#RPGaDay2021 Day 08: Stream

Today there was no choice when it came to the prompt, but I’m pretty happy to talk about Stream.

The Climax of Critical Role, Season 1

Back in 2017 I was only a year or so back in tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) for good, after 6 or 7 years without playing or running. My experience so far had been good, but nothing to write home about. It was like anything you go back to out of nostalgia: it never lives up to expectations. You remember things being easier, faster… smoother, but they never are. They are, if anything, way worse.

And that’s to be expected, to be honest. In my experience, nothing gets better if you just “leave it be”. In fact, quite the opposite. If you want to be good at something you have to be doing that something often, ideally daily.

So there I was, questioning my decisions and trying to figure out how to get better—or at least to get back to be as good as I ever was—when Matt Colville posted a video entitled The Climax of Critical Role, Season 1.

Watching that video made me remember why I had loved TTRPGs so much during my adolescence. Colville explained, as eloquently and brilliantly as he often does, all the ins and outs of perhaps the best ending of TTRPG campaign of all time. What makes this achievement even more impressive—if possible—is that they did do this live, streaming their D&D campaign finale to thousands of people.

The Streaming Phenomenon

I know that there were people streaming their games before Critical Role—and there have been a multitude of them since—but for me, when it comes to TTRPGs, streaming and Critical Role are synonymous. For me they have been since 2017 (and still are) the golden standard of what a successful TTRPG stream is in more than one sense.

First, they are successful in the classic sense: they have a huge audience, the largest (I think) of any TTRPG stream. They have tons of subscribers, which means that they receive a lot of money for just sitting around playing Dungeons & Dragons. The dream, right?

They are also successful in a sense that I consider it may very well be more important. They are happy doing what they’re doing. They look happy and they transmit their happiness while playing.

Thirdly, they are successful in an artistic sense, I think. They love to tell stories and they get to do just that with friends and in a safe environment. They create amazing characters and experience them growing up, learning, and evolving as characters can only do in long-form narratives.

Finally, the stories they have created while naturally playing are so popular that they are being translated into other media, like comic books, an animated series, and even a novel! This speaks volumes to how deep and impactful these stories are.

Streaming and Me

Every since I started watching Critical Role obsessively, back in 2017, I’ve been interested in at least recording my games, with my sights on one day having a group that was up for it (and enough resources) to stream my own games. I think that this stems from my desire to support myself through artistic media, instead of having an old regular job from 9 to 5, but there’s also this desire of telling stories with your friends and then sharing those stories with the world.

So far I haven’t had much success, but now I’m part of a group of people that is interested in just doing that, so we’re sharing our games through a YouTube channel called Average Roll. I haven’t run any games there, but I’ve played a lot and I’ve had a wonderful time while doing so. What’s even better, we play in both English and Spanish, so I get to share it with everybody that I know who could be interested—including you.

So, if you’re interested in watching me play TTRPGs—and running, in the near future—go over here and pick a video.

So, this is it for today’s post. Streaming is a fascinating phenomenon and I believe that it has and will influence the TTRPG community in more ways than one. What that influence will look, I can’t tell.

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