Dungeons & Dragons Online

I think the real Matt Mercer effect is many new players not realizing that this is a game with lots of rules and mechanics

Content of the article: "I think the real Matt Mercer effect is many new players not realizing that this is a game with lots of rules and mechanics"

Let me first preface that I love Matt Mercer, I love Critical Role, and I love all the other D&D shows that have gained popularity over the years. I'm glad that because of these shows, D&D has become more mainstream and active of a hobby. I'm glad that there's more people now than ever trying the game out and getting really into it.

The reason I bring this up is because I have recently been reflecting on a campaign I ended not too long ago with a bunch of close friends. Almost all of whom were new to D&D and got into it because of Critical Role, Adventure Zone, etc. I never had any problems with their expectations of the game based on what they saw in those shows. I tried my best to do entertaining voices, and my players were into roleplaying, and we had a blast. The problem that I personally faced was that my friends expected and thought that D&D was a game that was just about improv roleplaying with some dice rolling. Which isn't exactly false, but it is also a game with actual rules and mechanics that need to be kept in mind while playing. It often felt like the only things they remember from these shows was the funny NPCs and the humorous PC interactions.

Now, this isn't to say that I'm a stickler for rules, or that what my friends enjoyed of the game was wrong. But it starts to become a problem when we're two years into a campaign and some players are still asking what do they add to their attack roll. Or when some players still can't navigate their character sheet. Or when some players still don't remember how spell slots work. And it's not that my friends didn't care about the game. They always had a blast, they were engaging both in and outside the game, and always looked forward to the next session. But it was these little things that I mentioned that I felt really bogged down the game and slowly burnt me out as a DM. To the point where I couldn't reliably make challenging encounters because I couldn't trust my friends to remember how their characters worked regardless of how much help and guidance I offered.

Read:  Players trigger several traps at once, DM is forced to reveal plot twists months early to avoid TPK

I still had fun with the game, mostly because I'm glad I got to introduce this hobby to my closest friends and have an amazing time with them. In the end though, it just seemed like they cared way more about the role playing aspects to the point where it ended up bogging down other aspects.

TL;DR I think many new players who get introduced to D&D via Critical Role and other shows often forget that there is still a game with rules and mechanics that need to be at least kept in mind during play behind all the role playing, funny characters, and plot. It is an RPG after all.

Source: reddit.com

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