The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Are CriticalRole Fans Gamers? Watch me Gatekeep!

So, I haven't posted yet today because of an epic shitshow of a Twitter fight, where I've been busy taking on all comers from a gang of hipster-gamers.

The subject? What has prompted countless tweets? Is it Trump? The environment? Transgender rights?

Nope. It's that I had the audacity to suggest, on this thread, that D&D Livestream Youtube Shows like "Critical Role" are not actually a lot like what you see in most real games; and the shit especially hit the fan when I dared to suggest that.. and I know this was crazy of me.. that people who watch these shows but don't game aren't actually gamers. 

Here's what I said:

"If they PLAY, they're #DnD gamers. If they just watch actors on a Youtube Reality-Show, they're not."

Well, you wouldn't believe the number of hipster gamer types who rushed forward howling in outrage that I would dare to suggest that people who never ever play D&D aren't actually D&D players. As if this wasn't so obvious it slides into tautology territory.

No, to them, it was incredibly offensive of me to say that if you've never played D&D even once you aren't actually a D&D gamer, no matter how many episodes of CriticalRole you've watched.

Note: I made it very clear, over and over again, that I wasn't 'gatekeeping' ANYONE who had actually played. I was saying, for the purposes of this argument, that if you've ever sat down and played an RPG even one single time I'll accept you're a gamer, but if you haven't ever, never ever, played an RPG, that makes you a NON-GAMER.  You know, because you haven't ever played.

For the whole glorious spectacle you'll need to check out the tweets & replies section of my Twitter account. Which, I don't know why, it seems you can only do if you're logged into Twitter (anyone know how to change that??).

But anyways, I've spent the whole day on this. It's been hilarious. I figured I'd get a fuckton of people pissed off when I pointed out that D&D YouTube shows are just that, shows. With paid actors and fake enthusiasm, and that they are not much like actually playing D&D, and they are almost destined to create a whole generation of disappointed players who think they should be getting the "look at the hipster-cool  nerd thing I'm doing!! OMG High-Five Wooo So Random" experience they see from the PAID ACTORS on shows like CriticalRole.

(yeah, no chance these guys are just a group of paid actors looking to make money and expand their careers by making prefab scenes and 80s nostalgia to milk rubes who think its all real)

I didn't figure I'd get a fuckton of people trying to claim that if you never played D&D in your life you are still a vital part of the "D&D Community" if you watch shows like Critical Role.  That watching the show makes you a gamer, even if you haven't ever played the game.

You know, like how if I were to go watch the new Paddington Bear movie, that would make me a reader.
Or British.
Or a tribesman from Darkest Peru.
Or, you know, a bear.

Go on, howl about how intolerant I am by daring to say that every single fucking person who's ever played is a gamer but people who have NEVER played are not. 

See this? This is the world you fucking millennials have created. Where you literally have people claiming I have no right to say SOMEONE WHO NEVER GAMED is not a gamer, if they "feel" like they are.

But fortunately, I'm the RPGPundit. And if someone actually has to be called a 'gatekeeper' for stating the moronically obvious to stop the slide into total 'up is down' relativism, I'll be glad to do it for all of you. So here goes:

I don't give a twopenny fuck about your (a)moral objections you fucking Swine. 

People who do not play RPGs are not part of the RPG Community. PERIOD. 

Fans of YouTube vaguely-D&D-themed Prefab Reality-Shows who have themselves never actually played D&D are NOT GAMERS. PERIOD. 

See that? Gate, kept.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Volcano + Blue Boar


  1. I love watching football, I am not a football player.

    1. I agree that not playing football doesn’t make you a football player. I wonder, however, if there is a meaningful distinction to be drawn between the RPG community and being a person who plays RPGs. For example, I would suggest that many football players and non players alike would say that despite not playing, football fans/enthusiasts are a meaningful part of the football community. Again, I don’t disagree on the *player* piece of either your comment or the original post, however I do think the idea that excluding fans/enthusiasts from the “D&D community” (as per the original post) might be an overreach and could be a reasonable place to reframe the discussion.

    2. And I would add that some sports, like cricket, have had their rules changed and developed over time to *suit the audience*, not the players necessarily. Is that in the future for rpgs?

  2. Hold the LIne Brotha... those cunts will break and run for safe spaces at the first sign of difficulty.

    1. The only purpose this thread serves is a nicely curated list of utter tossers to be avoided at all costs at any gaming table.

      Thanks for that.

  3. Tsss... I see you had fun hurting people's feelings as usual. :-)

  4. I certainly do think CR is more show than game, and not a good example of actual play.

  5. I like what penny arcade does. since it started as actual campaign. Still showy but more like a real table.

  6. Sad that telling the truth is now considered GateKeeping, instead of just the truth. Also a shame that inclusiveness has come to mean, MY Way or the HighWay. If you don't parrot the ECHO CHAMBER, then they want to lead you off to their STAR CHAMBER. See most rpg forums, for the way they shut off any dissent and quickly ban anyone with a mind. Your forum is one of the rare exceptions. The rest embrace mediocrity as a badge of honor, instead of being a shameful thing. These people with all their hurt feelings will never get what they really need, a swift kick in the ass. Myself, Arnold Master and Bronco Lane (well two of us use our real names :) ) over on our blog are hurting a few snowflakes feelings too, even though we are rank amateurs compared to the master. I (and we) salute you.

  7. It's a mindset that cannot accept any external authority that might prevent an individual from doing, or being, whatever that individual wants. It's the ultimate rejection of objective reality and the end result of the effort to undermine all traditional forms of social, political, religious, and economic authority. And it's winning overall, at least in the West.

  8. I think it's fair to say that people who don't play D&D or other RPGs aren't roleplayers. That's not bad at all, just a literal fact.
    I like to watch CR; I don't get the hate, it seems very petty. I think it's great to have a show of roleplayers. Who cares what you think their motivations are? They are playing the game, it's TV, there's going to be some crossover...but I appreciate that they are actors and there is good production value. It's not attractive to be grumpy about people having fun watching people have fun.
    Don't listen to folks who don't make sense. Get off of Twitter, first!
    One thing that appeals to me about CR is the GM plays the game a lot like my GM. We have more house rules and flexibility though. I think Sam and Laura roleplay really well in character, it's cool to see. As gamers we are amateur actors, that's the fun part, to be something else; I can't say I see actors as being bad for the game...that doesn't make sense, because acting is a big part of the game.
    So there, I only disagree with a part of what you said, and I know that it's just your opinion, so I would never spew vitriol at you for it; take me as an example of a non Twitter trolling millenial (I don't have Twitter or Facebook). Besides, I've yet to meet a grognard who like CR, or 2-5e / Pathfinder for that matter; and that's okay, it's just not your thing. But, I think it's still D&D, even if it's on TV, even if the actors are paid. They weren't paid before and campaigned for two years as that very game group every week; what exactly is your definition of RPing? I think you just got stuck and misunderstood. It's not YOUR definition of gaming, and that's okay! God's sake, you should be allowed to have opinions without being attacked!
    But also, try to understand us folks too a bit. I like OSR, play it with my kids, and I like CR. And I know gamers are very critical folks but mean well underneath it all.

    1. I took his point to be that the people watching CR are not players. As far as the cast of CR, if they are following a script they are not rpg players they are actors, if they are just filming a real game then they are rpg players. Same as at your table, if you run a railroad and have a script for the players to follow, they cease to be players and become actors.

    2. The script thing is a long running joke, they aren't actually following one.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. As someone who has watched the show a ton, it is incredibly obvious that this isn’t run off a script. It’s run like an actual game. Matthew Mercer may have a few ideas of where the game could go but like any other game/group it’s entirely up to the players. It’s all really well done improv. You can tell because sometimes there’s episodes where nothing actually gets done because everyone is having too much fun just doing their own thing.

    5. They can have no script and still be actors. There are all kinds of techniques from Improv Theater. Including rehearsing some lines and scenes beforehand and being told in advance (some of) what will happen).

  9. Watching the livestream of a game seems a bit dull. I can't imagine watching the livestream of a game I didn't play.

    1. I can't imagine watching a game I did play either, what would be the point?

  10. RPGP noted: "I don't give a twopenny fuck about your (a)moral objections you fucking Swine."

    You may be approaching good company, as Gary Gygax once told me that "He could give two pinches of coon shit what people said about him."

    1. Even 10 years, he guides our path.

    2. Irony is continuously name dropping Mike in your responses even after he posted two days ago, "It's a big tent"... yet you use him to validate yourself. Have read through all your postings, tweets, comments. If you kept the discord of conversation open you could have some valid points. Instead you've doubled down the entire way even with the false naratives.

      Glad I've been able to hunt down what you've personally authored. Now I know what not to buy and glad none of it is already in my stacks.

      Gary is turning in his grave. You've taken your own path, and the vast majority of the rest of us are watching you walk away.


  11. I, respectfully, disagree with your statement, "People who do not play RPGs are not part of the RPG Community. PERIOD. "
    They ARE a part of the community. Much like the women who go back stage at concerts and bang the drummer are part of the musician community. They are groupies.
    They just aren't part of the core community.
    It would be like if I said that I was a citizen of France because I watched Jerry Lewis movies.

  12. You are in point. I hosted a discussion about this, with the focal point being the movie Zero Charisma. It tried to warn us:

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Eh, this is a weird hill to die on. Sure, there are the people who play games, but the DnD community extends beyond just the people who play games due to its pop culture relevance these days. Grognards don't have to like it, but it still is what it is.

  15. Seems like you're the fucking hipster if you're needing to label everything in order to make people feel like outsiders, just so you can feel special. Try blogging about important stuff instead of how people have fun incorrectly.

    1. I'm not labeling anything. LOGIC is. People who don't play games are not gamers.

    2. But are still part of OUR community. Stay out if all you're going to do is judge. When the creators/writers of DnD tell you youre wrong, you're just being arrogant and obnoxious when you continue telling others they're wrong.

      Couldn't you come up with a more original gamer stereotype for your online personality?

    3. The WotC people are the arrogant and obnoxious ones now that 5E materials are officially part of the pedophilia culture joining Hollywood and the congressional Democrats in the SJW cesspool.

    4. Dude, I AM a creator of D&D.

    5. You're a contributor at best. And grasping for attention now.

  16. Some observations:

    (1) Your snide reference to “hipster-gamers” contradicts your whole argument that unless someone plays RPG games they cannot be classified as gamers. So, do you admit “hipster-gamers” are gamers even though they don’t play RPG’s, or is this a reference to actual RPG-players whom you have some particular disdain for even though you claim not to gatekeep?

    (2) The CR cast all have a huge passion for D&D. They had a home game for 3 years that they played, obviously for free, with no expectation ever that it would morph into a streaming show anyone would watch. Their DM, Matt Mercer, has been playing D&D for well over 20 years, and DMing home games for many years.

    (3) Why does it matter if someone is or is not paid for doing something they enjoy? Should people only be paid for drudgery? Or, are you just unhappy with your own career, and jealous of people making some side money doing what they love? You do realize they all have successful voice-over careers from which they make far more money than what they receive for participating in CR (in fact, when they first started streaming CR, they were paid minimum wage for their time).

    (4) How does their getting paid establish that the CR cast members are supposedly faking their enthusiasm? Professional atheletes get paid very well to play sports, and nearly all of them have a tremendous passion for the sport they play. It is not a logical conclusion for you to make that simply because someone is paid to do something they must be faking their enthusiasm for it.

    (5) Why do you care what total strangers do or what they choose to call themselves when their choices have no bearing on your life? Feeling the need to criticize others for what they do or do not do when their actions and words have no impact on you is in fact a major component of gatekeeping behavior.

    (6) I feel sorry for you. Not in a mean way, but in a truly concerned manner. You seem unhappy and desperate for help, which is why you appear to be engaging in negative attention-seeking behavior. No matter how grim or disappointing your life may seem, it can always, always get better. But, this is not the way to turn things around. Instead of lashing out, just ask for help—there are more people than you could ever believe who would be willing to help you (and more people care about you than you know).

    (7) I hope you find peace and happiness. You deserve to be happy.

  17. +Septly if you were going for passive aggressive nonsense, I've got good news for you, you nailed it.

  18. I was pretty direct in my remarks, I do not see anything “passive” about them. I also stated facts, which you have not attempted to dispute. My last point was an assumption, though I think a reasonable one based on the circumstances.

    He seems like a very unhappy guy. I hope he finds a way to be happy and I do wish him well. If that is what I “nailed,” then I am glad to have done so.

  19. If you are involved, you can be considered part of the extended community. But if you've never gamed, you are not a gamer. Maybe a gaming "enthusiast" or groupie. The pundit is correct, unless you're going for the argument that even if you've never been to space, you're an astronaut. Just a label folks, YOUR outrage is only the spin that you are viewing it with. Does watching someone be killed on tv make you a murderer?

  20. People are not upset over a semantic dispute. There is quite a bit more to the Pundit’s position than just what he makes out to be the innocuous position that you have to play RPG’s to be labeled a gamer.

    He already tipped his hand in this post where he lashes out at “hipster gamers” (apparently his label for anyone who disagrees with him) and makes completely baseless accusations that the cast of Critical Role do not really care about RPGs and allegedly are faking their enthusiasm for D&D because they get paid (nevermind that their stream is based on a homebrew campaign they played for three years prior to the show even being proposed or that they accepted miminum wage when the stream first started even though they were all successful voice actors who could get paid a much higher rate doing voice-over work).

    The Pundit also states people who watch Critical Role and other streaming RPGs do not play RPGs. Aside from the fact that he cites no empirical evidence that would support this position, it would seem rather strange that big companies such as DND Beyond (owned by Amazon) or WOTC would spend money advertising on and promoting such streams if they did not think they would reach an audience who would actually buy their products. If you don’t game, you are not going to plunk down a couple hundred dollars on books to get started with D&D or buy a subscription to DND Beyond. Advertisers do market research, and they have no interest in spending time or money marketing a product to people who would not want to actually purchase it, and the only people who purchase such products ARE gamers.

    That aside, as I said in my other remarks, the Pundit seems like a very bitter and unhappy person. First, one has to ask why he even cares how total strangers enjoy a game he is not playing with them or how they choose to label themselves? Second, one has to question where his vitriol is coming from (I.e. the name calling, the baseless accusations)? If this is really just a polite disagreement over the definition of a word why is HE so outraged? Third, if one reads the Twitter feed he references on this post one sees his comments are coming from a place of jealously, personal insecurity, and the desire to act as a gatekeeper (which stems from insecurity and unhappiness). The like-minded Twitter posters on the thread he references make similar silly accusations that the cast of Critical Role are “faking” their enthusiasm for the game. And, they go even further by making silly accusations of “body shaming” because they apparently think the cast members of Critical Role are too physically attractive and this somehow makes them feel bad about themselves. Aside from the fact that the cast of Critical Role are VOICE actors who get their employment based on talent and not their looks, one has to question the emotional health of people who are so fragile that they feel bad about themselves because they see someone who they view as better-looking enjoying a hobby they share.

    In short, the dispute is not over the simple definition of a word, and the Pundit is being disingenuous pretending this is what caused the controversy. I am truly sorry he feels insecure about himself. I am also sorry to read comments where people compare their physical appearance to others and assign a lower worth to themselves based on such comparisons. But, at the end of the day, the problem lies within the Pundit and like-minded posters. No one gives you self-worth, you build it yourself. I hope the Pundit and similar posters learn that they are never going to feel better about themselves by lashing out at others. They need to engage in some deep introspection and learn to accept themselves in order to be happy and content.

    1. 1. I never actually said that that the people who make CR "don't care about rpgs". I said that their show cannot be seen (as many viewers seem to believe) as what a real D&D session goes like.
      They are, when filming that show, which they are being paid for, being actors. They are playing the role of a D&D player. They're using all kinds of methods recognizable to any actor. It's much like what you see in many slickly-produced Reality-TV shows.

      2. I never stated that people who watch CR don't play D&D. In fact, in many tweets I pointed out that CR brought new players to D&D.
      I said that there are people who watch CR and other D&D streams who watch and do not play any D&D. Since there were literally tons of people in the last three days who wrote tweets at me (angry outraged ones, usually) who admitted that they ARE people who watch streams and don't play D&D, that's now a proven fact just by looking at my Twitter history.

      So, in other words, you are either actually ignorant about what I was arguing, or you're LYING.

      Which is it, Septly? Are you an idiot, or a liar?

    2. RPG,

      I am someone who is not going to give you the space to weasel out of the nonsense and hate you are spewing. Here you are with a Messiah-complex portraying yourself as if you are in some sort of righteous battle against the so-called “SJW Swine,” and you have the temerity to pretend you are merely engaged in a semantics dispute about what is a “gamer?” And, honestly where is this overwrought rhetoric coming from? You come across as either a Russian paid troll or a seriously delusional wingnut, though I believe you are neither (and only just someone looking for attention).

      You did post a tweet (which I read before posting my remarks) where you said “great” if live stream feeds drive new people to D&D for the first time. But, most of your other comments have either contradicted or otherwise undercut that (weak) sentiment. Especially when you went on to say, “BUT lots of those [viewers] will quit on seeing REAL D&D is not like on the fake shows.” Your comment reads that (1) Most of the people watching livestream feeds have no history playing D&D (and one assumes any other RPG), (2) These new people cannot/will not appreciate “real” D&D. (3) You and a select few have a corner market on the “real” D&D.

      You also posted on this very blog that the CR role cast where “just a group of paid actors looking to make money,” and they had “fake enthusiasm.” So, YES, you did effectively say they don’t care about RPG’s and they are only making the show because they are money grubbers. Again, never mind that they played a home game together for THREE years before streaming (and Matt Mercer has been an avid D&D DM/player for over 20 years), or that they agreed to accept minimum wage when CR first started streaming even through they were all highly successful voice-actors at the time who could have commanded a significantly higher hourly rate. Do you even think about how ludicrous your accusations come across in light of the actual facts?

      Also, no one is arguing that when one streams RPG playing, or anything else for that matter, there is no consideration made for the audience watching the stream. Yes, people adjust their posture and try to be engaging, but that does not amount to “faking” anymore than someone “fakes” putting on make-up, or cooking a pasta carbonara, or painting a picture or any other sort of activity that someome chooses to post online. The cast of CR are real friends playing a game they originally played together in the privacy of their homes. Yes, they have made accommodation for live-streaming, but there is nothing “fake” about what they are doing.

      Many popular streams do not use trained actors, but for those that do, there is absolutely nothing contradictory about the players using their acting skills. By definition, a “role playing game” involves the use of acting skills. Now, most people who play RPGs may not be professionally trained actors, but that does not mean they are not acting when they create a character and act out an improvised story with their DM. Roleplaying IS acting. As for the streaming shows’ production values, they vary quite widely from show to show, but even the “big daddy” Critical Role started off looking like something shot by junior high school students in their parents’ basement. The show did not amass a huge early following based on high production values or slick marketing.

      So, RPG, are you a liar? Or, are you engaging in negative attention seeking? Or, both?

      Again, I am sorry you are unhappy, or lonely, or both. I get you seem to relish getting your 15 minutes (or seconds?) of attention from being a shitkicker. But, playing a melodramatic, catty, mean-spirited critic with a martyr syndrome is not going to make you happier, nor is it going to get you the sort of attention you truly want. I suggest turning the dial down to, stepping back, and taking some time to consider your behavior, and why you are acting the way you are acting.

    3. May I also add something in support of Septly, and I hope that this clarifies some of the confusion regarding whether their enthusiasm is fake (due to being paid) or not.

      "Legally, they have to be paid.

      Most if not all the members of the CR stream are members of SAG/AFTRA, the union for actors. They are banned from participating in any media that does not abide by union rules, including union minimum payment. If G&S did not pay them union scale rates, then everyone involved in the Twitch stream who are union members would be fined, most likely along with Felicia, Geek & Sundry, and possibly Legendary.

      However, the rules for "new media" are very different than rules for traditional television or film. This is what the writer's strike several years ago was about. The rules are very different for video games as well, which is a developing issue that may lead to a strike there as well.

      So yes, they're paid. But it's a pittance compared to what any of them (especially Matt and Ashley) could get for their time. If they didn't accept payment and G&S didn't offer it, even the pittance that is New Media minimums, both sides would be in violation of the work agreement and that's a can of worms no one wants to open.

      Note that, by law, the donations to charity go to the charity. So the fundraising for Extra Life and 826 LA go to those organizations, not to the actors nor to anyone involved with G&S or with Legendary."


      The fact that they accept minimum wage (due to their legal obligations to the union) despite being legally entitled to more coupled with the fact that they have been playing this game for several years prior to the stream surely demonstrates that they are not doing this for the money but for the enjoyment of the game. As such their enthusiasm, if not already quite blatantly apparent, is genuine and not 'fake'.

      Finally, I just want to add that I categorically disagree with your narrow interpretation of 'community' for many of the reasons already stated over the weekend.

    4. A youtube channel that consistently and reliably gets 250K viewers each posting is making a serious amount of money. Not to mention all the other stuff (merchandising etc). So SOMEONE is getting paid quite a lot.

  21. So you did answer, Septly, clearly you ARE an Idiot!
    One with really bad reading comprehension skills. And bad logic skills.

    Me saying someone is a paid actor who are doing a show about something for money does not mean they don't perhaps also personally enjoy that something.
    Jeremy Clarkson is a paid actor making a show about cars. It doesn't mean that he doesn't obviously love cars. But clearly, he doesn't act like he does on-camera when he's driving cars by himself.

    And I said it not once, but maybe a HUNDRED times on my twitter these last few days. You clearly haven't read all my tweets & replies: I want EVERYONE to play D&D. No conditions. Everyone who plays is part of the hobby.

  22. Pundit, I just had quite the chuckle reading through your unhinged rant. You are not interested in discussing, you just want to throw tantrums for attention. Perhaps no one has told you this, but grow up because it is not a good look for you to act like an attention-seeking child.

    Also, how can you, the person who accuses others of “faking,” now pretend to wave the banner of inclusivity? Really, do you think we are all THAT credulous? Your act is getting old.

    And, no, why would I read every single one of your tweets? You are not that important. And, WHY would any rational person want to read all the postings of someone who headlines their blog posts with silly and melodramatic phrases like “SJW swine?” I would rather listen to a two-year old scream and pout, at least they would be engaging in age-appropriate behavior.

    I get it. You are acting crazy to get attention. It’s somewhat sad and somewhat amusing, but it is definitely not healthy. I am not interested in continuing to feed your negative attention-seeking behavior.

    If you want to be taken seriously, then behave accordingly. Making melodramatic declarations, going on long-winded defensive rants, and entertains your persecution fantasies is misguided behavior that will only get you the wrong type of attention. Take a breath, take a step back, and take some time to reflect on your behavior.

    1. LOL. I'm not that important, and yet you're here.
      Also, you lose the argument so you resort to pathetic nonsense like this.

      I'd advise you'd really be better off to give up and slink away back under your rock before humiliating yourself further, but I've seen your type before. I'm betting you just won't be able to quit me.

  23. Angry DM does works this gimmick better than you, you should take lessons.

    1. The Angry GM and I are colleagues. But on our first encounter in Twitter, much like sometimes happens in Superhero Comics, we ended up brawling.
      I won.

      Mind you he put up a good fight, and we ended up respecting each other at the end. I've just been doing this a lot longer than he has.

    2. Also, I'm the Final Boss of Internet Shitlords now.