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MATT: Oh, hi. I didn’t see you there. I’m hanging out this afternoon, apparently reading some fantastic books, and excited to hang out with a lot of you fun, interesting elements on the internet. But I figure, let’s go ahead and make it comfortable. Let’s enjoy ourselves a little bit of personal time together and get to know a little bit about each other. I’ve got some fine port here to keep me company, like you do on a Tuesday afternoon at 4:00pm. I poured a lot in there, so this is what’s called not being the designated driver.

Anyway, I’m glad you could join me. We’re going to have a good time, hopefully. This is going to be a general hang out, get to know each other type circumstance. As far as the types of questions, the quality of questions, they can be game related, they can be Critical Role related, they can be role-playing game related, they can be voice-over industry related, they can be just life related. They can be stuff about my history, or telling me about your history. Just opening conversations about that. I want this to be an open hangout, a whatever you’re curious about, and then I might ask some curious things back. So yeah, this is just a hangout.

Thank you for the robe recommendation. This is the finest quality I could find for $20 on Amazon. And it met my expectations. It is every bit as shitty as I expected. But anyway, welcome! We’ll get a ways into this Q&A, and then maybe we’ll start creating an NPC and a monster for the campaign a little ways down the road. So cheers! Oh, that is nice! That is sweet! Anyway, glad you could join us. This will be interesting. Let’s begin with some fun questions here, if I can remember how to get the pad here open. Possibly? Maybe? We’ll find out. If I learn technology, if you’ve seen the Periscopes, you know that me and technology strangely do not mix very well. But that’s okay. First question I see in there is, “Where’s Larkin?” That’s a better question for Liam O'Brien. Larkin resides in the same location that Raishan does, which is, as far as everyone knows, very deceased. By the way, for the record, if you’re not caught up on Critical Role, I’m going to try and avoid spoilers, but something may squeeze through, and I apologize in advance.

“Did I fix the yard?” Fix is a relative term. I got the yard mowed, and then the remnants of the mowing could fill eight or nine of our green bins. So we’ve been slowly off-loading it week after week, and our yard in the meantime looks like a series of hills. It’s terrifying. But we are getting it taken care of, hopefully. Let’s see what questions we’ve got here. It is a Founders Reserve Porto. Sandeman! It looks like it has Darkman on the cover. I know people say Zorro. I’m going to go Darkman because that’s the person I am. If you haven’t seen Darkman, it’s awesome. The first one. Don’t see the rest of them. Leslie Nielsen, actually. The first thing I really knew him from.

We’ll get to the first question at the top. “What’s your favorite trope in D&D, or just in general? What was your favorite storyline besides the Chroma Conclave?” This is from Nikosia. Good question. Favorite trope in D&D? Those are fantasy tropes in general, and I personally really like political intrigue. The fight-the-monsters is fun, but I like the idea of trying to balance that with nations that are warring or crumbling. There hasn’t been a lot of that in this campaign because I can’t fit every theme and every trope in every campaign. But I wouldn’t be surprised if those elements show up in campaigns down the road. Personally, I really enjoy challenges that involve more finesse besides just bursting into doors and defeating creatures. So that’s a big fan of mine. As far as previous campaigns that I really enjoyed? I ran the expedition at Castle Ravenloft, and that was an absolute blast. I adored that campaign as I ran it. So that one has a special place in my heart. And had some political intrigue, which was fun.

What’s another fun question? “What’s my favorite class in D&D?” by Lairohi, which I’m probably butchering that. My apologies. Seriously, I’m really sorry about that. I’ve always loved casters; caster classes were a big thing for me growing up. I love the options of spellcasting and the utility factor for a party. You may not be the most powerful or the most survivable, except the later levels get powerful. It is nice to be able to take care of some of those challenges. The rest of the party is like, “I don’t know what to do! We’re kind of fucked!” And you’re like, “Wait, I got a spell for that!” You’re essentially the Clippy paperclip of D&D, and I love that! That was a lot of fun.

That chatroom is moving really fast! We’re cultivating questions from the chat, so don’t worry. Even if it goes past, we’re keeping an eye out. “Has the Raishan trophy mount arrived yet?” It has arrived. We haven’t opened it yet. We’re planning another Critmas. Scheduling has been a pain in the butt, between completing the campaign guide, general work, and multiple projects at once, and everyone else’s busy schedules, organizing another day to do a Critmas has been very arduous endeavor. But we’re zeroing down on it soon. We will have that soon, and then we’ll have all of them, and we might actually be adding them to the set over here pretty soon as one. Once again, you guys are amazing! Thank you again.

“How surprised was I when Liam killed everyone mid-last week?” from CritterNation3000. (laughs) Definitely surprised! I wasn’t expecting him to just throw out, you know, the Abyss against a bunch of level one us-es that early in. I had an inkling he was going to do one of those you wake up and you’re still okay in another realm or you’re out of your sleep circumstance, but the party was like it would also be fitting if he literally brought me in to be a player for the first time in a long time in his game and he fucking throws a demogorgon at me and kills me in one hit. And that’s it, and thanks Matt for playing! Because as much as that sucks on one degree, that shit would be funny! That would be so funny.

I’m going to adjust this real fast because it’s turning off rather quickly on me. If I can find it. Because I don’t know where it’s all organized! Where is the settings on this son of a–! There it is! I see it. Pardon me, internet. I appreciate your patience. We’re going to head down to the Control Center. General, display, auto-lock in 15 minutes. That’ll work fine. Thank you. Pardon me for the slight delay there, friends. I appreciate your patience. If I could pull it up to where I was. There we go. Thank you. I’m going to have another sip of port because it’s that kind of day. Glad you can come and join me.

“Matt, did you know that is not a real fireplace behind you?” from PSkinner.

[off-screen] (laughter) It’s a TV!

MATT: I knew that. But I appreciate you looking out. And it’s really sweet of you. And even if I didn’t know, and this was my actual home, and I totally believed it was a fireplace, would you want to be the one person to tell me that it wasn’t? Do you want to be that guy that, out of the sake of the necessity to be right, you would tear down the illusion I built around me? Because you are that guy. Think about that. Goddamn that’s good! Good call, Ryan! Ryan Green chose the drink of choice, and did a fine job. Good question!

Thamgoule– I’m going to butcher all these names, sorry– asks, “What do I think of the new mystic class?” I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with psionics for a large portion of their D&D existence. I like the idea of psychic-based classes, but the psychic points system always felt like it didn’t fit in the rest of the theme of D&D from previous editions. I looked at the new mystic class, and it’s got a lot of really cool options. I’m uncertain of it. It seems like a lot of everything in one class. It definitely has a few options that are extremely overpowered, which is why it’s in test and why the Unearthed Arcana is a really good place to try these things out and give feedback, and they can tweak it down the road. I feel like it does feel a bit trying to accomplish everything at once. So I’d like to see it maybe be a little more fine tuned into a theme that stood out amongst the classes, which is hard because the classes– as a person who’s designed and tried to design unique things in the game, a lot of bases are already covered. So you really got to stick to a unique style, or try your best to, at the very least. I like the idea of the mystics. I’m not sold on them yet. I’m curious to see after testing if they ever release an official document with a final design, and to see how that turns out. I’d like to take a look at it as we go and give some feedback of my own. Maybe I will, Wizards of the Coast. Moving on!

A question from Alesia Shaeffer. “When starting the campaign, how much did you start with? What level did everyone start at?” Everyone started at level three at the time. I could have gone earlier level, but I thought it was just a one-shot. And I wanted it to be enough of a character ability spread that they had at least a number of options at their disposal. So it was a level three one-shot. The characters were originally built in 4th edition for that one-shot because it was the most button-push, I tell you the three abilities you have and how often you can use them and then we play the game. And that’s how it came together. Once it became a campaign, then we converted over to Pathfinder. We were already at level three, and it was fine. And it went from there. If you’re new to D&D, I highly recommend starting at level one for at least a few games because it’s enough where you can learn the rules without feeling overloaded with options, especially if you’re playing a caster. Once you’ve played a game or two where you feel more comfortable, starting a campaign around level two, or halfway through two, which is what I’m doing for the next campaign, I think is good because it doesn’t feel like you’re having to trudge through that very first level if you know the game pretty well and have enough experience. But also you’re not locked into your archetypes for your class, so based on the choices and experiences you have in the first few sessions, that can really inform the direction you want the character to take. So by the time you level up to level three, you’ve had a few games under your belt, and you can make an informed decision on the type of variation of that class you want to pursue. So that’s my opinion.

Got some more questions. “What is my favorite tabletop RPG system?” from Thermavoire. Thermavoire, that’s fun. It sounds like Theramore, which didn’t do so well in the lore of Warcraft, so I’m glad you changed the pronunciation. I’m partial to D&D just because it means so much to me as far as the genre. I’m a big high fantasy person. It’s the first game I ever played. It’s the game that I play most often now. The newer editions have gotten a lot better about weaving narrative into actual gameplay. But I don’t know. I really dug the Palladium system. I’m kidding; that’s not true. The Palladium system’s ridiculous. I like the themes of some of the games, like the ridiculousness of Rifts, but when you start getting into 1d4 times one million mega-damage weapons, it gets a little intense. I like them all for different reasons. Unique-wise, I really enjoyed the Amber Diceless roleplaying game. For those who haven’t read the Amber series. It’s actually a pretty cool series of books, and it’s an RPG that the system is based more upon the GM logistically considering what succeeds versus what fails based on character creation and ingenuity and how you present the challenge and your answer to it. I thought that was a pretty cool way of doing it, though the randomization of the dice makes things interesting, too, so I like that. The Traveler system was fun! The Traveler system is great. One of the few games you can die in character creation, liked that in Paranoia. That was a good one. I’m probably going to have to stick with 5th edition right now. I think it’s a nice blend of enough rules and numbers and interesting character options that you can still create and customize a character, but still be an easy flow from narrative to combat. It’s not perfect. No system is really perfect, from my standpoint, at least. But it’s closest to the kind of system that I would want to play. I actually like that a lot.

From Zemedelfos– which sounds like something you’d fight in Xenogears. Question! “What do you recommend when you have players that it’s hard to get all together, but have no good reason for the character to suddenly pop in and out between sessions? Not many of them are big into jaegering another person’s character.” That’s actually a very good question; I’ve had this challenge many times. There are a couple ways you could do it. If your party is not terribly locked into having to keep a very realistic narrative, and you can introduce somewhat silly suspension-of-disbelief moments in the game, you can introduce elements like the heroes, as part of this venture, were all cursed or locked to a specific artifact and at randomized times it will fold or steal the players into an alternate reality. And so when the players can’t be there, all of a sudden the orb claims them and they’re not there, and they have to wait for them to return. Also, having ventures where the planes can be unstable, and occasionally individuals fade from one realm to the other without given warning. And that can be part of the overall narrative: to stop these planes from crossing. And thus, different party members can vanish and come back, and it doesn’t really affect the narrative flow because you’ve already established a reason of that being the case. So you can run it more narrative-level like that, you can make it like I do where you try and come up with a creative reason for them to leave. If you’re in the middle of a circumstance, you can have them kidnapped by a monster, and now part of the adventure is also trying to save them. It’s the eternal challenge. It’s not an easy answer for it. It’s easier if you’re playing more of a tongue-in-cheek game and you all can lean into it a bit, and there could even be, in the same realm, like a curse that befit the party and on certain phases of the moon, you might turn into cardboard. And players have to fold you and put you in the bag of holding until you’re ready to come out again in your full form. Those silly ways make it a lot easier and you can have fun with it that way. But when you need a narrative, you can try to find an overarching reason as to why they have to jump in and out occasionally. It’s not easy! I don’t have a great answer for it, but that’s the best I can give you, because that’s all I’ve done in the past.

Question from PhantomsRuinLives, “Any tips on dealing with audition nerves waiting to hear back on an audition?” Yes! Audition nerves never go away. And I know you’re like, “Oh god!” I mean, they’ll dwindle over time, but those butterflies never go away. In fact, you learn to harness them, you learn to use that nervous energy as a positive thing. Part of that only comes with experience. Another is coming to terms with the fact that you’re not there to prove that you’re right for the job. They’re just seeking whoever is right for the job, and if it happens to be you, it’s you. If it’s not, it’s not. So the pressure isn’t to be better than other people. It’s to be the best you can be for yourself. And if you’re right for that particular role that you auditioned for, then they’ll probably book you. And if not, somebody else was better for it, it doesn’t mean they’re better than you, but they were a better fit for that one character. And trying to keep that mindset over time. It’s not a you versus them mentality. You’re doing your very best, and if you don’t get it, it’s not because you’re bad, necessarily. It’s because you weren’t right for that particular job. And as a casting director, you’re not just casting people. You’re weaving a tapestry. Where you’re reading for one character, they have a view of the entire cast, all the characters and archetypes and story elements that have to weave together. So they might audition you and other people that sound amazing for the roles, but you might sound too similar. And so as an ensemble, it doesn’t work to have you both in these roles that are so close together. So they might cast somebody else for that. That doesn’t mean that you weren’t great for the job, but for the sake of casting the project as a whole, they had to go with something else. But they’ll still keep you in mind for stuff down the road. That’s another thing, too. Even if you don’t book something, if you knock it out of the park in the audition, people will keep you in mind. I can’t tell you how many projects that I’ve read for and didn’t book anything, and then a year and a half, two years later, they call me in to read on something or book me on something because they’re like, “Loved your read for that! Wasn’t right for the character, but something else came up down the road that we liked you for. And we wanted to have you read on that now, too.” So it can help you regardless. Don’t be too hard on yourself for not booking a gig. The auditioning process is part of the learning and the experience.

Also, I recommend don’t wait to hear back on an audition. A really healthy mindset when it comes to that process, whether it be voiceover, on-camera, everything, is to do your best. You’re doing the job in the room. You’re doing the best you can, and then once it’s done, let it go and move on to the next endeavor. Focus on the next opportunity. Focus on the next class you can take. Focus on the next character you can explore. And let that audition go. It may take some time to learn that type of behavior, but you really have to release it. That way, if it doesn’t happen, you’ve already forgotten about it and you’re already focusing on bigger and better things. If it does happen, that’s a fantastic surprise! So that’s my recommendation in that regard, too. This is delicious. I will try my best not to get extremely intoxicated. I do not promise anything.

FickedUp asks, “Have I ever LARPed?” I have not field character costume LARPed yet. I haven’t because I haven’t had time or because I’m scared I’ll like it too much. I have a lot of friends that do it, and it’s consumed them. It’s become their biggest hobby. They put all this time and energy into costumes and stuff, and I know I would do that. And I just have too much stuff going on. I have LARPed Vampire once. I was pulled into a LARP. It was up in Simi Valley in the early 2000’s, and it was this huge chapter of a bunch of theater kids from a theater magnet school that I met through community theater, and they invited me to come be part of this. I had no backstory on it, and I was thrust into a very political figure that was introduced by the prince of that whole area as his new right-hand man. So I became this political intrigue focus for the evening with no backstory, no idea of how the political dynamics worked. And I was thrown to the wolves, if you will. And there were wolves there. Werewolves, anyway. So it wasn’t the best experience. It was unique, it was different. But I was out of my element there and got spooked off a bit from that. I still had a good time, but if I had another chance I know what to ask for, as far as research and background to actually fit in. I think it’s awesome! I did run a show for a while called Adventure, a stage show that my friend, Coleman, ran. Marisha was part of it, and Bonnie Gordon, who you’ve seen here a ton, she was part of it. Xander came and played a number of times. Our fantastic Taliesin was in it with us. Courtney, our fantastic Alpha mistress over there, she came and was part of it many times. It was a live roleplay stage show where we pulled members from the audience as PCs, and we’d pull them through a storyline where we were the NPCs, changing costumes behind the scenes and going from sequence to sequence. It was a lot of fun. I guess that’s the closest thing I’ve done to LARPing. But once again, always NPCs, always the DM. It’s fine.

Let’s start our first poll. Let’s start getting some of our fun character design stuff going here. Let’s begin with the NPC on this one. How it’s going to work is I’m going to start asking for some suggestions from the chat and keeping an eye out when I ask for a certain thing. And then I’ll pick a few, we’ll throw them into a straw poll. That straw poll will be up for about a minute, minute and a half. So you’ll rush in when the link’s available in the chat, vote, and then when that time is up, we’ll call it, and that’s what we’re going with for that aspect of the NPC. First and foremost, let’s pick a race for the NPC. Type into the chat here what race you think it should be. We’re talking if it’s human, halfling, tiefling, half-orc, goliath, anything you want, just type them in there. I’m going to pay attention for a second to see what seems to be popping up more often than not. Oh, that’s a lot! I can see forever! Seeing a lot of half-orc; we’ll put half-orc on there. That’ll be one of them. We’re passing by a lot of human, and a lot of drow. That’ll be interesting, too. Hmm, you guys haven’t seen much drow in Tal'Dorei. Hmm. They’re there, which you’ll see in the campaign guide. And dragonborn. So that’s four, and we’ll do one more. A lot of genasi. Going some unique classes there, and a little human thrown in just for some averageness. I believe that is drow, half-orc, genasi, human, and dragonborn. Cool! So we’re going to go ahead and get that situated for you guys here in a moment. We’ll have the voting start for that race, we’ll have about two minutes, and then we’ll come back with an answer, and that will set in the race for the NPC. It’s fun, communal construction. I haven’t done it like this. This will be fun. Once that straw poll is done, the link will be in the chat, and vote. In the meantime, I’m going answer another question.

George Fletcher asks, “What is your favorite kind of cheese?” See, I like these questions. I like these strange, non-game-related-ones peppered through. Interesting, weird tidbits of things you’ve ever wondered about why I’m such a weird person. Because I’m a very weird person. Favorite type of cheese? I really like smoked goudas. I’ve actually recently gotten really a fan of extra aged gouda. It has a slight caramel-ish, almost crunchy crystals in it. That with some pita chips, and some wine is good. Or some honey. What would I pair with my current drink? I have no idea! I’m not a wine and cheese snob. I know so little. I’m really good at trying to– actually, no. I’m really bad at trying to fake like I’m a cultured person, because I don’t know. Have you seen my dragon socks, okay? I am not at all a cultured person. For this, honestly, probably s'mores. This is a very sweet port. So I’d go more of a smores. It’s not cheese, but deal with it! That’s my answer. Anyway. Next question.

From Galastan, question, “Hey, Matt, thanks for being my lifelong inspiration. I’m planning to break into the VO industry and currently taking voice acting lessons. Is there anything else you recommend doing to get an edge in an admittedly cut-throat industry?” That’s an interesting question. Cold reading training. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Training in classic forms of acting and performance is so important. Being comfortable and experienced enough to where you can jump into a scene and make confident choices, not worrying if they’re the right choices, but whatever feels natural. That’s the thing, too. A lot of people get caught up in their head about, “Am I making the right decisions? Am I making the right impulses? Am I feeling this out correctly?” As long as you’re making some choice, you’re doing it right because you’re going with your instincts and it’s taking you there. And if it’s not the right direction, the director, who it’s their job, will guide you back on track. But they much prefer to have somebody who’s bold in their choices and commits to the path they take as opposed to somebody who’s unable to decide which path they want to go with a character choice. So that’s big. But for voice over in particular, read out loud, whatever. Don’t even look at it! Get a script, or get a book, throw it in front of you, and start reading out loud as you read it for the first time, because that’s most of the job. You want to take scripts and learn to cold read. Most of the job is cold reading. Rarely do you get a script in advance for a project, and most of the time, you walk into the booth, and you’re around sound proofing, by yourself, with a glass window and a director, and multiple other people in the room looking at you through it going, “Okay, go.” And you have to go! That’s the job. Cold reading, learning to be comfortable to read things spontaneously as you receive them out loud. Listen back; record yourself doing it and listen and you can self-critique and work on your annunciation.

Work on understanding the flow of dialogue. Don’t be afraid to take beats. A lot of people, especially when they begin, they read everything through. But characters breathe, they have thoughts mid-sentence, they stammer. So another thing, too, is breathing life into a scene as a character. Consider what action they’re taking during it. If you read a scene where a person’s in a kitchen, you read the dialogue as, “Well, yeah, of course. But if we’re going to go on a vacation, least we can do is try and bring the family.” Or, think about them doing the dishes a minute, like, “Well, of course. (grunts). I mean, if we’re going to go on vacation, we might as well bring the family.” Suddenly, even though it’s just audio, you imagine that person doing a physical activity. You immediately envision a part of the kitchen that wasn’t there before. Think of the character, think of beats, moments, exerts, things that can breathe life into their physicality, even though you’re just reading their voice out loud. Those are good things to keep in mind as you’re learning a scene or playing out a character. And if it’s not the right choice, the director, once again, will correct you. But rather have you make choices than not.

Do we have an answer on the straw poll? Drow by 60%?! Oh, man! We might be getting some story on the Ruhn-Shak soon. You don’t know what that is. You will in August. The NPC race is drow; we have a drow NPC. We are off to the races! Okay, so now that we have a drow NPC, think of the occupation that drow has. That can be a character class or it can be a position, like a politician, or a guild master, or an artisan, or a cutthroat, or a mastermind or whatever you think an occupation for this NPC would be good for. Spy is a good one. Okay, we’ll look at this for a second, we’ll see what comes through. I see a lot of warlock; we’ll put warlock on there. I see a lot of baker! There’s a lot of bakers in there! It’s a big spread. Warlock, baker. I see a lot of prince; they want some royalty, some sort of royal or noble blood involved in there. That’ll be interesting. You guys are ridiculous. Bounty hunter’s come up quite a bit. That’s a fun one. Okay, I’m going to go for a last one here. Oh my god, it’s like looking into the Matrix! It’s (whoosh). There’s a lot of prostitute, which is rad, because sex trade’s an awesome, legitimate form of business for a lot of good people. So prostitute’s in there. So what is the listing we have? Warlock, baker, royalty, bounty hunter, prostitute. We’re going to go ahead and get that straw poll going here in a minute. Take a minute or two to vote, and we’ll see where this takes us. This should be very unique.

Okay, then. So back to the next question here. Arthur Dent asks, “Question: How do you set magical item prices?” This is a good question. There is, in the DMG, in the magical item treasure section early into it, there is a table that gives you the general price range for items by rarity. So you go from common, uncommon, rare, very rare, and legendary. And it gives you 500 gold to 5,000 gold, 5,000 gold to 50,000 gold. Yeah, it doesn’t really help a lot. So it comes with understanding power levels in the game. If it’s a very rare item, but it’s a pretty damn powerful very rare item, I’m like, “Damn, that’s a good very rare item with a lot of abilities!” I’ll probably set that a little higher up. It’s a 5,000 to 50,000 and that’s a really powerful item, I’ll set it at 40 to 45,000 gold. And if they want to persuade whoever’s selling it down a little bit, maybe. If it’s an uncommon, which is pretty low, I think it’s 50 to 500, and it’s pretty easy and minimal, like a tanglefoot bag, I’ll probably set it about 50, 60 gold tops. Nothing too big. A lot of it is improvising it based on the range that’s in the GM’s guide and the power level how I understand it. Doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong, but as a GM, you get to set those based on your experience. It’s okay if you mess it up a little from what you consider; the players won’t know any better. It’s your world; you set the prices. I recommend you writing them down. Prices can change from person to person. Prices aren’t the same everywhere. An item might be really common in one town, and really uncommon in another across the continent. So the prices might be jacked up in those various places. It’s a combination of improvising based on what I can ascertain of the item’s power level, along with the range they give in the DMG. I hope that’s helpful.

Question from Niche asks, “Are you surprised by what some of what Vox Machina has decided to do in this past year?” Yes, actually, and I’m excited. We actually got together last night and went through what everyone wanted to accomplish, did some rolls. It was a throwback to our early days playing at home, in some ways. It wasn’t a full session, but for things they wanted to accomplish, there were rolls to see if the challenge succeeded or not. And what we’re going to do is begin the session on Thursday going through those lists, discussing what happened, and possibly playing out a few scenes that involve what they’re hoping to accomplish. So that’s going to be what Thursday begins with. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting; there’s some interesting choices. Grog has one thing in particular that the players don’t know about that’s going to be real interesting. Grog’s such a terrible person.

Okay, are we about good to close that straw poll? Baker?! Drow baker! We have a drow baker. That’s going to be awesome. I am excited about this. BuiltTooFast says, “Is bloodhunter being added into your campaign?” There was a bloodhunter NPC and the bloodhunter orders are part of the Exandria lore. They mostly stem from Wildemount. But yes, there is, called the Claret orders, within Exandria. They haven’t come within Tal'Dorei. They haven’t come prominently into the story. I don’t know if they will. We’ll see how that plays out. But they are part of Tal'Dorei.

So, next question, and then we’ll get back to the next bit for the NPC. SirRays, “Question about life. You always try to be positive and down-to-earth. How do you do it?” (laughs) I don’t always succeed. I don’t know. That’s interesting; it’s a weird question. I don’t know, just be empathic. Be willing to make mistakes and own up to them. Learn from them, and no matter how much a person frustrates you, makes you angry or tries to hurt you, maintain a point of perspective that you don’t understand what they’ve gone through to get them there; what their day was leading them to that moment. What abuses they’ve undergone, what difficulties, challenges, and failures they’re ruminating on at that time, and you’ve become an outlet for it. That’s not always the case. There are bad people in the world, by all means, and I do understand that. But I think a lot of dissidence stems from people’s inability to imagine what the other side of this might be. So allowing yourself that expansion, to be able to give people the benefit of the doubt and think, “I know what they said is really terrible, but maybe they’re having a really terrible day, week, month. Maybe they lost a friend or family member, and they’re just lashing out.” You don’t know. That perspective makes it a lot easier to not take things to heart and step away. And that opens empathy for others. And that even goes for everyday encounters. When you stop at a gas station to order gas, make eye contact with the attendant and ask them how their day’s been. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll see people open up and smile when you engage them as a human being and not as just part of a transaction. I recommend you try that on a day-to-day basis. It makes every day that much more lively. It makes you really appreciate how so many different backgrounds, how many different people who all have their own story, their own trials and tribulations, and they all come together to make this beautiful world that we all live in. So good days and bad days. We’re all human beings and we’re all trying to be happy. Keep that in mind. That helps; it’s helped me so far.

We’re now getting to the next aspect of the NPC’s design here. So they are a drow baker, according to chat’s design. What is their interest in Vox Machina? Which, if there are any members of Vox Machina on the sound stage, they should be leaving right now because we’re getting into narrative elements.

TALIESIN: Bye!

MATT: Taliesin Jaffe!

TALIESIN: Bye. I’m going now. You have pretty eyes.

MATT: You have pretty eyes. He does have really pretty eyes. He has really pretty eyes. (clicks tongue) That got weird…or did it? The baker’s interest in Vox Machina. All right, well, Grog has been put in a bunch. So there’s an interest in Grog. I can expand upon that if that should win. So we have Grog as one option. People here are throwing out wedding. So I’ll put that in there. Vengeance. Vengeance is always a fun one, and a nice change up from the previous suggestions you’ve given. This is a lot here. I know this is a rough process, guys. We’re all figuring this out as we go, but we’re trying the best we can. We’re getting a lot of repeating ones that we’ve already said. Okay, fanboy I’ve seen come up quite a few times. We’ll go with that. And the last one will be: bring Tary home. That’s interesting. We got– what was it again? Grog, wedding, vengeance, fanboy, bring Tary home. Those are the five choices. We’re going to throw those up in the chat on the straw poll. Take a minute or two to get your votes in. We’ll see which one of those comes out on top. This is a very interesting process. (evil laugh) People saying mic is low? I don’t know if that’s the case, or it was just their screen. But if it’s just your computer, too bad! Turn up your volume!

Next question, “Pineapples on pizza? Yea or nay?” Eh. I made a third option. I’ve had it, and it’s all right. Not my preference. I wouldn’t go out of my way to order pineapples on pizza. But if pineapples show up on pizza, it’s the only pizza there, I’m not going to be like, “I will not eat you!” I’ll go, “All right,” and I’ll eat it. I’m in between. Not meant to be a cop out. Literally, that is my answer. I hope that was helpful? That as from KidCross, by the way. Thank you, Kid.

RossReynolds asks, “How do you balance your major part in Critical Role and your career as a voice actor?” I’m still figuring it out! Oh, thank you, Ryan.

RYAN: Your popcorn, sir.

MATT: “Wondrous! Oh, look at this delivery system. It’s glorious.” The robe made me Gilmore suddenly. I don’t know why. I’m going to have some more of that port! This isn’t a bad way to spend a Tuesday afternoon with you guys. Thanks for chilling with me. This is good. “How do I balance Critical Role with being a voice actor?” I don’t know yet. I’m still working on it. When you live a career for long enough that could end tomorrow, and you don’t know where you’re next paycheck is coming from, and it’s a passion, you end up doing odd jobs to make rent. Doing temp work, doing data entry, environmental agencies, or stocking warehouses. You learn to say yes to everything. It’s the idea that whenever opportunity arises, you seize it. I feel very fortunate that, in recent years, because of all the hard work and because of shows like Critical Role that have had a lot of more opportunities arise. I probably said yes to a lot of things I shouldn’t have. And in doing so, it’s consumed most of my free time and it’s driving me a little crazy. But I’m learning that balance. Both me and Marisha are each other’s support in both of our lives getting a little crazy and trying to make sure we allow time for self-care and spending time together and carving out time for the people that are closest to us. Part of the reason Critical Role is so important to us, it isn’t just the show, but honestly, it’s a chance every week for us to get to hang out with some of our favorite people that we don’t have the time to most of the other days of the week. Or month. So it’s still something I’m working on. I have a lot of projects on my plate right now. Finishing the campaign guide’s going to be a big weight off my chest. We’re in the final throes of it right now. I’m really excited for you; I hope you guys like it. But I’m learning that process now. I’m notoriously work myself to death. I tend to take on too much and try to get it done, and it’s not the healthiest thing, so I’m working on it. So my answer is, “I don’t know.” I’m still trying. I’ll let you know in a year if I figure out the secret. Otherwise, I don’t know.

PertLikeTheFruit asks, “Is there some type of NPC in particular you’ve been itching to introduce, but the moment never presented itself?” Yeah, there’s a few NPCs that I’ve created that never had a chance to show up. But I’m not going to tell you because any NPC that doesn’t get a chance– and any DM or GM will tell you this– an NPC that you like that doesn’t have the opportunity to shine or show up goes back in the toolbox for later. So they’ll come back eventually, I’m sure. They’ll come back. They’ll come back. Trust me.

TorchBaricane asks, “What’s my favorite type of cookie?” That would be gingersnap. Gingersnaps are awesome because they’re not loaded down with too much sweetness, but it’s got the right amount of cinnamon spice. I like things that are sweet and spicy. So gingersnaps are pretty great. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

Let’s go with the next NPC choice, since we got that locked in now. We did a couple questions there. This is so delightfully chaotic! I apologize, but thank you for sticking with me on this. What is the answer? Bring Tary home. Oh, man. This is going to be fun. Cool! Got that in there. And the second to last thing I’m going to ask about this NPC is they have a secret. There’s something that this NPC is keeping a secret that may or may not unfold in the game. We don’t know, but you’ll know. And I’ll know. But what is this NPC’s secret? Go ahead and introduce into the chat room what your ideas are. Keep them concise, if you can. We’ll get that worked out. So put it into the chat room and we’ll pull some out as they go. (laughs) Okay. They’re a drow! That’s not a very good secret. They’re not keeping it very well, unless they’re an illusion. I mean, it’s possible. Hmm. Hmm. There’s a lot of interesting here. Let’s try– Okay, he’s a Revenant. That’s an interesting one. I’m trying to pick things that might work into the next campaign. I don’t want to pick anything that’s going to wreck it, or the storyline that I have worked out in my head. So I’m having to cherry-pick a little bit for this one. Secretly a paladin. That’s interesting; can play with that. Put ziggurat on there. Just ziggurat. He’s a hitman. Oh, man! This is so nuts! Oh, that’s interesting. He’s blind. There we go. Some interesting ones there. Some fun little things that can be utilized. Some of these secrets you guys put on there might roll into other things that were already mentioned. We’ll see how that plays out.

So reading us back, what do we have? Revenant, secretly a paladin, ziggurat– what was the other ones? Hitman. Or he’s blind. Okay, so we’re going to throw that up into the chat in a moment, to get that straw poll going, and we’ll see which one of those wins out to be the NPC’s secret. That’ll be interesting. Blind is not exactly a secret, you say. However, with the right magic, you can keep it a secret. I have ideas. Don’t worry, I can play with this.

JayRedWine says, “How’d you get into Burning Man?” About 2008 or so, I was in a bit of a rough patch. Losing my faith in humanity and the arts in a lot of ways. I was in a rough period. Self-esteem, personal stuff. And my acting coach at the time, who, hilariously, is Taliesin’s mom, Kether, she had been going for many years. She said, “You would enjoy this, and you should go. This would be a good thing for you.” And I was like, “I don’t know. I’m not into the whole hippie drug culture.” I had my thoughts of what the event was. She’s like, “It’s not like that. I mean, it is like that in some ways, but not really.” “All right, fine, I’ll go.” I made a lot of excuses. She didn’t let me adhere to them. Eventually, went, and it was a lot more than I expected. It’s certainly not for everybody. It’s a harsh environment. It’s a very open culture of all walks of life: culture, sexualities, expressions. A lot of people there just walk nude. A lot of art, hippie-dippie stuff that a lot of people probably couldn’t even deal with or would hate entirely. But for me, it was a wonderful environment of adults at play for a week, and I really enjoyed it. It became a very important part of my life. So I go every year. It’s my cleansing, my reset button, my creative need to return to the default world. I’ve met a few Critters out there who are Burners, as well. They’ve come by. Operator is a nice guy. If you’re watching, Hello, Operator! Hopefully see you this year. But it’s definitely not for everybody. It’s hard to get there, it’s hard to survive out there, it’s a harsh desert made of high-alkali playa powder. Electronics die out there. It’s hot. You have to bring everything in to survive, and then bring it out. But if you’re ready to make the journey there, and if you have that artistic mindset, it can be a really cool experience.

Anyway, do we have an answer on that straw poll? Ziggurat. Okay, then. I think we have a pretty solid background on this NPC and where they can come into play. I’m excited about this prospect. The last thing we need is a name. You guys throw out some cool names. I’ll pick out things that reach me and we’ll vote on which one we want the NPC name to be. So go ahead and throw your suggestions in the chatroom for the name of this drow baker. (laugh) No! Nope! Nope! I know you guys want to be funny and cute. I want to try to make this also work within the story where it can be taken seriously, because certain names will not be taken seriously if they’re introduced in this game. And Troy is definitely one of them. We’ll start with Ruberick. That’s interesting. Miklos. M-I-K-L-O-S. Oh, man. There’s a good one that passed by too fast. Zal…oh, man, it went by too fast! Curse you, chat, for being active! No, you guys are doing great. Let’s do K'ryyn. K-apostrophe-R-Y-Y-N. Noxtra. N-O-X-T-R-A. Is that four? That’s five? All right! So we’ll go ahead and throw those into the straw poll. And you guys go ahead and jump in there and vote on the name. Then from those names, we’ll pick those, and from there, we’ll have an NPC pretty much completed that you guys helped create that will be introduced probably in this next arc of the game. So that’ll be interesting. I’m excited to see what comes out of this one. (laugh) With that, I’m going to go have another sip of my drink. “RIP Troy.” It’s cute. It was a really funny idea, guys. But in the interest of wanting to keep the narrative realistic, and because Troy’s good friends with a lot of us, that would have made it a little weird.

Question from ActionGordon. “Bees. Yes or no? If yes, how many?” Bees, yes! How many? Seven. I think bees are awesome. Bees are great. They’re necessary. We have a lot of bees in our backyard. They’re cute. They land on me sometimes. People get freaked out by bees. That’s fine. I mean honey bees. Fuck hornets! And yellow jackets. I hate them. But bees are cool.

Question from Leddle526, “Have you ever had a moment where you almost gave up being a DM entirely?” Giving up DM entirely? Giving up on a campaign, almost. Actually, the start of the campaign I did before this one with my buddy, Zach Hanks, we were both co-DMing this one. And we had a number of friends in there: Louie, our buddy Brian, who looked like a dwarf and played a dwarf, and Chloe Dykstra. Some of you may know from some of her stuff. She played Saga, the rogue. And then, Marisha came in, eventually, to be an assassin. But in that campaign, the first couple sessions we had a guy and his wife playing with us who made twins. He was a paladin and I think she was a cleric. And our first two sessions, he got really drunk very quickly and became unruly. He became belligerent and was interrupting everybody else, making sexual jokes in the middle of other people’s turns, and turned it into a him show. And it was not very respectful. He’s a nice guy, but once he got drunk, it was a problem. So after two games of that happening. And the final one, we were in the middle of a boss battle sequence, a very serious moment, and he was yelling and making stupid jokes and fart noises and talking about how he was going to attack with his dick, and it wasn’t even his turn. We’re like, “Buddy, calm down.” I could see his wife was embarrassed by it, and I was like, “It’s all right.” Finally, during somebody else’s turn, he jumped up and shouted something obscene; I can’t even remember. Knocked his beer over all over the battle map and smeared all of the crowd. So I said, “The wall begins to collapse of the ceiling and unfortunately, a portion of the cavern was in your direction as both of your characters are crushed as you escape.” And I killed off their characters. I apologized to her after, but I was like, “I don’t think this is going to fit.” And she is like, “I understand. No worries.” So he stopped playing in the campaign. He felt bad about it, but it was for the best. He’s a great guy now. His name’s Andrew. He’s a really nice fellow. But our styles of gameplay didn’t quite match, and that’s fine.

That’s the thing, too. There’s so many different ways to play D&D. Even Critical Role– actually I want to talk about this a little bit. People keep saying, “Critical Role, it’s the best example there is for D&D.” It’s not! It’s really not. It’s an example of D&D. It’s a way to play the game. It’s a way that we play because we’re actors and as actors, we’re naturally more focused on narrative and characterization and the drama of the element there. Our version of D&D plays more to the story than it does the rules, per se, as you can see some of the players haven’t locked in all the rules sometimes. But it’s because we’re more focused on other aspects of the game. And that’s fine. We still have a good time. We’re an example of how it can play. There are elements of our game that you might like and take into your home campaign, and there are a lot of people that watch it that, if they were to play in it, would probably not enjoy it at all. And there are a lot of people–trust me, I’ve seen comments! I’ve been tweeted! People saying like, “Your game looks like shit! I would never enjoy it!” And I’m like: You’re probably right! And there are games out there that people play that I probably wouldn’t enjoy, either. But that’s what’s cool about it. There’s so many different ways to play it. There’s so many different ways you can run it for the players and all the styles are enjoyable for players that are looking for that type of experience. So yeah, that’s an example of– Andrew would be great at a table, like a Harmon-town type, ridiculous, drunkard debauchery table. He’d do great there. For those of who are paying a little more respect to the narrative and the intensity of a sequence, didn’t quite match up very well. And you both respectfully talk and go, “Guys, this isn’t going to work out.” And that’s fine. So keep that in mind.

Also, for all you guys who are new to D&D, don’t expect a Critical Role experience at your table. Partially because, once again, we’re professional actors and we’ve been playing this for a long time before we started the stream. When we first started playing our first few games, it was nothing like this. It was a lot of fumbling, and “What do I do?” They were all just learning how to play. And some games are a little more rules heavy. The gamers and the DM are more involved in the actual game aspect of it, and that’s rad! I’ve had a lot of sessions like that before; they’ve been a lot of fun, too. But you want to make sure you establish those boundaries and adjust your expectations. Every game table is going to be different. Every experience you have at the table is going to be different from what you’ve seen in my, or the Roleplay Guys, or Acquisitions, Inc., or High Rollers, or any other great show. All of them are different and unique because that’s how every table experience is playing D&D. That’s part of what makes it so special. So I ask you guys, don’t get angry if your first or second D&D game isn’t like Critical Role because it can’t be. Nor could our game ever be like yours. They’re wholly unique in their own right. So abandon expectation, which, by the way, is a great term, a great guide for life, in general. Abandon expectation. Try and move forward and do your best. And that goes for your D&D game, as well. So I recommend that.

Anyway, do we have a name? Answer on this one? K-apostrophe-R-Y-Y-N. So K'ryyn, the drow baker. K'ryyn, the drow baker whose interest is involving bringing Tary home, and they have a secret that involves a ziggurat of some kind. (evil laugh) Good to know.

StarryBright brings up a question, “What do I think about the McElroy boys and the show, Adventure Zone?” They’re phenomenal! It’s a great show. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, the podcast, The Adventure Zone, it’s great! They run a D&D game there. I would say it’s a less serious tone than Critical Role, but they have serious moments, as well. They have a lot of dramatic moments. It’s a podcast form. It’s a lot less rules heavy than ours, which ours is not as rules heavy as some other games. So like I said, it’s a spectrum. But The Adventure Zone’s great. The McElroys are fantastic. Travis is fantastic. We’ve talked a bit online and I’m a big fan of what they do. So if you haven’t had the opportunity, check it out. I recommend it. They’re fantastic. And they also do a great job of representing the importance of community and support others in the community. They’re generally rad people. So highly recommend you check it out, too.

Let’s pick another question here. I’d be curious to see some non-D&D related, non-voice over. I want to make this part of a conversation of just random shit, also, because I answer a lot of questions on panels and stuff. So if you have any burning questions about silly things or life things, we can get real. I’m all for that. If you want to make this almost a hearken back to the honesty hours days of the early Twitch stream, I’m totally fine with that. So be okay with going into that regard.

“Did you talk with any of the Critical Role guests about how they spent the year time skip?” from ScottyKnows. Yes, I did. We actually met last night for about four or five hours going over all that. So that’ll be coming up soon. So look forward to that.

Oh, wow, it’s all exploding! I saw someone ask, “Triss or Yennefer?” I was a Triss girl until Witcher 3, and then I began to lean Yennefer a little bit. But I went back to Triss. I’m a Triss person through and through now, I think. I mean, I’m marrying a redhead, so I feel like I’m a little biased. Yennefer was a love that was built by magical force that eventually blossomed into an actual attraction if you play it right. Triss, I felt, was a genuine attraction that came naturally. So that, to me, was something very important. So I think I’m a Triss guy, to answer that. I once said Yennefer, but that’s changed since then. As some things do.

HughMillerC asks, “How do you want to do this?” With alcohol.

CalRanig asks, “Can we see more dwarves? Love their accent.” I’d love that. I love the brogue. It’s my favorite. The Scots style is one of my favorite ones to do. I enjoy it thoroughly across the spectrum of even soft Scots, which is more of the casual conversational type. I love that. It’s got a nice almost poetic lilt to it. I love speaking in it, I love hearing it. I love it; it’s my favorite way of doing it. Usually when you think about dwarf, you think more classic video game style and World of Warcraft. “Aye, well bring me to the orcs!” But for me, the softer Scot is more nice, too. The more refined and more conversational type. I love it! So I would like to do that more, but only if dwarves work in the story. And they are a threat in many circumstances.

“Favorite animated movie?” I saw that go by real fast. Aw, man! Does Who Framed Roger Rabbit count? It’s half-animated. I’m going to say it works because it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. And not only is it a technical achievement and a narrative achievement, but such an amazing cast. One of the last big projects that Mel Blanc got to work on and actually do his Warner Brothers characters. It’s a perfect film in so many ways. I love Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and it should, and will, never get remade because it’s one of those films that only worked in that era and could never be made again. So that’s definitely it.

Someone asked about having another person become a permanent member of Vox Machina or the campaign. I’m going to say no to that. I mean, seven players is already a lot. When Ashley’s not here, even six is a lot, so I think we’re good. We’re solid with this number. Six to seven players is good, and that gives us enough room to occasionally have a guest, but I feel like stretching the attention a bit. And I do want to have guests on occasionally, to add their narrative and to mix it up a little bit, but I don’t think we’re going to bring another permanent member on, in my opinion. It’s a lot to concentrate on, and I’m already stretched thin as it is. Thank you for understanding.

Have I ever been charged with a crime? No. I’ve been interrogated by police. This is a funny story. Back in high school, I was walking to my friend Todd Hunt’s house to go play Rifts. I had my Rifts character, my binder, my dice and everything in a bag. He lived not that far from my girlfriend of the time, Mira. I would, on the way, walking to his house, I was going to stop by and say hi, but she wasn’t home apparently. I walked up, rang the doorbell, nobody there. I looked at the window to see if anybody was home. Went up and looked at her bedroom window. Wasn’t home, so I continued walking over to my friend Todd’s place. About five, ten minutes later, a bunch of cop cars pulled up because apparently the cops were really bored in Agoura Hills. They stopped me and they were like, hey, so what’s going on? What are you wandering in this neighborhood for? I’m like, I’m just going to visit my girlfriend, but she wasn’t home, so I’m going to go to my friend Todd. Oh, really? What’s in the bag? I’m like, my Lord Magus OC, why? So I hand them my character binder and my dice.

Apparently, I guess, they got a call that there was a prowler with a bag of tools lurking around the house. One of the paranoid neighbors. But I had the experience of them interrogating me over my character sheet and asking if there were any drugs on my dice, and like, smelling and licking them. I was like, come on, guys. Really? Okay, we’re good? We good? He’s like, yeah, okay. Go ahead. Thank you! I grab my bag and I start walking on to my friend Todd’s house. He’s like, I thought you were visiting the girlfriend? It’s up the road, right? I’m like, well, I mean, no one was home, so– I’m a terrible, I get nervous anyway, so he’s like, huh. Well, if that’s true, I’ll drive you. I’ll drive you to go see your girlfriend. I’m like, uh! And I got really freaked out because my girlfriend’s mom hated me at the time, because I wasn’t a doctor or from the Middle East. She was Lebanese. So I was like, oh god, the last thing I want is to have the police show up at the door with me and her mom’s there. It would be terrible. Thankfully, she wasn’t, and the cop didn’t really do it, and everything was fine, but that was my really nervous run-in with the police with my Rifts game character. There you go. Little story for you to take home. Ah, boy.

Question. Am I going to Dragoncon this year? No, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be to Dragoncon again because unfortunately it happens at the same time as Burning Man every year. I went back in 2004 and 2005, where I cosplayed as Dan Hibiki and Mugatu from the first Zoolander, because that’s what you do when you’re at Dragoncon. Had a great time, but since Burning Man becomes a little more of a creative and spiritual retreat for me every year, that takes precedence. So I don’t know if we’ll ever get back unless they change the weekend. But it’s a lot of fun! I have a lot of friends that go, so have a good time.

What’s our little question? Nebuchadnezzar asks, “What’s the story behind each of your bracelets?” This is interesting. I know people, I’ve seen people make fun of the fact that I wear these leather bracelets, and it’s a fashion statement, and it seems so douchey and rockstar-like to wear and fair play. This was the first one I got, right here. This was a magnet-based bracelet and I received this actually at my first Burning Man. This, to me, represents personal responsibility and knowing where I come from. I come from a bloodline of alcoholics. My father also dealt with drug addiction. He was a musician in the 70s and 80s, he went to Narcotics Anonymous for a while– I’m opening up here. Wonderful man, I love him to death. He was, and is, such a wonderful person. But he dealt with addiction issues, and so, knowing I was predisposed to all of this, I avoided alcohol. I avoided anything. I didn’t even have my first drink until I was 23. I was so scared that I was predisposed. As I began to know myself better as a person in my life, I decided, I felt that I wasn’t possibly held by the same demons that my family before me did. So I tried alcohol and was like, okay, yeah, this might be socially a thing, but it’s not for me. And so I’d occasionally have a drink socially, but it wasn’t a big thing. I felt that was a big thing for me. Then, my first Burning Man, being surrounded by drug culture and having a lot of my judgments on various experiences that I had friends who had and talked about, and I was like, eh, no no no– that was my time to actually face those demons as well. And so I had a number of experiences at the burn that year with friends, in a safe environment, where I could try different things, safe things. But so I could speak with these, from a basis of understanding, safe hallucinogens and things like that in a very nice environment. The end of that week, I realized that I really firmly understood that I was not bound by the same demons of addiction that my father did, and my grandfather before him. I met a random person on my last day that week and we met at the edge of the trash fence, far out into the desert. We talked for two hours and I told him all about this history, and they gave me this bracelet as a reminder that I overcame my family’s demons, and as a reminder of the responsibility that I have to make sure that I stay true to myself and try and help others to not befall those same traps. So that was where I got my first bracelet, and I wear it all the time.

The second one I got because Marisha made it for me on our first anniversary. She bought the leather, she dyed it herself, she punched it and if you see, in there a little bit, you can see coordinates that she pushed into the leather. These coordinates are the coordinates on the earth where we had our first kiss. This was a beach on PCH, under the moonlight, because we’ve got to be cheesy and romantic and shit. But she gave that to me as a reminder of that night, and so this bracelet, to me, is a reminder of her. And so I keep that with me at all times.

This one was given to me by my best friend, Brittany Walloch, who I’ve known for over ten years. She’s been a dear friend, confidante, and helped me get through a lot of hard times and been there for me. I know, it’s fucking cheesy, but you asked, guys. Sorry. So this, to me, represents the friends and the people that I have to support me and help me through the hard times, and are understanding when I get busy or get sad, and so this one represents friendship to me.

This one here was a gift from a Critter, during one of the Critmases. Little Tree of Life on there, if you get a chance to see. This was important to me because this represents you guys, this represents the community. Represents everyone who has come along with us on these adventures, the Critical Role, and how you changed my life in so many wonderful ways. So this, I wear this all the time because it reminds me of you guys and what we’re doing in all this crazy silliness. So now you have the story behind my wrist bands. Probably the deepest explanation of them I’ve given to date. I may have said too much about myself, but whatever, that’s what this afternoon’s about. There you go.

All right. The question, how did you and Marisha meet? I’ll try to make this a lot quicker than the last story. Me and Marisha met through a mutual friend, Becky Young, who was an actress friend of mine. She played Samus in my web series I did back in 2008-2009, called There Will Be Brawl. If you haven’t seen it, it’s silly live-action film noir crime drama of the Smash Bros universe. She was doing improv and in one of her improv classes, Marisha had just started doing improv. So they became close friends and began doing scene work and sketches together. Then Becky was going to create a geeky sketch group for the internet. She called in a bunch of her friends to be writers and actors on it. She called me in, Matt Key, and a few friends that she met through Brawl, then brought Marisha over from her improv. So we met at that first writing meeting and we both immediately crushed on each other, but we were both in other relationships and like, “Nice to meet you!” That was, you know, we became loose friends. Met at a couple social events over the next year or so, but we, you know, we were this distant, aw, if only, but alas. Then about a year after that, we reconnected after not seeing each other for a while. I’ll get to the tattoo in a minute. I had gone in for a mo-cap audition and they wanted to know if I knew any females who had dance experience, martial arts experience. I was like, Marisha does! So I got her an audition there and she called me to say thank you. Can I pay you back with a drink some time? I’d love to! We never actually had a chance to hang out one-on-one before! So we went and got a drink and talked, four and a half hours, and we clicked. It was an electric dinner. Everything was perfect. I was like, oh my god, this is amazing. I had been out of my last relationship for about nine, ten months at this time, and spent a period of time being single. Tried the dating thing and it was weird, didn’t like it, and I was spending a lot of time being solitary. She was on the outskirts of a long-term relationship that had been dead in the water for about six months, according to her. So we went our own ways. About a week later she called me and was like, hey, I just broke up with my boyfriend. Do you want to get a drink? I need to talk to somebody. I’m like, sure. So we went out and got drinks again. From there, we began to hang out more, and it eventually turned into a romance and the rest is history. Now we’re getting married in October, which is crazy.

Anyway. Tattoo. So this is my first tattoo, right there. This represents the art car of our Burning Man camp, the Sensitron 5000. It’s a triangular metallic platform built on a truck bed that has a large LED umbrella that comes off the top of it. It’s hard to describe. If you do a search for “Sensitron 5000 Burning Man” you might see a picture of it. There’s these big colored silks that hang off of it. But anyway, this tattoo is a geometric drawing of the art car and it’s a little reminder of that little part of Burning Man home and a place where me and Marisha have had many great times together with a good camp family out there. So that’s what the tattoo means.

Now let’s start getting onto the creature. Let’s do some fun stuff here. So for the creature, for the encounter. Who has more shoes, me or Marisha? Marisha. I own like two pairs of shoes. And they’re both busted. Actually one’s a little better, I replaced it not too long ago. But I’m not a clothing shoe person. These are the fanciest socks I own. Okay, so. For the monster encounter, for the first bit here I want to ask: this creature, what size do we want this creature to be? I’ll throw the ones out, you guys don’t have to put things in there because it’s a limited course here. I’ll go with tiny, because what would be greater than a really powerful, super tiny boss fight? Medium, large, gargantuan, and small. So tiny, small, medium, large, and gargantuan? I think that’s all. No, huge. I missed huge. So we’ll do tiny, medium, large, huge, and gargantuan. I don’t think we need to worry about small because if we’re going to go tiny, go tiny, right? So those are the five. Tiny, medium, large, huge, gargantuan. We’ll throw that in the straw poll and we’ll see where that one ends up soon.

Now getting back to the questions here. Martyr85 asks, “When you get a rare chance to play, is there a personality trait you have that you purposely try to avoid while roleplaying?” I try to avoid the Batman persona. Kind of like, “I’m dark and broody, and I know everything and I’m badass. And whenever anything story or emotional happens, I don’t care.” I don’t want to play Drizzt Do'Urden, basically. I’ve played with so many players over the years that all fall into that archetype. Don’t get me wrong, I love Drizzt as a character, but that set up a precedent in the late ‘90s and early 2000s that most guy gamers I gamed with tended to lean in that Bruce Willis, action-movie-star-type persona. That got a little ridiculous for a while. So I try and make things a little more kooky. I do try and make my characters after the rest of the party has, so I can fill in the gap. I’m a support player, I guess, in that regard. So I’ll wait for everyone else to choose what they want and I’ll see what’s missing, and then I’ll go ahead and create something to fill that space. That’s generally how I do it. And I recommend you do it too! It might force you into some uncomfortable territory, you might end up playing a class that you normally wouldn’t have chosen, but realize, that was actually pretty fun. And a lot cooler than I thought it would be. You can learn a lot that way, just saying.

Whatever happened to the aasimar kids? We’ll find out. Still in Whitestone, from what you guys know. Which, by the way, there’s a lot of NPCs. Lot of NPCs in this world. I can’t show them all, all the time. When they become relevant they’ll arrive, or if the party searches for them, they’ll be there, maybe. But there’s a lot of characters that I put in this world as I realized over time and it’s getting a little nuts. So sorry if one of your favorites hasn’t showed up in a while. It’s a big world. Vox Machina can only cover so much ground at any given point in time. Sorry.

Actually, do we have an answer on that one? [offscreen] Tiny. Almost 99 percent. Almost 99 percent tiny?! I love you guys so much. I’m so excited for an extremely powerful, tiny beast. I’m so excited for this. Oh my god. Oh, I was hoping you were going to say that. Okay, so. Tiny creature. Now, type. Creature type. I’m going to have you guys throw some in the chat room. These include undead, monstrous, beast, aberration, construct, any of the classic Monster Manual creature types. Start throwing them into chat and I’ll start pulling out the ones that seem to get more votes as we go. Yeah, fiends is one. Pixies, fey. We’ll throw fey on there, fey seems to have gotten a few votes. Aberration’s getting a bunch of votes as well. Construct’s getting a lot of votes. So we’ve got fey, aberration, construct. Oh man, a lot of that. Celestial, I’m seeing celestial a lot in there. And we’ll say… elemental. There we go. Those are some five interesting choices. Those are the ones I’ve seen the most, at least. So there we go. We have fey, we have construct, we have elemental, we have aberration, and– what was the last one? Celestial. There we go. So we’ll get that straw poll going and we’ll figure out what that is here in a moment.

I’m going to go ahead and pour a little port in here. Oh, look at that fine fire. That totally real fire. It’s real, don’t judge me. I have not had a drink on a Tuesday this early. At least not a while, that wasn’t a margarita. Okay.

So IAmVirus asks, “Skyrim or Witcher 3?” Witcher 3. I love me some Elder Scrolls, I’ve played them all since Arena. But Witcher 3 all the way, I’m sayin’.

Deslog asks: “Question. Wine, whiskey, or vodka?” I would have said vodka years ago, but I’ve come to enjoy whiskey more in recent years. That happens when your girlfriend’s from Kentucky. She brings bourbon into your life. But even then, I’m not a heavy drinker so it’ll be like one drink, it’d probably be whiskey. Probably mixed with something. I’m a girly drinker, I want sweet shit. I can enjoy a nice straight, harsh liquor as a sipping drink, but give me a mojito. Give me a margarita. Give me something nice and fruity and sweet. I’ll deal with the headache, it’ll be fine.

ZZZ195 asks, “How do you deal with rejection?” Oh man. Not well at first. I remember when I was in seventh grade–because I got rejected a lot–I had a very interesting upbringing. Or at least a very interesting childhood. I had a lot of asking girls out whenever I got the courage, and them saying “yes” on the spot and the next day going, “Actually, no.” And that sucked. I had a P.E. teacher named Mr. Pickett who– I just wouldn’t get up and run the mile in seventh grade after a girl turned me down. A girl named– I think it was Jamie, in choir. Chorus. And he was like, “Is it a girl?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He goes, “It’s okay, man. Women are fickle.” Which is a douchey thing to say now in hindsight, but at the time it helped. Pulled me out of my funk. And he gave me a dude-to-dude girl talk and I was like, “Oh, I feel better.” Rejection sucks, no matter what happens. But you have to remember, rejection is not because you are a lesser person. Much like an audition, you just weren’t the right person. Don’t take a rejection, if it’s from an individual you’re asking out, as an offense or that they don’t want to have anything to do with you. Sometimes it’s just, “You’re not what I’m looking for. I don’t know you well enough.” And some great friendships I’ve seen come out of rejection from multiple sides. But there is a habit I’ve seen, and a lot of this “nice guy” syndrome happen online where it’s like, “I will be a friend to a girl and the minute that I begin to ask her out and she says ‘No,’ then I’m like 'fuck her!’” and it’s an unhealthy behavior. Because you’re missing opportunities for great friendship, and two, she just wasn’t into that aspect, at least not now. Give her time to get to know you better or let it blossom into a friendship and focus on somebody else who might be more your style. As far as career rejection– keep focused on the next venture. The more you obsess and concentrate on any sort of rejection or falling out of a prospective path, it’s hard, but if you focus on the next endeavor and try and be like, “Okay, that didn’t work out. What can I focus on now?” That not only takes your mind off of it, but it already gets you in a better direction, focusing on what’s right and what could be the next venture. Yeah. I had a lot of interesting experiences as a kid.

Actually I want to bring this up real fast, because I feel like it’s important. I want to apologize legitimately to anybody who felt uncomfortable in the story of the last Taryon episode and the reveal there. And I apologize if that hit too close to home, if that was not the representation of your story that you wanted seen, and I understand that it made a lot of people feel uncomfortable and I’m sorry, I’m legitimately sorry. I put a post about it on Twitter, but text is easy to be misconstrued and you only have so much brainspace to put out there. And I’m sure I’ve been torn apart on the internet, that’s fine. I admit that. However, I do want to say that I think it’s an important story to tell from what we understand of it. And when I say “what we understand of it,” y'know, we all come from different backgrounds and– this is going to be a little real here for a second. We have our experiences to pull from when it comes to story. We as actors, we write and we only create from experience. And Exandria is very much an open environment for the most part. Sexuality is an open thing in society. There are couples of all walks of life: asexual, trans, nonbinary, gay, bi, everything, and it’s all open in the world. Is the world free of ignorance? No. That’s part of life, and part of the story because people are flawed, people are stupid. It’s minimized in my world because I like to imagine a world where it is largely minimized, but it’s not something that’s not going to exist. And what little bit of Tary’s story we’ve touched on, a lot of it improvised by Sam on the spot, and a lot we’ve talked about since then, and we developed a little bit beforehand to an extent, I think is an important story to tell. And parts of it resonate. I’ve had people concerned that we were making fun of his awakening, or his coming to terms with his venture in the last episode, and I can honestly say that if it came across that way, I’m sorry. That is not the case. We are very, very sensitive to these things and many of us have lived very close to, or dealt with homophobia on our end as well.

I grew up a very androgynous, long-haired pretty boy who was quiet. And god knows I spent a number of years of my youth being called “faggot” and being pushed around, and I have a lot of very, very important people in my life who have dealt with far worse and have undergone a lot of terrible circumstances. And I feel for that a lot. My Uncle Ted, for instance. One of the most impactful people in my life, probably, at a young age. He was my dad’s brother. He introduced me to musical theater, he introduced me to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. We used to play piano and sing songs around the piano and stuff, and he’s such a wonderful person. And as a kid I loved him, he was my favorite relative on that side of the family. He also dealt with the difficulty of being married and having a child with his wife and then one day coming to terms with the fact that he was gay. And it sundered a lot of that part of the family at the time, and it was very hard to be in parts of the family that didn’t understand that. And even as a kid I knew what was wrong, and what felt wrong, and what was being said. And you know, and then getting– and then I had to watch him waste away over the years because he caught HIV and then AIDS at a time when it was very prominent in the late '80s and early 90s.

And then, you know, through the '90s, in a lot of ways was very hard for people of alternative sexualities because we didn’t have communities. We didn’t have the internet, we didn’t have tumblr, we didn’t have Facebook. There weren’t places you could go to feel safe if your lifestyle was expected to be not the norm or not accepted. So I had a lot of friends and a lot of close people that had to just suffer inside and had nowhere to talk, and occasionally meet somebody or find somebody who was comfortable enough to be out and proud. And then permission was given, but even that was met with a lot of difficulty. I’m glad we live in a world now, by comparison, where things are much more respected. And it’s still a fight. God, it’s still a fight. There’s still so much to be done and it’s still so much bullshit and so much disrespect and lack of empathy for people who just want to be happy. And that bothers me on a deep level and feel it really hard. But I know that parts of Tary’s tale may not be the representation that some people hoped for in media. But I’ve tried my best to represent other, happier lives and things where that was an open and viable circumstance. Tary’s is important for people that grew up like maybe a lot of my friends did, and didn’t have that open, welcoming scenario. And I can’t believe I’m doing this on the internet.

Anyway, I’m sorry. I’m doing the best I can. And not all stories are going to be for everybody. I can’t please everybody with all the choices we make. And I mess up and I fail and I stumble. And even if a few people get offended, I can’t help but feel bad because I hate hurting people. But I promise I’m doing my best. That’s all. You know, when I said Tary’s experience, his scenario at the end of the last episode with Trish, reminded me of a lot of friends growing up, you know. Every person has a point in life where they struggle with their own identity, and I had that too. I identify as heterosexual but I’ve had my years of curiosity, I’ve had my years of trying to figure out what it was, who I was. And yeah, I myself am primarily attracted to women but there are men that I’ve also found attractive in life, mostly about the person, the individual. And sometimes it takes an experience like what Tary had to finally feel confident in that. And not in a judgmental way. His was a little more comical because it’s Sam, and we want to play up the discomfort of a sequence sometimes with humor to offset it, but we try and treat it with respect because a lot of it plays to elements of our own lives or people that are close to us. And so Tary’s journey is in some ways still a personal one for myself and other people in some ways. So just, you know. We’re trying.

Anyway. Wow, that happened. Let’s go to the next monster thing. (laughing) Jesus Christ. (sighs) So tiny. What type of monster we doing, yo? Celestial. Tiny celestial encounter. That’s going to be– oh, I’m good, no pizza, thank you. I got popcorn and port, yo. And a fireplace. What more could you want? Ability score focus. What is this tiny celestial really good at? We’re going to make this a six choice. A six choice straw poll here. So we’re going to go ability scores, of course strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, charisma. The classics. I want to know what this tiny celestial is really damn good at. What is it really good at? So we’re going to put that in there, have you guys vote and we’ll see just how nasty this thing can be. So pay attention to the chat, we’ll have that up there in a moment. We’re going to go ahead and do some more questions. And I’ll keep it together going forward. (laughs)

Talisar: question, “How excited are you for the new Bill Nye show?” I actually watched a few episodes of it. I’m conflicted. I love Bill Nye, and I grew up loving Bill Nye and I’m a firm believer in everything he has to say. I think in some ways we’re entering this weird era that is undermining intellectualism and fact and it’s really frustrating. And I think he’s been a great beacon for that in public spheres. The tone of his show is a little strange because I feel like it’s a little preaching to the choir so far. I feel like it would be a better message to try and have the show presented in a way that is speaking to the other side and explaining why it’s important to listen to what the facts or what the science is. The show so far, from what I’ve seen, comes across a little preachy and a little condescending to those who many not believe, and I don’t think that necessarily befits his argument in the best way. It’s still a great show, and I’m liking it so far, but that would be my one critique on it is that it comes across a little self-righteous in a way that might turn off the people who really should be listening to it and learning from it. Otherwise it turns into an echo chamber. But I’m excited to check out the rest of it and hope that that picks up a little bit and I love everything he’s done in the past. I think it’s important that we have more figures like that that are both public figures, like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye, that are champions of science, champions of reason, champions of fact and I’m excited to see more of that type of content. I’ll see more of it.

I will say the new Mystery Science Theater is fucking awesome. As a person who grew up watching the original Comedy Central run when I was a kid when I first moved out to California. I’m a Joel guy. I love Mike, but Joel is my guy all the way and I’ve watched every episode. I was so scared for the reboot. So scared because it could have gone wrong in so many ways. I legitimately teared up multiple times watching the first episode of the new Netflix show because it felt like the old show to me. I was so excited, even the final credits sequence. They even have a new version of the old, sad orchestral version of the MST3K theme and I was just tears and smiling. I tend to cry a lot. I’m a sensitive boy if you haven’t figured that out by now.

Ability score focus, do we have an answer on that yet? What is it? Charisma. This’ll be interesting, okay. Let’s do three focuses here, this will be combat-focus for the creature. So it’s a tiny celestial charisma-based entity. Do we want it to be melee-focused? Not mee-lee. I’m trying to be better about that. I grew up saying mee-lee and it’s an old habit hard to break. I know it’s melee. I’m trying, guys, I know it bothers a lot of you. Melee, ranged-focused, or spell-focused. Or you know what, environment-focused. So it might get in the fray with people, it might attack them from a distance, it might do a spell caster type, or focused on using the environment to its advantage. We’ll throw those choices up in the poll and we’ll see what that one comes out to in a moment.

An hour and a half goes fast, guys! Thanks for chilling as long as you have and watch me be ridiculous on camera with you for a while. ScrubsFan06 asks a question, “What’s your favorite band?” Oh, that’s a tough one. My father was a musician, I was raised on The Beatles, Moody Blues, Steely Dan, Al Parsons Project, so I come from that background. Then I was also introduced more to modern bands. I say modern, I was a kid of the 90s like Stone Temple Pilots, Type O Negative– love Type O Negative, great pseudo-almost-not-serious goth rock. It’s beautiful. But I think the musician that’s affected me the most would be Mike Patton and his work on Mr. Bungle. Many other musical projects that are fantastic: Fantomas, Tomahawk, Lovage, some of his solo stuff, but his work on Mr. Bungle is so avant-garde and strange and changed my perspective on music and vocals. Gogol Bordello is a great choice, too, Gogol Bordello is fantastic. Mike Patton’s work has been heavily inspiring in so many ways. He’s probably the closest I have as far as a vocal match when it comes to music. So if there’s anybody I can sing along with in the car, Mr. Bungle, I’m right there. I have a secret dream that ever I end up with too much time on my hands that I’ll do a Mr. Bungle tribute band and do a show once in the Roxie just for my friends. I want to do that one day. Will it ever happen? I don’t know. Mike Patton’s my boy.

Straw poll’s up, guys, you got to vote! LolKeegan says, “Matt, kind of stagnant in life with no direction. Do you have any friends, or were you yourself like that? How did you find your direction and motivation or whatever?” Yeah, a number of times. That’s not an uncommon experience. If anything, take solace in the fact that all of us eventually find ourself there at some point or another. Before I went to Burning Man, I was in that place. Out of school, I was in that place. Right before I met Marisha, to a certain extent, I was in that place, too. Change of scenery helps more than anything. Being stuck, stagnant, and being in a place of comfort that is affiliated with that stagnation, in my opinion, can be a very stifling atmosphere without realizing it. I recommend taking a drive by yourself. Just drive. If you’re near a coast, up the coast and find a bit of beach to sit and think for a few hours on your own. Bring some snacks, bring some wine. Or go into the desert, or go into the woods and commune with your surroundings. Go to a place that’s outside of what’s normal and comfortable to you. Both to force yourself out of your comfort zone, but to put you in a space where you can start thinking outside of the way you normally do. I can’t say that’s a guaranteed answer, but that can begin to help with forcing you to think outside of the normal, “Woe is me, I can’t do anything, I can’t change anything.” You’ve already changed one thing; you’ve changed your scenery. You’ve already discovered a new place that you can go to for solace. A place you can bring a friend once you have these moments to think to yourself. Maybe try a hobby you’ve always wanted to and never gave yourself the gumption to do it. You were always like, “I’ve always wanted to try sculpting.” Do it! Buy some clay. Look on YouTube. There’s so many great tutorials for anything you could ever want to do, ever, period, on the internet now! Buy some clay and start sculpting in your house. Or go to a class if there’s one nearby that you can afford. Do some life drawing. Something artistic, something creative, something that spurs the brain outside of the numbers and the mathematics. That may be enough of a change of your normal way of thinking that it might inspire different directions to look. It might lead your right on the path or put you in that direction. There’s no guarantee, there’s no right answer to this, but that’s something that’s worked for me and it’s worked for some people i know. At least, it might be a start. Wish I had better answers for you, but I hope that helps.

What’s the answer on the straw poll? Environment! Not going to lie, I was hoping you were going to say that. That’s going to be a fun, fucked up battle. Okay! And last but not least, let’s get a name. Whatever cool first names come out of the chat I’ll start pulling them and we’ll put them in with a straw poll based off that. Don’t be offended if I don’t pick yours. I’m going to grab ones that seem interesting and throw them up there. Look here for a second. You guys throw the chaos at me. Let’s do K-A-E-O-R-A. Let’s do B-A-L-K-A-N-U-S. Y-O-R-T. E-X-E-L-O-N. Ooh! I like that one! Symphior. Symphony, but S-Y-M-P-H-I-O-R. Going celestial here, folks. L-E-T-H apostrophe E-S-S. Symphior, I think it was? Symphony, S-Y-M-P-H-I-O-R. And we’ll put that in. I hope that’s right. If it’s not, that’s what it is now! We’ll get that started and we’ll start pouring through some answers on that. We’ll see what names comes to! Congratulations. Oh man. I’ve already got some ideas on this one. These might not appear very soon in the arc, but they’re going to be worked into the arc. It’ll be a surprise to you guys as it will be for the players when they come and we’ll work this out. Should be fun.

We got about 20 minutes here, I want to get some more questions. “What instrument would you play?” from KosaWanKenobi. Funny, my father, a musician, played many instruments. I got a lot of instruments for Christmas over the years, messed them for a day, lost interest, and gave them to my little brother who then became the musician. He plays trumpet, trombone, guitar, drums, piano, everything. I’m bookended by extremely talented musicians and all I do is sing. I’m a little sheepish about instruments. I’m a decent drummer in Rock Band. I hover in that Hard to Expert level, or at least I was in my heyday. I’ve gotten a little rusty since then, I’m sure. But if I could play, like really play, I’d probably go– any instrument? Violin. I love the violin. It’s such a beautiful instrument, such a beautiful sound that can evoke so many rich emotions. You can tell a story through just a note. I’ve had my heart tugged on and smashed and uplifted by just a single solo violin piece. It’s a beautiful instrument and it takes a lot of practice. Anyone out there who plays violin, all the power to you, all the love. I don’t have the time. Maybe one day. Maybe in my retirement I’ll learn to play the violin. But that’s definitely my favorite instrument of all.

KungFuPanzer asks, “How is this date going? Are we going to see each other again? Does Marisha mind?” I think it’s a great– probably going great until I emotionally spilled all over you. That’s when you retract and go, “Okay! This guy’s a bit much, he’s got some baggage.” We’ll be good friends, and we’ll probably hang out and get drinks and I’ll introduce you to Marisha. We’ll all go out and wander the CIA Bar of North Hollywood probably and drink over a dead clown under a glass. That’s a real phrase about a real thing, you should look it up! It’s terrifying.

ButtAssBooty said, “Did you ever mow your lawn?” I did. I said that earlier, but I wanted to say your name out loud. So there you go. Congratulations.

Question: Do I like camping? from Asimilie. I love camping! I love it so much. I don’t get to go anywhere near as often as I’d like. I think we’re trying to plan a Vox Machina group camping trip as soon as we all get time because we all have wanted to do that for a long time. Trying to find a weekend that’ll work. I love camping. I went a lot with my family. We’d go up to Mount Whitney through all the mountain ranges up through Big Sur. Yeah, camping was great. My mom was hilarious. She loved to camp, but she also loved some amenities. She was the only person I knew who would get up in the morning and heat up her curling iron in the campfire to do her hair. While camping. My mom, I love her to death. That’s a memory I will always hold dear in my heart. Crouched down, dirty, heating up her curling iron. That’s awesome.

Interesting other questions. “What music are you listening to at the moment?” from PwnagePanda. A lot of CHVRCHES, as you’ve probably seen from the shirt. Every single tiny trickle of Lorde that comes out I obsess over and latch onto right now. Good EDM, I enjoy as a good general creative space. I say good EDM because there’s a lot of shitty EDM. I briefly fell in love with the Chainsmokers then quickly fell out of love with them after seeing interviews with the douchebros that are them. Good EDM I really enjoy. Classic Radiohead never dies. Paranoid Android era was fantastic. Spotify’s allowed me go back and listen to a lot of old songs from my teen years that I hadn’t had access to in awhile, so that’s pretty rad. We got really heavily into CHVRCHES right around the time me and Marisha got engaged, so CHVRCHES has been our happy theme for a while, the most recent album. That’s a recurring theme with us recently.

“Favorite sweet alcoholic beverage?” from Aquajolt. If we’re going dancing, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time drinking or spend a lot of money on multiple drinks, I’ll get a Long Island Iced Tea because you just need one and it gets the job done and you’re ready to go dancing. If it’s more of a casual conversation, if we’re all at a small dive bar talking for hours, I’ll probably get a Kentucky Mule; some bourbon, ginger beer, little bit of lime and sip on that for a while. Those are probably my two current favorites. Utility purposes different, definitely.

Question: Worst video game I’ve ever played by Timmy32. Oh man. There are some bad games. But they’re known to be bad. I worked on some bad games! I worked on a whole bunch of Shrek titles. My job, before becoming a voice actor, I worked in QA in game development side then worked into producing in game development. I worked at a company TDK Media Active for a number of years and made Shrek licensed products that were terrible: Shrek Party, Mario Party ripoff, but it was Shrek-related. That was really bad. Oh man, there were some really bad games. Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, the turn-based RTS tried to make. As a Fallout fan who loved Fallout one and two broke my heart because it was not a good game. For me, having a broken game is terrible, but having a broken game with a great license is even more painful. That really kills me.

HoundRider9000’s question: “Ever consider short hair?” Yes, I don’t look good with it, I don’t think so, not for me. Long hair’s been my thing for most of my life, long-ish. I’ve gone through stages. You’ve seen it shorter sometimes on the show. Yeah, I cut it a little shorter and it eventually grows out. I just don’t look good with short hair. I feel cold and naked and alone if it’s too short, I don’t like it. So my hair will probably be some degree of long-ish or at least ragged, I guess.

Zenez8 says, “Favorite voice line and what one bugs Marisha the most?” Favorite voice line? It is a gift, it is an absolute blessing that I have been given a catchphrase in McCree. I’m going to have it with me the rest of my days. As much as people might be like, “Oh my god, he’s so annoyed to have to say, 'It’s high noon’ all the time,” it’s like, no, that’s fantastic. I’m always happy to say it if someone’s very respectful about it and not be like, “Hey, Matt, what time is it?” I’d be like: all right, dude, relax. That’s wonderful, that’s a catchphrase. Very few people get that. So I love it. I’m really excited that I have that. That would probably be the most iconic quote that I have, character line. Bothers Marisha the most? Any of the MacCready post-romance wakeup lines from Fallout 4. We’ll wake up in the morning, sun’s coming through our blinds in the bedroom and she’s starting to wake up and I’ll lean over and be like (MacCready voice) So are you ready to face the day? (normal voice) And she’ll punch me. Rightfully so. I’ll give her shit about that every now and then. (laughs)

Playgratchansee question is, “Any tips on how to deal with players who fight over items and gold?” Talk to them and say, “Guys, seriously, you need to work this out. Otherwise, we’re not going to play. Be respectful and figure this out.” If there’s still a problem, maybe have them encounter some sort of extremely powerful archfey entity that is true neutral and really feels everything should be fair and has found interest in them and follows them silently, invisibly. If at any point they start fighting over loot, threatens them with complete and utter destruction. So be fair and place nice, otherwise the fey will destroy and consume you. Find story reasons to fuck with them and force them to play nice, too. (laughs) Cursed items! Also a great deal! That really greedy guy who keeps grabbing everything, throw him a couple of cursed items and let him deal. “Oh, man, you took that first, put it on! Oh no, you’re withering!” Good on you for that, chat, that’s another great suggestion. Communist fey. Yes, exactly!

“Question: Star Wars or Star Trek and why?” Interesting question. I grew up loving fantasy. High fantasy’s my jam. I should love Star Wars as much as the next person. I enjoy Star Wars, and I watch the trilogy a lot. But I wasn’t into it as a lot of kids I knew. I used to have all the toys, the bedsheets, everything. But I was a Tolkien kid. For me, it was either high fantasy or high fantasy in space. To me, I leaned more high fantasy. But I love the original trilogy and I watched it a bunch as a kid, too. When I got into Star Trek right around the Next Generation era when that first came out, that was so radically different than anything I had gotten into that I immediately leaned towards that. So my very “realistic” sci-fi Star Trek utopian society, the future exploring the cosmos in a very colonizing harmony-type way was so radically different than any other sci-fi I had experienced outside of Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke books I had grown up with that I fell in love with that. I definitely started more as a Star Trek person. I’ve come to enjoy Star Wars more as the years go on, but I think Star Trek had more of an impact on my youth. I had Lord of the Rings as more of my fantasy and Star Trek as more of my sci-fi. Star Wars is in the middle, I adhered to the two extremes, if that makes sense. Don’t hate me on the internet! Too late.

Phalanx66, “Question: new tattoo?” I do have some new ideas. When the campaign guide is over and out there, I’m going to talk with Marisha, I haven’t decided yet, but I’m thinking about getting the outline of Tal'Dorei tattooed on my back. Just the outline of the continent and with each campaign guide, if they keep happening, I’ll add more continents until eventually I have all of Exandria on my back as just outlines. It’s an idea I’ve had. An idea. Don’t know if it’s going to happen, but you know, that was something that came up.

“Favorite action movie character?” Hudson Hawk. If you don’t know who that is, you should watch it. It’s ridiculous. (laughs) “Nerd!” I know, I know! And I own it. I should.

“Favorite doctor from Doctor Who?” from FireKnight7. Oh, we’ve got ten minutes left, thank you for the reminder. Favorite doctor. I grew up on Baker, so he was my introduction to the world. Doctor Who was originally that weird British show that came on at 5:00am. When I’d couldn’t sleep or woke up way too early as a kid, I’d watch and be like, “I don’t know what’s happening, but this is weird and awesome.” So that was my introduction to Doctor Who was through Baker who was a great doctor. Love his personality, his whimsy is great. It wasn’t until the reboot that it came back that I got back into it and Tennant won me over then. It’s a close match between Baker and Tennant, but I think Tennant just wins out because he ran the gamut, especially towards the end of his run. The fury, the warrior doctor elements coming through, his sorrow, his loss. I can’t watch his final walk to the TARDIS after he takes irradiation right before his regeneration without becoming a blubbering, absence of non-sad emotion. I am an absolute mess. Mark Humes, actually, from High Rollers, when I was London years ago, I dragged him to the Doctor Who museum because he hates Doctor Who. I was like, “You’re coming with you because you’re my host.” He hated it the whole time. It was me and him and a bunch of kids and it was amazing. They had the actual TARDIS console of the Tennant-era TARDIS and it was all busted up and I was like, “Cool, this is the console!” And I hear this music and I was like, “Where’s the music coming from, it’s really sad? That’s really familiar.” I look over and I’m like, “That’s the song of the Ood!” And they have a big screen that had Tennant walking through the snow, slowly making his way to the TARDIS and I start bawling. I watched the whole sequence of them saying, “I don’t want to go!” Tears everywhere and I’m blubbering, heaving, sobbing grown man in the middle of a Doctor Who museum a bunch of kids who are confused and Mark with his arms crossed going, “Fucking hell, mate.” It was amazing. I’ve dragged that guy through some shit. (laughs)

I’m trying to get through some of these questions because we have to close this up soon. “Favorite non-RPG game?” by AcetaMichelle. That’s hard. Almost all the games I like are RPGs. Street Fighter. Actually, not that hard at all. Street Fighter. I grew up playing Street Fighter hardcore. For a brief time, I did tournament Street Fighter and I can still hold my own pretty decently in Street Fighter. There was a time I was super intense about it. I got really good, my prime of my life was during the Alpha Three era. Alpha Three is still, to this day, my game. I got really, deeply into Street Fighter; not just the competitive aspect, but the lore. There is Street Fighter lore! It’s confusing, contradicts itself a lot, but I got really into it. I owned a lot of Japanese-import art books about it that I could only get in Little Tokyo or order online at the time off Ebay. I did Kuma for Halloween one year, I’ve done Dan Hibiki multiple times. I learned a lot of the Japanese phrases. Most Japanese I learned– which is very little– I learned from fighting games, mostly Street Fighter. So if I ever go to Japan, all I can really do is get into fights. Not as useful, but that it is what it is. Street Fighter guy all the way.

Let’s get to some more of these questions at the bottom. Oh man. GhostlyMuse, “Question for players who want to have more variety, are there any resources you’d recommend for learning accents?” Yes! Watch the new episode of Signal Boost to have Liam O'Brien boost exactly what I’m about to tell you, but the IDEA: The International Dialects of English Archive is a fantastic, free website that has recordings of people from all over the world in all different countries speaking in English, reading a story that has all the phonetics and vowels and all of the different ways you can say and pronounce things as part of its construct, and then they talk about themselves. But it’s a great resource for listening and learning dialects and accents from all over the world, if you’re good at picking them up by ear. Otherwise, you might have to study a little more and get involved in the IPA, which is the International Phonetic Alphabet. That’s a little more of an investment and probably more if you’re going to go into acting. But the IDEA is a great resource. Recommend it.

Zipknoll. Best dream you ever had. That I can say on air? Best dream only because it was so vivid. It wasn’t a good dream. It was a nightmare. But it was so vivid and it was so– I wrote a short story about it in high school and I don’t know where it went. But I had a dream that I was walking home from school. This was in high school. And the entire sky was a roiling gray, cloudy mass. It was dark and ominous. It was shifting and moving. Occasionally, you’d see a skull shape emerge out of it or a giant, skeletal hand reach out of it and then retract into the sky. And there was a sense. Everyone understood that something very bad was going to happen. So I went home with my family, my mom, and I was like, “What’s going on outside?” And she goes, “Have you seen the news?” And when you look at the news, and as I look over the monitor, I see this big mountain that was visible from our house, this giant, slowly retracting funnel was making its way down, not in a massive tornado way, but it was slowly descending from the sky, like it had deliberate intent to land.

When you looked at the news, over in Japan– of course Japan, because that’s where all cataclysms start, apparently, this giant obsidian orb, a mile in diameter, apparated. It was smooth and they had the whole, you know, a bunch of different military forces were brought there to look at it. No one knew what it did. Then, one day, a door beneath it opened. It sat there for a week and everyone was like, “What does this mean?” Clouds are there, this is happening, but nothing’s going on. And then suddenly, we watch, as this door retracted from beneath and opened and multitudes of these demonic spirits begin to spill out. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them. They all looked like devilish entities, but they were spectral. They couldn’t be harmed. They passed through all physical matter. They didn’t attack anyone. But what we began to discover was each one of these spiritual entities had one corresponding person in the world, that it knew where they were and was going right for them. And whenever it found them, it embraced the person and they died. So it was this extermination of the human race. Each one of these demonic spirits designed to find the one person that they were designed for to eliminate them. And it was this wave as it went across all of Asia to Europe and then made their way into the U.S. And the rest of the dream was us waiting for this to happen. It was this very ominous acceptance of the end and looking out and seeing these waves of entities coming over the mountain that I started the dream with, and then coming through the valley, through the neighborhood, and coming towards us. And that’s the last point I remember. Dark as fuck dream and I apologize for that! But it was so vivid, the imagery to me, that I filled my sketchbook and I began to write a story about it. And the imagery inspired me in certain ways, so that was probably one of my favorite dreams, but not one of the best dreams, but one of my favorites.

Okay, we’re having to close this up here because we’re getting to the end of the six o'clock period here. You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for coming and hanging out today. We ran a gamut of emotions thoughts and we created a couple of NPCs and monsters. This was a promise from a charity game a while back, so thank you for being patient with that. We’re getting things geared up again. But we appreciate you guys so much. Thank you listening, hanging with me, hanging with my awesome fake fire. And I hope you have yourself a wonderful day. I’ll see you guys Thursday for the continuation of Vox Machina’s adventures and is it Thursday yet? In the meantime, some of us will see you at Talks Machina in about an hour or so. Take care.

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