Matthew Mercer

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Matthew Mercer
Photograph of Matthew Mercer for Variety, by Robyn Von Swank.[art 1]
Full nameMatthew Christopher Miller
Also known as
  • Matthew Mercer
  • Matt
  • Comfy Matt
Pronounshe/him
Biographical information
BornJune 29, 1982 (age 42)
West Palm Beach, Florida[1]
NationalityAmerican
Profession
Internet presence

How do you want to do this?

— Matthew Mercer's catchphrase when the players defeat a challenge

Matthew Miller, known by stage name Matthew Mercer, is a voice actor, a member of the main cast of Critical Role, and the chief creative officer at Critical Role Productions LLC. He is the Dungeon Master of the main Critical Role campaigns.

He is also a member of the board of directors for the Critical Role Foundation and the creative advisor at Darrington Press LLC. He has also been the Dungeon Master for several one-shot episodes. He also voices Sylas Briarwood in The Legend of Vox Machina as well as additional voices.

Critical Role Productions[edit | edit source]

Pre-stream[edit | edit source]

In 2012, Liam O'Brien asked Matthew Mercer to run a D&D one-shot for his birthday. At the time, Matthew kept telling Liam about the D&D game he was running and often invited Liam to join. The game then became an ongoing Pathfinder campaign.

When Matt created the campaign that eventually became Critical Role, he made up his own world, Exandria, and restructured some of the game system rules to allow for more flexibility in the storyline. He has been the Dungeon Master since the beginning of the campaign in 2012.

In preparation for the streamed series, Matt converted the game over from Pathfinder to Dungeons & Dragons, because Pathfinder combat is slower due to an abundance of various modifiers. D&D also has more name recognition. When converting their game, Matt had to create a custom fighter's Martial Archetype for Taliesin Jaffe's character, Percy, as the Gunslinger subclass didn't exist in 5th Edition D&D. The two of them took a full day to switch over the character and all of his stats and abilities.

Main campaigns[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of the series, Matt created custom battlemaps by drawing grids on paper. He eventually upgraded to three-dimensional maps, and spends time every week assembling battlemaps from the hundreds of pieces he has collected over the years. He hand-crafted some of the map elements, and has painted some minis by hand.[2]

During the show, Matt is responsible for the music, and with the new Campaign 3 set, the ambiant lighting.

In an open letter published a few days before the Campaign 3 premiere, Matthew Mercer confirmed that he was working with cultural and sensitivity consultants "throughout the worldbuilding and presentation of Marquet" to ensure that aspects of the continent of Marquet, the main setting for the campaign, would be "lending a familiarity and celebrating aspects of those same languages and cultures without appropriating them".[3]

Player characters[edit | edit source]

See also: Player characters played by Matthew Mercer
Although Matt is the Dungeon Master for the main campaigns of Critical Role, he occasionally gets to be a player for one-shots and miniseries.

Games played as Game Master[edit | edit source]

Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master[art 9]

Other works[edit | edit source]

Custom D&D materials[edit | edit source]

Matt created several custom supplementals for Dungeons & Dragons, 5th edition, some of which are available on the Dungeon Masters Guild or have been included in official Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks:

D&D sourcebooks[edit | edit source]

Matt has worked as a writer and game designer on several sourcebooks for D&D 5e.

With Wizards of the Coast[edit | edit source]

Other sourcebooks[edit | edit source]

Other actual play series[edit | edit source]

In addition to Critical Role, Matt served as the dungeon master for Geek & Sundry's CelebriD&D miniseries in 2017. He appeared as a player on twice on CollegeHumor's show Dimension 20: the first time as Leiland in Escape from the Bloodkeep, and the second time as Jack in Pirates of Leviathan, alongside Marisha Ray. Brennan Lee Mulligan served as Dungeon Master for both games.

Matt also appeared as a DM or player on several other series, such as Force Grey, RealmSmith and The Adventure Zone.

Matt has played Paranoia and Rifts games,[22] also for two and a half years running a Ravenloft campaignon based on 3.5 edition of D&D and using an Expedition to Castle Ravenloft module.[23] He has once ran a D&D session for his parents and a brother. His father created a bard named Fender, after the guitar brand of the same name, and vigorously flirted with the elven wizard character played by Matt's mother.[24]

Matthew Mercer and Charlie Sanders were the creative consultants on Waterdeep: Dragon Heist aventure module (2018).[25] Matthew was featured on the art pieces "Key to the Yawning Portal".[26]

Acting and voice acting[edit | edit source]

Matthew Mercer began his voice acting career in the mid-2000s, mostly participating in video game projects. He worked on several anime dubbing projects, and has lended his voice to dozens of characters in western animation. Some of Matt's well-known roles are Jotaro Kujo from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan, and Cole Cassidy from Overwatch.

Matthew directed and performed in There Will Be Brawl webseries (2009-2010). He also edited the series' last episode.[27]

Matt did scratch for the young Captain Hook in Tinkerbell movie (2014). He was replaced by Tom Hiddleston. However, they couldn't tell the difference between their performances in one of the scenes, and ended up leaving one of Matthew's lines in the final version of the movie. They had to pay Matt the amount of money for a full performance in the trailer.[28]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Photograph of Matthew Mercer, by Heirlume Photography.[art 10]

At a young age, Matt suffered from a stutter. His father, who also stuttered, got him a speech therapist who reduced the effects to the point that only certain words trigger it.[29] He has revealed in multiple interviews that he suffers from body dysmorphic disorder and has always struggled with his physical appearance.[30][31]

As a freshman at high school, approximately 14 years old,[32] Matt joined popular arts club, where he started playing Dungeons & Dragons[33] Although he promptly fell in love with the game, most players at the table preferred mechanical aspects of DnD, which did not catch Matt's immediate interest. Seeing the potential and the instruments DnD provided for storytellers, he began DMing his own campaign with narrative incline.[34][35]

Before his aspiration for acting, middle school Matthew wanted to be a chemist, and during high school years, an illustrator.[36] When Matt began pursuing acting, he discovered that there were many Matt Millers in the industry. To make his name more memorable, he decided to change it from Miller to Mercer, a family name dated three generations back.[37]

Starting with "Strangers with Candy" era in the late 90s, Matthew Mercer is a long time fan of Stephen Colbert[38] and had him on his dream DnD guest star list since July 2015.[39]

On October 21, 2017,[40] in between campaigns One and Two, Matt married Marisha Ray. They live together with their dog Omar and previously had a bird Dagon. Matthew and Marisha met through their mutual friend Becky Young. Becky and Marisha attended improvisation classes together and grew to become close friends. Becky was also working with Matt as voice actors for a webseries called There Will Be Brawl. Subsequently, Becky started a sketch group, inviting her newfound friend Marisha Ray, as well as her voice actor colleagues Matthew Mercer and Matt Key. When Marisha and Matt met each other on their first writers meeting, they "crushed on each other" from the start, but both were already in other relationships. Continuing their meetings at social events for about a year, Matt, working on a mo-cap project, was asked by his employer, if he knew someone with dance and martial arts experience. Matt recommended Marisha and she passed the audition. Afterwards, they met for a dinner, immediately found common grounds, and "clicked".[41]

For their third anniversary, Matt shared video highlights from his engagement to Marisha. He created a fake escape, Call of Cthulhu-themed room with the help of friends, where she had to solve puzzles and fight a monster (played by Travis Willingham)[42] before he proposed to her.[43]

Matthew has a special regard for his bracelets. His first bracelet is a magnet-based bracelet that he got at his first Burning Man. It represents personal responsibility and is there to remind Matt of the struggles with drug and alcohol addiction his father went through. Fearing alcohol addiction may prevail in him too, Matt avoided all liquor until age 23. At his first Burning Man, "being surrounded by drug culture", he "faced those demons as well" and the bracelet symbolizes that Matt "was not bound by the addictions of his father, and his grandfather before him". The second bracelet Marisha made for him on their first anniversary. It has the engraved co-ordinates of the place where they had their first kiss. The third bracelet was given to him by Brittany Walloch-Key, who has known him for over 10 years. It represents hale and supportive friendship. The fourth bracelet was a gift from a Critter during one of the Critmases. It represents community.[44]

Matt has done cosplay as a hobby for years. He even cosplayed as Pumat Sol during a convention, and again for a Twitch ad that sometimes plays during episode breaks.

Since he was a child, Matthew has been a fan of The Legend of Zelda and Ganondorf has been one of his favorite antagonists, whom he portrayed in There Will Be Brawl (2009-2010). Matt was eventually cast to voice Ganondorf himself in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,[45] which he commemorated with a Triforce tattoo.[46]

Matt called himself a long fan of drag culture and drag race. At some point he had a Twitter exchange with with Michelle Visage whose daughter has been a Critter.[47]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Official Matt Mercer mini by WizKids
  • Matt's NPCs are sometimes borrowed from or inspired by his player characters from other games. Two of these characters are Grimthorne and Eskil Ryndarien.
    • It is possible that Trent Ikithon was also at least partially inspired by Matt's first D&D Character, a Militant Wizard called Emeritus Trent.[48]
  • He shares his middle name, Christopher, with Liam O'Brien.
  • When asked if he could be any player character in the game, Matt has repeatedly chosen Scanlan.[49]
  • In the Critical Role Major Arcana Tarot Card Set, he (as the Dungeon Master) represents XXI - The World.
  • A miniature figure of Matt was released by WizKids in 2021 as part of the Character of Exandria set.
  • Matt's chosen drink for his Between the Sheets interview was a dark & stormy.
  • On Talks Machina, the host Brian Wayne Foster liked to "#ThankMyGuests" with names that were either mispronounced or wordplay that sounded close to their names. Here are the names for Matthew Mercer:
  • Mike Mercer
  • Michael Mercy
  • Mike Murker
  • Mad He Cursed Her
  • Math Precursor
  • Path Traverser
  • Splat Nurser
  • Bathroom Nurser
  • Make You Cry Mercy
  • Merciless Murder
  • Back Few Nerves Hurt
  • Cast and Crew Hurt-er
  • Thank You Turnt Sir
  • Blast You Zauber
  • Ogres Smell the Worst Sir
  • Stabby Crow Voicer

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • I am who I am today because I played role-playing games growing up. Every character I played, I learned something about myself, whether it be something I wanted to change or something that I wanted to aspire to be.[50]
  • (on not getting distracted while the players RP) I'm sure I would if I also wasn't aware of the cameras, and then the awkward hanging on me as everyone turns to my head and I go (weird face) "Wait, what?" and then that gets freeze-framed and GIF-ed on Tumblr for the next four weeks and [Sam] gets a t-shirt with my face on it. It doesn't escape me for the rest of my life.[51]
  • The good stories come from people that are frustrated with the world and want to make a difference and the only way they can is with a pen and pencil.[52]
  • That is exactly the Critical Role experience that we provide as cast members. We are just the most awkward fucking people in the world.[53]

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Between the Sheets: Matthew Mercer
  2. The challenge of Critical Role is staying on top of the fantastical details; Polygon, Nov 18, 2020.
  3. See A Warm Welcome to Marquet and Campaign 3! on critrole.com
  4. See "Blood Hunter Class" (source).
  5. See "Blood Hunter Class Details" on D&D Beyond
  6. See "Lingering Soul Class" (source).
  7. See "College of the Maestro - Bard College Option" (source).
  8. See "Gunslinger Martial Archetype for Fighters" (source).
  9. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 101.
  10. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 4: "Character Options", p. 168.
  11. "Critical Role's Sam Riegel Spills on New Campaign, Reveals Inspiration and Subclass for New Character" (November 4, 2021) by Christian Hoffer at ComicBook.com.
  12. "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:00:34.
  13. CritRoleStats stated that Matt was referring to the name of Ashton's subclass in "Quick Answers 88".
  14. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 102.
  15. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 4: "Character Options", p. 165.
  16. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 103.
  17. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 4: "Character Options", p. 176.
  18. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 104.
  19. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 4: "Character Options", p. 173.
  20. Paladin Oath of the Open Sea on D&D Beyond
  21. See "Corruption rules" (source).
  22. Ayacon 2013 - Geek Pride: The Return of Mercer at 31:05.
  23. Ayacon 2013 - Geek Pride: The Return of Mercer at 1:08:10.
  24. Ayacon 2013 - Geek Pride: The Return of Mercer at 1:17:10.
  25. Matt Mercer and Charlie Sanders Consulted on 'Waterdeep: Dragon Heist'.
  26. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, p. 225.
  27. Dragon Talk: Matthew Mercer, 7/31/17 at 13:20.
  28. The Legend of Vox Machina Episodes 10-12 Q&A at 31:52.
  29. Between the Sheets: Matthew Mercer.
  30. Conversation with Matt Mercer at 1:11:52.
  31. Between the Sheets: Matthew Mercer at 19:22.
  32. "Stephen Colbert's D&D Adventure with Matthew Mercer" (OSx29) at 3:50.
  33. Conversation with Matt Mercer at 40:38.
  34. Conversation with Matt Mercer at 42:02.
  35. Building Your Own Campaign Setting (with Matthew Mercer) │ Adventuring Academy.
  36. Conversation with Matt Mercer at 30:38.
  37. More on: Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "Mercer is my stage name that has pretty much become my name period. :)" (February 28, 2016) — in reply to @Acheria: "@matthewmercer out of curiousity, it's says name: "matt miller". Is "mercer" a stage name? Maybe I'm just reading into it too much lol" (backup link) and Conversation with Matt Mercer
  38. Conversation with Matt Mercer at 53:35.
  39. "Attack on the Duergar Warcamp" (1x04) at 3:47:24.
  40. Marisha Ray (@Marisha_Ray) on Twitter: "It is done!" (October 22, 2017). (backup link)
  41. "Fireside Q&A with Matthew Mercer" (Mx05) at 1:07:45.
  42. 'Critical Role' Cast Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions on Wired at 5:25.
  43. Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "As I celebrate my 3 years married to the perpetually inspiring @Marisha_Ray, I remember the cosmic-horror-themed fake-escape room proposal my friends helped me build so we could engineer her chance to solve puzzles, stop a cult, and murder a monstrosity.https://t.co/fzknZWjAQE" (October 22, 2020). (backup link)
  44. "Fireside Q&A with Matthew Mercer" (Mx05) at 1:03:27.
  45. Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "I have been an immense Legend of Zelda fan since I was a child, and Ganondorf has been one of my favorite antagonists… to the point where I portrayed this green-skinned menace for my webseries over a decade ago!" (April 14, 2023). (backup link)
  46. Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "Commemoration." (May 14, 2023). (backup link)
  47. Three Black Halflings (A Dungeons & Dragons Podcast) - "Mid-90's RPG Bullsh*t" with Matthew Mercer.
  48. Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "Followed by where it all started...my very first TTRPG character. Say hello to Emeritus Trent, the Militant Wizard. https://t.co/OTROvPttWq" (February 27, 2016).
  49. "K'Varn Revealed" (1x10).[citation needed]
  50. "Talks Machina #4: Clash at Daxio" (TM1x77) at 1:16:47.
  51. "Talks Machina #13: A Bard's Lament & Daring Days" (TM1x86) at 52:30.
  52. "Talks Machina Special #5: Fireside Chat Q&A" (TMSx05) at 1:56:27.
  53. "Talks Machina #53: The Open Road" (TM2x05) at 1:14:50.

Art:

  1. Photograph of Matthew Mercer for Variety, by Robyn Von Swank (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Official portrait by Kendra Wells
  3. Official portrait by Kendra Wells
  4. Official portrait by Joana Carvalho
  5. Official portrait by Hugo Cardenas
  6. Official portrait by Hugo Cardenas
  7. Official portrait by Kent Davis
  8. Official portrait by Minttu Hynninen
  9. From Hype: Fall Programming Schedule on CritRole.com
  10. Photograph of Matthew Mercer, by Heirlume Photography (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.