff, but nobody cares about historical accuracy in a game about dragons. Culturally, there’s something both very old-timey and British about this. Probably because it was invented in England.
Anyway, all you have to do is draw on typical commedia dell’arte plots and you’re good. And if you think you can’t do that, just rip off basically any Looney Tunes episode and you’re golden.
Do a new one every time the characters are walking back through town and you’ll set up a great visual motif for your favorite city.
Yeah yeah Bards are a thing, sure. But in D&D, Bards are more known for rolling to seduce everything that moves (and probably some stuff that doesn’t).
But just look at those musicians up there. That’s something you could watch for hours on end. They’ll play songs, probably say a lot of hey-nonny’s and ho’s, and there you go!
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Plays are fine, puppet shows are child’s play, but like, the Opera is a place for art.
It’s where you combine all the artistic disciplines, music, theatre, ballet, singing– it’s a real gezamtkunstwerk situation. If you want stories about gods and murders and sturms to overwhelm the drang that makes it the fitting ground for your epic stories to unfold.
For an added bonus, take a page out of the best Final Fantasy game. Have the players need to fill in for an opera singer in an emergency, culminating with a fight against a giant octopus.
A Magic Show That’s Extraordinarily Literal
D&D is a world of fantasy and magic. Why not have a bunch of fantasy “magicians” who use actual magic and illusions to do the same thing that stage magicians do in our world? Your players will get a kick out of the ol’ disappearing tiger trick actually making the tiger disappear.
Of course, it’s hard to binge watch magic performances like that, but why not take magic a step further? Why not have entire shows broadcast through telepathic bond connections, or broadcast via scrying networks?
“ScryFlix” could be a thing in your world.