Vin Diesel might be the most high-profile Dungeons & Dragons aficionado in Hollywood, famously teaching Judi Dench how to play during their downtime on sci-fi sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, but it can’t be denied that fellow enthusiast Joe Manganiello boasts the most star-studded campaign.
The DCEU’s short-lived Deathstroke was also hired by D&D as a consultant by to write storylines, create characters, and redesign existing ones given his in-depth knowledge of the property, while he also refitted the basement of his home from a wine cellar into a place where his team would gather on a Friday night to spent hours forging ahead with their campaign.
His fellow players include Vince Vaughn, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, professional wrestler and former WWE star Paul ‘The Big Show’ Wight, Game of Thrones co-creator D.B. Weiss, Fanboys director Kyle Newman, League of Legends story designer Ryan Verniere and more.
During a recent interview with Variety, Manganiello discussed how he’s managed to keep his game running during the pandemic, when a bunch of people hunkering down in a basement for hours at a time was strictly off-limits.
“When the pandemic hit and we all went into quarantine, we’d been playing live. That weekend, we postponed and actually punted while I went and figured out how to work this computer program where you can create your own dungeon maps and enter your players into it. Once we figured out the tech of it, we started playing online. They talked me into running two games a week. And then we realized COVID isn’t going away anytime soon. I had to pull it back to one night a week. It takes a lot to prep. It’s like preparing as a director to run a TV show every Friday night — live with your friends starring in it. For me, I started getting busy.”
You certainly can’t fault Manganiello’s enthusiasm for remaining committed to Dungeons & Dragons even during the worst global health crisis in generations, and that’s one game we’d love to be a fly on the wall for.