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
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Sadras

Adventurer
It's neat that the book showcases artists from within the community. It is risky (given how art is so subjective, and I'm no fan of the cover) but it is still a nice touch.
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
The sense of entitlement from RPG gamers in general is goddamn infuriating and sad.
I think it's inherent to the fan-ish mindset. It makes you feel like you belong, but it's easy to fall into thinking that means it belongs to you. I've seen the same thing happen with comic book fans, TV and movie fans, sports team fans, wargaming fans... you name a fandom, I'm sure you can find people getting possessive and gatekeepery and toxic about choices that don't match their own beliefs and expectations.
 
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Guruphil

Villager
Critical Role does not excite me at all, but it does many of my friends. I am hugely appreciative of the impact that Matt and the crew have had on the hobby in terms of bringing it more popularity and commercial success. I personally believe that have played a huge role in turning the industry on its head and helping to make professional writers out of bedroom hobbyists.

Whilst I will 100% be passing on this book (I don’t much invest in D&D beyond core player resources as it’s not a system I ever run myself, just one I play occasionally) I hope it is very successful and very well received. Love or loathe Critical Role, the popularity it has brought our wider hobby can’t be anything but a huge benefit.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I wonder if Mercer's post was a good idea in the end.
It was meant to palliate disappointed people, but it seems to have enraged a greater number of people who were spurred by "the fact had to say this", or similar notions along that line.
 

Mournblade94

Adventurer
Welcome to the wonderful world of the Internet and everyone having an equal voice. Back 15-20 years ago that sounded like a wonderful, egalitarian thing... what naïve children we all were. The jerks and idiots will always drown out the thoughtful and intelligent, and the more people online the worse the signal to noise ratio will be.
The problem is people think that expressing a negative opinion is toxic. Its not. Especially in days of marketing algorithms.

People can not like this book, express that and not be toxic.
 

Mournblade94

Adventurer
True, but "only gen Z not-real-gamers will like this" and "WotC is pandering to streamers and punishing us grognards" ARE toxic.
There definitely is not a clear definition of what Toxic is. Saying this is for the streamers, is not a toxic opinion. Calling people not real gamers is a direct insult to people that are gamers.
 

zhivik

Villager
It's neat that the book showcases artists from within the community. It is risky (given how art is so subjective, and I'm no fan of the cover) but it is still a nice touch.
They have already published two books with fan art already and a third one is under way. All have sold well and they are hardly cheap (the standard edition of the latest book is £60 at the moment), so there is obviously demand for this. They also display fan art during their show and have a weekly fan art contest with some small reward (usually a dice tray). I'd say at this point using fan art in their books is expected, rather than risky.

The cover is done by a professional, not part of the fan community, as far as I understood. Yet, you'll be surprised how many talented people are out there doing Critical Role fan art, and some of them are actually professional artists, though far from all. I'd say the very fact that this show inspires so many people to be creative speaks enough ...
 
There definitely is not a clear definition of what Toxic is. Saying this is for the streamers, is not a toxic opinion. Calling people not real gamers is a direct insult to people that are gamers.
I should have said "can be toxic and has been on this very forum." Sometimes an opinion is just an opinion,but often times it's a thinly veiled attack meant to offer the attacker a quick defense when they are called out on their behavior. The person saying "CR fans aren't real D&D fans" is just being a little more honest about being a jerk.

Forums are the last bastion against the toxic culture of nerd fandom on social media, and I would like to see it stay that way.
 

Sadras

Adventurer
They have already published two books with fan art already and a third one is under way. All have sold well and they are hardly cheap (the standard edition of the latest book is £60 at the moment), so there is obviously demand for this. They also display fan art during their show and have a weekly fan art contest with some small reward (usually a dice tray). I'd say at this point using fan art in their books is expected, rather than risky.

The cover is done by a professional, not part of the fan community, as far as I understood. Yet, you'll be surprised how many talented people are out there doing Critical Role fan art, and some of them are actually professional artists, though far from all. I'd say the very fact that this show inspires so many people to be creative speaks enough ...
Bold emphasis mine.
I must agree with you given the rest of your post which information I was unaware of. That £60 book cost is a killer though.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
There definitely is not a clear definition of what Toxic is. Saying this is for the streamers, is not a toxic opinion. Calling people not real gamers is a direct insult to people that are gamers.
I'm not convinced it's entirely non-toxic, though. It implies a dichotomy that's probably not very helpful. It's for streamers, but not for... whom? Are streamers really different from other gamers? Are they a subset of gamers? Why box in who its for? Why can't non-streamers be interested in it? Why isn't it for them too?

Frankly, it will likely appeal more to Critters and other people who stream games, but I don't see why it wouldn't appeal to other gamers looking for a setting.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
another junk book that was not asked for when other settings go unlooked after, what ever hard pass, at least second party pubs are giving us what we want.
Y'know, I'm not really interested in this book, but, damn, I don't get all the hate it's getting. It's a good thing for the hobby—it's bringing more people to the game, it's a success (already), and it reinforces to WotC that publishing campaign settings is profitable (which make seeing more classic settings published a stronger posibility).
 

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