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A new actual play ports Jane Austen into Dungeons & Dragons

Dimension 20: A Court of Fey & Flowers debuts Aug. 3

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Dimension 20’s next Dungeons & Dragons actual play campaign offers up something even more dangerous than the Demogorgon — Regency-era romance. A Court of Fey & Flowers is a 10-part tabletop role-playing series that kicks off Aug. 3 on Dropout TV. The announcement was made Wednesday, accompanied by a new trailer. Polygon sat down with game master Aabria Iyengar to find out what’s in store.

Iyengar is an old hand at working with the team at Dimension 20. Her first appearance with the troupe was back in 2020 in Pirates of Leviathan, where she shared a table with Matt Mercer, Marisha Ray, and B. Dave Walters. From there Iyengar’s career as a GM has taken off, leading to additional opportunities with Critical Role and The Adventure Zone, among others. Now she’s back and headlining Dimension 20’s next actual play campaign. Her goal? To take “a big swing” at moving the medium forward.

Three players surrounded by flowers and garlands play D&D.
Omar Najam, Brennan Lee Mulligan, and Emily Axford at the table. Expect plenty of custom miniatures and terrain to take center stage in combat.
Photo: Dimension 20

“There’s just something about Dimension 20 specifically that scratches every beautiful part of the comedy and improvisation and that wildly creative storytelling thing,” Iyengar told Polygon. “It opened up the new possibility for the kind of stories you could tell versus the sort of epic-tier, high fantasy D&D games that I kind of [grew up with].”

The plan is to mash up traditional D&D with Good Society, an indie tabletop RPG by Storybrewers. In a recent round-up, Polygon called Good Society “the gold standard in Regency role-play.” It’s a system that Iyengar simply adores.

“There’s something about the mechanics and how elegantly they’re written into Good Society that allows you to drop into the pacing of that kind of storytelling,” Iyengar said. “It shows you the specific ways in which your character expresses themselves. There’s a rumor phase and a letter-writing phase, and reputation markers and a reputation economy. [I] was so, so happy to integrate [that] into the story.”

All of the characters at the table will be fairy folk — known as Fey in the vernacular. Iyengar says they’re “the closest thing we have to the idle rich” in D&D. Characters have come together to celebrate the Bloom, a magical event that fills the Feywild and its neighboring realms with magical energy. But a new and mysterious threat emerges, and it will be up to the characters to sort things out — plus they’ll be navigating their budding relationships. The cast includes veteran Dimension 20 players Brennan Lee Mulligan, Lou Wilson, and Emily Axford alongside newcomers Surena Marie, Oscar Montoya, and Omar Najam.

Three D&D players open custom boxes containing keys, dice, and more.
Lou Wilson, Oscar Montoya, and Serena Marie.
Photo: Dimension 20

Actual play programming tends to run long, so it can require a lot of time investment from its fans to keep current. So where should folks focus their attention in the first few shows? Iyengar says the premiere will do a lot to foreshadow the next nine episodes.

“I’m a huge fan of giving each of the characters their own sort of introduction on their own turf,” Iyengar said. “I think there’s something very important with how a couple of our characters are introduced that tells you everything you need to know about them and the world that they function so effectively within. [...] Pay attention to the stage the characters are setting, because they’ll tell you exactly who they are when they’re alone. Then it becomes so interesting to watch who they become and who they change and the molds that they step into or out of when they hit Fey society writ large.”