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Frequently Asked Questions about RPGs! (Game Master Tips)

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Come hither as Critical Role’s Matt Mercer tells you how to be a better GM / DM. In today’s season finale, he answers some frequently asked questions. Catch these tips a week early on Vessel, and on GeekandSundry.com every Friday! For more on RPGs, go to http://bit.ly/GS_RPG Visit us on http://geekandsundry.com Subscribe to Geek and Sundry: http://goo.gl/B62jl Join our community at: http://geekandsundry.com/community Twitter: http://twitter.com/geekandsundry Facebook: http://facebook.com/geekandsundry Instagram: http://instagram.com/geekandsundry Google+: https://plus.google.com/+GeekandSundry/
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Text Comments (331)
ankontini (14 days ago)
He has Charisma 20 :)
Kristian Stave (16 days ago)
You heard it here folks! I have now increased my NPC gallery 10 times!
Chaos Tool (18 days ago)
Any tips for a single player campaign? Thinking about getting my gf into d&d but Want to tease her into it before being overwhelmed by a huge friend group that are comfortable with the game for years
Audrey Nilsson (21 days ago)
Pumat Sol is in my campaign xD xD
GabrielMajere (26 days ago)
I have several playlists made, but I'm trying to make one for in town or on a ship. Any suggestions?
Self Awarewolf (1 month ago)
amazon dot com
Ramza BloodMoon (1 month ago)
Matt, you should also check out the band Nox Arcana! They are very similar to Midnight Syndicate.
Toxic Howl (1 month ago)
If you guys want some good music look up Two Steps From Hell. they have AMAZING music that suits the D&D world very well.
Paul F (1 month ago)
I may have created a Barbarian named Grog.
gaamaru95 (2 months ago)
I fucking love Matt Mercer.
Carrie (2 months ago)
I'm using Molly and Yasha in my game for work because i miss Molly already
Callum Hening (2 months ago)
I love Matt so much
Tom Howard (2 months ago)
I've been using nothing but final fantasy XV soundtrack for my most recent campaign. It's great
keyz- (2 months ago)
We dont deserve CR and all the guests, basicly got me out of depression(self-diagnozed) But still, only show i follow beyond GoT :D
Kirknan the Barbarian (2 months ago)
lol, I could have sworn you just curse at me, FAQ to you to buddy.
Kalyn Ganske (3 months ago)
How do u level up your player's characters? What books do u need besides the DM's, players handbook, and elemental evil?
Adam Washburn (4 months ago)
Hey Matt how do sneak attacks work in dnd 5e? like how Vex snuck up on that Duergar in critical role to slit his throat.
The Intimidation (4 months ago)
Question 8: Will you come DM a game of pathfinder for me and my friends? Question 9: Can you also bring some friends, we can't get a full party because nobody can stand <insert name> cause he's a dick.
spenciwills (4 months ago)
can you make your playlist public?
Yomol Waspran (4 months ago)
I'm a senior in high school who dms for my friend group. Instead of letting my second semester be a billion study Halls, I took a bunch of electives, one of which was improv. It really, really made my dming better, to an extent I couldn't expect. So I 100% agree on that.
Me Tooo (4 months ago)
Please add the songs and artists that she would use for various encounters. Thank you
Also, I want to buy your shirt. Maybe not the one you're wearing, but ya know.....
Have you ever had a player thru Skype join a group for playing? I would love to be involved in gaming again (20years ago) with experienced players to get my feet wet again, but I'm a bit...shy..when I want to be.. kinda weird in game.
cole schissell (4 months ago)
Dose anyone want his whole list of music
Rockey Young (5 months ago)
The awesome part is he actually did make a book.
Krystal Owen (6 months ago)
of the three Matt mentioned that are royalty free... only Midnight Syndicate is on iTunes.
Murder Turtle (7 months ago)
I come from an acting and improv background; I’ve been doing it for my entire childhood, so GMing seems like a fun way to kind of keep my skills sharp. These videos are fantastic by the way.
dr epicbanana (7 months ago)
Has Matt mercer ever played dnd not just dm?
גד בנישו (7 months ago)
.some stuff huh? i bet its not some innocent stuff 5:00
גד בנישו (7 months ago)
4:56 sry
Can I make a map as I go along because that’s what I have been doing, kinda like how Minecraft randomly generates random terrain with different seeds, but more like dwarf fortress where it’s more like a rouge like.
iktan creativo (8 months ago)
https://open.spotify.com/user/12143715526/playlist/7FbSgGqsOAHx1q2SuR1JTd?si=WZK9WQq0SJq7JHf2i-LI-w (Real Horror List Playlist) https://open.spotify.com/user/12143715526/playlist/6vuaT3dbIHsHn9i3eSm8tt?si=YkjKgp9IQVahza68LgWHFw (Strategy Time Playlist) https://open.spotify.com/user/12143715526/playlist/5DkLVOmBoLdUaYZpE9d5vt?si=_18RfqgsRJuuST8iFwYd5A (Sea snd Ships Adventure Playlist) and much more!! :)
GoombaGenocide (8 months ago)
I think I've ended up putting Grogg (under different names) into my campaign a number of times. It was such a memorable character that I end up playing every Barbarian NPC like him, terrifying and adorable
Kevin McKinley-Czup (9 months ago)
Bro... Midnight Syndicate... Thank you so much for giving them a shout out.
Valeria R (9 months ago)
It's so beautiful seeing this and hearing him say multiple times how he would love to make a book like that and now the Exandria campaign setting book is out 😭❤
The Disgruntled Workman (9 months ago)
Q: How can I get friends to play DnD with me?
Darren Richardson (9 months ago)
Ohh yeah Midnight Syndicate's tracks are awesome, I have several of their albums.
zmollon (9 months ago)
Where can we download these playlists or buy them lol?
Mr knight burrell (10 months ago)
i would get the maps but shit there 80 bucks
TheRetoohsprahsify (10 months ago)
The moment he mentioned improv classes my mind yelled, "Freeze! Special Agent Michael Scar! You're under arrest!"
JohnnyBoy (10 months ago)
Coming back to this over a year later after he's released a campaign guide ended a level 20 campaign and become incredibly famous how far they've come
Kalani Seymour (11 months ago)
Dear Matt, I believe there has been an issue, I suddenly have your face, please contact me so we can discuss this further.
Farhad Khakimov (11 months ago)
That sudden feeling when you realize this guy is actually McCree and MacCready, as well as a GM charming as hell.
Charles Whisenant (11 months ago)
Matt is gods gift to D&D.
David (11 months ago)
@matt mercer... i love the gilmore character may i use him in my homebrew?? btw my homebrew is skyrim based with the monster from D&D and skyrim and classes and races of D&D
Marcus Sherlock (11 months ago)
I ran an episode of my group's campaign set inside the PC's very nightmares (based on backstory and psychological profiles I had extracted from them prior to play) as a result of the party being possessed by an astral spirit that intended to lay its eggs in their egos. It was very difficult to award material loot for a series of encounters that took place entirely within their own heads. In the end I had the power of the defeated spirit crystallise into stones of solid magic representing a magical weapon or item property inspired by the individual psychological challenges each character overcame in their personalised encounters. They could use these stones to bypass most of the usual crafting requirements to make the corresponding items.
Tyler Mcgilvery (1 year ago)
I'll put "something out
martijn van weele (1 year ago)
Dudemanous1 (1 year ago)
1:35 This is slip of the tongue is why we were so fortunate as to get the D&Diesel special later on.
Will in New Haven (1 year ago)
LoL, if I had a playlist like that, the peaceful music would play for awhile and then the Snow Drakes would attack
Kai Carey (1 year ago)
So strange to watch now after the campaign guide is released and last year he thought it would never happen or didn't see the opportunity. Love you Matt! <3
pinkish (1 year ago)
FAQ? fairly athletic quails?
Mosreject (1 year ago)
And you made it mr Mercer, you made it! Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting YO!
DN. Neo (1 year ago)
hi am new to role play and dungeon and dragons had a few games as a charter and really want to try my hand at DM the problem is that I really struggle with rules and states and rembering all that stuff but I love the building a world and role playing part of it I think I'd be really good (touching on what you said about drama and doing stuff on the fly I hated scripts but improve I shinned in) (not to blow my own trumpet and not nearly as good as you but was really hoping to get some advice of some one I like watching and the videos are amazing so THANK YOU) hope some point I get a replay and long live the DM (you) lol
Chad Ellis (1 year ago)
"I would love to make a sourcebook if time let's me." Glad time allowed it. I genuinely cannot wait to explore this world, thank you for your work you have done to advance and enrich this community. Thank you Matt Mercer
Winston S. (1 year ago)
One word for map creation- Inkarnate. Thank me later.
LtLexay1 (1 year ago)
4:04 "hell, I'd love to make a source book" fast forward a year...
Corvus 98 (1 year ago)
Question 5: good cause I am definitely using the vestiges in my game :)
Pier-Luc Deschamps (1 year ago)
DMDJ is an app on android and IOS that have a lot of great music/sound! I use it often in my games
Is this music from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow?
Alex S. (1 year ago)
Hahaha I love that he hates getting rules questions. "I'm just a DM, please google this. "
Dardo Muñoz (1 year ago)
Dude...you are my new hero.
Nic S (1 year ago)
Love this series. Thank you.
Mike Limon (1 year ago)
can you release your music playlists matt??
Wonderland (1 year ago)
Q: will there be a one off or something we're mat is a player?
Leisure (1 year ago)
I was in theater and also took some classes when I was a kid, it does help a lot.
Daniel (1 year ago)
Could you add those audio resources to the description? I'm sure it'd help a lot of folk.
Johnathan Heath (1 year ago)
I have a question how do you handle out of game interferences just a quick story to go with this question about a week ago me and my group wete playing 5th edition at our local gaming trading card shop and on Lookers being being curious we're watching I have no problem with this most of them we're curious about the game and we're sitting or standing and watching quietly no problem the ones that I had problems with where the more experienced gamers watching our campaign contradicting our dungeon master and distracting or members with side conversations Dungeons and Dragons is supposed to be fun so I'm not saying we have to be serious however when we can't role play or play the game because people are stuck conversating because of people distracting it angers me I called this person out told the group that there's too much side conversation and we cannot play I apologize for getting angry but if we're going to play we need to play and not stick around inside conversations when we can't play because of onlookers and distractions it irritates me I'd like to get some people's opinions on how they would handle that I think I handled it right when I told the person who was observing to stop distracting the rest of us and let us continue to play and when the game was over I pulled the dungeonmaster aside and talk to him in private and gave him a brief explanation and also told him how I believe it should be handled in the future like I said I believe I handle it properly but I'd like to get some other people's opinions if possible please
Bjorn Schoemans (1 year ago)
you hand draw your maps i thought they were printed because they look so good
Sasha Kalishkanov (1 year ago)
what do you guys use for music? I like to use the witcher 3 ost, faun, derek and brandon fiechter, and dark souls, what about yall
Paul Foster (1 year ago)
Man, I haven't DM'd yet, but I'm so glad I've taken improv.
GamingSkull R (1 year ago)
hey is how do I make my own game or story as the dungeon master
HeyImLincoln (1 year ago)
GamingSkull R Come up with an idea then keep expanding. Some of my favorite techniques are to take plot lines, characters, or ideas from obscure novels and stories or ones I don't think anyone in the group has read and rework them into the story. Just don't completely rip them off because the players may catch on or stumble across it later. It worked for my assigned short stories in 6th grade and stll does
rustedghost (1 year ago)
I'd pay for those DM music playlists.
Miguel Rodrigues (1 year ago)
Thank you so much Mathew! Just watching you doin your shit helps me so much!
Shuggaloaf (1 year ago)
"Google is your friend". Same thing I tell my wife every time she looks up *from her laptop* and asks me how to spell something.
ArcadeFear (1 year ago)
Q: do you ever think you will go back to pathfinder?
Daniel Parejo (1 year ago)
5:25 Apart from "Google" I miss a mention for https://rpg.stackexchange.com/ Such an amazing and knowledgeable community!
Chain (1 year ago)
If you really find nothing on google you can tweet at wizards of the coast too. I've seen them answer rule questions in the past. :)
Clayton Parfumorse (1 year ago)
how do you create a main plot? my current campaign is based on the players doing a favor for asmodeus, and slowly loosening the grip another devil has on this town, but i cant seem to flesh it out beyond that. on the other hand, i made like, 6-8 side quests that have absolutly nothing to do with the main quest, all well (for me anyway) thought out. i just cant seem to get my main quest off the ground.
Clayton Parfumorse (1 year ago)
indeed, thats what we ended up doing. someone else is taking controll of the group while i think
Khalma (1 year ago)
Maybe start a new main campaign and come back to that original main plot at a later time. You don't always have to force the story, instead you can give them something else to do and when mood strikes you make refrences to the original one and once you feel like it is time, you can bring it back. (Hopefully this makes sense)
John - (1 year ago)
I'm stealing Gilmour for my own game. He's franchising. it's what he would want.
John - (1 year ago)
starcrafter13terran I did steal victor too. He was thrown into a pit of souls by our warlock and died horribly.
starcrafter13terran (1 year ago)
What about that powder vendor?
HeyImLincoln (1 year ago)
John - My DM has had Gilmore in a few instances, the fan service is real
Wombatman (1 year ago)
my DM borrowed Gilmore and he ended up being my characters worst enemy. I'd try to make a smartass remark and wind up outside knee deep in horse shit.
William Bowles (1 year ago)
remember to shop at Gilmore's Glorious Goods for all of your magic item needs!
L Doornbos (1 year ago)
3:09 I was hoping for 'ruddy mysterious'
Kaelen hall (1 year ago)
9 people disliked....... there is now 9 more people i dislike in this world
Wanderingsage7 (1 year ago)
forgive me Mercer for I have sinned. it's been six months since I've seen a critical role episode.
Joel Pearson (1 year ago)
Wanderingsage7 That just means there's more awesome story for you to watch!
Chris Menor (1 year ago)
Such great advice, thanks for the great and informative videos. I love what you do, I am a huge fan of your talent and hope to see more of your Dungeon Mastering in the near future, Aloha
DeltaBlaZe77 (1 year ago)
Many of Lindsey Stirling's songs are very good for role-playing.
KYOT (1 year ago)
Hi my name is Matthew too and plz can you sub to me
Sydney Cullis (1 year ago)
My DM hates thinking of names so he uses a lot from Critical Role. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who knows so it's really funny when he pulls a name I recognize. He also loves Gilmore and has made him an awesome NPC
Hamza Kyoyama (5 months ago)
DrHokeyPokey Who are these Gilmore guys?
DrHokeyPokey (1 year ago)
Has he used Purvan yet?
Carcass Trashworthy (1 year ago)
Hey, can somebody please refer me to some of those Roll20 map generation softwares the good sir mentioned? It would prove invaluable to me and I would be greatly appreciative of the assistance.
Zach Noorman (1 year ago)
Huntsman0000 Facebook has a lot of tabletop rpg communities where you might looks. Absolute Tabletop is a good example.
Jean Marais (1 year ago)
Carter Johns (1 year ago)
Hey Matt! Why can't my Great Old One Warlock learn Weird at level 17? That spell is only available to Wizards and Bards, who will never take it because of all their more powerful/thematic options. Typo?
guitardavepdx (1 year ago)
the Dungeon Masters Block podcast and forum is amazing as well for resources
Snagabott (2 years ago)
I read the first two words in the description section as "come Hitler"?
David Vanderhoeven (2 years ago)
So, this is the most likable guy on this planet, no?
John Harrison (24 days ago)
Charisma of 30
starcrafter13terran (1 year ago)
Yeah, I met him and he's a great person. Very friendly and sociable.
Cormandine (2 years ago)
For the "Be a Better DM" video. I recommend on reading all of the DMing Advice you can get. Ignore the Dungeon Master's Book, and just read what people advise on working on to make a fun game. But, the biggest word that you want in your game, is "fun". That is something you have to decide for yourself. Often, what is fun for you, will be fun for your players.
Nathan Barrett (2 years ago)
Does anyone know why Matt runs 5e? I feel like he'd be an AD&D type person!
Shoe (2 years ago)
Old question but still, there's another factor to answering this. 5e makes combat go a lot quicker than pathfinder, which is what they used to run before converting. Pathfinder having a lot more floating modifiers which can become difficult with as many players as they have. Simplifying the flow of battles also suits the stream format better and makes it more presentable.
TheLastOneUsaw (2 years ago)
There are a few reasons that make 5e a good choice for them: 1.) Makes Wizards happy, due to the fact that they are making money (not a ton but some) off of Wizards' IP it is a good idea to stay in their good graces. 2.) 5e is currently the most used system for new players and is the likely choice for new DMs. One of the goals they had when setting out was to get more people playing D&D.
Adrian Griffin (2 years ago)
Consistent ally npc yes or no? I'm starting up a new game next week and preparing, and a lot of the players will be new to RPGs, so is it a good idea just to let them know about some good ideas? Should they be more powerful, as powerful, or less powerful than the actual players? I'd love to hear some opinions on what I should be doing?
Adrian Griffin (1 year ago)
I've sort of expanded on this idea a little since I made this comment, introducing a game item called the "Ring of Banish Solitude" which, if worn by a lone adventurer (a solo npc) it generates two allied spirit companions who start out at levels and stats equal to the PC but at a certain point start becoming progressively weaker than them (I'm still deciding on whether there's a level cap or cut the rate at which they gain experience)
Paul Evans (1 year ago)
I'd be cautious about having a 'constant' DMPC chasing the party around, you have enough to do without 'playing your own game' as well. However, by all means have a few 'sometimes' friends or allies the party can bring along if needed. I normally make them a level or two below the party but specialized in some way to fit a gap in party ability.
Hoxton Hoxworth (1 year ago)
Yes, you can have a consistent Ally NPC, but don't make him the strongest party member, in fact, make him kinda weaker. You can separete him from the main sometimes. Just don't make him your Deus-ex Machina, you're the DM, not the player.
Nick1wasd (2 years ago)
I know my DM is using a DMPC as a place holder because one of our player can't join for a few months, but we were eager to start (and she was fine joining later), so he just made the party whole with the DMPC, but he'll just peace out when or to-be normal member joins, he also made him OP because I'm a noob :P And as with your idea maybe a super strong local dude (maybe a retired military dude from the last war trying to live his life is peace?) that wants the village to stay safe, but doesn't want to leave after the deed is done.
Adrian Griffin (2 years ago)
Well, I'm still doing homework on it essentially, studying the book and a few pre-made encounters available for cheap. The Fantasy AGE System is pretty simple in a way that allows for a lot of range in terms of stories. My idea is that it would primarily be focused on a small village in a time of war, with the PCs being travelers coming together to pull a magnificent seven and fight off an invading force greater than them. Perhaps the one that hired them would be the NPC companion, someone who wouldn't do a ton of talking, but intrinsically tied to the story. After that, they set it up as their base seeking adventure and gold, fame and glory and the like, eventually setting off on a quest requiring faraway travel. That's one idea, at least. A decent way to have them make connections with characters early on, so they'll feel comfortable engaging later on.
Thibau Weckx (2 years ago)
I am an actor and took improv lessons so i dont have problems with that anymore but just very sometimes i still get a euh out if the players do something very weird like go to the other side and just leave the story that kinda gets rid of all my preparations
Vajhar (2 years ago)
If my players to something like this I have prepared a small list of scenarios and a longer list of random encounters. That way whenever they choose to "abandon" my story line I can keep them busy while figuring out how to get them back on track.
Dakota Denney (2 years ago)
Hey! Recent fan of your D&D videos! My friends and I are beginning to get into D&D and I am going to be the DM. I watched the video where explained the music you used, and I was just curious to if there was a specific playlist on Spotify that you use or if there is something that can get me started. Thanks!
Joaquin Echavarria (2 years ago)
Hey, how much can you inform your players that they may be derailing from their characters?
Hoxton Hoxworth (1 year ago)
Alignment is a bad choice, but a useful tool to keep players on track of their personality. But if you don't use it (I don't use it), you can always punish them, remove exp (if you even use XP counter) at the end of game, make then roll a hard resolve check to actually do things that contradict their nature, or just openly talk to then. Resolve checks are really important in some scenes: There was this time a player had to kill another player who got his legs and spine crushed by a boulder. He failed the resolve check and had to leave the player to die alone in the cave, because he couldn't bring himself to do it. Everyone was really emotionally invested on the game, and this scene broke their hearts xD
GamerNxUSN (2 years ago)
+Brobuscus115 i think the only thing alignment is good for is to prevent metagaming, but ultimitely i view it as a guidline. never liked the idea of the paladin alignment system, especially for humans, they arent vulcans and not all actions are evil to all things.
Brobuscus115 (2 years ago)
You could simply ask their alignment (if thats the problem) usually they'll take the hint and stop being evil when their character is good.
Slam T. Jams (2 years ago)
Great series, I hope it continues!
affan torla (2 years ago)
Dear Matt, do you have any tips on running games with more than 4 players? you seem to do that extremely well, while so many people say its not a good idea.

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