A legendary journey is about to begin anew! Last year, Hornet readers helped Kickstart the Queens of Adventure podcast, a comedy-storytelling podcast that has drag queens improvise their way through fantasy adventures using the rules of Dungeons & Dragons.
Thanks to the backing of fans, what started as a live show in Seattle has now grown into an ongoing podcast in which a party of queer heroes bring drag culture and role playing games together in an ongoing adventure.
Now, after a year of recording from its home base, the show Queens of Adventure is ready to hit the road and create all-new episodes with new drag artists in new cities. This week, the Queens of Adventure podcast launched a Kickstarter to bring the Seattle cast to Chicago, taking the performers on the road together for the first time ever to record over a dozen hours of new episodes, featuring special guests and collaborations.
While they’re in Chicago, Queens of Adventure will present two live D&D shows at Hamburger Mary’s, featuring drag talent from Chicago and Seattle over two weeks. The performers will also team up with other midwest D&D podcasts for tabletop recording sessions, creating new episodes for everyone to enjoy all over the world.
That the Queens of Adventure podcast exists at all is thanks in part to Hornet readers. Last year, the show ran a Kickstarter to purchase recording equipment and pay the performers with a fundraising goal of $3,000. Backers contributed over $10,000, with Hornet readers comprising one of the largest groups of Kickstarter backers — more than other LGBTQ site — making it possible to launch a sustainable podcast and pay queer performers for their time and talent.
Since that time, the Queens of Adventure podcast has kept busy, combining drag fabulousness and high fantasy. In addition to six live shows in Seattle, the show staged three shows in San Francisco, with a local SF cast that included Dragula star Erika Klash and the UK’s Kitty Powers. There was also a panel version of the show at RuPaul’s DragCon L.A., featuring Drag Race fan-favorite BenDeLaCreme playing a half-elf sorcerer.
That’s in addition to producing over 40 episodes of the podcast, which has racked up over 100 five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts, plus 14 bonus episodes for Kickstarter and Patreon backers.
As it turns out, drag and D&D are made for each other. They’re both about creating characters to represent a fierce and fearless alter-ego within, inhabiting elaborate personas, and delving deep to unleash a fabulous performer ready to slay a lip sync.
“Have you ever imagined yourself as a hero, but have maybe felt a little too weird or quirky or different to be said hero?” says Queens of Adventure star Arson Nicki. “Well, this podcast is perfect for you, because that’s exactly what we are.”
Daring, creative and unpredictable, drag performers embody all the qualities that make for an outstanding hero.
While the podcast is free for anyone to listen to, Kickstarter backers can get some exclusive rewards, starting with wallpapers, bonus episodes and a digital funpack featuring word searches, coloring pages, jokes, quizzes and more.
Backers can also get enamel pins designed by Seattle artist Cody Shipman, who’s been creating gorgeous art of the Queens of Adventure crew since the early live shows. Cody created four unique pin designs that blend drag with D&D, and they’re available exclusively for backers.
Backers can also sponsor an episode and get a shoutout at the beginning and end, join an episode as a special guest player and even work with the show to design a custom one-shot adventure for the players. At the highest reward tier, supporters can sponsor every episode for a year.
So far, the Queens of Adventure podcast has featured 13 different drag queens adventuring together in various combinations though worlds of fantasy-comedy adventure. And thanks to the support of listeners, that number will continue to grow, with Chicago drag stars Lucy Stoole, Fox E. Kim and Joe Lewis joining the cast.
“Playing D&D with drag queens is so much fun,” says the podcast’s Butylene O’Kipple. “We just kiki and laugh the whole time.”
And now with these adventurers hitting the road, those laughs will soon reach further than ever.
“It’s going to get bigger and better,” teases star Fraya Love, “and lonnnnnger, oooh.”