Every great journey has a beginning and Dungeons & Dragons is no exception. The generally agreed-upon method for bringing new players into the game is to invite them to a one-shot. They'll know if they enjoy the game after a four-to-six hour session. To help with this, D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast has put out a few sets that facilitate the process of a quick intro game. Both the Starter Set and its upgraded brother the Essentials Kit offer a simple package that streamlines the learning process. Then there's Dungeons & Dragons Vs. Rick and Morty, which offers the same essentials and an extra dose of crazy on top.
A Starter Set By Any Other Name
This is a big "duh," but Dungeons & Dragons Vs. Rick and Morty is made to appeal to fans of Rick and Morty. If the very name of the product didn't tip you off to that, the packaging sure will. The box is covered in Rick-isms that poke fun at the fundamentals of D&D. Or have Rick tell us that bards aren't allowed because they're dumb. But behind the snarky commentary is the standard D&D starter package. There's a DM screen, a basic rule book, dice for one player, pre-generated level one characters, and a book containing a beginner-friendly adventure.
As is the case with the other official starter sets, players should find it relatively easy to use the tools included to begin playing Dungeons & Dragons. New players should appreciate the included character sheets. Every ability they have is cleanly laid out, as are instructions for leveling up. The only thing they don't include is instructions for picking a sub-class at level three, which makes sense. The included adventure should end by then, and that stuff can be covered later should the group decide to keep playing.
Dungeon Masters, both experienced and new, will appreciate what they get. Provided they're Rick and Morty fans. The included screen is of thinner cardboard, but it includes great art of the Rick and Morty cast D&D-ified. Dice preference is subjective, but these ones are of a decidedly garish color. Finally, there's the included adventure.
You Don't Have To Have A High IQ, Just A Sense Of Humor
The included adventure book is the most Rick and Morty thing in the package. It's called "The Lost Dungeon of Rickedness: Big Rick Energy." The premise is that Rick created this dungeon. Why? Doesn't matter. What brought the player's characters to this place? Who cares! Why are you still reading? Go kill things!
That's the spirit of the whole adventure. Dungeon Masters are given a lot of text boxes to read from in order to stay true to Rick's annoyed, arrogant voice. There's a general disdain for the tropes of dungeon crawling and a desire to mix them up to surprise the players. This is all from Rick, of course. The actual designers of the Lost Dungeon of Rickedness probably had a lot of fun taking a classic dungeon crawl and infusing it with the weirdness of Rick and Morty.
It would be a shame to ruin the adventure with specifics, but the goal is to reach the end. Traps will try to stop the party and monsters will try to kill them. Like I said, classic dungeon crawl. Where Rick and Morty comes in is the flavor of the activities. The challenges require just as much suspicion of everything around you as they do a knowledge of game mechanics. Monsters can be jerks, as can your party members. If players elect to actually role play as Morty and his family, some of the show's toxic relationships will be forced into the open by the dungeon. If they don't, they can still totally steal loot from each other.
And to answer the all-important question: there is indeed a pantry full of Pickle Ricks.
Fun For Fans
The best thing about the "big Rick energy" of the adventure is that it makes it fun for experienced players. Yes, the adventure is intended for the included, pre-made level one characters. And yes, it is essentially a classic dungeon crawl in disguise. It mixes combat, puzzles, and potential roleplay in a way that shows newcomers what Dungeons and Dragons can be. But DMs will be easily able to bring out the more bizarre, Rick-infused properties of the dungeon to get genuine laughs and gasps from players. In some ways, the dungeons is designed to prey upon the expectations of veteran adventurers.
The biggest caveat to all of this is that it's Rick and Morty. You have to appreciate the show's aggressive meta humor to appreciate its presence in this adventure. Those who don't like it are better off with the regular starter set. Good riddance. They probably want to play with a bard, anyway.