If you can't get enough of Dungeons & Dragons, then prepare yourself for three days of intense gaming complete with costumes, music, and sword fights kicking. Wizards of the Coast is hosting the Stream of Many Eyes from June 1 to 3, an event meant to bring together their streaming community and reveal the next storyline fans will be able to get their hands on in September.
The Los Angeles event will be streamed live on D&D's Twitch channel, while fans can even experience it in-person Sunday by purchasing a ticket. Viewers will get to see their favorite streams and celebrities playing D&D, but the event also is meant to immerse fans in another world thanks to complex sets, cosplayers, and even groups going beyond the table for a more theatrical D&D performance.
Greg Tito, D&D communications manager and co-host of the Dragon Talk podcast, will be helping manage things behind-the-scenes and spoke with SYFY WIRE about what people will see during the event.
How does this event compare to what people saw during the Stream of Annihilation and why did you want to do another stream?
We did something similar like a prototype event at Meltdown Comics two years ago for Storm King's Thunder. This has become an annual tradition to announce our next storyline and the reason why we do it is we bring all these streamers to one location to discuss and meet each other. So much of the D&D streaming community is doing stuff on their own channels. They're talking to each other on social media, but nobody was meeting face to face.
We love the two-fold event. We get everyone excited about what the new D&D adventure is going to be as well as bring the D&D steaming community together. We saw that success after the Stream of Annihilation. People were guesting on each other's streams and folks who may not have known each other or weren't aware of the stories people were telling suddenly became more interested. There was this flow of information and support back and forth between all the different steaming groups.
For the Stream of Many Eyes, we wanted to gather everyone and go the extra mile. Not just rest on our laurels and do what we did for Stream of Annihilation. For this one we have two huge sound studios. One is 8,000 square feet. Another is 7,000. We're building a few city blocks of the city of Waterdeep. Fans and streamers will be inhabiting a few city blocks of a fantasy city complete with cosplayers who are dressed as D&D characters embodying those roles and speaking with streamers being their characters in the context of the D&D games on Friday and Saturday as we introduce the new storyline.
On Sunday, we're selling tickets for the public to come in and experience this city as well as see some of their favorite streamers perform a live D&D game. It's going to be an extravaganza for them. We've got live music from Jason Charles Miller, Allie Gonino from Girls, Guts, Glory, Sirens of the Realms, and The Library Bards, will be happening after people go in and see their live show. They'll have an hour-long tour going through the sets of Waterdeep interacting with some of D&D's partners like Roll20 and Neverwinter the MMO who have spaces within this.
There's going to be stunts and sword fights as well as music. Are these aspects going to be separate performances or will some be happening during games in the background?
Friday and Saturday most of the entertainment will be for the live stream. It will be for the cameras essentially. On Friday, we're going to tour the space and then sit down with some of the D&D team and talk about the new storyline. There will be a performance from the cast of Force Grey and one from the cast of Dice, Camera, Action.
On Saturday, this is where we're leveling up from the Stream of Annihilation. There are seven total sessions of Dungeons & Dragons. Four of them are going to be on the table from our streaming groups and two of those groups are new. There's Sirens of the Realms, Girls, Guts, Glory, but then we're adding a group called Rivals of Waterdeep, which is a bunch of performers and streamers from the Chicago area and Dark & Dicey which is a new group in L.A. Those are four on the table sessions that will occur in the studio that has a representation of the Field of Triumph in it with risers for a live studio audience.
The three other sessions are going to be a heightened version of Dungeons & Dragons where the players will be in costume on their feet and can interact with a NPC that's in Waterdeep. Everyone will be in costume on the set and it will be a little bit like a live meld of reality television, theater, and LARPing. Ivan Van Norman has done some of this at Geek & Sundry with Sagas of Sundry. It was a more horror-themed version of what we're talking about here. This is definitely D&D. Fantasy, intrigue, diplomacy, and stealth will be a big part of this. He will be directing the action as it's happening and have a random number generator. We're not going to use a die, but if they need to make a check or something Ivan will have a deck of cards he'll be able to pull from and it will be a number between one and 20. That way they won't need a surface to roll a die. It's a little bit more compact.
He's been writing this whole thing and there's going to be a continuous storyline from all of the sessions on Saturday. Something occurs in the first session and then there's a through line that goes from all the different groups so a specific thread will emerge after watching all the programming on Saturday. I'm excited about that because it's something we wanted do for Stream of Annihilation, have this be a kind of Marvel Cinematic Universe idea for all the different streaming groups interacting in the same world in the same fiction and headspace and we're finally pulling this off here.
Ivan Van Norman is a fantastic talent. We haven't really been talking about his involvement in this show too much because we didn't want to give it away, but I think now's the perfect time to get people excited about the stream!
Will these stories and the other streams preview different parts or aspects of the new adventure?
There's definitely a balancing act Dungeons & Dragons has to do in that we don't want to give away too much of the storyline for people to enjoy the adventure when it comes out in September. What we've focused on is doing themes. Making sure the themes of the storylines match what the theme of this is. I mentioned intrigue, diplomacy, and stealth and I think those are big parts of the adventure that's coming out.
We haven't announced the adventure, but the adventure is essentially a Gangs of New York meets Dan Brown type of adventure. Heist, but there's definitely some seedy underbelly and criminals going on in the fantasy city. That's exciting and we're using parts of the adventure so people might recognize bits from the Stream of Many Eyes when they get the adventure, but it won't spoil anything for everyone. Hopefully it will just get people more excited like a good teaser trailer would do.
What else do you want fans to know about the stream, adventure, or what they can expect to see?
You asked about swords and what's happening on Sunday is we've been working with a number of cosplayers and the renaissance fair community here in Los Angeles. It's very vibrant down here in southern California. We asked a few of those groups to come in and they've been rehearsing their D&D-centric combat with dull metal swords. There's going to be some storylines unfolding on Sunday for fans. When people walk through the stage, not only will they get the awe of being in a recreation of a fantasy city and interacting with some of the vendors and D&D partners that have stations in there.
There will also be this kaleidoscope of storytelling going on around them so this group might show up, they might get into a fight, and runoff. The adventurers who broke up that fight might ask fans did you see so and so? What information do they have? Fans can play along and be a part of the unfolding story. It doesn't have a complete beginning, middle and end, but we wanted to create the sense that fans can be a part of this world when they buy tickets and do the tours Sunday.
There are four great shows they can see from performers with most of the cast of Critical Role going to be there in varying degrees. Mark Hulmes from High Rollers is doing a game with Matthew Lillard and three cast members from Critical Role to start. Dice, Camera, Action is doing a second episode. Deborah Ann Woll, who's been a favorite actress of mine for a long time in True Blood and Daredevil, is dungeon mastering in a live stream for the first-time Sunday. I can't wait to see that. Her passion for storytelling and running a table has been great so I can't wait to show the world that. The last session is Joe Manganiello and Travis Willingham from Critical Role with some surprising guests for Jocks Machina. I'm excited for fans to be able to come and get some D&D merchandise they can't get anywhere else and lots of giveaways and D&D stuff for people to get as well as a copy of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.
I think the experience is going to be super unique and you can't get it anywhere else. Then we're going to tear down all the sets on Monday.