Beadle and Grimm’s: Premium Products for Platinum NerdsJune 3, 2019
“[This] is the nerdiest mid-life crisis ever.”
So says Matthew Lillard, one of the co-founders of Beadle and Grimm’s, a company dedicated to providing players the option of a premium Dungeons & Dragons experience. You know Lillard as Shaggy from the Scooby Doo movies, Scream, amongst many others.
Now, you might be asking, ‘what is a premium Dungeons & Dragons experience?’
Well, D&D released an adventure called Waterdeep: Dragon Heist about a mystery of missing dragons (gold pieces, for those of you not from Waterdeep) and if you were to purchase this book in a game store, it would cost about (Canadian) $50.
Beadle and Grimm’s, under an agreement with Dungeons & Dragons, produced a platinum version of this adventure, and included maps, minis, exclusive encounters and tons of additional content; it’s everything a DM would need to run a bangin’ Waterdeep: Dragon Heist campaign.
The premium experience, does, however, come with a premium price tag of around (Canadian) $650, which the team recognizes is no small sum. But, they put it in these terms: “look, there are music fans out there who love a band, and they’ll pay $20 to buy an album…and there are fans out there who’ll spend $300 on a limited edition boxed set that comes with exclusive content, extras, and more” and those are the fans these platinum sets are intended to support.
The team was quick to add, however, that “(US) $500 is a lot, but amortized over the life of a campaign, maybe two or three years of enjoyment, [is not so bad.]”
The origins of Beadle and Grimm’s is humble: five roommates picking up a game they played as kids, and then, 27 years later, starting a company that produces content for that same game. It’s a dream come true.
The team saw an opportunity because of the rise of experiential entertainment, “we started the company three years ago [and saw the rising popularity] of escape rooms and mystery boxes,” and they kicked around ideas on how they could get involved. They settled on Dungeons and Dragons, and the rest is history.
The company’s next platinum offering will be Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, releasing alongside the new storyline in September, and set for delivery in October. Their last offering, the platinum edition of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, sold out a week after release, but if the fan reaction at #DNDLIVE2019 was any indication, there’s no way this run will last that long.
“Avernus is a massive, elaborate campaign, that takes characters from level 1 through 13; from Baldur’s Gate straight into hell. There’s a lot of world building stuff because of the trip to hell.”
One piece of information that the team was able to share about the Avernus box is that it’s going to come with two DM screens: one for Baldur’s Gate, which includes relevant information for the city, and one for hell, which does the same for Avernus. Each will be uniquely suited for that phase of the adventure.
For the team, what it really comes down to is time.
Could people pull together something this fantastic on their own? Absolutely, and the BG boys know it, but “people have the money. They don’t always have the time,” and that’s where Beadle and Grimm’s see themselves fitting in.
Providing a premium product for those that don’t have the time to produce something similar themselves.
While they couldn’t speak to specifics, it sounded like their dream was developing their own content, which is something they started in the platinum edition of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist by adding extra encounters, among other things.
From the sounds of it, the team at Beadle and Grimm’s isn’t settling for platinum.
My thanks to the team at Beadle and Grimm’s for chatting with me at #DNDLIVE2019
All pictures are copyright Beadle and Grimm’s, and used with permission