MATT: Oh, hi there. I didn't see you. Welcome. Glad you could join us for this little fireside hangout. Happy to have you guys here to relax and ask some questions, answer some questions, converse, generally nerd out I think is the plan for today. And drink this ridiculously strong port to the point of probable intoxication. A fantastic gift from one of our fantastic critters, Mark, who gifted me this fantastic port. He helps with a lot of the charity work we did, and the reason we're doing this is because you guys have been so great in supporting 826 and helping us raise an astronomical amount of money for charity, so this port's for you. Everyone's having a great day. We're still recovering from GenCon. It was crazy. The live show was fantastic. All the critters we had a chance to meet over the weekend were great. The booth-- our first booth ever having a booth presence at any convention-- went really well. Big ups to our incredible team, Brittany Walloch for her awesome idea and design, everyone who brought it to realization did a fantastic job, and those who saw and some who possibly haven't, we came up with the weird idea to randomly show up at the booth on Sunday with me dressed as Pumat Sol, just to mess around and meet some people and kind of just breathe a little life. That's a big thing we're pushing for as we go-- sorry, that's my mic-- as we go into this new direction with Critical Role, we want to try and make things more of an experience. We want to try and make things more of a community-unique thing and this was our first chance to try out some of stepping into that ground. So I hope people enjoyed it, and you know we're doing as much as we can with our limited resources, but we hope to do more things like that down the road in the future. We've got some cool plans and you guys make it all worth it.
So, yeah, welcome, welcome. I'm glad we get to hang out here for a little bit. I'm looking over here at some of these-- Oh, we're already getting questions just shooting up the page, which is crazy. Thank you for the ASMR. It's the least I could do. I'm going to spend the rest of the hangout just like this. Don't worry. Enjoy yourselves, relax, sit in your chair, and... (blows in mic) No, I'm not gonna do that. That'd be ridiculous. It felt really cool to cosplay as Pumat-- I saw somebody asked that question. For those who don't know, I come from a cosplay background. It was a big part of my nerd passion outside of high school. Right when cosplay really became a thing in the early 2000s I discovered it on the internet and I wanted to mix my love of Halloween costumes and putting way too much effort into costumes and blend it with my love of anime and cartoons and video games, so it was just this great combination. I got really into it in the mid 2000s, and then decided when I wanted to pursue a career in voice acting, which is a very low-income endeavor, I had to choose one or the other, so my hobby fell to the wayside. So this was a cool way for me to jump back in those shoes and [Pumat voice] I got to sit around there and meet a lot a fantastic critters and surprise them and shake hands, sign a few things and really hopefully bring a little more life to that fantastic booth experience that our team worked so hard on. So I hope you enjoyed it. If you haven't seen the video, you can find it online. I think I've retweeted it, so hope you get to enjoy that.
All right, let's get into some questions, 'cause that's the point here is for us to have this conversation and for you guys to ask some fun things. I'm going to pop in here and see what we got-- oh, we already got a collection here. All right, KYHawkeye has a question. "How long did it take for the team to make you up to look like Pumat Sol?" We're probably going to put out a post on the CritRole website with progress photos and everything. It took all together about two to two-and-a-half hours to get in full costume and makeup. The makeup artist did a fantastic job. She was local to the Indianapolis area. I posted her contact info and I'll do another one on Instagram once we get the photos back from Chris Lockey, who took some really good photos of the makeup. But yeah, it was base and then prosthetics. Me and Brittany Walloch went around and and purchased all the prosthetics and and makeup things in advance. We got the wig, we got the beard, we got the nose prosthetic, the ear prosthetics. We took like a full day just collecting and assembling Pumat. And then we went to Indianapolis, and that Sunday morning she made it up. We had never done or worn any of it in advance, so it was like a "fingers crossed-- hope this works out" type scenario. Actually Matt Key bought the goggles for it at the convention, while we were on our way to the convention, so that was one of the things I was like, "Oh wait, that's Pumat Prime! He needs to have the goggles to differentiate!" So, you know, we're nerds for detail and can't do anything half-assed, apparently, much to our detriment half the time but-- hope that was helpful.
KatetheGray83 asks, "What are your favorite qualities in a player?" The ability to listen to the other players, I think, is a huge thing, because it's a communal experience at the table, and I've been at tables where certain players are very attention-grabby or need to be the hero, and it's okay occasionally, but I think my favorite trait in players are the ones that listen and let each other player have the spotlight when it feels right, step up when it feels it's their time, or to help aid others' experiences as opposed to shut them down. I think that's a huge trait that I really appreciate. As a DM, a trait that I appreciate are players that aren't always too careful. I mean, it's important to be careful at times, but every now and when you have to make that that choice to do something really, really bold and dangerous because-- nobody sits there and waxes poetic with their friends about that time in the game that they went to that very dangerous dungeon and very meticulously spent three hours avoiding every trap successfully. They talk about the times that things went terribly wrong or someone did something really stupid crazy and it succeeded and it was amazing. So for me, a player who gets bold every now and then is a memorable player, and one that I really enjoy. So yeah, I can go on for a while, but those are two good answers for you.
This is fun. Thanks for hanging out, guys. Let's see here. MagicThighs asks, "How many hours of work did the party foist upon you by killing Lorenzo prematurely?" Not too many. Not too many. I don't prep a lot in advance, 'cause for me, D&D isn't about carefully defining every aspect of it. It's outlining things, outlining possible realms, giving yourself bullet points in some moments that you can read off of, and then a lot of it is the improv. You use that to guide you and then a lot of things just get made up on the spot and that's kind of the fun between you and the players. So it wasn't a lot of prep. I mentioned this at the Talks panel on Saturday, but Lorenzo wasn't intended to be a long time big bad villain. He was meant to be a short-term one who was-- the main goal and the reason they were sent to Shadycreek Run by the Gentleman was to take care of Lorenzo and the Iron Shepherds. It wasn't until Laura and Travis had to leave for their baby and scheduling them out that I realized it would be a good point to bring Lorenzo in a little earlier and tie him to that scenario. So instead of becoming a job they were assigned, he became a short-term villain and it's kind of cool to see how that grew automatically. Then with the death of Mollymauk, it made him even more cemented as a really vile character and unexpectedly he became this great villain for the time that he was there. I planned for him to escape and perhaps head to the Jagentoths or another ally and make it a, "Do you hunt him down and finish this once and for all? How do you do so without drawing too much attention to you as the killers?" There were a lot of possible paths that could have taken. But, as is D&D, sometimes things don't work out how you planned and I'm-- in that moment where you're frustrated as a DM that your villain died sooner than you thought, you're also really proud of your players for coming up with some good tactics, having some good luck, and it still made for a very satisfying death. So I don't feel like I was robbed of anything. But yeah, anyway, I hope that answers that question for you.
Let's see here. Another question here from RegularGnoll. "How do you determine who wins an NPC-only fight, like bar brawls or arenas? Do you actually roll the whole fight, or do you decide who you want to win and then add flair on top of it?" You can do it either way. If it's inconsequential and it's just like a flavor piece in the background, I might decide it makes sense this person would win. If it's things like the end of last campaign when Arkhan told Vox Machina to go ahead towards Vecna and he battled with the Black Knight, I actually rolled that fight to see if Arkhan could even make it to the next fight, and if he did, what resources he would have left. To the surprise of nobody, a level 17+ oathbreaker paladin with some barbarian in there can do a shit ton of damage in a very short time, as you saw on the Stream of Many Eyes, as I'm sure many of you saw. Was it the stream? It was one of the streams they did with Arkhan and he just destroyed-- it was 315 points of damage in a single round, I think. I think-- was it for Origins? I can't remember. Something recently. [Offscreen voice: Founders game.] Founders, that's what it was. It was the Founders game that we had recently. Founders Legends. So yeah, that one I rolled up and realized that's a bunch of-- that's a powerful character build. I think Joe did a very good job of-- I helped him when he was leveling up the character but he was the one who guided the path. He's my favorite person who can take the best parts of a really good character build-- I wouldn't say min-maxing, because that has a negative connotation, though it really shouldn't, in some cases-- but he knows how to build a really powerful build, and build a good character personality and story to go with it, and I was kind of proud to see that Arkhan was such a beast at that point. 315 in a single round.
All right, so next question. GoththeMighty asks, "How do you go about setting up recurring villains to create an invested narrative?" That can depend. To me, it's about creating a villain that has a reason to not directly fight the party. If a villain's like, "I'm gonna go fight you" the first time they meet them, they might escape or they might die the first time, in which case, not a very interesting villain. I think villains that are invested in the world outside of the party, that have a lot of goals that don't intersect directly with the purposes for the party, can make the world not only feel more alive and breathing but it leads to the possibility of having this obnoxious group of heroes begin to dig as a thorn into their side, and then they have to give them some attention, send something their way to possibly murk up their plans or stop them, and then if they keep recurring then they have to get personally involved and invested. The classic kind of build up to a narrative villain. For me it's-- a good villain is a villain that doesn't just want to kill things. It's a villain that might want to try and pay them off, might want to try and make them offers to no longer deal with them. That's how a lot of good businessmen and a lot of darker stories work is, "I could kill them, but that's messy. I pay them enough, maybe they won't bother me anymore. Maybe they'll come under my employ." Consider ways they can interact with the party but not always be in battle. That way, they get the opportunity to interact with them personally, to learn more about them and unveil some of the more darker threads beneath their personality. Those are some aspects of it. There's so many different ways to do it, it would be a very long question. But I hope that gives you some idea of a direction there.
Now, let's see here. SammyMantha1 asks, "What is your process for planning campaign arcs, and how do you recover from derailing events like Lorenzo failing to escape?" For me-- oh, man, I'll try and keep this concise. I take elements of what would be satisfying stories to pursue for the players and the characters they've built, think of their flaws, think of what it is that drives them, and what scares them, and how can I weave notes that can pluck or play on those personality facets, whether it's directly or indirectly involved in that character's backstory. And think of an end goal. What would be a cool centerpiece battle? What would be a very cool villain that they could eventually work towards? So I kind of create the end first, pepper it with beats that I can pluck on those character traits, and then fill the middle, as opposed to-- that's my path anyway. I don't plan everything out initially. I kind of loosely give a threadbare arc to it with those points: the end point, the couple of milestones I want in between, and then I fill it out as we travel through it. But that little bit of foresight that I have, knowing the direction I want it to go, allows me to spontaneously drop hints, and to drop references, and possible chance interactions, or bits of information that might help them in their in their journey. So that's more or less my process most of the time in a very vague and truncated sense.
Let me see here. Lay574 asks, "Has there been anything with having your own studio that you didn't expect, good or bad?" Yeah, good and bad. The good-- I mean, there's a lot of good. 1) We have a space where we can creatively do whatever we want with it. We can just-- I don't know, have all of our creative folk under one roof and that's been a really really good process of feeling like we can try things out and if they fail, they fail, if they work, they work. It's a very good creative environment. Bad? Getting it set up and running was very stressful. Having to get the internet working for it in time for the stream, getting all the equipment necessary for it working on the budgets that we have, and just making sure that we could meet the promise of being able to start up at the studio in time for what we had hoped and promised to you guys. So it was a very stressful period in getting it up and running, but everyone knocked it out of the park-- the team-- I'm very proud of. Every time you have your own space, it has its own quirks, but everyone works through it diligently and with a smile on their face. I'm very thankful that we have such good people here helping us do this every day.
Let's see, next question. FliptheSwitch12 says, "What is you favorite part of sharing your love of D&D with your spouse?" For me, I've had relationships in the past where people were-- my partners had vague levels of interest in my hobbies, from here to there. I've dragged them all into it to some degree, but being able to share it so strongly with with Marisha and being able to both be so excited about it has been a huge boon. It's really nice to be able to get super-excited about a class idea or about a new book coming out or being able to play a story together and then we can go home, we can swap stories about it, and talk about our various ideas of how things could have gone, or surprises, and how characters reacted on certain things, and-- it's just like sharing any passion with your partner. Not all relationships, all passions overlap. There are things that Marisha is into that I'm not as into, and vice versa-- very much so. But this is one of those strong passions that we we do overlap with. And I think it's great to have that variety, but to have the strong base of some sort of interest or passion there that's shared is a very positive thing. So I love it. I think it's great. And those of you who are in relationships or have spouses that aren't as interested-- that's totally fine. You can always ask if they want to try it, like give it a shot see if it's something you would be interested in, and try and cultivate an experience to see if they might like it more than you expect. I've seen that happen many times, actually. Might not work out. They might be like, "Okay, well, that's your thing and I see now why you like it. It's just not something I can really get as into as you, but I respect that, and I think just to open that door a little bit is a really cool thing. But yeah, I'm really appreciative that I have someone who shares that interest with me
Let's see. I'm going to go through some fun questions here. AdelynJoanna asks, "Do you plan on any solo sessions on stream or otherwise with Laura, Travis, and Ashley?" No solo sessions because there's only so much time in a week, and the narrative they went through is not as dynamic enough to run a separate session. I'm actually meeting with Laura and Travis and I'm talking with Ashley as well about what transpired in that, in terms, so they're-- we're talking and having an in-depth discussion about what events they were undergoing and what things they saw or heard or went through during that time period, so they'll be up to speed and that narrative will be with them and they can talk about in the story if they want to, but once again it was just a necessary separation due to Ashley's shooting schedule and Laura and Travis having a baby, which is a thing. So like anybody who runs a game and life gets in the way of player schedules, you just have to adapt and do your best to make it work and still feel semi-natural within the narrative. That was the best I could come up while still raising the stakes and making it an intense shift from their exit from Hupperdook.
All right, next one. Question: "As someone who's playing an Order of the Lycan blood hunter in my home game, do you have any tips or advice on how to add some unique flair so it's not a stereotypical werewolf character?" Well, here's a fun bit. Werewolves classically are dealing with the curse of lycanthropy as something that they cannot control, something that they want to keep hidden, that they feel like they will do terrible things if they haven't been able to keep it at bay. The Order of the Lycan specifically are training to keep it under control, to stay focused enough to use it to their benefit through their training, through the hunter's bane, through being part of the order that helps them kind of harness those capabilities. So consider a person who can take the form of a werewolf but in hopes of dispelling that fear. They don't always have to be a grim dark character though the class does lend itself that direction a little bit. What if they're occasionally a giant wolf that likes to be petted? What if in their wolf form there are instincts within the werewolf form that lean more towards a dog or a pet type persona that they can't really control? Where the human's very stoked that once they go in werewolf form they sometimes just want to get that scratch behind the ears. Sometimes they want to make the party leader happy by bringing them dead animals. There are fun things you could play with in that realm. And remember, lycanthropy doesn't always mean stereotypical werewolf. You can go all sorts of were creatures in the stats there. It's emphasized in one of the small bits, so look for that.
Before we get into some more questions here, let's go ahead and talk a little bit on this NPC build that we've all been working on. So for those who aren't familiar, as part of this 826 LA charity push, on top of this fantastic hangout that we're having now, you guys all voted on the CritRole webpage on an NPC that I get to incorporate in the game, a community-made and crowd-sourced NPC. You've all voted so we're gonna unveil many aspects of it here and then we'll define a few aspects of personality and maybe some voice elements in the chat here. So without further ado, allow me to unveil what this character is. They may show up sooner, they may show up later, but they're definitely gonna show up in the campaign. I already have some ideas on where they're gonna come in, so you'll keep an eye out for whenever they do show up. It's not gonna be next episode, but some point in the future, so keep an eye out.
So the winner for the race of this NPC, with 23.1% of the vote is... tortle. So it is going to be a tortle. I am excited at this prospect and I already know both location and story-wise how it's gonna show up so that's pretty exciting. The class chosen for this tortle is going to be, with 23.8% of the vote, a bard. So it's a tortle bard. That's gonna be a fun thing to work out. I know those are like, "Oh, they didn't pick what I wanted!" But there were some great choices in there and it could have gone in other directions, but this is what the people asked for, so we'll see how it works out. I can't make an NPC that's every character and every race, unfortunately. Not without things getting a little weird. The background of this tortle bard with 13.7% of the vote is going to be folk hero. So it's a folk hero bard tortle. Exciting. Well-known in some local circles. The occupation of this folk hero tortle bard, with 22.7% of the vote, is an enchanted tattooist. This excites me tremendously and I am very much now looking into how I can incorporate those mechanics into what this NPC is capable of. It should be fun. As far as the gender of the character, with 33.6% of the vote, we have a male tortle bard who is this folk hero enchanted tattooist. Their alignment, with 27.8% of the vote, is chaotic good, and the age, with 48.5%, is gonna be middle-aged. So a middle-aged tortle folk hero bard who is a chaotic good man who has been working his time as an enchanted tattooist. Might be some opportunities for some members of the Mighty Nein to get a tattoo or two. We shall find out.
So on that aspect of it, whatever this character is able to to develop, produce, put out there, let's get some ideas from the chat about their... let's see, what's a fun physical characteristic of this tortle bard? I want to see what kind of interesting ideas come through the chat here, and I'll just pick one at random, something that speaks to me, that jumps out, so wait for this to come around. Let's see.
All right, well, we've got some fun ones here. I've seen a lot that are already asking for a missing eye. I'll go with that: missing eye. So this this folk-hero tortle bard lost his eye at some point, or perhaps was born with just one. So we got that. That's fun. The next bit-- let's go ahead and get a voice idea for him. An idea for a vocal texture, a range, maybe throw out some dialects... I said that dangerously. I will try not to pick ones that I'd know very poorly, sort of embarrass myself on the internet. Oh hi, buddy. Oh, thank you.
BRIAN: You're welcome, Mr. Mercer.
MATT: Don't spill it!
BRIAN: I'm no, I'm not.
MATT: That's enough, that's enough!
BRIAN: Okay. Oh, shit.
MATT: You're too late, you're too late. You have to clean the finger, clean the finger.
BRIAN: With this or my mouth?
MATT: Just get out of here.
BRIAN: I'm sorry.
MATT: I'm so sorry.
BRIAN: I'm sorry.
MATT: I'm seeing some calls for for Norris: I'm seeing some calls for French. Stutters, I saw in there. Stuttering would be interesting. I grew up a stutterer, and my father's a stutterer, so that would be an interesting thing to pull into it to. To step into that realm. You know what? I'm going to do that. I'm gonna go ahead and say he's a stutterer. It's a stuttering bard. I kind of like that. It makes sense, too. Many people who have a stutter actually tend to lose it or be able to keep it at bay while singing or performing. It's been used for many many years as a means of you treating and developing ways to deal with a stutter, so I kind of like that. A lot of people are asking for Bayou. Oh man, I'll have to do some research to get back into that. Sure, we'll go with it. We'll go with a one-eyed Cajun stuttering-- oh my god, there's too many layers here. This is gonna be a fun challenge to work on for a bit. Okay, okay. All right. (Cajun accent) So it's gonna be time to bring this here tortle bard around the bayou. It's gonna be a good time. I hope y'all enjoy that. "[Cajun] cherie? That should be fun. At least from what you were expecting, whatever you're trying to [JENGA] from that one. Isn't that right? Gonna sing a song for you. All right." There you go, a little bit of a, I guess a pre-attempt. I'm sure it'll change before I get around to it. I'll have to do some more practice. It's been a while. I'm not gonna stop drinking-- are you kidding me? Not for this. This is the point of it. I'll put in some practice. I'll develop him, and hope that I can hopefully do justice to this fantastic NPC that you guys have helped me develop. So excited about that. Oh man, that's exciting. Well done, everyone! That's a really fun character.
All right, let's see if we can get back into some fun questions here. All right. AnotherMatt asks, "Did you expect the critters to pick up--" and one thing, I apologize if there are spoilers, if you haven't seen the recent episode. If you if you haven't seen he recent episode, you've already heard some spoilers and if you don't want to hear anymore, maybe you want to check this on VOD later, which it will be. "Did you expect the critters to pick up on Lorenzo's being an Oni?" I assumed it was gonna happen, but I wanted it to be a slow roll. Some things like that I like to just tease aspects of it. Even the players don't pick up on it. I know folks in the community will, other DMs or people who have read the Monster Manual pretty intensely. So I was excited to see people think about it and and wonder. I love watching people in the community pontificate about possibility when mysteries are about, and that was a fun one, and it was fun to watch people like, "I think it's this. Oh, what is this? It has to be this." and then the moment where it was confirmed, they're like "Yes!". It was a fun journey to bring you guys on with me.
Wonbology127 asks, "What gave you the initial idea for creating the lingering soul class along with its subclasses?" I was just-- part of it was trying to think of what would be the possession rules for the ghosts in the game, and I was thinking it'd be kind of fun for a player to have the ability to possess things, but a living person to expend their soul would be kind of weird on it, and then I put that at bay for a while. And then I had a conversation with someone about having variations to death beyond just dying, if a character really really really has some sort of unfinished business as part of the narrative. If a character-- like their whole life is bent around a revenge plot or a specific goal, and they happen to die in a D&D game, and the players are playing very strict to the death rules, that can be very disappointing and lackluster for that player in that narrative. Is there some way that we can keep it going that they can still play as that character, but still be dead and still see the narrative through? And since we have ghosts and spirits and poltergeists as monsters, why couldn't we have that as a player option? So I just began to brainstorm and it took me-- I was writing notes on my phone over months and throwing different ideas in there. Then finally I just went you, "You know, I'm going to write this. I'm gonna sit down--" I think it was on an airplane flight coming back from a convention and I just sat there and brain spewed it on the page, and that was where the inception of it came from.
As far as the subclasses go, I was just thinking about various facets of what direction a spirit could go, and so I wanted to definitely go with a wraith, a darker more life-hungry spirit, because then players will want to try and think in that realm, especially more of an evil character or at least one that is a little more cruel would be fun. Perhaps part of their journey is trying to resist the temptation to go down that dark path even though their actions tend to pull them in that direction. I wanted there to be a version that didn't rely entirely on possession for its abilities, and that's where the poltergeist came into play-- someone that can manipulate objects around them and actually wear armor and use weapons and be more of a melee-based class as a spirit. This poltergeist was a good fit for that, so I began to develop that archetype. And then spirit guardian which is-- well, I love the flavor of that cleric spell and I thought I wanted more of a protective or at least supportive spirit, and the flavor text is already there. So we're just taking aspects of the Spirit Guardian spell and then expanding it upon that third archetype to make it more of a protective and healing-based spirit. So that was the basis of the inspiration for that. It was a lot of fun. I like the current build. I might-- as with all my stuff, I might go back and revisit it after I've had some distance for a while and have some more ideas to tweak it a bit. My process of learning how to homebrew and game design is still very new to me, compared to people who've been doing this for many, many years. I'm always learning, I'm always finding ways to tweak and make things better. So I hope you guys enjoy what's out there so far and what's to come.
Let me pull a question from the chat here. Let's see. "Who needed the Taco Bell more after the last episode, you or Marisha?" The last episode, there were no Taco Bells open that late at night. But some episodes... I've been trying to avoid the Taco Bell recently. It doesn't sit well with me as much. And the Taco Bell nearest to us doesn't stay open too late, so for the late games, we've actually been hitting more Jack-in-the-Box on the way home, which is not anywhere near as-- a healthier option as you'd hope.
Question: "What was Lorenzo eating?" I saw in the chat. That was a child. Like Onis are wont to do. I'll leave it at that. He's a fucked up guy.
"What was the first homebrew class you ever created?" For 5e, it was it was the blood hunter, which started as the witch hunter, which-- I mean, I was all reactive. It was all based on doing the one shot with Vin Diesel and we were trying to do this based on this character Kaulder in the movie that he did, for The Last Witch Hunter. And so I took kind of a base ranger and customized elements of it to fit things I saw in the trailer, 'cause the movie wasn't even out yet and I hadn't seen it. So I was like flaming weapon that he can turn on fire, and faster reflexes and stuff, and it was really simple. But then all of a sudden everyone was saying, "What did what did he play? What class did Vin Diesel play in the one shot?" and I was like, "Oh man, I have to make a class now." So I began to put together a witch hunter class, and it was very simple. It was not very well balanced. It was from my rudimentary knowledge of design in Fifth Edition. But thankfully, putting it out there, the community was was very helpful in giving me feedback-- some very strongly-- and so I learned and just kept reiterating it, and then by then I'd put so much time into it I was like, "I don't want it to be just a a variation of this Vin Diesel one-shot. I want to make it my own." So that's where I began to completely customize it and change its design entirely to be the blood hunter. I wanted it to be something that fit uniquely within D&D that didn't overlap too much with any other existing classes, that had some unique characteristics and features. For me, it was using its blood and own vitality as a source of power was something that I hadn't seen explored too much. So that was kind of where I began to spin off of it and I've learned a lot of lessons through it. I'm still learning and it's been a lot of fun.
All right, let's pull some more chats that have been cultivated here. More chats, more questions from the chat. I haven't had near enough to be starting to mess up my speech but yet here we go. Emay asks: "Is Trent Ikithon an NPC you came up with and threw at the players as part of the Wildemount world building they could have known or was it a character Liam has thrown at you in Caleb's background and you integrated him into the world?" Trent Ikithon was a character I'd already created. I had already built out some of the major factions, those that worked specifically around the King. I'd worked out the Cerberus Assembly and other factions in the world, and when the players began to ask questions about their backgrounds, Liam was asking me about what individual might be responsible for things that pertain to his background, and I said, "Oh, well, that would probably Trent Ikithon." So I sent him information about Trent that none of the other players know, and so he began to write and tailor his backstory around Trent, and what his purpose was and his doings. So then it became a collaboration from there. But Trent, I'd created not knowing it would be so entwined in one of the players stories, but it's been really fun to build him in that space. I'm pretty excited to where that may or may not go down the road.
Let's see. UselessRogue asks, "Just how much did you enjoy the many layers of meta in the Dwarven Forge game at GenCon?" For those who weren't watching, me and Liam got to join Joe Manganiello, Satine Phoenix... and my brain is not working at the moment. Stefan, who's the man who created-- started Dwarven Forge, and David Atkinson, who's like the Gen Con head, and all of us played in a game run by Nate Taylor of Dwarven Forge to unveil their new forest set. And it was a lot of fun. There definitely was a lot of plot threads that dealt around this jester, this court jester who was kidnapped known as Mercer the Magnificent, and trying to save him from being sacrificed in the forest. They actually had a miniature of tiny me in chains. So that was pretty fun. It was pretty hilarious. I would say keep an eye out, because there are some more fun things that we're doing with Dwarven Forge pretty soon. Hope you enjoy those when they come around.
Let's see here. Somebody's mentioning (Singing) Everybody Walk the Dinosaur. Oh yeah. That's a song from my youth. Older than some of you in chat. The game was filmed. I think if you go to Dwarven Forge on Twitter, I think they have a link to where you can find it, or they should soon, I hope.
Question: "How do you avoid making every dwarf Scottish?" It went too fast me to read the rest. My temptation is to, since it's what I grew up with, and I just always--- I love the excuse to use the Scottish brogue. It's one of my favorite dialects that exist out there and I love it. In my world, a lot of them primarily are, depending on where they come from, but there are dwarves that are not, and for me it's just wanting to mix it up a little, because then it becomes a little too classic fantasy. So for me, it's having to having to fight my inner urge to want to make them all dwarvish-- all Scottish, and then having to mix it up. It's an internal battle.
OOh, some good questions in here that I won't answer because it leads to some narrative aspects of there. "What's my craziest dream for Critical Role?" I have no idea. The best way I can describe the entire Critical Role experience from our aspect is we are laying down the tracks in front of the train while it's just charging forward. Everything has been so reactionary. None of us expected it to grow into this. Every year is just another leap of support you guys have thrown our direction, and we want to make that as great for, and bring it back to you, as we can. We could easily have just kept doing what we're doing, pocket the extra, and be happy with the additional income, but we don't care about that. We want to bring it back to the community. We want to produce more content. We want to put it back into you guys and what we can do for you. So it's been-- none of us expected this, and we're just trying to catch up. We're trying to do-- we're listening to you guys, listening to your feedback, listening to what you're excited about, and wanting to make this such a wonderful safe space for people of all backgrounds. We're pushing for opportunities to really show more diverse people in the community and other shows to bring-- we have ideas. We have a lot of ideas and so... I don't want to give too much away, but we're excited that you guys have enabled us and really appreciate that you've enabled us the capability of having this opportunity with the studio and this fantastic crew and the chance to make this far more than what this little D&D game that started this is. So really excited. Really really excited.
Let's see here. Oh my god, it's going so fast! But I knew it was going to happen. I'll look at this for a second. "What's your favorite part of the Sam shirt?" The fact that I have one. Or now that I have three, and I got to unveil one at a live show. That was exciting. A long time coming. I've been wanting to do it for a while but I've been just so busy and so focused on things that are responsible, that I never got around to actually ordering a shirt or finding the right image for it. So Liam, being the good friend he was, managed to pick up the slack for me and provide that, which made me happy.
I saw a lot of people in the chat asking about the Wold of Warcraft game I played with Terry Crews. One, I'm for both the Alliance and the Horde. I've played on both sides and I've played since friends and family beta before the launch. I'm a huge World of Warcraft fan. I don't play it much at all these days because I've got a lot of other things to worry about, but I miss it terribly, and there are times where I'll log on and just do some quest, just to feel the old feeling. I have to keep it at bay. I've disappeared into that game heavily. When the game first launched, I remember, I vanished for like seven months I was like one of the first rogues to sixty on my server. I was like one of the top duelists outside of Ironforge. I was Alliance originally. I was a night elf rogue. But I was a combat rogue. Well, at the time, it was called combat. I didn't want to be a stealthy thing. I was a swashbuckler, you know, and everyone was like, "Combat rogue's stupid. You're nowhere near as good as the others." I fucking owned people outside of Ironforge in dueling. Just saying. But friends-- then I switched to Horde for a while, and then I came back, and I like both sides.
But anyway, back to the thing at hand. Terry Crews. I've been such a huge fan of his work. Brooklyn 99 is such an incredible show and everything else he's done is fantastic. And being such an awesome positive figure who's been so outspoken about male sexual harassment, who's been outspoken for the Me Too movement, who's been outspoken about the problems with toxic masculinity-- I think it's so important to have a figure like him that is such a powerful, strong, respectable, and awesome person who has nothing but excitement and drive to bring these things to light and to talk about them in a way that is healthy and important. So I was over the moon to have the opportunity to play and meet with him. I met him briefly last year at Comic-Con between panels, and I will say, you're always worried on meeting celebrities and what they really are versus what they aren't. He was as incredible, as sweet, as excitable, as passionate, and as humble and genuine as I could have ever hoped he was. I loved every moment of playing with him. I loved every moment of talking with him about the game before and after. I discovered he followed me on Twitter like a week ago when we launched it and so I've talked to him a bit there. Got to tell them how thankful I am for how important he is in this current environment. And I would love to have him guest on Critical Role at some point down the road. It depends on his schedule and if we can afford it. But he's amazing and I-- just so happy for everything he's doing and even if we don't have the opportunity to play again, it was an absolute joy to work with him on that game.
Question: "Thoughts on The Adventure Zone?" The Adventure Zone is amazing! I mean everything the McElroys do is fantastic. I love that they're just a tight knit, really clever, fun kind of loving family unit and all the podcasts they do are out there. I've only talked with Griffin briefly online via DMs but I'm a big fan of everything he's done with his stories there. I've had the opportunity to hang with Travis now multiple times and he's an absolute joy. I'm gonna try and connect with him more. I would love the opportunity to drag one of them on the show at some point in the near future, so we'll see if that ever pans out. But those guys are fantastic. They're great. They're very, very happy and proud that there's a lot of crossover in our community, too. So yeah, I'm so happy, so proud, and so excited that their book is doing so well. Their graphic novel is doing so well, and I'm so-- it makes me happy. Anyway, I'll go back to some more of these curated questions here like I should.
Let's see. Beesoutzubiddydeebopbopbop asks-- I had to say it-- "Of the many planes that exist in the multiverse, do you have a personal favorite or one that you would particularly like to make your players explore?" I love Planescape. I don't know if we'd ever get to a point in our game where that fits in our world, necessarily. I know Dice Camera Action's been exploring that heavily. They're doing a great job of that and I'm happy about that. But I love Planescape and I love everything that [JENGA - "Montigo"?] did with it back in the day. I love the aspect that it's essentially the nexus of all the other universes. And it's where I learned to mispronounce the word "siggle"-- or "sigil" for those that want the the non-city name pronunciation. But yeah, I love that world. If it ever plays in, we'll see. But I think for the most part, for the time being, we want to keep things in the realm of Exandria, and should I ever get a wild hair, maybe we'll explore something in that realm. We'll see.
It's another question here... CorvusGlaive asks: "How do you make magic items with interesting backstory and magic items with mind and self-consciousness?" Oh, I would say, take a moment-- after you've built your magical item, think about its power set and where that power set may have come from. If it's a weapon that can create a fiery burst of magical energy, perhaps it was forged in a volcano. Where was that volcano? And who would have forged it and survived forging it in a volcano? Perhaps it was an elemental lord who wanted to make this as the crowning symbol of his power until his people fell and the blade was lost, frozen in ice that slowly melted over time until it was scavenged. Start thinking of the history that could have led to the reason for the enchantment or the source of it, and run with it. That can be a fun way to find the history based around it. As far as mind and self consciousness, it's just like creating another NPC. Once again, consider the enchantments that are involved. Consider that history, and then perhaps part of that history-- perhaps that fire-- that elemental lord that crafted it, at the moment he was slaughtered or was about to die, gave the last bit of his consciousness as a vengeful detonation that would ruin the foes, the assassins that assaulted him, and unbeknownst to him, that last shred of his consciousness fused with the blade, and now there's a fragment of his soul that's slowly grown over time within there that wants to be released, or wants to find something that he can implant himself into. So developing the history of that magical item can inform the NPC personality that you can then forge into that weapon. I don't know if anything that I just said made sense. I just kind of made it up on the spot, but contemplating where the enchantment can fit within a history and the reason for its creation and its power set, then creating-- then thinking about what entities may have come in contact with it that could then have become infused with the weapon can help you develop that personality and the traits of it. There's great guidelines in the DMG and on the DM's Guild from a lot of community members on how to develop intelligent magical items, too, that can help you out there.
Archenix001 asks: "How did Shakäste end up captured by the Iron Shepherds?" So yeah. I wanted to have Khary back for a while to guest. I didn't know when it was gonna work out in the narrative. 'Cause he's been filming on Walking Dead for so long, and he let me know a few weeks in advance of the live show, like, "Hey, I'm in town. I'd love to come back." I'm like, "Uhh, well just so happens that most of our players are gone, and we had Sumalee for a few episodes and then we have the live show. Are you available for the live show?" and he got back and he said, "I think so. Where is it?" "Indianapolis." "You want me to fly to Indianapolis to guest?" I'm like, "Yeah." He went, "Okay." So I began to think about it, and not going in too deep with with Shakäste's mysterious background, he's alluded to the fact that he works with a community of people independently, though they are of a similar mind, with the drive of pursuing free ideas, free speech, and freeing those from unfair bindings that have found them under the control of an unjust entity. So that was why he was freeing the people from the gnolls when they first encountered him. And that same drive, as he was still existing in the space on the southern part of the Empire, keeping an ear out for any such things he could possibly help with-- I see some folks in the chat that may have some ideas-- and he began to pursue these threads, and had heard about these people that were taken from the outskirts of Felderwin, which was the first stop that the Iron Shepherds had made heading up north, back towards Shadycreek Run, and so he began to stalk them, attempted to, in the middle of the night while they were camped off the road, break in and release them, and got caught, and that's where he was thrown. He did manage to free one individual, but they took him as tribute to replace them in the cage, and so that was how he got captured and put along with them. So that was my narrative aspect of getting him in the place for the live show where he could encounter the players and have some investment in that final battle. So that was how that came about. Part of a DM's job, as many DMs out there know, is just finding a way to make the narrative work for the craziness that life throws at you, and so I hope it felt somewhat natural. That's the best I can do.
Questions are flying by so fast. "How open are you about playing an evil player character, evil PC?" That's a good question. Depends on the player, and depends on how well you develop it. I would be very uncomfortable with letting a player I have not played with much do it, because I've seen it too often bog down or ruin gameplay experiences when they decide that their character drive and inspiration just be an evil fucker, overrides their interest in making a cohesive story that's fun for all the rest of the players. So if it's a really good player that knows how to to pursue elements of an evil ideal or philosophical outlook on life and make it work with a way that doesn't ruin other players good time, then I'm definitely interested in pursuing it. Whether that's a retribution arc where all of a sudden they steer from the path, or if they find creative ways to manipulate others to think they're good and work them on the same path they're going on, or they're not sure that their actions are evil, they just lack the morality and need to learn about that and then make a choice, that's up to them. I think there's a lot of fascinating ways you can do it but I do believe it has to come from a player who has enough respect for the story and other players to not ruin their experience and the story you're trying to tell together, and somebody who can know when is the time to to really give in to those kind of evil urges versus when they have to keep it at bay. That's the best way I can put it, I think, in a short way.
Here we go. MagnusMilady's question is: "How do you name characters on the spot?" Sometimes it's just picking out, saying names that come off the top of your head. It helps to have a list of them. Sometimes I'll-- I have a few lists of names of various cultural backgrounds, depending on where the players are, so if I want it to feel really in the world, I'll go ahead and say, "Oh yeah, you ask their name? They are..." And you see me lean forward. I'll go to that list and I'll pick one from there that might fit within the realm. Sometimes I just make it up in the spot. That's how you get Phil in recent episodes. That was how you got the Cabal of Jamisons in the last campaign. Is it's just me saying what comes up top part of my head and hopefully it fits and if not, well, you know, at least it's a funny moment. So yeah. Purvan I did not make up off the top of my head! Purvan I had planned. I just didn't say it out loud. That's another problem, another recommendation. If you're developing NPC names in advance, say them out loud before you introduce them to the players, because inevitably sometimes it'll come back to bite you in the ass. I've learned.
One more sip. That was really good. I did see someone post on the Reddit about an alternate title to not this last episode but the one before to being "Kill Phil," and I was like, "Ohhh!" But respect. Respect and points to them.
HeiromiaFleiss asks, "Are you excited to have two very different clerics in the party?" I am! I think it's such a great opportunity to show that you can have multiple characters of the same class in the party and have very different styles and ways of playing, to where there isn't a lot of overlap and allows them both comfort in playing those play styles. I know there's always an urge to want to have a lot of class diversity in a party, and I think that's great, but I think if you can definitely have class overlap as long as the two players are committed to finding very unique ways to play those. Oh, this is port, actually a fine bottle of Symington 1994 Quinta do Vesuvio vintage porto. Oh, it's point twenty percent alcohol by volume. I'm gonna slow down on that. No, I'm not. Happy Tuesday. Yeah, I'm excited to have them there. Also, it means that I can crank up the challenge rating a little bit, too. As the Mighty Nein previously had a little bit of a.... yeah, they had a healer that didn't like healing. That was unique. So I'm excited to see where this can go, and grave clerics are fuckin' badass. It's gonna be fun.
Kabiba asks: "Can we resurrect Phil?" I mean, they have like nine more days. It's up to the party. [Laughter]
Here we go, here's another question from earlier. Sukhasana asks: "What is your favorite type of terrain to have battles on and why?" Ah, man, I don't know. I like varying it up. I like caverns. I like natural underground spaces. Dungeons and builds are fun. Actually, no, I take that back. Caverns are fun. I love ancient ruins. I love the idea of there being-- and I built it into the history of Exandria, of ancient societies that had access to advanced magical technology that were wiped out during the Calamity, and so there are so many unearthed hidden facets of the Age of Arcanum that exist all over the world. And so for me, it's about stumbling into these spaces of ancient knowledge that is the meat and-- the real bones of Dungeons and Dragons to me. So I love caverns that lead to those spaces. Then you come into this dark ancient-- it's like one of my favorite moments in Minecraft is when you're going through the caverns and all of a sudden you come upon a stronghold. That same feeling of like, "Oh, shit, who built this and why? And what was its purpose? And what does this do? Uhh." So yeah, those are my favorites.
Question: "How's the Molly tattoo coming?" With GenCon we haven't had time to really sit down, but I think probably when me and Taliesin disappear into the desert end of this month will be an extensive conversation about the design of the Molly tattoo and what it'll look like. I want to commemorate that character as best I can.
"Have we passed by or seen any mimics?" They've passed some. They never quite interacted with them. There may be more in the world. We'll see.
Oh, my go, they're going by so fast! "What is my process for NPC voices?" Sometimes I consider the character's background, where they're rooted in the world. Like when I've designed the layout of some of the world I consider, just like in our real world, accents and dialects are tied to cultures and where they grew up and where they may have mingled and a class system too. That helps define a character's place. When you consider, R.P. British is generally considered very erudite and possibly maintained for those who may have lived in the upper echelon of society, so when you have an NPC that you come across who speaks with an R.P. Brit dialect, you immediately assume that they came from more of a a money-based past. At least a higher echelon of society. Whereas the the more blue-collar workers of the UK, the farmers and such, there you get into more the West Country. That's where you get more of the regular everyday folks who are there in the fields and till their crops and try their best to raise some potatoes and bring up some turnips and radishes, and so when you meet an NPC that speaks like this, you probably know they don't have a whole lot of money, and their family probably hasn't for many generations. So it helps you immediately establish class and background, as well as location and history there. So I think of those aspects, and sometimes, if it's a really unique NPC, I'll just think of an accent that's fun, one I haven't really done. I've been toying with Yorkshire and Welsh. Those are really hard. I'm working on them at times. The Welsh especially, sort of that, "How you doin'?" It's sort of very bright. Not very good at it yet. I'm working on it. I'm always studying dialects. I love them, but there's a lot out there and a lot that I'm not quite that good at yet. When I feel more comfortable, I'll pepper them throughout the campaign.
Let's see, we got some more questions here. Kavvykoff's question: "Will Yasha, Jester, and Fjord level up even though they weren't really a part of the Lorenzo arc?" Yes, they will be. Because I'm using milestone experience points here and I don't want players to feel like they were left out of it because they had a baby or had work. Previously in campaigns where players were more competitive with their experience levels, or complained about players missing, and I wanted to feel like they weren't being rewarded for attendance when that was a struggle, that made more sense. But we're all friends. We're all here to have a good time, and it's circumstances they can't control, so I wouldn't punish them for that. So yeah. I'm just gonna have them all level up at the same time.
I'm being told we have four minutes. Is there any possibility of going over a little bit or are we like stringent with the exit?
OFFSTAGE MAX: Like how long?
MATT: Like five minutes.
OFFSTAGE MAX: Yeah, we can do it.
MATT: All right. I know I'm squeezing it out. Thank you, Max. Everyone tell Max thank you for getting five more minutes.
MATT: I'm sorry, Max! I love you.
MATT: Someone asked, "As a Canadian, was Pumat Sol intended to be Canadian?" It wasn't specifically. I just came up-- the voice came out. I was writing the character and I was having so much fun. I just wanted to create just a unique and different type of purveyor of magical items, and so I'd not see any real good Firbolg representation in our game or really anywhere, and I was like, "It's such an underappreciated race," and I loved it and I developed the whole simulacra. The guy who had a magical shop that was pretty much all him to run it. Who else could you trust better than another version of yourself? And when I designed the character I was like, (Pumat voice) he just sort of sounds like this, and I was talking to myself in my office and was like, "Whoa, wouldn't it be fantastic if there was this powerful sort of enchanter type who was just really excited and eager to have folks there in his little workshop. So I didn't choose that specifically, it's just kind of what came out. Once again, sometimes characters have their own voice and you just-- it comes out naturally. So a lot of NPCs, I don't think about it, the voice just comes out and that's fun, because I feel like they're alive before I got to them. He's definitely one of them. So I'm glad you enjoyed him. Yeah, there's some sort of Canadian/Minnesota aspects of it, there's some that kind of bleed over into Chicago a bit. It's kind of his own unique space beause he's a-- there is no Canada or Chicago in our world, or Dakota. That's just kind of how he sounds. It's fun.
All right. We've got time for a few more questions here. I wish we had more. I'll have to do this again sometime, maybe, because you guys are fun. "Will CR visit Australia please?" We'd love to eventually. It's about scheduling, and conventions that want to have us, and it's a big journey to try and get a bunch of us out there. I hope to in the future. I mean with the more the things that we're doing here and your guys support it looks like it's definitely a possibility down the road. I love Australia and I'd like to go to more places in it, because it's a very big area and I've only been to like the Brisbane area over there and I'd like to see more.
"Will Nott ever meet another firbolg that does know Pumat Sol?" Possibly. Possibly. We'll find out. We are excited hopefully to travel more places. MCM is our first real step outside of the US as a Critical Role experience, and if that goes well and everything is good, hopefully we'll do more world travel. I think it's kind of amazing that we have critters all over the world. It blows my mind, the reach of this community. It's absolutely amazing and so we hope to do more.
Anyway. Yeah, add some more questions, I've only got five minutes left before they go to kick me off here. All right. BokunuPickles question: "Do you ever wish to mix up accents? Just high royal with a southern or Brooklyn accent?" Yeah, actually, and there are some that mix and mingle because once again we're playing in a space where these accents aren't rooted in our real world necessarily. So there are some NPCs where people will be like, "Oh, he kind of did that accent, but it sounded kind of terrible." Sometimes maybe it is terrible, but you don't know that because you don't know what they sound like there, because it's a fantasy world that you don't know about. You don't know what they sound like, do you? Or I mix them intentionally to make something unique and different that fits this fantasy world. So I do try every now and then to mix a few and shake it up a bit.
SammyMantha1 asks "What would you do with three simulacra of yourself?" Oh my god! So much! I would clean up all my shit more often and get auditions done on time and I'd have more time to just play video games again. I like that.
People said, "Can Victor come back, please?" I've answered this in a panel. Victor did not survive the assault on Vasselheim at the end of the last campaign. But don't think that he was taken out like a bitch. He had outfitted his entire black powder shop with all of his dangerous explosives, and lured into that chamber a number of dangerous necromancers and undead and, like a boss, took them down with him. I have a whole mental idea of that sequence. There was a moment during the final battle, I remember describing it. You hear what sounds like this large explosion down below in the city, and that was the moment that Victor, like a hero, took out some of Vecna's shitty necromantic lackeys like a boss. But Victor wasn't the last of his bloodline. They didn't encounter them, but they passed by an area in Wildemount where there may have been a descendant of Victor. We'll see if they ever run into him. How's that for a tease?
All right. NothingWorth asks: "Shakäste has been met in mostly subterranean settings. Is he our connection to the Underground Railroad of freedom from the Empire?" That wasn't intentional. It just worked out that way. But technically, kind of, I guess? That's kind of where aspects of his group that he works with deal in so you could say that. Sure. Run with that.
Let's hear a few more before I finish here. Code JPG asks: "I know you don't want to give too much away, but who came up with the wisdom saving throw for Caleb?" I came up with the mechanics of how that was gonna work, but Liam requested there be some detriment to killing a creature with fire-based magic, as was his background. So when we were developing his backstory he said, "If I do kill a creature with some sort of fire, I want it to have a possible effect on me, because it would." I said okay, so I began to develop the mechanics for that aspect there and that was what we went with, so... It was a collaboration, but the mechanics were mine and the idea was his.
Let's see, I've got a couple more here I could probably do. The Scarecrow Lover asks: "If the party happens to miss a plot point or story element like an NPC, location, object, event, do you transplant the element, recycle it and use it later? Do you leave it as an unsolved mystery, or does it vary from case to case?" It varies from case to case. If I think it's something that the players will really enjoy and they missed it for no particular reason and it's important to where they're going, then I might find another way to bumper pull them in that direction, or give them the idea that maybe you should go this direction. Occasionally I'll try and recycle it or at least push in that way if they [JENGA] and they're not going that way, and it fits to a later narrative element then I'll try and tuck it back in. And sometimes if they pass it up and it's not too consequential to what they're doing, they just pass it up. I won't say I don't choose to be like, "Well, they miss it. It'll never happen." It just means they missed it and it goes on a list of things that might come up later and it might never. There might never be a place in the story down the road where it fits, and thus it will never occur. But if later in the game something happens where one of those facets that got missed could fit in well and it makes sense, then maybe I'll scoot it back in. Yeah, as is being a DM, it's a weird amorphous space of just tying things together on the fly and seeing what makes sense.
One last question, and then we run, because I know I'm pushing it. I'm pushing the limit here! All right, Sfronterio asks-- oh, wait, that was an older question from Talks. That's my problem. That was already asked. I went too far ahead, or back. I don't know. Time-- flat circle. I'll take this one from chat. A question. Interesting. Do you have any plans for the Shattered Teeth, which is an area I mentioned briefly in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Guide. Maybe. It exists out there. There might be elements of this campaign or the next that it plays into. We'll see.
That wasn't a very good question to end on, given the vagueness, I realized as I was saying it. Let's see if I can grab one last one... Okay. Question: Why was Lorenzo southern? That's another thing that just came to me. When I built this this terrible, horrible villain character, this really intense slaver, I just thought, "What would be a fun way to mix it up?" And for me, it was how he blends into the Shadycreek Run lower-class element of society there, the working class, and for me, to give him anything too astute or learned sounding, I think would possibly give away some of his essence or secret, and so it just came out when I was developing the character. I like the idea of this real low kind of nasty guy, know what I mean? And then I think one of the episodes, my throat was really shredded from a session earlier in the day and it couldn't go quite as deep as I wanted Lorenzo to be, so he kind of sounded a little more like McCree. And I was like, "Aw, shit, I ruined McCree for a lot of Critters out there. Sorry about that if you were one of them. That was purely based on trying to salvage my voice.
Anyway, that will end our fireside chat today. Thank you so much for joining me, and some great questions. Thank you, everyone who came to Gen Con. Thank you for all of us who are an amazing part of this community from all walks of life, all places in the world. I'm proud of you all. Keep putting good and light out there, and is it Thursday yet? See our friends here for Talks in about 50 minutes or so. Until then...