Critical Role Matt Mercer Speaks About The Wildemount Book

Matt Mercer posted on Reddit about the upcoming D&D setting book. "As the info seemed to leak a liiiiiiittle early yesterday, I just wanted to write something to reach out to the greater, non-critter DnD crowd regarding this book, what it means to me, and what I hope it means to you".

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Well now, it certainly looks like the cat’s out of the bag (and seemed to sneak out a LITTLE early, hehe)! I can’t express just how excited and honored I am to have been given the opportunity to bring my world to you all via the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. D&D has been such an influential element of my life, of who I am, and to have contributed to it in this way is beyond words.

I’ve spent the better part of 1.5 years working on this project, along with some incredible contributors, to make this something we could all be extremely proud of. I set out to create this book not as a tome specifically for fans of Critical Role, but as a love letter to the D&D community as a whole. Those who follow our adventures will find many familiar and enjoyable elements that tie into what they’ve experienced within our campaign. However, I want this book to not only be a vibrant, unique setting for non-critter players and Dungeon Masters young and old, experienced or new, but also a resource of inspiration for DMs to pull from regardless of what setting they are running their game in. I’ve done my very best to make it a dynamic, breathing world full of deep lore, detailed factions and societies, a sprawling gazetteer, heaps of plot hooks, and numerous mechanical options/items/monsters to perhaps introduce into your own sessions, or draw inspiration from to cobble together your own variations. I wanted this to be a book for any D&D player, regardless of their knowledge of (or appreciation of, for that matter) Critical Role. I made this for ALL of you.

I am also well-aware of how much negativity can permeate these spaces regarding myself and the games we play, and that’s ok! One could never expect our form of storytelling and gaming to be everyone’s cup of tea, and it could very well be that this just isn’t the book for you. I don’t begrudge you that, and I only hope one day we get a chance to roll some dice at a convention and swap stories about our love of the game. I know for folks, this isn't necessarily what they were hoping for the announcement to be, and for that I'm sorry.

As a person excited and clamoring for new settings to be brought into the D&D multiverse, I also understand the frustrations from some that this isn’t one of the “classics”. Believe you me, I’m one of the those who is ever-shouting “I want my Planescape/Dark Sun”, and said so loudly… multiple times while in the WotC offices. Know that my setting doesn’t eliminate, delay, or consume any such plans they may have for any future-such projects! I’m not stepping on such wonderful legacy properties, these same ones that inspired me growing up. This is just the new-kid stepping into that area and hoping one of the older kids will sit and have lunch with them. ;) If Wizards has any plans to release any of their much-demanded settings, they’ll come whether or not Wildemount showed up.

I also wanted to comment on the occasionally-invoked negative opinions on my homebrew designs I’ve seen here… and they aren’t wrong! I don’t have the lengthy design history and experience that many of you within this community do have. Outside of small, home-game stuff I messed with through the 2000’s, my journey on the path of public homebrew began as a reaction to online community demand and throwing out my inexperienced ideas in a very public space. Much of my early homebrew was myself learning as I went (as all of us begin), only with a large portion of the internet screaming at me for my mistakes and lack of knowledge. Even my Tal’Dorei Guide homebrew was rushed due to demands being made of me, and I continue to learn so many lessons since. The occasional unwarranted intensity aside, there is much appreciated constructive criticism I’ve received over the years (from reddit included) that has helped me grow and improve. Anyway, what I mention all this for is to express my thanks for all the wonderful feedback, the chances to learn from all of you as time has gone on, and the many elements of this book reflect that improvement as I took those lessons and collaborated with the official WotC team to make this as good as it could be.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling from an insecure nerd. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done with this book. I hope you give it a shot and enjoy it. I really do. If you choose to pass on it, that’s totally cool and am just happy we find joy in the same pastime. Either way, be kind to each other, and keep on forging amazing stories together. <3

-Mercer
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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GreyLord

Legend
I think you’ve nailed it. We seem to be looking at a new incarnation of the Edition War. Slightly different sides, but it’s still the old vs the new.

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I do not believe there needs to be. There shouldn't be angst between those who watch streaming RPG games (and I believe not all of those who do are young, there probably are Boomers, Xers, and others in that mix) and those who do not (and there are many among the Z and millenials who do NOT).

It's not an age thing.

This book coming out I believe has many various class options which might appeal to those who do not even watch the show, or adventures they can adapt. It does not have to be one group or the other.

I think there were a great many expectations (I saw many trying to connect a certain dice set with the upcoming announcement and many hopes were pegged on that idea from what I saw) and there is bound to be some disappointment from some hoping to see their own favorite setting or campaign released or announced as a future release.

I feel Mr. Mercer is probably addressing some of this disappointment in a very classy way.

I hope that there is no "war" or "skirmish" that starts or goes on between those who watch streaming games vs. those who don't. I don't see a particular need for it or reason for that to occur.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I do not believe there needs to be. There shouldn't be angst between those who watch streaming RPG games (and I believe not all of those who do are young, there probably are Boomers, Xers, and others in that mix) and those who do not (and there are many among the Z and millenials who do NOT).

There shouldn’t be, no. And yet I just came from a conversation on Twitter where one side was claiming CR fans don’t play D&D and the other was talking about “middle-aged fatbeards”. It’s happening, whether we want it to or not.

I’m sure other fandoms are the same. Just look at Star Wars!
 



GreyLord

Legend
There shouldn’t be, no. And yet I just came from a conversation on Twitter where one side was claiming CR fans don’t play D&D and the other was talking about “middle-aged fatbeards”. It’s happening, whether we want it to or not.

I’m sure other fandoms are the same. Just look at Star Wars!

That's unfortunate that such a conversation was taking place. I think there is a misperception that only young people watch such things like Critical Role while older players do not. Streaming RPG games may be a newer innovation of our time, but I have seen it's appeal towards older people as well as younger. Sometimes it's due to those who have no groups to play with (and this I think applies to a great many of the older audience that watch such games) or limited playing time with groups and other times well as those who are curious about such things.

The book being released I think probably has some indications that it can appeal to many different areas of D&D players, not just the new and young players (a more limited demographic). I think there is a wide appeal from the book that is applicable to the D&D audences of today (which I think is a broader demographic overall and includes all sorts of people and players)...and I think that is probably reflected in the groups who watch such streams as well (or so I would think, that is more personal opinion rather than any evidentiary studies I've done on my own).
 


I am Spanish, and my level of oral English isn't enough good to watch English-speaker media without subttitles. This is the reason I don't watch game-live podcasts. For non-English-speaker markets the hook should media titles, as videogames, cartoons or series in streaming media services.

I am happy because there is a new little brother in the family, and my best wishes for this , new members are welcome, but sometimes I miss those old friends I met for high school and unniversity/college years.

If there is a new setting based in Council of Wyrms I advice to allow enough space in the lore/background/fluff to add later all the dragon species (planar, oriental lungs, gemstones,..)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I am Spanish, and my level of oral English isn't enough good to watch English-speaker media without subttitles. This is the reason I don't watch game-live podcasts. For non-English-speaker markets the hook should media titles, as videogames, cartoons or series in streaming media services.

I am happy because there is a new little brother in the family, and my best wishes for this , new members are welcome, but sometimes I miss those old friends I met for high school and unniversity/college years.

If there is a new setting based in Council of Wyrms I advice to allow enough space in the lore/background/fluff to add later all the dragon species (planar, oriental lungs, gemstones,..)

I believe that Critical Role episodes on YourTube are subtitled, but I could see that being a significant barrier.
 

MarkB

Legend
More like next-level improv theatre than a sport. Mark Miller (of Traveller) said once that TTRPG were digital to the analog of older forms like improv sketch or model UN, and I think something like CR shows that in a big way.
Exactly. The way I tend to define this, and other similar streaming shows, is that they are an improv storytelling show which uses a game system as a structural framework upon which to build its narrative.
 

Bravesteel25

Baronet of Gaming
I'm glad this is coming for those who are fans of the show and I'm sure it will have a lot of interesting things in it (it better considering how many pages it has) even if you don't want to use it for the setting.

For me, it just illustrates why I'm glad I moved over to P2 as much of the stuff WotC has been pushing out lately hasn't interested me.
 
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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
That's unfortunate that such a conversation was taking place. I think there is a misperception that only young people watch such things like Critical Role while older players do not. Streaming RPG games may be a newer innovation of our time, but I have seen it's appeal towards older people as well as younger.

Streaming Critical Role on the long drives to and from dropping my daughter off to college - very entertaining and more helpful in keeping me awake than music. It's different from the way I GM games, but so what? It's an entertaining format and they are most definitely playing D&D no matter what the internet peanut gallery may say.
 



Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
It’s sad that the community remains so toxic that other people fun needs an apology. Nice work guys.
To be fair, it didn't need an apology any more than Ed Greenwood needed to apologize to all those people who were complaining about "yet another Forgotten Realms book" 2-3 years ago. Ignoring the whiners is, as always, a perfectly viable response. It was Matt Mercer's decision to engage with people, because that's the kind of guy he is. But he didn't need to do it.
 


Tiles

Explorer
To be fair, it didn't need an apology any more than Ed Greenwood needed to apologize to all those people who were complaining about "yet another Forgotten Realms book" 2-3 years ago. Ignoring the whiners is, as always, a perfectly viable response. It was Matt Mercer's decision to engage with people, because that's the kind of guy he is. But he didn't need to do it.
True- need was not the right word. Still sad.
 

gyor

Legend
There shouldn’t be, no. And yet I just came from a conversation on Twitter where one side was claiming CR fans don’t play D&D and the other was talking about “middle-aged fatbeards”. It’s happening, whether we want it to or not.

I’m sure other fandoms are the same. Just look at Star Wars!

I think the fact that Exandia book is number #1 means that WotC doesn't care if those buying it actually play or use it as a paper weight, they are too busy counting their cash 😂.

I wish more old school D&D fans realized that this actually means their favourite settings will get published, not less. Between the success of Eberron, Ravnica, and the super success of Exandia, WotC has wetted their beak and gotten a taste, and they will find it addictive and they are largely out of interested outsider tie ins, which means they will have to turn to more traditional settings like they did with Eberron, if they want more. And Matt Mercier's team did most of the work, even have the art for the book, which freed up alot of WotC's own team for more books. And they've used up all the room the market has for starter sets last year, which also frees up slots.

We still have what 4 or 5 other books to look forward to? One or two of these will likely be settings as well.
 

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