The union of Rick and Morty with Dungeons and Dragons is a surreal one. If you had asked me before what franchises would be a good pair with D&D, I would’ve given you the same answer many others would’ve. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, even the Dark Crystal would’ve been my guesses before this. But two graphic novels and a starter set later and here we are. I did have some worries about this mashup. Sure, the books were entertaining, but for a story to translate well into an adventure takes a bit of work. So my question going into this is does Rick and Morty Vs. Dungeons and Dragons work? Is it enjoyable for fans of both sides? Does the adventure serve as a great introduction to D&D? Let’s dive in and find out how well Rick and Morty Vs. Dungeons fares.
Rick and Morty Vs. Dungeons and Dragons, or R&MvD&D, adds itself to the variety of starter sets new players can choose from. It takes the basic principle of the Stranger Things set and turns it to 11. Instead of having Rick write down the adventure and hand it to you, he inserts himself into every page of the rule book and adventure. Even to the point that you get to DM as Rick. And no, that’s not just in what he tells you to say to players; the story’s premise requires the DM to be Rick himself. This heavy handed approach had the potential to be disastrous, but luckily it works out well without overstaying its welcome.
The rulebook’s contents are pretty standard, save for Rick’s musings. The book includes just about everything you need to know to play, but it does skip out on character creation. This feels like a slight step back from the recent Essentials Kit. Sure it may be fun to step into the shoes of Morty or Summer, but I feel as though running around in a R&M episode as a character you create would be an even better first experience. But that’s about the only misstep here. All of Rick’s additions to the text are hilarious, and even at times offer helpful insight. It was a blast to read through.
The adventure itself is wonderfully evocative of the show it’s inspired by. At its core it is a simple dungeon crawl; not too many navigational choices to make, just a simple A to B grind. Each room is great though, like a bit taken straight from the show. In some cases literally speaking. Overall it does a good job at emulating the show, and seems like a fun adventure as well. None of the encounters seem to be as TPK possible as the level one encounters from Essentials. This adventure looks to be the best of the starter set adventures, all things considered.
The tools in this kit are similar in quality to the Essentials kit, with some notable downsides. The dice are still the full set of eleven that the Essentials kit standardized, with a nice green with blue lettering that the show’s logo shares. The DM screen is similar to the last iteration as well, in that it boasts incredible artwork on not so incredible material. It’s a little disappointing to see such great art be wasted on cardboard that will blow over at the slightest breeze. It helps keep the cost of the set low, but I’d like to see an alternate option to get a better form of this screen. The last pieces of paper are the character sheets, which are impressively in full color with character portraits. The other point I was disappointed with was that this set didn’t include any goods from D&D Beyond like the last set. That kit set a good precedent by offering a discount on the digital goods connected to them, and I’m a little sad to see that won’t be the standard moving forward.
So with all of Rick and Morty Vs. Dungeons and Dragons scrutinized, how does it hold up? As a product for Rick and Morty fans, this is among the best. There is plenty here to please any fan of the show, and does well to highlight what makes the show loved by many. As an introductory product it works well; new players will be able to run this adventure with minimal effort, allowing them to focus on the fun new experience it brings. And when you combine the two, put a little chocolate in the peanut butter, you get a product that uses the hype of a franchise not only to sell a product, but to raise the entertainment level of said product. In the scheme of starter sets I’d place it right under the Essentials kit that still sits at the top spot. Although I will say that with the right groups, i.e. ones who love Rick and Morty or just have more comedic tastes, this set should be considered #1.
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