Behind the scenes of Joe Manganiello’s Dungeons & Dragons campaigns
True Blood alum Joe Manganiello has been one of Hollywood’s biggest fans of Dungeons & Dragons, hosting campaigns with other major celebrities from around town and now Variety has debuted a video taking fans behind the scenes of the games he’s put together and those who have joined, which can be viewed in the player below!
Maganiello’s group initially began with Joe’s brother Nick, writer John Cassel, director Kyle Newman (Fanboys), League of Legends story designer Ryan Verniere and Crossfit Champion Ron Matthews. The group would eventually grow with wrestler Paul “The Big Show” Wright joining, followed by George Finn (Just Before I Go) and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who brought one of the most ideal members.
“One day [Tom] said, ‘Hey, there’s this guy in my kid’s carpool that wants to play,’” Manganiello recalled. “I said, ‘Ah man, I don’t know, the group’s getting kind of big. Who’s your friend?’ [He said,] ‘Oh, his name’s Dan. He co-created Game of Thrones.’”
In addition to D.B. Weiss, Morello also brought in Vince Vaughn (Arkansas), a friend of his from Chicago who had played D&D in his youth, but hadn’t in years and recalled how when he first heard about the group he was wary of joining but thanks to Morello’s pushing he came around.
“In an interview, [Morello] had talked about playing Dungeons & Dragons and that this group, this mysterious group, that plays in Hollywood had reached out to him to go play,” Vaughn explained. “And at first, I said, ‘That kind of seems a little crazy. Are you actually going to go do it?’ And then Tom did, and he came back and said he had a blast and it was a lot of fun. We were hanging out, and he was kind of luring me in. I didn’t really realize it, but he was kind of giving me books and talking to me, like, ‘I think you should check this out.’”
Manganiello’s love for the game eventually expanded into a clothing line inspired by it, a decked-out dungeon in his house for playing and a professional role as a consultant for D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast and started his current campaign nearly two years ago after learning of the fifth edition.
Along with the regular crew, Manganiello’s current campaign, The War of Dragons, has had some major recurring visitors including Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff, The Suicide Squad director James Gunn and Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killam.
With the global pandemic keeping people in their homes, the group has continued their campaign by utilizing standard video chat apps including Zoom and Roll20.