Brennan Lee Mulligan

Game Master of 'Fantasy High'

Sara Belcher - Author

Jun. 14 2024, Published 6:50 p.m. ET

Brennan Lee Mulligan
Source: Dropout

The hit Dropout show Fantasy High wouldn't be what it is without its humble dungeon master Brennan Lee Mulligan. As one of the creators of Dimension 20, Brennan is typically the puppet master to the litany of characters dotting the worlds the show's cast interact with throughout a given season, utilizing a combination of Dungeons & Dragons game mechanics and his own creativity to execute the stories.

Following the conclusion of the tumultuous Fantasy High: Junior Year, Brennan took the time to answer 13 quick questions with Distractify, dishing on his favorite characters from the show (all of them) and the personalities he's granted his dice.

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If you had to get a tattoo right now, what would it be?

BM: This is a thing that would be in honor of my philosophy professor who passed away back in 2008, but I would want to get a shield on the left arm that says "Be good" and a sword on the right arm that says "Do right."

Lou Wilson, Ally Beardsley, Brian Murphy, Brennan Lee Mulligan, Zac Oyama, Siobhan Thompson, Emily Axford
Source: Dropout
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If you could have any superpower, what would you pick?

BM: Multiplicity! Oh multiplicity! I have that answer that locked and loaded. Make copies of yourself that can go out and do stuff and learn stuff and then you can reabsorb them all and get all the experiences and knowledge. You'd get so much more done in a day!

What is your go-to karaoke song?

BM: "Sweet Caroline." It's a classic, it gets people going. People want to yell "Bum, bum, bum." Let's get everybody involved, you know?

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What are your top three game day necessities?

BM: OK, snacks — and like, snacks with fat and protein, not just carbs, right? If we're talking home games, bluetooth speaker. The one thing that I'm always sad I can't do in actual play is DJ. When I'm home gaming, baby, we're doing music stings. I'm letting scary, scary songs come on before I've announced that something scary has happened. Right? Let the music do the heavy lifting that something bad's about to happen. So snacks, bluetooth speaker, other game day thing that I think is vital... You know, it's an obvious one, but it's my blue dice bag that I've had ever since the very first time I played D&D.

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Tell us about the first Dungeons & Dragons campaign you ever DMed for.

BM: The first D&D campaign I ever DMed for was a homebrew world that was made on a bunch of different pieces of paper that were like, one of them was art paper, like paper stock, and then the rest were printer paper, and it was taped together. So it was a big taped-together map with a bunch of crazy stuff on it, it was hand drawn, and the villain was this evil sorcerer or wizard who the PCs needed to understand his tragic backstory and it was the only way to win. But I was 10, and all my friends were 10, and no one wanted to understand anyone's tragic backstory. They wanted to just wail on a guy, and I killed them all for not understanding my little guy's tragic backstory, and everyone was super disappointed — but also happy because we're 10 and there are snacks. They all went home, and I told my mom, 'That was the most stressful day of my life — can we schedule another one for next week?'

Tell us about the best fan interaction you've ever had.

BM: You know what jumps to my mind right away? I've had so many amazing fan interactions. At the very first live show meet and greet we were meeting people — we did a Fantasy High live show, [and] Fantasy High had only been around for less than a year, I think,... And in that happening, people were coming up and shaking their hands, we're doing a meet and greet, and the person with the best Aelwyn Abernant cosplay I've ever seen, with a homemade shirt that said "I came here to f--k," came up and shook my hand. It was like a stunning Aelwyn Abernant cosplay.

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That person was Persephone Valentine, who later started her own D&D podcast, invited me on, I played with her and I went 'Oh, this person is lightspeed talented,' and we cast her in The Seven. And Persephone is now like an Actual Play Luminary and on a bunch of Dropout stuff, and one of my favorite people in the world. So that's my favorite fan interaction.

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If you could switch lives with any celebrity for a day, who would it be?

BM: I'm trying to game this now to be like, should I switch with a bad celebrity? It's like the Lex Luthor and the Flash switch when he's like, "Let me take the mask off," and then he's like, "I don't know this is"... If you'll let me cheat I would do like Jeff Bezos and then give all his money to charity. You know what I mean? What can I get done in 24 hours?

If you could start a rumor about yourself, what would it be?

BM: If I could start any rumor about myself, I would start a rumor that I was secretly a werewolf, because then I would be able to get one night a month off and no one could make me do stuff during it.

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Where do you look for inspiration when creating a new campaign?

BM: I do a ton of reading and research and stuff like that. But weirdly, I think reading and research follows inspiration most of the time. Most of the time, I'll have the germ of something, and I'm like, oh, I need more stuff. It's like a spark starts and you start feeding it kindling to let the fire get bigger. So weirdly, even though I draw a lot from the reading and research materials, that's not necessarily where the sauce of inspiration is. So I think where I draw inspiration from is usually like, a conundrum that I can't stop thinking about. There'll be something that's not smoothly moving on to the next thought. It's something that I am dwelling on for some reason. And as I dig down, I start to flesh it out more — like other fiction and art comes in after a social, moral, fictive emotional thing that keeps arresting a mental process.

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Do you have any superstitions about your dice? If so, please share.

BM: I do have superstitions about my dice. I very much give them all personalities. When I'm a dungeon master, I am not checking in with my dice as much. When I'm a PC, they are being arranged to all sit on their highest value. They are arranged in order, I'm grouping them by type. It's very much a manual fixation, like playing with poker chips. It's like I'm adjusting them and moving them around... And I have three d20s that are kind of my go-tos. There's a jade green one, that was my very first d20 my brother gave me; there's a blue marbled one; and then I have a bright yellow one. And those are kind of the three that I go to pretty regularly because I think that they have the best legibility, roll-feel, and aesthetic — and performance record.

Poc Gukgak, Aelwyn Abernant, Bill Seacaster, the Thistlesprings, Arthur Aguefort, Gilear Faeth, Jawbone, and Sklonda Gukgak.
Source: Cait May for Dropout
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Who is your favorite NPC in 'Fantasy High'?

BM: That is so hard to pick. Fantasy High has got a lot of people that I really, really love. I'm gonna fully cheat and just say a bunch of names. It's Arthur Aguefort, Bill Seacaster, Jawbone O'Shaughnessy, Gilear Faeth. I think I also really love Sklonda and Poc Gukgak. Honestly all the parents — and then Aelwyn— basically the family of the Bad Kids I think are my favorite NPCs to be. Sandra Lynn, the Thistlesprings, I just love them. I just really love being the Intrepid Heroes' family.

What is your favorite monster to throw players up against and why?

BM: My favorite monster to throw players up against I feel like is usually a big spellcaster. I think like the stat block build for arc mages and liches and things like that — because I listen, I love womping and doing damage, that's really, really fun, but the ability to run a monster that is going to do something radically different on every turn, like spell casters can do, I think makes for really gripping battles. I think it's like not knowing what the next trick up the sleeve is. It's just very fun.

What is your No. 1 distraction?

BM: Phone. The smartest designers in the world have made a handheld casino to monopolize your attention. I'm not better than the greatest digital narcotics crafters of all time. It's so incredibly addictive. I'm finally starting to do little time management applications on my phone, which is a long time coming. But you know, you gotta give your hats off — they made a really fun little toy. My friend Kendra Wells has a viral tweet — they are one of the illustrators for the Unsleeping City, actually — that is like talking about Lord of the Rings or something being like, "I would simply not pick up the cursed item. If it's hurting me, I would simply put it away." And then the next paragraph is "Me on my phone all day: Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow." You're like yeah, that's very real. I cannot put down the cursed thing.

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