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Critical Role PSA: You are not Matt Mercer

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
Watching CR is on my long list of, "Oooo I have to start doing that, maybe tomorrow" list.

Even still, from what I have seen of his sessions and DMing, I like. He is good. I take that as motivation to better myself. Not to become Matt. Not to find players who are expert voice actors. Not to create a successful stream, or to make money. Just to be better at DMing. To get to that level of smooth. That level of inclusiveness. That tier of world building.

I see him not as a goal per say, but a lighthouse. What could be. And perhaps (depending on your particular group of players) a direction to chart towards.

Also no. I haven't encountered this Matt Mercer effect. I had several new players to the game when I started this campaign 2 years ago. I know that they watched his show. I know that they enjoyed it a lot. I am already pretty inclusive and like to collaborate with my players on their ideas. I already had a firm grasp on the tone of this campaign.

All I really had to say to them was simple. "I am not Matt. I do voices sometimes, but there will be days I don't. I don't expect any of you to develop one for your character, but I do encourage it. I am here to run this game so that you have fun, and so that I can also. If what you experience isn't, we can talk about what can change that around."
 

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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I totally get where @Jester David is coming from. It‘s a rare session that ends and I don’t feel like it could have gone better in certain places and a decent number where I end up kicking myself for a grand cockup (my melee on the run thread is just the most recent case) that upsets the flow of the game because of my incompetence.

I envy you DMs that have no trouble adjudicating actions and running the game, spending no time second guessing yourselves. Perhaps I’ll get there in another 10 years if I don’t give up due to my own sense of failure.

Yes it’s not ideal, but it really is quite common for those saying Jester needs to seek help. People try new things out all the time only to give up on it because it just didn’t work for them, a hardy few sticking with it until they achieve the skill they desire. I would guess it’s a small portion of the population that is happy having an entire evenings entertainment rest on their shoulders.
 

I've never seen the "hey, Matt Mercer is helping the community" thread. Not once.
That's ENWorld for you... People come here to complain about bits of the game they don't like.

Two out of three threads here could begin with "Now, I love D&D and playing RPGs but..."

reddit.com/r/criticalrole is generally full of nothing but love for Mercer and the critter community.
 


I totally get where @Jester David is coming from. It‘s a rare session that ends and I don’t feel like it could have gone better in certain places and a decent number where I end up kicking myself for a grand cockup (my melee on the run thread is just the most recent case) that upsets the flow of the game because of my incompetence.

I envy you DMs that have no trouble adjudicating actions and running the game, spending no time second guessing yourselves. Perhaps I’ll get there in another 10 years if I don’t give up due to my own sense of failure.
I hope I don't give off that impression too much, I am certainly not someone who has no issues running, I second guess myself quite often, ect.

But Mercer doesn't make me question myself more.

That's ENWorld for you... People come here to complain about bits of the game they don't like.

Two out of three threads here could begin with "Now, I love D&D and playing RPGs but..."

reddit.com/r/criticalrole is generally full of nothing but love for Mercer and the critter community.
Don't get on reddit much (don't really like the format of it) but just because these threads tend to be negative, doesn't mean we have to focus on the negative.
 

I'm really of two minds about the subject. Most people aren't professional actors or storytellers and no one should ever hassle someone they play with for that.

However, to me, the fact that Mercer has been (without ever saying it) guiding so many new players away from "Sandbox play, zero level character funnels, adventure paths, and West Marches style games" and other forms of "win the boardgame" mindsets has been such a blessing for me. I could never DM if i had people coming in expecting those kinds of games.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Like @Chaosmancer (and probably others) I'm pretty confident in my GMing, but I'm far from perfect. I've screwed a couple things up badly enough that I apologized to the players. I've dropped campaigns the players were enjoying because I got tired of ... something--the system, the setting, the characters. I'm working on getting better, though--probably putting more work into improving now than I have in the past, which seems strange thinking about it, since I think I've gotten better.

I think it's part of the gig, that you're going to second-guess yourself sometimes. Maybe it's worth second-guessing your own second-guessing, especially if the players seem to be having fun.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Like @Chaosmancer (and probably others) I'm pretty confident in my GMing, but I'm far from perfect. I've screwed a couple things up badly enough that I apologized to the players. I've dropped campaigns the players were enjoying because I got tired of ... something--the system, the setting, the characters. I'm working on getting better, though--probably putting more work into improving now than I have in the past, which seems strange thinking about it, since I think I've gotten better.

I think it's part of the gig, that you're going to second-guess yourself sometimes. Maybe it's worth second-guessing your own second-guessing, especially if the players seem to be having fun.
I don't think there are any perfect DMs.

Mercer is good, but he's definitely made some calls that had me shaking my head.

I'm certainly not a perfect DM, but I try to be better. On my best day I'm probably only as good as the best DM in my group is on an average day. I don't consider that a reason to throw in the towel. I do my best to try to learn from what he does and use his example as motivation to better myself. If I'm being honest with myself, I'll probably never truly be on his level. The best DM in my group has an imagination that's so rich and detailed that it boggles my mind. I can imagine a scene, but it's like that scene is a real place that comes alive in his imagination. When I describe a room in the game I try to throw in little details that make it come alive, but when he does it it's like he's describing a place he's actually been to.

With all that said, he's not perfect either. There have definitely been times when I was motivated to run because he fell short in some way. I thought to myself, "I can definitely do this better than he did".

The thing is, you can't let the fact that someone is better than you at something hold you back. I don't think I'll ever be as good as my DM, but that's nonetheless my goal. Shoot for the moon and you probably won't hit it, but you might just strike the horizon, and that's quite a feat in itself.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I totally get where @Jester David is coming from. It‘s a rare session that ends and I don’t feel like it could have gone better in certain places and a decent number where I end up kicking myself for a grand cockup (my melee on the run thread is just the most recent case) that upsets the flow of the game because of my incompetence.

I envy you DMs that have no trouble adjudicating actions and running the game, spending no time second guessing yourselves. Perhaps I’ll get there in another 10 years if I don’t give up due to my own sense of failure.

Yes it’s not ideal, but it really is quite common for those saying Jester needs to seek help. People try new things out all the time only to give up on it because it just didn’t work for them, a hardy few sticking with it until they achieve the skill they desire. I would guess it’s a small portion of the population that is happy having an entire evenings entertainment rest on their shoulders.
Of course I notice mistakes I make and places I could have done better. Self-critique is essential for self-improvement. I just don’t obsess over comparing my DMing to other people’s’ and I certainly don’t become depressed to the point of drinking because I think someone on the internet is a far better DM than me.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I have no clue why it's a bad thing to admit that you make mistakes or that you're tired after running a game. I just got DMing a session and had lots of fun. But I am pretty drained.

I'm okay with that. As much as I truly enjoy the stories we tell and have a lot of fun in the game I'm an introvert at heart. Being the center of attention, keeping track of everything trying to describe cinematic scenes .... it's a lot.

So yeah. Had a blast. Fun session. Brain. Dead.
 



I'm really of two minds about the subject. Most people aren't professional actors or storytellers and no one should ever hassle someone they play with for that.

However, to me, the fact that Mercer has been (without ever saying it) guiding so many new players away from "Sandbox play, zero level character funnels, adventure paths, and West Marches style games" and other forms of "win the boardgame" mindsets has been such a blessing for me. I could never DM if i had people coming in expecting those kinds of games.
I'm a little confused by your post. In what way does a sandbox, funnel, or west marches game embody a "win the boardgame" mindset.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I have no clue why it's a bad thing to admit that you make mistakes or that you're tired after running a game. I just got DMing a session and had lots of fun. But I am pretty drained.

I'm okay with that. As much as I truly enjoy the stories we tell and have a lot of fun in the game I'm an introvert at heart. Being the center of attention, keeping track of everything trying to describe cinematic scenes .... it's a lot.

So yeah. Had a blast. Fun session. Brain. Dead.
That’s not a bad thing at all. What’s a bad thing is getting so upset over your own mistakes that you develop a drinking problem.
 

Longspeak

Explorer
Indeed. But as GM I'm not responsible for ensuring everyone have fun. It's a group responsibility! At most I'm the host of the party. The guests need to contribute. Good players make good games. Relaxed GMs also make good games!
I do think the GM has a slightly larger share of the responsibility. He has more control, after all. But yes, the GM is a player, and every player owes the group their best efforts to keep things fun.

That’s not a bad thing at all. What’s a bad thing is getting so upset over your own mistakes that you develop a drinking problem.
I think most of us get that upset on occasion. The trick is to get past it, get some perspective, and to move on. And also to hydrate so you lessen the hangover.
 




jgsugden

Hero
I'm a little confused by your post. In what way does a sandbox, funnel, or west marches game embody a "win the boardgame" mindset.
I can't speak for the author of that post, but I can say that these approaches are warning signs for me that there will not be as much plot as I prefer in a campaign. These low plot games tend to be more about strategy game "win all the battles each night as our only goal" type games. That being said, there are exceptions to these general rules.

A true sandbox, where the PCs can go anywhere with no breadcrumbs being dropped by the DM is often indicative of short or no storylines. That being said, I've seen DMs that weave story elements into whatever the PCs decide to do to tell their larger story - with a belief that you can always tailor the story to the setting the players choose to explore.

Funnels are the opposite side of the spectrum. If there is no choice, then often you're not letting the players tell a story with you so much as you're telling a story with the player's characters. The story may be there, but the players end up with only the impact the DM decides will be there.

Western/West Marches can be great games with amazing storylines. The players find puzzle pieces through out their exploration that add up to answers in exciting ways. Or, as has been the case in most of the Hexcrawl style of games, especially ones where players drop in and out, the exploration can just run into a bunch of thematically similar dungeons with little story giving them any relational significance. The biggest problem with these games is the inconsistency as players drop in and out and often take key information for themselves without sharing it - and then leave the campaign. It makes plot driven story telling very hard. You can get around it, but it is a lot of work for a DM to keep straight who knows what and when they need to double up on clues that have been lost to player attrition.
 

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