You Dont Have To Be Matt Mercer

The rise of RPG popularity is due in no small part to its inclusion in mainstream TV (Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things) and the emergence of stars and celebrities discussing their experiences with it in mainstream media.

We now have celebrity DM’s running “All Star” groups. The likes of Matt Mercer and Chris Perkins have turned our basement hobby into a spectator sport, with wonderful stories, props, professional voice acting and a raft of misfit players – both staples and cameos – that we’ve come to know and love.

The upside of this is that we now have more interest in our hobby than ever before, and its growing. The downside is the expectations are now higher than ever, particularly from the new wave of players being introduced to our hobby through these channels. If players see Matt Mercer or Chris Perkins as the ‘norm’ how are we mere mortals to possibly compare?

The answer is simple – we don’t, and we don’t have to.

There’s no need to place that level of pressure on yourself. Although the analogy is not entirely accurate, it’s like comparing yourself to a professional footballer, and deciding since you aren’t that good it’s not worth going to a local park or club for a game.

Many of us enjoy RPGs for their various elements, which until recently did not include public performance. Don’t get me wrong, if you play at a con or a game store you’ll have some onlookers, but few stay long enough to analyse your story, style or proficiency. If they like what they see, they might stay, if not they move on. For the most part your only constant evaluations come from your players themselves and – whether you are aware of it or not – they are already invested in the game from the moment they sit down. They want to be there and they want to like it. They want to be a part of it. Half the job is done before you even start, and if you let them, they will do a lot of the work in making the game run and flow.

You still need to be diligent to the role, and a good DM* will always seek to engage their group and improve their skills, but you don’t have to roll out a production to run an enjoyable game.

Not comfortable or good with voices? Don’t do them

Can’t afford terrain and minis? Don’t use them

Prefer ‘theatre of the mind’ to tactically mapped battles? Great!

An RPG game is a lot like going out to dinner. You will appreciate something that is well prepared and flavourful, but what makes a “good meal” is a matter of taste. Additionally, no matter how good lobster is, if that’s all that is available you’ll get sick of it pretty quickly.

Each DM is different, and each game is unique. Don’t try to be something you aren’t comfortable with because you feel you should be ‘more’. What you provide is more than enough, and likely better than you think it is.

There is no such thing as the ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ to run a game. Is everyone comfortable and having fun? That’s the right way. Everything else is flavour.

Micah

* The “Good DM” is covered in another post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: