I want to stand on the closest mountain top and scream to the world, WATCH RELICS AND RARITIES! Monday night we were graced with The Haunting of Benthem Manor. This is the first episode of Geek and Sundry‘s newest dungeons and dragons game. Deborah Ann Woll does such a beautiful job of mesmerizing viewers with her storytelling. She is joined by cast mates Julia Dennis, Tommy Walker, Xander Jeanneret, Jasmine Bhuller and special guest Matthew Lillard. Prior to the release of the show, we received news of more guest stars that will be joining the cast for future episodes. The list includes Charlie Cox, Kevin Smith, Janina Gavankar, Simone Missick, and Sam Richardson. They each will work alongside the adventurer’s to help solve the weekly mission given to them from Professor Roundland, the owner of Relics and Rarities in the town of Bellbrook. After this point there is going to be spoilers from the episode, so be forewarned.
The beginning of the show is amazing as the characters are seated in the shop, Relics and Rarities. This whole set is filled with nick knacks that appear to be magic items picked up by members of the R&R Brigade. The owner of the shop is Professor Roundland, a small plump gnome who sought out the groups help. Veros (Walker) a human fighter, Beryl (Bhuller) a half orc barbarian, Annabelle (Dennis) a human cleric and Rikki (Jeanneret) the gnome druid have banded together with along with Allister (Lillard), a dragonborn sorcerer who specializes in the other worldly. When the group is ready they each get to pick an item from the shop that has special properties that may be useful during the adventure.
The group then moves into the next part of the set which includes all the traditional things needed, a table with dice and dice boxes. The room is fulled with more items to help bring the story alive. This adventure has a Gothic theme that fits the story of a haunting in an old manor. The team makes their way through investigating, solving puzzles and battling spirits in order to save Sarah Benthem. The whole adventure is very well thought out and includes all the things that make dungeons and dragons so amazing. The house was built with special passages locked behind puzzles thanks to the previous owner. One of these puzzles is a set of spinning disks with grooves that need to be adjusted so a key can move from one space to another. I was so happy when Deborah Ann Woll pulls out a full size puzzle for the team to interact with!
Since I knew the show was going to be prerecorded I was afraid they would cut out parts to shorten the length to a more reasonable 2 hour time slot. If they did, it was unnoticeable. The excitement from the cast and story telling just seems to move naturally throughout the episde. I also am a firm believer it isn’t scripted as poor Allister just could not sense anything with those terrible rolls! Relics and Rarities also filled my combat needs in a good way. At times a good drawn out battle is great for helping to entertain, however combat during this episode was only when necessary and I loved they way they incorporated non combat tactics into the fight. For instance during the square off with the spirit of Eleanor, Annabelle casts minor illusion to create the voice of a child screaming, “Mommy you killed us!”. This along with Rikki’s new outfit and creepy performance as a child in a rocking chair, they successfully chased away the spirit and could escape the room.
Overall the story was simply amazing from beginning to end. It really caught my interest and Deborah Ann Woll is such a fantastic story teller. You would honestly think that she has done this every day of her life. The cast really fell into their roles and felt like a true group of adventurers. What makes this so interesting to me is each episode can be watched as a stand alone but it has been noted they will all fit into an overarching story. Maybe we will get some answers as to what is happening to trouble the members of the R&R Brigade and just who are team of adventurer’s are going against in the long run. And if those lovely people at Geek and Sundry decide to read this…please make a second season!
You can watch new episodes of Relics and Rarities on Project Alpha every Monday night at 6pm PST! Also check out the video below for a look at the all special guests we will get to see this season and look at some moments that just need further explaining!
Header Image courtesy of Geek and Sundry
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