Critical Role Could Critical Role launch their own RPG?

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I imagine they could, and I imagine it would be successful. The Critter fan base is huge and fully-vested in All Things Mercer.

But honestly, I don't think they would. Critical Role seems happiest when they are just hanging out and playing D&D, or talking about D&D, or hanging out with other people who play and talk about D&D. Matt doesn't shy away from the occasional houserule to make his game run a little more smoothly for the cameras and his own playstyle, but he doesn't strike me as the type who would be interested in building a whole new game from the ground up.

Know what I would like to see instead of a whole new RPG, though?

I'd like to see Critical Role adventure paths get published for 5th Edition and/or Pathfinder. The entire Briarwoods story arc, the City of Brass, the Chroma Conclave, all of them would be great. If Critical Role were to publish their adventures in quality hardcover format, and do it up right with player's guides, full-color maps, and collectible minis, official character sheets...the Critterverse would go absolutely crazy. They would sell out of everything in the first month, if not the first week.
 
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Hussar

Legend
There is some parallel with creating the animated show though.

They aren't actually creating the animated show. They are hiring folks to do all the animation and actual production, even if they are providing the voices.

Could they not do the same thing to design an RPG? Hire some of the bigger names in game design to build a CR RPG? Who says that they have to be the designers.

Heck, it's not like everyone at WotC is a designer.
 

They could but they probably won't. For a wealth of different reasons.

First off, the DM who runs the game—Matt Mercer—is a super busy dude. Heck, all the CR team have day jobs. Making a brand new RPG is a an eff of a lot of work, and requires a very different skill set than running a game or speaking in silly voices. Plus playtesting.
And for what gain? To sell a few books? They're already doing that with the art books. There's very little benefit for a lot of work...
Plus, it would also mean everyone would need to actually learn their characters rather than relying on D&D Beyond. To say nothing about mixing up rules as everyone tries to learn the new game...

It would also mean they'd lose their sponsorship with D&D Beyond, which brings in decent money.

And they have a good relationship with the D&D team. I don't see why they'd want to jepordize that by becoming the competition...

ALSO...

There's a lot of people online are upset at Critical Role for taking money away from small, indy RPGs. Because the Kickstarter is doing so well. There's the feeling that there's a finite amount of money in the community and that the Critical Role cartoon is taking it from other games. That it's just making a bunch of famous, rich voice actors more famous and rich. Making their own game won't help, and would likely be seen the same.
 

MGibster

Legend
In the last few years Critical Role expanded into podcasting, comics, and now animation and they've licensed their brand for use in miniatures, computer games, and even an RPG source book. It looks to me like CR is very keen on expanding and at some point they've really got to ask themselves whether or not remaining inexorably tied to D&D is right for them. Things might be working well now but what about three, five or eight years from now? What if WOTC decides to take D&D in a wild direction and Critical Role no longer wishes to tag along? I'd be very surprised if they haven't weighed the pros and cons of coming out with their own game. Even if game production isn't where the big money is at it makes sense to me for them to use their own intellectual property rather than relying on WOTC.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
They could always hire someone to create a ruleset for them. But why give out on the expansive community, network, and system that is D&D? How easy will their fans be able to find games at their FLGS? Instead of expending resources designing, playtesting, and creating a community for their own game, I think they would be better off working with WotC to release their own adventure path. Yes, they are successful, but let's not forget the value of the D&D brand and the fact that D&D is backed by Hasbro. If their animation does well and gets picked up for further seasons by Netflix, Amazon, or a TV network, they could be looking at releasing action figures and other licensed toys and collectibles in the next couple of years. I don't see how it helps them to risk being perceived as a competitor to D&D and Hasbro.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
There's a lot of people online are upset at Critical Role for taking money away from small, indy RPGs. Because the Kickstarter is doing so well. There's the feeling that there's a finite amount of money in the community and that the Critical Role cartoon is taking it from other games. That it's just making a bunch of famous, rich voice actors more famous and rich. Making their own game won't help, and would likely be seen the same.
I haven't observed this happening, but it doesn't surprise me. The prevailing attitude in certain corners of the Internet is that the success of others is a threat to your own.

But what I can tell you is this: Last week, at the top of their show, Matt Mercer urged his fans to support other projects.

Matt Mercer said:
"And here--here's the thing. None of us expected this. People say 'well you should have' but this isn't a scale that we could have expected. We are super-excited about this series. This community has come out in full force and really shown (up). Not just the Critters but the tabletop gaming community here and beyond--and it's overwhelming, it's humbling.

There is so much more out there to support beyond this--wherever this goes. People that haven't gotten the opportunity to get engaged please do. There are so many great creators out there, there are game designers and artists and people in this community who have Kickstarters and Patreons. You can also support them. Go to the hashtag #FundDiverseGames on Twitter to see a vast number of incredible creators out there that do not get anywhere near the attention and support that we do.

This is an opportunity. As this grows, and we grow, and this community grows, there are more and more opportunities for us to make sure and lift up everyone else around us. We are committed to that, and we will continue to be committed to that, and you guys should be too. So thank you for all this fantastic support, but we are but one in a sea of many amazing people out there. So, you know, pay it forward and spread it around as much as you can. Thank you for everything, but I'm proud of all the stuff we can do for each other going forward, too."
They don't sound like they are trying to take anything away from small, indy RPGs with the success of their Kickstarter. Quite the contrary: it sounds more like they would like to use their success as a platform to boost the others up.

And it's working. The comment section of the "Legend of Vox Machina" Kickstarter is riddled with links to other smaller Kickstarters that need funding. If you follow those links, you will see Critters leaving pledges and comments at those other Kickstarters as well. Even other fantasy film projects, like the Strowlers Kickstarter.

I'm sure there are people online who are upset at Critical Role for the attention they are getting. But I can't bring myself to hate on a bunch of fun-loving and good-hearted people who want to help the hobby grow. (shrug)
 
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S'mon

Legend
What if WOTC decides to take D&D in a wild direction and Critical Role no longer wishes to tag along?

If WoTC have a 4e style brainfart and lose most of their customer base then I'd think CR would be best off sticking with 5e. I really can't see that happening any time soon, though. Right now with 5e WoTC are making decent money off minimal investment, and have greatly strengthened the D&D brand.
 


robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
They could always hire someone to create a ruleset for them. But why give out on the expansive community, network, and system that is D&D? How easy will their fans be able to find games at their FLGS? Instead of expending resources designing, playtesting, and creating a community for their own game, I think they would be better off working with WotC to release their own adventure path. Yes, they are successful, but let's not forget the value of the D&D brand and the fact that D&D is backed by Hasbro. If their animation does well and gets picked up for further seasons by Netflix, Amazon, or a TV network, they could be looking at releasing action figures and other licensed toys and collectibles in the next couple of years. I don't see how it helps them to risk being perceived as a competitor to D&D and Hasbro.

I hadn’t even thought of the action figure market. Those things would sell like hot cakes!
 


There is some parallel with creating the animated show though.

They aren't actually creating the animated show. They are hiring folks to do all the animation and actual production, even if they are providing the voices.

Could they not do the same thing to design an RPG? Hire some of the bigger names in game design to build a CR RPG? Who says that they have to be the designers.

Heck, it's not like everyone at WotC is a designer.
Sure.
But what's the benefit?

They'd lose their D&D Beyond sponsorship. And the players would have to learn new rules and remake their characters.
Yeah, it would make them some money from Critters. But they're already doing that with art books, dice, pencils, T-shirts, hoodies, press on nails, miniatures, comic books, and now a cartoon.

It would cost them a lot of money (paying someone to design and test a game for a year or two) for a very moderate return on investment. While they're huge, they'd be competing with a known name, and not all of their fans would change editions. Because, while Critical Role has brought a lot of gamers into the community, not every member of a D&D group is likely to be a critter. Getting a group to swap RPG systems is a tricky business.
Such a product would be likely to sell well, but unlikely to make much inroads into play.

Because, while...
One rather hopes the rising tide and all that.
Roll20's numbers of games being played have shown that D&D is growing rapidly, but most other RPGs are only increasing at a trickle, if at all. There's a lot of new gamers being added to tabletop RPGs but most haven't started spreading out into other systems yet.

A Critical Role RPG would be a "shelf game". A product you buy to read and then just sits on your gaming shelf...
 

I haven't observed this happening, but it doesn't surprise me. The prevailing attitude in certain corners of the Internet is that the success of others is a threat to your own.

But what I can tell you is this: Last week, at the top of their show, Matt Mercer urged his fans to support other projects.
Matt Mercer's comments to that effect were partially the result of some people getting upset at their success.
There's a lot of growing criticism of Critical Role:

https://www.polygon.com/2019/3/11/18256668/critical-role-kickstarter-animated

But, really, this is just because it's successful. And some people are always going to be jealous and angry when other people find success, and lots of people want to see things fail. They want to see the big name creators stumble and fail, because that completes the narrative.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
But, really, this is just because it's successful. And some people are always going to be jealous and angry when other people find success, and lots of people want to see things fail. They want to see the big name creators stumble and fail, because that completes the narrative.

Hmm - that gives me a show idea for them: Critical Boost. Once a month have the cast talk about geek culture things they're excited about. Whether it's a new game, animated show, or a new kickstarter or book or whatever. Basically share their enthusiasm for the wider geek culture (and give a signal boost to deserving things).
 


Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
The plan seems like a way to spend a lot of effort to turn a popular, money making show that they really enjoy being a part of into a less-popular show that makes less money and involves more work that they don't like, but allows them to say they're playing their own game instead of D&D. I really don't see why they'd opt to put in the effort to go from a large fortune to a small fortune, it just doesn't make sense on any level.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Matt Mercer's comments to that effect were partially the result of some people getting upset at their success.
There's a lot of growing criticism of Critical Role:

https://www.polygon.com/2019/3/11/18256668/critical-role-kickstarter-animated

But, really, this is just because it's successful. And some people are always going to be jealous and angry when other people find success, and lots of people want to see things fail. They want to see the big name creators stumble and fail, because that completes the narrative.
I don't think they are supporting others in response to criticism. Matt Mercer has been plugging #FundDiverseGames on Twitter months before the Kickstarter went live, and the Critical Role show has been raising money for local charities for years.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe Critical Role should be above criticism...I don't think any public figure should be. And between you and me? I'm okay with it. If online criticism truly does motivate Critical Role to do even more great things for worthy causes, then let's pile it on.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The plan seems like a way to spend a lot of effort to turn a popular, money making show that they really enjoy being a part of into a less-popular show that makes less money and involves more work that they don't like, but allows them to say they're playing their own game instead of D&D. I really don't see why they'd opt to put in the effort to go from a large fortune to a small fortune, it just doesn't make sense on any level.

Nothing lasts forever. Start future-proofing early. And an RPG book isn't that big a hurdle.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Don't get me wrong, I don't believe Critical Role should be above criticism...I don't think any public figure should be. And between you and me? I'm okay with it. If online criticism truly does motivate Critical Role to do even more great things for worthy causes, then let's pile it on.

Well let’s avoid a pile on! Constructive criticism is great, but just endless moaning that they haven’t supported this or that pet project is just going to end badly. It’s way too easy to form social media hit squads!

These appear to be good people dealing with unexpected success and visibility, let’s not be an angry mob making unreasonable demands.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Hmm - that gives me a show idea for them: Critical Boost. Once a month have the cast talk about geek culture things they're excited about. Whether it's a new game, animated show, or a new kickstarter or book or whatever. Basically share their enthusiasm for the wider geek culture (and give a signal boost to deserving things).
It wouldn't even need to be a separate show. It could be a one-minute plug at the top of the show, right after Sam's "D&D Beyond" bit and Laura's merchandise update. Maybe Liam or Taliesin could spend just a minute talking about one or two projects from the FundDiverseGames hashtag or something. "This week, I'd like to boost the signal for Tiny RPG Project," Taliesin might say. "Their Kickstarter just went live, and it's a wonderful little game written by a small group of awesome folks in Kansas. Let's get the word out with hashtag Tiny RPG Project, everyone...let's help them get off the ground."

Hm. On second thought...

I can already hear the internet comment section howling with outrage. "Oh sure, Tiny RPG Project...how much money did you have to give Critical Role to get them to say that? You guys are such sell-outs. And those guys in Kansas are roommates with the uncle of the cousin of the former paperboy of a wealthy oil baron, so they already have enough money" and so on, right down the toilet. And no matter which project they announce, it would be the wrong choice according to 99% of the Internet and would alienate more than it would unite. It's sad, but we really do eat our own.

Maybe social media and hashtags is the best approach after all? I'm not really sure. I'm an engineer, not a promoter or publicist.
 
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