A new YouTube series will adapt a Dungeons & Dragons campaign played by the founder of the RPG’s publisher Wizards of the Coast in the 1980s.
World of Chaldea is based on a D&D campaign that Peter Adkison began in 1981, alongside several of his later Wizards co-founders including Steve Conard and the late Cliff "CJ" Jones. Founded in 1990, the publisher of Magic: The Gathering acquired Dungeons & Dragons from original outlet TSR in 1997. Adkison, Conard and Jones were also involved in the organisation of Gen Con following Adkison’s purchase of the long-running board game convention in 2002; Adkison remains CEO of the event to this day.
The world of Chaldea is said to draw inspiration from real-life cultures including the Greek, Egyptian and Norse pantheons, as well as Babylonian, Celtic and Japanese mythology and history. The real-world elements are combined with fantasy elements such as dragons, giants and undead, with the setting’s orcs based on Roman legend. Its elves and dwarves, meanwhile, are said to be influenced by designer Luke Crane’s character-driven RPG The Burning Wheel. The campaign takes place in the wake of a god-emperor’s demise, and examines their empire in the aftermath.
The upcoming YouTube series based on Chaldea will combine animation narrated by voice actors with live-action. Lead characters will include Yonnus Octoni (Brandon Marino), Sarva (Yasmine Aker), Zane Adraelestos (Jesse Cheever), Maurko Hamalgrar (Eric Ray Anderson) and Reiswitz Georg von Gustavus (Stefan Hajek).
Yonnus Octoni is the character created and played by Jones in Adkison’s original campaign, becoming the focal point of several storylines during the 1980s. Jones passed away in 2014, and was among the individuals recognised as representing “Black excellence in gaming” by this year’s Diana Jones Award.
The series is said to have been in the works for six years, with over 130 actors involved and sets, props and costumes created to bring the fantasy setting to life. Adkison will serve as producer and director, with Conard taking the roles of lead writer, art director and co-director.
The first two instalments of the World of Chaldea will premiere on YouTube on December 20th, with a further six chapters to follow in early 2021 - including two live-action short films. The episodes will debut every two weeks, with a prologue followed by seven chapters up to March 15th.
Future chapters and seasons of Chaldea are said to be “well into development”, with the announcement of the series also hinting at other “licensing opportunities” in the future.