Some reading this know what Critical Role is and how it has changed so many lives, for the better. Some are like “I hear Sam talk about it, it’s that game thing”. Yes, it’s that game thing. Quick synopsis Critical Role is an online (live) Twitch show through Geek & Sundry of “nerdy ass voice actors” playing Dungeons and Dragons. It’s (almost) every week at 10pm ET, and they now have over 300 hours of video up on YouTube (seriously check them out…. even if you are not a D&D player!). That’s the short version of what it is… now to what it has become.
The creator of the campaign and the DM (dungeon master) is Matt Mercer, one of the most talented voice actors around. (Seriously, stop reading this right now and watch the clip of him doing an improvised black powder merchant! just click the image)
On top of his talent and shear genius of creating this world for his player he is one of the most kind-hearted empathetic people I have ever seen. His world view of acceptance, love, and kindness to others has spurred a whole internet (and real life) community of fans who go out of their way to show not everyone on the internet is a total, well pardon my language, dick. The community, affectionately called #Critters, has follow Matt’s (and the whole cast’s really) lead and raised several hundred thousand dollars for not only charities promoted via the show, but also charities in their local communities. The #Critters come together every day on Twitter to boost each other up, send well wishes, joke, play, and (the key to all of this) make life-long real friendships. (more on that later).
For us, it helped build our little family. Aaron has just started playing D&D at the local library when the show started in March 2015. Todd and I both remembered playing as kids in the early 80’s, but hadn’t since then. We watched the show with him and it ignited something in me I hadn’t felt in awhile – happiness and joy. I wanted D&D and playing in general back in my life after being told it wasn’t something I should be doing if I wanted to be cool for the last 30 years. But,I saw before me these 8 people who all were lovely to look at, in loving relationships, successful careers, and wonderful friendships enjoying something that was “not cool”…. I wanted that again. I wanted to laugh and cry with other who had similar interests. I wanted to not be alone in my general nerdiness anymore… THAT is what this weekly online “show” gave to me…. it gave me, ME.
We now have a full-fledged teenager that enjoys spending time with his parents (well as much as a teenager can). We play in 2 D&D games together, we go to the RenFaire together, we cosplay together, we go to cons together. I honestly don’t think that would be happening if it weren’t for Critical Role and what it did for me.
I’m learning to love myself and BE myself, thanks to the power of the #Critter community. I know that I am not alone, that by no longer trying so hard to “fit in” I’ve finally found friends who know and like ME….something I’ve been missing since my college days. Nd these friends are not just online. (although a quick shout out to Kat, my fellow official #Critter mom… whom someday I WILL meet in person!). Through Critical Role our family has met some really awesome people (yes, hubby and I are old enough to be their parents, but that doesn’t matter to us!). We play D&D with them, but so much more. We hang out at the Ren Faire. We’re going to their wedding. I can text them for help with kid’s geometry homework. I’m making a quilt for one. I’m meeting a bunch at New York Comic Con… all things that have brought me joy and happiness.
THAT is what Critical Role is…. it’s not just an online game. It’s a movement of friendship, acceptance, love and joy. Thank you Matt Mercer for agreeing to DM for Liam O’Brien’s birthday three years ago.
Bonus image that show the joy CR brings- Matt sent out happy “end of elementary school” wishes to the kid last June… look at his face when he heard his name on his favorite show!!