A new web series led by the popular YouTube personality Jovenshire is bringing a unique twist to Dungeons & Dragons. Stuff of Legends is a new 6-part web series that combines Dungeons & Dragons gameplay with puppetry. The new series stars Jovenshire as the Dungeon Master for a game featuring Lisa Foiles, Brandon Rogers, Shanna Malcolm, and Lasercorn. While "Let's Play" style D&D shows have grown in popularity over the past few years, Stuff of Legends also uses rod-style puppets (similar to Muppets) made by the Las Vegas-based DLUX Puppets to act out various battle and roleplaying scenes. Jovenshire described the new series as Dungeons & Dragons meets Drunk History, but with puppets instead of actors.
"I am a huge fan of puppets," Jovenshire told ComicBook.com when asked about the decision to bring puppets to the D&D table. "Like many of us, I grew up on them. We were batting around some ideas to help with the storytelling aspect of Dungeons & Dragons and we were talking about puppets. Honestly, the question is why not puppets?"
"For me, I've worked on some animated projects," Jovenshire continued. "And what I like about those is when you work with cartoons, your imagination is as far as you can take it and you can make whatever you can draw. But sometimes with cartoons, you lose that physical comedy, you lose that physical aspect. And that was just really important to me. And with puppets, you get that. You get that slapstick humor, you get that tongue in cheek, Three Stooges comedy, all while being very animated. And when you have something as wild as Dungeons & Dragons, and you want to come up with all these different crazy concepts and monsters and just turn them into puppets."
The show features a mix of live-action gameplay and scenes acted out by puppets. Whenever the game heads into combat or dialogue, Stuff of Legends cuts away to the show's puppets acting out the scenes as the game continues. To bring this unique blend to life, Jovenshire explained that the show went through two separate rounds of production - one involving the players on a closed set, and then a second shoot involving the puppeteers acting out the scenes roleplayed by the players.
Originally, Jovenshire pitched Stuff of Legends as a potential project involving Magic: The Gathering, the popular trading card game produced by D&D maker Wizards of the Coast. "[Wizards] had a green light program to promote Magic: The Gathering, and they were looking for different content creators to make larger-than-life products to push the game," Jovenshire said. "As a huge Magic fan, I pitched this idea to feature the D&D expansions that feature Magic: The Gathering worlds. They loved the idea, but they're like, 'Wait a second. This might actually just work for D&D proper,' and then we started looking at a bigger concept."
Because Jovenshire is working with Wizards of the Coast, he was able to use official monsters from the Monster Manual and set the game in the Forgotten Realms, the main campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons. When asked if he actually had puppets made of iconic D&D monsters, Jovenshire mentioned that it was one of his favorite parts of planning for the show. "I do have puppets of classic D&D monsters," Jovenshire confirmed. "My favorite part about the pre-production of this was literally flipping through the Monster Manual and thinking to myself, 'What will look cool as a puppet?' I don't want to spoil who our big bad is at the end, but the advantage to working with Dungeons & Dragons is being able to use these classic monsters and give them a completely new look and vibe. So there's going to be some deep cuts where other DMs will be watching and think, 'Oh yeah. I should use one of those creatures. We haven't done one of those in a while.'0comments
Although Stuff of Legends will feature iconic D&D monsters, it won't be a series just for tried-and-true D&D fans. Each episode will only run 30 minutes to allow for optimal viewing time. "My big goal when it comes to making RPG shows is being able to bring in that new audience," Jovenshire said. "Especially in the last two years, I think D&D has become even more popular with just new fans. But not all of those fans can jump into a three hour podcast or show that's 50 episodes in. So I wanted to make something that is digestible for new fans, but also had deep cuts and was entertaining for people that have been playing for 30 years or so. So the way we tell our stories and utilizing the puppets is a way just to keep focus on the show and keep jokes rolling in."
Stuff of Legends will premiere on Jovenshire's YouTube channel on Tuesday, February 2nd.