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D&D 5E What is up with the popularity of watching other D&D groups play the game?

MGibster

Legend
I don't quite get it either. I've watched some Vampire 5th edition games being played but mostly because I wanted to see the rules in action. I suspect part of this might be my age. Not being part of the Youtube generation means I have different preferences when it comes to entertainment. While I'd like to make fun of all the whippersnappers for having different tastes than me, my heart just isn't in it as a lot of the stuff I like is just stupid as hell.
 

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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Can’t relate to an apology over a game like this. Wtf?
I think apologizing to the fans, who'd come to relate to and identify with the character who died, isn't really different from the showrunner on a TV show doing it. It's plausible that someone only exposed to gaming through CR might not be aware that the characters could die if the players erred (or rolled) badly enough.

It's different from the GM apologizing to the player/s when a character dies, which I agree might not be necessary, especially at a long-term table.
 


Rikka66

Explorer
So I watched relatively little of this stuff.

how much die rolling combat is actually going on in these things? Seemed to be mostly narratives. Surely did not see anyone have to be revived...

As I understand it death was more common in the first campaign. I believe every party member died at some point.

The death requiring the apology occured in the 2nd campaign, at early levels, so you can see how the casual CR fan was a bit more shocked when they didn't have raise dead ready.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
I think apologizing to the fans, who'd come to relate to and identify with the character who died, isn't really different from the showrunner on a TV show doing it. It's plausible that someone only exposed to gaming through CR might not be aware that the characters could die if the players erred (or rolled) badly enough.

It's different from the GM apologizing to the player/s when a character dies, which I agree might not be necessary, especially at a long-term table.
I think it speaks to different expectations and cultural factors.

in my mind, live by the sword die by the sword. Things are different now, that’s all.

this is not D&D for me—-personally. Others feel differently. Seems like a Show or story. Which is fine. Just not for me or people I play with.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
I think it speaks to different expectations and cultural factors.

in my mind, live by the sword die by the sword. Things are different now, that’s all.

this is not D&D for me—-personally. Others feel differently. Seems like a Show or story. Which is fine. Just not for me or people I play with.
Well, as I said, apologizing to the show's fans--who apparently lit him up but good--is different from apologizing to the players.

While I don't apologize when PCs die, I do make an effort to make it clear that it's the NPCs who are out to kill them, not the DM.
 

not-so-newguy

Explorer
The only 'actual play' podcast that I've really enjoyed was Nerd Poker when it was DMed by Sark (first 100 episodes or so). What separated this show from others, IMO, was that the group was mostly professional entertainers and the DM did not pull his punches. There was plenty of humor, character death, and I really did not know what would happen next.

Unfortunately, I can't find those episodes now 😕 They're worth a re-listen.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
Well, as I said, apologizing to the show's fans--who apparently lit him up but good--is different from apologizing to the players.

While I don't apologize when PCs die, I do make an effort to make it clear that it's the NPCs who are out to kill them, not the DM.
Well, yeah. As dm I root for my players. As player, my friend roots for me. But sh*t happens in a dangerous world story.

the folks lighting Mercer up are not people I would want to play with. They sound like people who want participation trophies.
 

D&D voyeurism has gone through the roof, and it's a complete mystery to me. Now for perspective I'm 51 years old and have played D&D for over 40 years, almost exclusively as a DM, so it may be a generational or even an issue of my role in games, but I'm just not sure. I've tried to watch some of these different and inexplicably popular shows and it's quite difficult for me to think of a more insanely boring activity. Why are these so popular? What is entertaining about them? I can't help but feel as though I'm missing something interesting about this activity due to all the attention they have been getting. I LOVE running D&D games, but watching one being run that I'm not involved in is like watching a golf match. Fun to play, abysmal to watch (yet many do to my continued astonishment).
What's up with the popularity of watching sports teams play the game? I honestly don't get why it's so popular, and it seems like everyone besides me shares the opinion that watching sports is something I should care about. I've been forced to watch countless football. basketball, and soccer games, with absolutely no interest in the outcome of any of the games. I truly cannot think of any activity more boring, to the extent that it feels like I'm going mad every minute I sit watching a game. However, it seems like no matter how much I dislike sports, the world doesn't care about my opinion, because they like sports and enjoy watching them so much that they will readily throw money at anything that has the name of their favorite team on it.

The same thing applies to you and the others in the thread expressing the same viewpoint. You don't care for it as much as I don't care for watching sports.
 
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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
the folks lighting Mercer up are not people I would want to play with. They sound like people who want participation trophies.
I think lots of the people lighting him up were people who were fans of the show but not gamers, so I wouldn't expect them to understand how gaming tables work.

The gamers I know who are CR fans tend to react to stuff that happens more as if it were happening at a table they were gaming at.
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
That's what crinkles my shorts on the whole thing, sitting there listening to inside jokes, the metagame, the banter that is meaningless to me as an observer, long dialogue that don't advance the story. It's one thing being the DM and actively listening to the players discuss stuff in the group's game, entirely a different thing to slog through the same mud in a game I'm not invested in. So I will look up and watch TAZ and see if that helps me get into watching other gamers.

Consider that a large segment of the audience is there for just that. Don't think of it as a game, think of it as a talk show with a theme.

When I listen to Acquisitions Incorporated: The C-Team, it's not about the game they're playing; it's about a fun time with a group of friends. AI:C is all theatre of the mind anyway, so it's perfect podcast listening material.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
I think lots of the people lighting him up were people who were fans of the show but not gamers, so I wouldn't expect them to understand how gaming tables work.

The gamers I know who are CR fans tend to react to stuff that happens more as if it were happening at a table they were gaming at.
Ick.

just weird to me. D&d
For me has an edge. U usually win but sometimes you lose. And if I lose I take it like a grown person. I feel disappointed, get comforted and move on.

treasure fame and renown go to those who persevere not those who cry to the dm....

who might also mourn your passing!

if you are a certain fan and got user I hope you read this and know the game is not meant to coddle but to reward success and that some characters die!
 
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cbwjm

Hero
I tried to watch Critical Role but after an hour the PCs were still sitting around getting drunk in a pub. I really didn't get it - I would have had the pub burn down 45 minutes earlier just to get the game moving.
Why though? While CR is likely played as entertainment and you might want more action, if this was an actual game and the players were role-playing their time in the pub, why ruin that?
 



But are the players bored? I get that the DM should have fun too, but if a situation like that happens and everyone is enjoying it, why ruin that?
Because either they'd enjoy a game equally well where something is actually happening or I'd need to find new players!
 

I tried to watch Critical Role but after an hour the PCs were still sitting around getting drunk in a pub. I really didn't get it - I would have had the pub burn down 45 minutes earlier just to get the game moving.
The social interaction is the best part of any RPG. This is why I like the Critical Role, it is the sort of game I try to run and in which I'd enjoy to playing. A lot of in-character social interaction.
 

cbwjm

Hero
Because either they'd enjoy a game equally well where something is actually happening or I'd need to find new players!
That's the thing though, as far as they're concerned something is happening. I can understand wanting action all the time but sometimes spending that time in the tavern is what the players actually want to do, in that instance they're having fun. Why take that away from them just to push them into action, they'll get there eventually, just let them have this moment in the tavern.
 

Viking Bastard

Adventurer
I liked some of the early PA/PvP ones, but they were mostly played to be funny and didn't rack up to weeks of play time. I also really liked HarmonQuest, which again is played for laughs (and mercifully edited). I've found a few over the years that I've liked (both jokey and non-jokey) — there was this OSR podcast in particular I remember really liking — but they never seemed to last very long. Either my tastes run counter to the majority of potential listeners or the games I listened to were harder to produce (I do lean more towards the more edited end of the spectrum).

When CR started to become the new hot thing, I gave it a shot and found myself unable to get into it. Ive tried a few times since but I will just zone right out of it. Mercer seems like a fantastic DM and I'd pay for my players to have that level of engagement, but it's just so long-winded. It's the long in-character bits where I just zone out and then realize half an hour later that I have no idea what's happening.

Now, CR has a huge fandom, so I figured there's gotta be a gazillion fan-edited versions, some which may be better fits for me. And it turns out there are tons, but they all focus on the bits that I would've butchered and cut down on the bits I like more. So there's definitely a disconnect there for me.

So, in short, I like the actual plays in-theory, but my preferences do not seem to align well with most of it's viewership.
 

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