Review: A Crown of Candy

Alright, to start, Dropout Tv is the best streaming service you can subscribe to. This is not an advertisement in any way shape or form. I am getting no money or kickbacks from this endorsement; not even a hat or something. I do not know any of the people involved outside of following a few of them on social media and watching the creative projects they are involved in. Basically, I have no invested interest or reason for wanting this platform/streaming service to be successful outside of I legitimately enjoy the programming and series they produce. And do they deliver on that front. For roughly $70 annually, you get weekly episodes of top notch TTRPG series plus comedy shows of various genres on top of a deep catalogue of skits, specials, series, and just a truly hilarious assortment of programming. So, if you have the spare cash, go and subscribe so that I can continue to get more of their programming.

Now, that the spiel is out of the way, let’s get to discussing the series that solidified my decision to subscribe to the service: A Crown of Candy. A Crown of Candy is the fifth tabletop roleplaying game series from Dropout and the third starring the main cast, aka the Intrepid Heroes, of the Dimension 20 channel. Even for just seventeen episodes, there is a lot of lore and information and characters and story to throw out in order to fully explain but the basic pitch is imagine if Game of Thrones took place in Candyland…minus the nudity but the swearing and violence remains.

So much death and loss in these lands…

That may seem like an odd combination, and to be fair it is a very superficial, top level summary, but it really works. The actual story follows the members of House Rocks, the leading family and nobility of Candia, one of the kingdoms of the land of Calorum. Yes, it is all food puns from the places to the people to the magic system to the religions and faiths the various peoples of Calorum follow. Oh, did I mention that there are distinct religions and ideologies within this world? Because there are.

Is it a ridiculous premise? Absolutely, but the talents of Brennan Lee Mulligan as Game Master and years of experience playing Dungeons and Dragons as well as the acting and improv skills of the cast of Lou Wilson, Emily Axford, Siobhan Thompson, Brian Murphy, Zac Oyama, and Ally Beardsley make the world and characters feel real and come alive. There is an obvious framework for the overarching story, but the chaotic nature of Actual Play, the industry term for live action narrative tabletop roleplaying games, with uncertainty of dice rolls for both role play and combat makes having a singular concrete narrative virtually impossible. That is why an Actual Play, and especially one with such a wild and out there premise, can only truly work when you have a crew that is on a professional level of acting and chemistry among each other that rivals professional environments. And they live up to that necessity.

Just the most ridiculous and eventually heartbreaking characters.

A Crown of Candy is actually the series that convinced me to subscribe to DropoutTV in the first place. I was already interested in the APs Dimension 20 had to offer and was eager to finish the Unsleeping City, the second AP with the Intrepid Heroes cast. However, only the first half of the series was available for free on YouTube, so I took advantage of a trial membership of a week and binged the remainder of the show. I still had a few days left on my trial account, so I perused the site’s offerings and eventually found ACoC. Having seen the first episode on YouTube, I continued the series on the streaming platform. My trial membership would end before I could complete the show, but I was entranced and had to finish it. Best money I ever spent as I have continued to be delighted by the shows and podcasts and skits the service offers.

I think one element of the show that differentiates it from other APs on the site, and in general to an extent, is how morally ambiguous the characters and story are. It would have to be considering it is a slight play on a rather brutal and morally grey, at best, source material. I won’t say it 100 percent hit the mark, particularly near the end with the late introduction of some characters and speed rushed character development and backstory that the format necessitated. So some of the later character actions and arcs did feel a bit underdeveloped or illogical in the larger context simply because we had not had much time to witness or spend time with certain characters to fully understand or empathize with their choices. I suppose in some ways it tied itself a little too close to the source material it borrowed from.

Look, there are many reasons I could give why you should check out this AP and give DropoutTV your patronage, but the best method would be an actual viewing. Thus, watch the first episode and see if it is to your liking. Whether or not you do, I am positive you will find some element or two to grasp onto and examine for your own creative pursuits and growth.

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