5 Classic D&D Foes Stranger Things Should Do Next
Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things has just wrapped up its fourth season, one in which again, the fate of the world rests in the hands of some RAPIDLY aging children. Another throughline carried over into the new season was the deep intertwining of Dungeons & Dragons into the plot of the series, both through the actual play of the characters and of the Duffer Brothers’ tradition of nicknaming the big bad of the season after a classic Dungeons & Dragons monster or villain.
Up this time was Vecna, a famous lich deity and a pretty big step up from last season’s Mind Flayer in Dungeons and Dragons lore. You have to admit that the Duffer Bros respect the classic, even giving their Vecna a quite prominent and extremely powerful hand, maybe in a nod to the famous Hand of Vecna.
Now, assuming that the Duffer Brothers continue the trend in the next season, and assuming Netflix is going to make another season, which they will because they like money, we can start to ask ourselves: what classic D&D foe might our intrepid, dirt-lipped party of adventurers face next?
The adversaries thrown at the friend group have only grown in power, both physical and mental, and yet the teens seem to inevitably come out on top. Maybe the change in strategy needs to be to stop doubting the courage of a couple of high schoolers with an invincibility complex. Instead, capitalize on the emotion that a bunch of 16 year olds are already haunted by on a daily basis: a level of horniness that could bring gods to their knees.
So, instead of sending a Mind Flayer that ostensibly has to spend half their time in the mind of a 14-year-old cranking off to a Sears catalog, just send a demon with some huge knockers. That friend group will fall apart like a diving bell made of paper-mache. I’d like to see them plan an interdimensional rescue when every boy in the group is too embarrassed to stand up at the end.
Just An Absolute S***load Of Goblins
Look, if these kids want to live real life Dungeons and Dragons, make them play some of the boring low-level campaigns too. Oh, you guys are looking for an ancient evil power to defeat? Sorry, no such luck. This year Hawkins is just going to have like, a million fucking goblins in it. No big bad, no secrets, just an absolute unending pipeline of nasty little goblins. Just 8 episodes of XP farming.
The best twist? They will naturally assume, as per usual, that the plague descending on their town is the product of that evil alternate universe, the Upside Down. Only to find that the Upside Down is not involved at all. All the gates are still sealed. It just turns out goblins are real and like 100 of them have been banging like rabbits in a cave for like 10 years and now there’s like a thousand of them. They may die of sheer exhaustion. Plus the Duffer Brothers could pack this thing full of Gremlins references until their nostalgia glands run dry.
You know when a restaurant with spicy food has an item on the menu that’s just basically an entire bowl of chili oil just to fuck with people? The Tarrasque is basically the Monster Manual’s version of that. It’s a massive armored creature that destroys cities by walking through them, doesn’t really get hurt by anything, and sleeps inside the cores of planets. Good luck with boat oars and baseball bats this time, kids.
I do secretly hope they include it. At the same time, however, a Tarrasque season would be bad news for Stranger Things fans. That’s because the inclusion of a Tarrasque in a tv show would mean the same thing that it means in a D&D campaign: that the people running it want it to be over now.
Just An Absolute S***load Of Traps
No monsters, nothing to fight, the whole town is just filled with a billion god damn booby traps everywhere. I hope those kids like doing perception checks. Trying to bike to Dustin’s house? Pit in the road. Trying to get to the library to do some research? Library’s full of poison gas. Trying to eat a bowl of period-appropriate breakfast cereal? The box is actually a cereal mimic and you have only a thumb now.
I especially want to see the classic angry town hall/press conference scenes in this season. “The police are doing nothing! My whole family got caught in an iron maiden and their only recommendation was to more thoroughly examine spiky looking statues!” You think Hopper looked rough after a couple rounds with the demogorgon? Wait until you see him after stepping on 43 consecutive pressure plates in one school hallway.
Scheduling As An Adult
The true and ultimate bane of any Dungeons & Dragons campaign: trying to coordinate one between 4-6 employed adults. Those kids are aging so rapidly anyways that you might as well lean into it. Give every one of them a 9-5 without PTO or sick days and see how many apocalypses they foil.
It’s all nice and easy when you’re still in high school and any job you have seems to be completely devoid of any sort of management or schedule. I want to see the Stranger Things gang try to coordinate a trip to the Upside Down over Google Calendar. I don’t care how many ancient evils they’ve eradicated, that season would end with a burned out husk of a planet, the last shot of a phone clutched in a gnarled hand, open to a group chat with a message that starts “Hey guys, I really hate to do this, but could we possibly reschedule?”
Top Image: Netflix/Pixabay