So, my first Patreon Supported post.  Feels good!  This is for the Blog Carnival I found thanks to Chris (HI CHRIS!) and the idea was to write a sequel about a previous blog post you had done (The Topic is called “The Past Revisited” after all!).  Well, considering I had not done any blog posts yet, but HAVE done videos, I figured I would write about one of those.  I chose my literal most popular video, “Actual Plays: Perception vs Reality” where I basically criticized shows like Critical Role for having a possible negative impact on the D&D Community at large, by creating a skewed idea of how D&D works out.  How do I think about it now?  Well read on!

Firstly, lets link the original video from way back in January 2017:

When I originally did that video, it was a spur of the moment event.  I had been in a twitter conversation with Matt Mercer and a gent named Goblin Stomper about the idea of professional D&D players / actual play streams.  I went home after work, recorded that, posted it, and got quite a bit of flak.  Some deserved, and some undeserved (no one seemed to get that I knew the issues involved self esteem were my own!)

Now, at the time I had been doing D&D related content for a grand total of 4 months.  That’s not very long in the grand scheme of things at all.  At this point in my online life, I have been doing D&D related stuff for nearly 15 months!  And I have learned a great deal and changed a surprisingly amount since then.  The biggest question is: Do I still feel the same way about Actual Plays?

The answer is no, and here is why.

“Perception is Everything”

Originally, I felt that the idea of professional D&D players was rather absurd.  I mean, how could you “BE” a professional Roleplayer!  Further, I was kind of against the idea of being paid to DM at that time.  Obviously my ideals have since changed.  I have been involved in a long running online game since then, run one myself, and I have seen the positive impact things like Critical Role, the C Team, Hyper RPG, EncounterRP, and others have had on the community.

I realized that I don’t NEED to be like Matt Mercer or Will or Grant Ellis or Askren or any of these fantastic DMs.  I have my own style, for one, and people seem to like playing with me.  Further, the sheer popularity of these online streams and podcasts have expanded the audience for both content like this AND more supplements from indie companies to heights I have never seen before.  Sure, you might get the occasional instance of someone seeing one of these professional produced shows and after playing realize that a home game isn’t anything like these, but I don’t think that really hurts the hobby as whole like I originally did.

When I posted that video, I had seen a single episode of a single Critical Role, and had not watched nor really listened to any Actual Plays before then.  I simply hadn’t bothered.  I was basically being an uninformed opinionated idiot (Oh hey, a common person on the net!).  I have since watched 2 episodes of Crit Role (the very first, and the climax), and jumped in here and there when I could watching some other shows and listening when I can to podcasts.

Some of them are professionally produced sure.  Our home games will never be like them simply due to budget.  I mean I can’t afford that much Dwarven Forge!  But they don’t have to be either.  Because what things like Crit Role / C Team / Others show is the utter passion that D&D can bring out in a person.  Watching Sam Reigel tear up because he could not save his friend as Scanlan shows just the kind of impact this silly game we play can have on a person.  Watching the expression on Matt Mercers face when the events unfolded at the table.  The emotion on Liam’s face when he realized just what Sam had done.  It was beautiful.

Further, its inspired me rather then upset me.  I want to achieve the level of emotion that Crit Role has achieved in my own games.  I want to see my players get wrapped up into the story and their characters.  Its given me a goal to aim for now, rather then made me feel inferior.

Additionally, the mainstream appeal of shows like the C Team and Crit Role, and their prominence in cons like Pax Unplugged shows that more and more people are embracing our hobby.  Just look on twitter and reddit and you will see people asking how to get started with Dungeons and Dragons, how to setup their own streams and podcasts.  You will see artists appearing showing off amazing work, and you will see people helping each other to understand how the game is played.  More indie authors are finding work and creating amazing adventures for others to use.  The industry is booming with opportunities!

And frankly, I want to see MORE!  I want to see more people post their games, talk about their games, write about their games.  I want to see more stories out there shared.  I want D&D to become more mainstream, where we can see people like Vin Diesel play online and show off their nerd side (No joke, Vin played in a special episode of Crit Role to promote the Witch Hunter).  I want to see friends of mine realize their dream of becoming published adventure writers and creators.  I want to see my fellow bloggers achieve notoriety.  I want to see Dungeons and Dragons, and the Tabletop community at large, GROW!

Dungeons and Dragons is coming out into the spotlight and I am happy to be here to see it, and more so to be a part of it.

Maybe one day I will see you play your game reader.

Anyway, that’s all I have for today.  Thank you for reading and always remember: STAY NERDY!

The Past Revisited – Actual Play Streams/Podcasts: Perception vs Reality
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