In the hype of larger productions and bigger fanbases, it’s all too easy to completely miss out on less spoken of productions that are equally as good. With this seeming boom of Dungeons & Dragons webshows, it perhaps comes as no surprise that they suffer from the same thing—it’s definitely easy to fall in the shadow of amazing shows like Critical Role and The Adventure Zone. So today I bring you a beginner-friendly D&D webshow starring some of my favorite YouTubers and led by Wizards of the Coast’s own DM extraordinaire, Chris Perkins. Friends, readers, dim the lights, because it’s time for some Dice, Camera, Action.
If you’ve heard that Dungeons & Dragons can be a brutal game, Dice, Camera, Action is the webshow that really pushes its players to desperation without actually murdering them. It’s a tension that I find different from many other D&D shows because it really lends itself to helping the player characters join forces in a natural, but very quick manner. The show stars the Waffle Crew, an intrepid band of adventurers comprised of the human bard Paultin played by YouTube geeky media crooner Nathan Sharp; the human paladin Evelyn played by Twitch programming manager Anna Prosser Robinson (who also co-founded Missclicks, a group that uplifts women in the geek community); Diath, a human rogue played by gaming YouTuber Jared Knabenbauer; and Strix, the tiefling sorcerer played by Holly Conrad. This merry band of misfits ended up together after finding themselves stuck in the vampire-infested lands of Barovia on a mission to kill the vampire lord, Strahd, drawing inspiration from The Curse of Strahd campaign guide. Though due to real life getting in the way I haven’t been able to start the show’s second season, Perkins seems to be putting them through the Storm King’s Thunder campaign, so if giants are your thing, get excited!
Throughout the first season, it was such a joy to watch the Waffle Crew grow closer in their own ways. As a paladin of the god of light Lathander, Evelyn is quick to grow attached to her party-mates, but not everyone is so ready to open their hearts. Diath is just trying to make it through their adventure with a more realistic head on his shoulders while Paultin tries to drown out everything he isn’t cool with—which is a lot of things—with alcohol. Strix is a nervous wreck of a tiefling and does everything in her power to avoid getting close to anyone: it’s enough to make you wonder how they’ve stuck together this long. But as Paultin slowly begins to open up to the others, and both Diath and Strix form a sort of sibling-like relationship which puts them both in peril at some points, you stop wondering why they’re together and start wondering how much closer the peril they’re put through on a daily basis will bring them. From where I left off in the series they’re still a couple steps away from turning into the found family I know they can be, but that just leaves room for them to grow! I look forward to seeing how the group adapts to their new surroundings and their interpersonal struggles. (Especially dealing with the friend Paultin may or may not have killed in the first season.)
What makes this show especially good for beginners is that some of the players themselves are beginners. As such, viewers who want to get into playing but don’t really know how to start are able to watch these four go through how to attack, how to make certain skill checks, and so forth in a natural setting. Also, by using the campaign guides I think it takes a little bit of pressure off some DMs-to-be. It’s always fascinating watching DMs weave their own worlds, create their own cultures, and even make their own soundtracks and other extras, but to new DMs such things can be really intimidating and off-putting. It’s nice to have a game that shows that the pre-written campaign guides can produce games that are just as fun and rewarding.
If you’re looking for a little more tabletop RPG in your day, catch the Dice, Camera, Action livestreams most Tuesday nights at 7 PM EST on the Dungeons & Dragons Twitch page. Or, if you’re like me and prefer watching episodes on YouTube, catch the backlog on the Dungeons & Dragons YouTube page.