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It's certainly possible that I'm wrong and everything will be fine. But all of the history of mass media is screaming at you to "look out!" So we will see.
(The funniest part is Matt Mercer accepting that and playing into it while maintaining a very grim and serious countenance throughout.)
I don't actually have much prior reference when it comes to weird, amoral, selfish jerks becoming heroes through fantasy adventure missions. I don't know what "in genre" means, there.
Do you have any sense of where the character arcs are coming from, procedurally? Do the players come up with seeds for such things during character creation (backstory, what matters to the character, what the player finds most interesting about the character, etc.), and then Matt refers to those seeds whenever he feels like the time is right?
Has a player ever reacted to an opportunity for this sort of character exploration and growth with resistance based on their own character vision, like, "No, my guy wouldn't engage with that at this time"? Or do they always jump eagerly like, "Ah, this looks like a chance for my guy to learn a lesson! Okay, cool, let's have him learn a lesson!"?Or do the players initiate their own arcs in a way I haven't guessed?
One thing to consider about streamed games is that people tune in for the players as much as for the characters and the story. They love the silly antics of the players, as long as they're being true to themselves (at least some audience folks love the silly stuff).
Thanks, Gaerik! It sounds like a very familiar player/GM division, but with a way higher than normal degree of player buy-in. I wonder if that's because some of the traditional emphasis on effective play has been replaced by an emphasis on performance.Critical Role players don't spend much mental effort on tactics or how best to solve problems, right? And Matt doesn't introduce situations which reward optimized problem-solving? And Matt doesn't punish, or allow the rules to punish, bad or failed gambles with any outcomes that are truly unwelcome to the players (like character death)?
Gaerik, would you say that Mercer coming up with a reason to easily reverse that accidental death is a form of slick/clever manipulation ("I don't want to fudge the dice or their outcome, but I still can't have this character dying just now... let's contrive a reason why they don't die just yet"), or was it more organic than that?
The opportunity doesn't always arise, but sometimes you can play a group against itself a bit regarding social censure: if the members of the group realize that they are effectively performing for each other, that can motivate the players to simply "be better" than they would otherwise be, simply because they become self-conscious and want to give off a good impression instead of being their horrible everyday selves. For instance, asking an experienced player to "show how it's done" usually improves their performance simply because they now construe the other players as an audience that is paying attention to their behavior.
I'm guessing that the final ingredient here, performing for an audience, really does make a difference.