Saturday, January 2, 2021


 So, I just finished the first book of 2021, THE WORLD OF CRITICAL ROLL by Liz Marsham (2020),* a history of and puff-piece for a livestreaming troupe who have done a lot to popularize D&D. I've only seen one and a half of their shows, both Cthulhu-themed one-offs. I greatly enjoyed their Crystal Palace adventure but tuned out halfway through a second C.o.C. adventure, annoyed by one of the actresses who kept upending the plot to draw attention to her character.

The book itself is largely the history of a Monty Haul campaign fleshed out with 'let me tell you about my character'. I found it of interest as a detailed account of the livestream gaming phenomenon: people watching people play D&D, the players being professional quality actors/actresses and voice-actors/actresses. 

It's fascinating how all the predictions that tabletop rpgs wd inevitably fade away, their audience deserting them for computer gaming, turned out to have got it backwards.** Far from fading out, in-person gaming is thriving, and more people are playing D&D now than ever before.

I wonder what Gygax and Arneson wd make of it all.

--John R.

*II.3622 on the reading list.

**I think 4th edition D&D's main weakness was that rather than playing to its strengths it more or less surrendered and tried to make D&D more like a computer game (and ccg). 

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