10 ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Adventures That Deserve TV Shows (Besides ‘Critical’)

With the announcement that a D&D tie-in movie titled honor among thieves will launch later this year, “Dungeons & Dragons” fans are excited and a little skeptical. Can a movie really take the parts of D&D that make it so good and make it better across the screen? Can a movie really shed light on a tabletop RPG so popular it still lasts over 40 years later? The failure of similar game-to-movie adaptations seems to cut the wind of this one before it even released a trailer. The all-star cast, at least, seems to indicate that if it fails, it won’t be because no one cares.

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However, it also appears that plans for a TV show are in the works, which is another story. Perhaps a world as open as the Dungeons & Dragons universe is more suited to a TV series than a movie franchise. The amount of money being poured into epic, high-quality fantasy TV right now seems to think so, anyway. But which adventures might work best?

Dragonlance

the Dragonlance The campaign setting features tons of events and characters that would make for a great TV show. There’s already a fan musical in Russian centered on Raistlin Majere, so why not a full-budget show? With the Dragonlance setting that should be added to the upcoming new edition, this could be the perfect way to rekindle interest in a classic.

With complex characters and events like the disastrous War of the Spear and the Cataclysm that forever changed the Dragonlance universe, the writers could have a good time coming up with new stories to fit that world.

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Tyranny of Dragons

The epitome of epic fantasy – usually what people think of when they remember “Dungeons and Dragons” –Tyranny of Dragons pits characters against… a dragon. Who would have guessed? Specifically, however, the main characters fight against a cult working to bring back the tyrant dragon Tiamat, and they traverse Faerûn in their attempt to stop it.

Television could make this story work like a fantasy of epic proportions, with world-building opportunities on the scale of The Lord of the Rings. Although the campaign brings together tons of pre-existing groups and events that would need explaining, this story could serve as incredible inspiration for a battle to save the world.


Tales from the Gaping Portal

A group of adventurers stumble upon a cheerful tavern and stop for the night to rest. What could go wrong? Oh, yes, there is a portal to the underworld in the wall. Nothing big.

Let the screenwriters get inspiredThe Sunless Citadelwith its druids and dark, forest-covered fortresses, or Tomb of Horrorsinfamous for being an unbeatable dungeon explorer, Tales from the Gaping Portal includes tons of inspiration for a series. The framing device of a story-telling tavern would be a great excuse for world-building and provides a nice introduction to the world for viewers not so familiar with “Dungeons and Dragons.”

The Curse of Strahd

The Curse of Strahd introduced vampires to the world of D&D, and it was definitely a change for the better. Combining both fantasy and horror has always been popular – see stranger thingswhich drew a lot of inspiration from D&D – and including vampires in a world of swords and sorcery is a nice twist.

As an RPG, this module is a great horror and strategy adventure; as a show, it could flourish. with someone like Mike Flanagan or Guillermo del Toro lead the direction, The Curse of Strahd could be more than just a fantastic show. It could become a classic.

Waterdeep: Dragon’s Heist

In a city ruled by corruption, a group of adventurers are drawn into a scheme that extends to the leadership of Waterdeep. What started as a simple task to retrieve a map turns into a fantastic heist.

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Turning this into a much-loved TV show wouldn’t be difficult. All the elements are there that have proven successful in other shows: the gritty underbelly of a city, a heist and a slowly thickening plot are elements seen in Lucifer, wheel of time, and oceans elevenand bringing them all together in a series of fantastic urban robberies could allow the writers to slowly unravel the plot in a satisfying thread of mystery.


Living Greyhawk

Go back to the classic Greyhawk frame! The living gray falcon was unique in that it was run simultaneously as a shared campaign all over the world. It was interactive, with each adventure result having to be submitted upon completion by the dungeon master so the moderators could plan new storylines for future adventures based on success rate.

There were literally hundreds of submitted adventures, and while the unique way of playing added to the experience, Greyhawk as a campaign setting was one of the most popular for decades. Since the geography of the set is explicitly based on the United States, it would be fairly easy to group filming locations, and there are plenty of well-recorded TV-inspired opportunities.

The Lost Mine of Phandelver

A beginner-level classic (and a great introduction to D&D), The Lost Mines of Phandelver would give TV a chance to portray tried-and-true dungeon crawling – if it wanted to. There are many other quests and adventures to send characters to, but they all take place in the Lost Mines and the surrounding city of Phandalin.

With secret societies plentiful in the city, the mystery of what lies beneath the mines, and a plot-driven adventure driving characters, this could easily turn into a fast-paced adventure spectacle.

spell scrambler

the spell scrambler the campaign setting, while not a campaign per se, is too intriguing and creative not to include. With a version of fantasy-fueled space travel at players’ fingertips, there’s so much room here to mix and match genres. Space opera, cyberpunk, elves and dwarves, and even steampunk all have their place in spell scrambler.

A TV show based on this setting could become something entirely new, tied in some way to “Dungeons and Dragons,” but taking it all in a slightly different direction than viewers would expect. It could be a refreshing change of pace and a great introduction to the world for those who see “Dungeons & Dragons” as a purely sword and sorcery universe.

never winter

The popular Neverwinter campaign setting inspired the MMORPG video game of the same name. With the abundance of adaptations of video games into television series (and the success of the witcher and Esoteric) this is proof that perhaps video games adapt more easily to television than to cinema (even if there are film adaptations that should delight fans). The episodic adventure nature of most video games is well suited to the short length of the shows while gradually complicating the plot as the show progresses.

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never winter tells the story of a town in despair after the disappearance of its leader. The townspeople’s struggles are only aggravated by the dead soldiers who begin to rise up and attack the town. Fans can only imagine how stunning the game’s visuals could be with practical effects.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Travel to the age of sailing with Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Add haunted oceans, undead sailors and cold-blooded smugglers, and you’ve got a sailing story to rival Pirates of the Caribbean.

The visuals of this campaign module alone could lead to an excellent TV adaptation – audiences would be instantly immersed in this realm of rough seas and small fishing villages. Add endearing, likable characters played by great actors – preferably ones with experience in the game itself, because that’s what made Legends of Vox Machina so well accepted—and Ghosts of Saltmarsh could be a success.

NEXT: How ‘Critical Role’ Adapted a Dungeons and Dragons Game in ‘The Legend of Vox Machina’


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