I chatted to Amelia Tyler earlier this week. In case you're unfamiliar, Tyler's the voice of Baldur's Gate 3's narrator, but she's also a huge nerd and a seasoned roleplayer. While we talked about her favourite voice lines—as well as playing the Dark Urge's inner monologue—the conversation inevitably shifted towards pen & paper.
We got to talking about how roleplaying—the act of make-believe and inhabiting a character, whether in a video game or a TTRPG—involves breaking off a little piece of yourself and experimenting with it. "It's amazing," Tyler agrees. "And that's kind of what I love about the tabletop version as well, because you have a bunch of people doing that simultaneously. And you end up with interactions you could never have predicted … it's so juicy and psychologically interesting."
That bit—"psychologically interesting"—twigs a memory on my end. A few times Matthew Mercer, the DM of the mega-popular D&D livestream Critical Role, has talked about a book called Me, Myself, and Why. Jennifer Ouellette, the book's author, suggests that the memories we record about our TTRPG exploits ("I rolled a natural 20 and killed that dragon!" or "I couldn't save that NPC we really liked in time") get put in the same area of our brains as actual, real-life memories.
Not only does Tyler agree with that theory, she has a plan to capitalise on it: "Some of my friends and I were like, so when we're old ladies, right? In the old people's home, we're gonna forget that this wasn't real—there's a group of us who've been playing A Song of Ice and Fire [a Game of Thrones TTRPG] for many, many seasons.
"When we get old, we're going to forget that we didn't take over the country and start a coup and murder a bunch of people at a wedding. We're gonna start telling stories, and we're gonna freak the fuck out of a bunch of carers, and I won't care. I'm gonna watch and laugh as they try and figure out if any of these stories were true or not."
We also get to talking about the bonds you make with your tabletop friends. Obviously, everyone has a horror story about how their table fell apart. But, just as often, you hear about people who have stuck together for decades. I myself play in a game that's over a hundred sessions long, and I'd consider those people—even though we met online, over Discord—real, genuine friends.
"The friendships that you've forged through tabletop and roleplay generally, they are stronger than any real-world friendship I've ever had, because you get to know somebody on such a complex level. You get to see them in different lives and different guises, dealing with massive world-shattering trauma and events you would never experience in real life … you get to see different aspects of their personality over and over again. It's fascinating."
Speaking of TTRPG groups, Tyler also mentioned a recent panel at MCM Comic Con in October, where Matthew Mercer was asked whether he'd want to have a specific member of the Baldur's Gate 3 cast on his show. He responded: "They're all so great … I'd probably have to jump out at Amelia, since she's such a big fan already."
"That blew my mind slightly, and I couldn't stop grinning-slash-having a massive existential crisis for about half an hour," Tyler says. "I would absolutely be down for that. I'm a life-long critter [a critical role fan]—lifelong," she laughs, correcting herself: "As long as Critical Role has been running, I've been a critter." She also mentions Dimension 20, College Humour's own show, which I'm also a huge fan of.
"There are a bunch of very cool people, who are known, that I'd love to roleplay with, but," she adds, when it comes to the long term: "I have my people. I have my party. They might not be massively famous, but I love roleplaying with them, and I do not want to stop. They are my number one party … I wanna bring them with me. And hopefully at some point, like show them off a little bit more."