An Interview With Matthew Mercer About The Explorers Guide To Wildemount – Forbes

Posted: March 24, 2020 at 5:02 am

The crossover effort between Dungeons & Dragons and Critical Role is here,

Matthew Mercer and his show Critical Role has a profound impact on Dungeons & Dragons. Millions of new players have tried D&D after watching Mercer and his crew of nerdy voice actors play through an epic story. The Critical Role crew have played live shows across the world and Mercer has been Dungeon Master for notable people from Vin Diesel to Stephen Colbert. They have also expanded beyond livestreaming content into shows for Amazon Prime. This month, Matt Mercer gets to cross another item off his bucket list; author of an official D&D book from Wizards of the Coast called Explorers Guide to Wildemount.

I was caught off guard because Wizards contacted us, said Mercer, I had been brought in to contribute on a couple books which was a really, really cool experience, but I never expected it at this level. I had done one book with Green Ronin, the TalDorei guide which was an awesome learning experience, a time consuming experience where I learned a lot through that process with them. If it wasnt with Wizards in an opportunity like this I probably would have held off because of how crazy life has been.

The book details the continent of Wildemount on the world of Exandria where the campaigns of Critical Role are set. Wildemount is the setting of the current episodes on the show. The book includes details on the setting, spells, character options and plenty of information fans of the show are looking to devour.

Ever since I finished [the TalDorei guide] my world building and note taking had taken more of a formal approach, said Mercer, so, thankfully when this came around, I had more thorough notes and ideas that didnt completely need an overhaul. Of course, I only developed enough to touch on the campaign that I was running. The process from that point became How do I take the things that I already have established or partially fleshed out into an entirely suitable form? and What ideas do I have beyond those and how do I flesh them out in an equally exciting way?

Even D&D fans who are not deep into the show will find some interesting ideas contained within. The Heroic Chronicle charts offer players a way to pull together a character with backstories that link their characters together and to the setting without wandering through a few awkward sessions of getting to know characters. Mercers world also offers some unusual magic schools that draw their power from scientific sources such as gravity, time and probability.

A lot of that stems from a love of quantum physics and astrophysics growing up, said Mercer, Ive always had a love of those weird esoteric elements of theoretical science. I came up with the Kyrn Dynasty before we started the second campaign as a way to renovate the class and present these ideas in an innovative way in a classic D&D setting. As part of that religious scenario, I thought about what kind of magic in the world hadnt really been touched on and what magic intrigued me. I wanted to look at how gravity and probably affects you from a theoretically standpoint. How could I adapt that under an umbrella of magic that was unique to this world?

Mercer took a hand in every element of the book from story elements to mechanical write ups. He was joined by veteran D&D authors James J. Haeck, James Introcaso and Chris Lockey with development handled by Jeremy Crawford, Dan Dillon, Ben Petrisor and Kate Welch.

I began doing some home brewed class mechanic stuff on DMs Guild years ago and found that I really enjoyed it, said Mercer. Getting better at it as time goes on has been a real thrill for me. Being able to write narrative world building elements is a safer space because nobody can argue with it. With player facing mechanics theres a much more intense level of scrutiny, so its a bigger challenge to create. I really enjoy monster design because I make a lot of monsters for Critical Role because we have such a large party of powerful players. Its become a secondary hobby of mine to create weird, interesting, dynamic battles for my players.

Explorers Guide to Wildemount is available on Amazon or from Friendly Local Game Stores around the world.

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An Interview With Matthew Mercer About The Explorers Guide To Wildemount - Forbes

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