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RPG (Role-Playing Game) Research - Question: "All I've seen is Dimension 20 and Critical Role. What are "real" sessions like?"

We ran a 3 year actual play taletop series specifically to address this unintended "Mike Mercer effect" where people were expecting game masters to be performing in a similar fashion which was prevent

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You might want to check out we have the world's largest free and open knowledgebase on role-playing games from a research and evidence-in-practice perspective.

In fact we ran a 3 year actual play taletop series specifically to address this "Mike Mercer effect" where people were expecting game masters to be performing in a similar fashion which was preventing many from taking on the mantle of DM. We interviewed hundreds of people that had commented on this.

So while the show is very poor production quality due to limited non-profit budget (it gets better as the seasons progress), it was intentionally "people off the street" to provide an "Everyman" example closer to what actual tabletop role-playing game sessions are like, though it was done more as an edutainment rather than pure entertainment approach. And there was the audience interactive piece, and the real-time sketch artists.

It was called "Heroes of the Mist" and you can view the episodes on our Youtube channel.

Unfortunately they are not edited episodes, so you get to see and hear all the challenges.

We hope some day we'll have a volunteer with time to edit and clean up the episodes as best as possible.

If you can stand the technical production issues it does help provide a more "realistic" idea of tabletop RPG experience over a long (3 year) campaign. People we interviewed after found it helpful to reduce their anxiety about game mastering a group, so mission accomplished. :-)


Hawke Robinson

A Washington State Department of Health Registered Recreational Therapist with a background in Therapeutic Recreation, computer science, neuroscience, cognitive neuropsychology, research psychology, nursing, play therapy, education, and role-playing gaming.
Hawke Robinson has been involved with role-playing games in community settings since 1977. Studying methods for optimizing the experience of role-playing games since 1979. A paid professional game master since 1982. Studying the effects of role-playing games upon participants since 1983. Providing role-playing games in educational settings and for educational goals since 1985. Working with incarcerated populations since 1989. Researching and using role-playing games to achieve therapeutic goals for a wide range of populations from 2 years old through senior adults since 2004.
Founder and CEO of the non-profit 501(c)3 charitable research and human services organization, RPG Research.
Founder and President of the for-profit <">RPG Therapeutics LLC and RPG.LLC.
Author of the RPG Professional Workbook available on Amazon.
Creator of the wheelchair accessible RPG Mobile fleet.
Founder of the RPG Museum.

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