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Critical Role PSA: You are not Matt Mercer

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
He isn't the face of D&D, and it must be frustrating when people elevate him to such.
In practice, he is. WotC got lucky that he’s clearly a nice guy; it could have been a disaster if he wasn’t! Then again, if he wasn’t so genuinely nice, he wouldn’t be so appealing.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
WotC doesn’t talk to us. Sorry!
tumblr_n7egfdLiQg1ra11u8o4_250.gif

--sad trombone--
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Have any of you guys met with this issue out in the wilds? How do you deal with it when it shows up at your table?

I haven't seen it at my table. I do, however, know of one young gamer who, having been introduced to the game, played for a while, and then tried their hand as a GM. When their attempt seemed, to fail to meet the performance and style seen in CR, they gave up and stopped gaming entirely.

I do not argue that CR is, on balance, a bad thing. But I don't support the idea that there are no downsides to the CR phenomenon.
 

Specifically, I prefer as a player and as a DM a more strategic and tactical approach to game-play.

Interacting with a dungeon environment and dealing with its traps and challenges and denizens is what I prefer. Inordinate amounts of time role-playing in character and having actual spoken dialog with NPCs would cause me to lose interest.

Not to say that social interaction doesn't happen. My old B/X game that got to higher levels started developing some interesting Game of Thrones-esque political intrigue, but it is handled like a dungeon environment.

The environment isn't a literal dungeon but the social challenges are treated as such. I run it in a more descriptive and matter of factual manner.

I don't talk or act out in the voice of the various NPCs and I don't expect players to do so for their characters. That doesn't mean that each NPC can't have meaningful personality traits and feel like living beings. I just communicate such things in a different manner.

I try to make NPCs feel like living beings not by acting them out in character, but by trying to put a lot of effort and care in running them in a consistent and believable manner.


I wonder if there should be a separation between the methodology and the end goal. Do people enjoy Critical Role because of the voice acting talent displayed? Or is it because of the rich narrative and believable characters. If the latter, does the actual methodology matter?
 

The "complaining that the DM isn't Matt Mercer" or "complaining that a PC is making a CR clone" is this gaming generation's "complaining that the PC made a Drizzt clone."
It happens. We've all heard about it happening. We all know someone who had a friend of a friend who had that happen in a game.

But I think it's an overblown complaint.

The big shift is people who are more invested in the story and want to have longer in-character interactions. Who want to embody their character a little more and speak with a voice or accent. The roleplaying aspect of the game has increased and the gamist mix-maxing combat-focused gameplay has decreased slightly.
But that's speaking in huge generalities and large numbers of gamers. The individuals you meet may or may not conform to "the average".
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I haven't seen it at my table. I do, however, know of one young gamer who, having been introduced to the game, played for a while, and then tried their hand as a GM. When their attempt seemed, to fail to meet the performance and style seen in CR, they gave up and stopped gaming entirely.

I do not argue that CR is, on balance, a bad thing. But I don't support the idea that there are no downsides to the CR phenomenon.

I'm not sure I have sympathy for that viewpoint. It's like watching Greg Louganis dive and then quitting swimming because they don't do as well when they jump off the diving board. If someone does react that way because they aren't as good as Greg Louganis (without the years of dedication), then that's not a downside from the quality of Greg's diving (or, in this case, Critical Role's value as gamer entertainment). That's a downside of someone's inability to develop reasonable expectations.

There are plenty of people who get interested in something based on what they see, try it, and then find it's not to their taste or too hard. I don't think that's really a downside. They tried something they probably hadn't tried before and, as long as they gave it an earnest try, it's all good even if they decided not to continue on.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'm not sure I have sympathy for that viewpoint. It's like watching Greg Louganis dive and then quitting swimming because they don't do as well when they jump off the diving board. If someone does react that way because they aren't as good as Greg Louganis (without the years of dedication), then that's not a downside from the quality of Greg's diving (or, in this case, Critical Role's value as gamer entertainment). That's a downside of someone's inability to develop reasonable expectations.

It's not even that. Diving, or basketball, or whatever, is a competive sport backed by large corporations and international competitions - the goal is to get "good" at it, and then in some cases get rich from being good at it.

D&D's goal isn't to get "good" at it. It's to have fun with your friends on a Thursday night. There's no competitive element to it.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
The huge change that has taken place in the last ten years or so is that rpg-ing used to be a private activity. Until Youtube etc there wasn't any way to see what other people's games were really like. Now there is and that means we can measure our own games against those that have been recorded.
 


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