When the Cubs won the World Series in 2016 one of my best friends held my hand so tight she almost broke it. I saw an grown man sit down on the ground and cry. And I just wanted to go to bed.
Right now, as I am writing this it is almost 1 am in the morning, a similar time to when the Cubs won, and I’ve been watching 6 people play Dungeons and Dragons on Twitch for the past four hours. And I’m going to be honest with you here, I’m crying because it feels like my team won the World Series. I have never been someone who was ever really into watching or playing sports, but right now, I feel like I just ran a marathon. I have been hyperventilating and yelling at my laptop while I watched 6 people I do not know describe themselves fighting and casting spells and rolling dice to see if they were successful. How did I get here?
Two weeks ago, I got onto YouTube and was looking to waste a little time before I would start my homework, and the livestream for Critical Role had begun about 40 minutes earlier. Critical Role started off as a part of Geek and Sundry, and their dnd campaign videos can be watched on the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel. It’s where a bunch of nerdy voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons. It has consumed my life.
I’ve watched parts of Critical Role before, but they are in the middle of a campaign right now, so I was not looking to commit to anything. I just wanted to see if the episode was interesting. It was. Two Thursdays ago I became enthralled by the characters and the story of Critical Role’s second campaign. Over the past two weeks I have watched 24 episodes trying to catch up (episode 43 aired tonight) because I cannot get enough of the Might Nein. I have watched with bated breath as I listened to backstories, watched fights, and attended festivals with Fjord, Beau, Caleb, Nott, Jester, Mollymauk, Yasha, and later Caduceus.
All my family, friends, and casual acquaintances have heard me talk about how I have been watching people on YouTube play Dungeons and Dragons for the past two weeks, and the only people who understand are my friends who play dnd. For me, I love Dungeons and Dragons for the same reason I love watching boomwhacker music videos: cooperation and teamwork. All the players work together to create the story of the campaign. They work together to help each other meet their group goals. It is fascinating to watch because it is also in the interest of their characters to keep some things secret. They walk a beautiful tight rope as they balance the interests of the group and their own self preservation.
I also love the epic story. Not an epic in the conventional sense, but an epic like the Odyssey. A long tale with many different stories woven together to create a whole. All the threads woven together to create a masterpiece. I love seeing characters and plots develop over long periods of time. I love watching relationships build up and sometimes seeing them get torn down. Dungeons and Dragons is all about the story, and the most important rule I’ve learned while watching Critical Role is everything is acceptable if it makes sense narratively.
I’m still reeling from everything that happened in tonight’s episode, but I am so glad to that Critical Role exists for me to help me avoid my homework. The only thing I have left to say is “Is it Thursday yet?”
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