Monday, October 15, 2018

Over the Garden Wall as Inspiration for a Dolmenwood/Gardens of Ynn Campaign

I recently discovered Cartoon Network’s short animated series from a few years ago, Over the Garden Wall. It’s a charming world full of faerie mystery and autumnal melancholy. While watching it I was reminded of Necrotic Gnomes’ Dolmenwood setting and Emmy Allen’s Gardens of Ynn. Like those two game worlds there is a light whimsy with dark, folk tale undertones to this story of two brothers lost in a strange woodland named the Unknown with their talking bluebird guide, Beatrice.

Over the Garden Wall is a parable with Divine Comedy parallels, a bittersweet journey of self-discovery. It would be incredibly easy to tuck any of the characters and places into encounters in Dolmenwood or Ynn. I’d love to create a campaign using either of those supplements, and populate it with the harvest revelers of Pottsfield, the Woodman of the Dark Lantern, Adelaide – the Lady of the Pasture, the riverboat frog constables, the hysterical Auntie Whispers, and especially the Wraith-like, operatic Beast of the Woods.

I can’t be the first person to think of this. The series ran just one season, enough to cover the characters’ story arc of trying to find their way home. A series of graphic novels followed afterwards. There’s not enough of this gentle strangeness in D&D and I want more of it. Particularly now, since it's fall and Halloween is in the air. Everyone always thinks about dark horror-themed games this time of year, which is all well and good, but a little more Something Wicked This Way Comes is nice sometimes too.

If you haven't checked it out before it's worth a look. I think they are all still on Hulu as of this writing, and also on Dailymotion.

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