DnD makes its way to 2022’s Edinburgh Festival in the form of an interactive stage show, and its creators promise “literally thousands of scenarios” in a recent press release. According to its website, ‘The Twenty-Sided Tavern’ is an interactive performance inspired by tabletop RPGs where the audience gets to “choose the characters, the paths they take, and the outcome of the journey”. “The story changes every night”, the site claims, “and is a fantastic mixture of laugh-out-loud comedy and a thrilling, electrifying narrative.”
This level of interactivity is possible thanks to a software known as Gamiotics. Gamiotics Inc. CEO (and Tony-nominated producer) David Carpenter tells Wargamer this is a software “built to allow creators to bring interactive experiences to life in the live space”. “It’s completely web-based, so there’s nothing to download. You simply QR code into the show when you arrive [at the show] using your smartphone.” “It allows the audience to collectively make decisions and take actions that determine what happens next”, he adds.
The Twenty-Sided Tavern officially opens for business in Edinburgh on August 3, and audiences can explore the mysterious Coldfire Caverns with the show’s cast until August 28 (though the show won’t be staged on August 15). Edinburgh Festival attendees can find it in the Pleasance Dome at 4:30pm on these dates.
The show has previously been performed in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, and Carpenter tells Wargamer there are plans for a US tour and a “major engagement this fall in one of the top US cities” – though he can’t reveal specific details just yet. “Edinburgh is really just the beginning of a lot of great stuff to come”, Carpenter adds.
The heroes of The Twenty-Sided Tavern will be sent to the show’s Coldfire Caverns to defeat a monster whose only known feature is “its insatiable appetite”. According to the show’s website, it’ll be up to the audience to uncover clues and items to help the characters face the monster – as well as choose the ending, it seems.
A press release says the performance is suitable for audiences aged eight and above, but the website warns the tavern setting may lead to “coarse language, adult themes, alcohol use, depictions of violence, jugglers, stunts that should not be imitated at home, pickpockets, loose women, loose men, loose non-binary folx, and fantasy creatures that may not be suitable for all adventurers”.
Along with Carpenter, The Twenty-Sided Tavern was co-created by artist, manager, and facilitator Sarah Davis Reynolds and writer David Andrew Greener Laws. Mateo Ervin, Travis Klemm, Madelyn Murphy, and Carlina Parker are also listed as members of the Edinburgh performance.
According to Carpenter, the Twenty-Sided Tavern team are more than prepared for the seemingly endless amount of scenarios they may face on stage. “We’ve spent months preparing for every single one of them”, he tells Wargamer. “We like to say that The Twenty-Sided Tavern is eight shows in one, and you get a different one every time you come see a performance. There isn’t anything else like it in the world.”
If you’re interested in seeing the show, you can buy tickets through the Twenty-Sided Tavern website. Or, for DnD adventures you can have at home, take a look at our guides to the best DnD books and campaigns.