To answer Jesse’s question in the 01/14/2020 Q&A.
Since I did not include my own answer in the original post, here it is. I mostly start a show if I know of someone who is in it, and will keep watching as long as it updates regularly and my schedule allows for it. If there are lots of breaks/delays then I may stop watching for a period of time, and there is inertia that makes it harder to start again. As JP once said, audio quality is tremendously important. There have been shows I have wanted to watch but gave up on because the audio was too difficult to listen to.
Personalities, setting, and story can help keep me hooked into a show. The CoS cosmology and how it changes morality were a big hook for me. Before CoS, my favorite Rollplay show by far was Swan Song. Obviously Rollplay casts tend to have strong personalities, but I really like it when the group can turn from lighthearted to serious within the same episode.
While I should get around to watching the other Rollplay shows that are currently airing, my current RPG content is (somehow, this is usually not the case) three very different D&D 5e shows: Court of Swords, Acquisitions Incorporated- The C Team, and The Sunfall Cycle. Usually I will watch all sorts of systems and settings, but these are the three I am currently (close to) up-to-date on.
A big part is tone.
But what is tone? Or perhaps, what do I mean by “tone?”
Reinforcement: Players serve the narrative
Relief: Narrative serves the players
Juxtaposition: characters serve the narrative (or vice versa), players do not (meta-narrative independence) “I’m about to make a really stupid decision” “I decapitate him with my rapier”
The last is the one is what you can’t get anywhere else.
Too serious, or too light-hearted can make a game boring. What makes TTRPG shows interesting as a genre is… Well, it reminds me of elementary school. Everyone butts in seats, eyes forward, making a show of taking things seriously, but passing notes and playing jokes and trying to make each other laugh as much as possible without getting in trouble with the teacher. And even if you get in trouble, maybe try to get away with another joke while you’re standing in the corner.
How strict and attentive the teacher is sets the tone (stakes) of the show, while both how engaged and how successful - or even persistent, despite failure - the students are is what often makes it compelling.
I personally like shows that optimize for engagement, stakes, and humor, in that order. It’s why I prefer CoS to CR, for example, as the latter reverses the last two of these.
Some characters are extremely good at simultaneously subverting and respecting stakes, which is what makes them so memorable: Higgins, Scanlan, Ramus Krill, and Dr. Grigori, for example. Where that balance lies is different for each show, and helps define it.
I hope that is intelligible; sometimes things that make sense to me end up being aimless rambling. Just my two cents. Cheers!
The cast and system are big things for me. The first RPG I ever watched was Dark Heresy, largely due to TB and Geoff. After that, I got into COS due to Day9. Then I was sold on JP, Adam, and since I’d already seen Wheat in Dark Heresy, I watched all of Swansong. From there, I started playing D&D IRL, though I quickly found that I preferred other systems. I watched the Dogs one-shot from Rollplay, which was great, then started watching Burning Wheel content that Adam made with Roll20.
Essentially, there should be a good chemistry between the players with a minimum of ego. If everyone is leaving room for other players to shine, I’m enjoying it a lot. I don’t browse for new content a lot, as there’s plenty that RollPlay produces - more than I have extra time. Occasionally, though, if someone I’ve seen in an RPG before is part of a one-shot or other series, I’ll check that out. If there’s nothing compelling about the set and the cast isn’t clicking, I’ll move on. I have some tolerance for things taking a bit to get going, though, because I know chemistry isn’t an instantaneous thing.
I’ve only recently been able to start watching live, so I haven’t done much chat interaction - thus, what has value to me is the recorded content. COS is the show that I follow most regularly, so I’m always current with it. Far Verona is next, but my schedule is fairly busy so I occasionally go a few weeks without being current on that. I’ll probably wait until 10 or so episodes of the Star Wars show are out - I enjoyed the first episode until the stream crashed, but my time’s at a premium, so I’ll queue that up when I have a few long drives or plane rides upcoming. Spring is a good time, too, as I can listen when I’m cycling around for exercise.
The cast, the chemistry, the laughs. Basically it’s a podcast to me. The game they’re playing is an afterthought to me mechanics wise as a viewer, I’m there for the stories and the people coming up with them. The game is just a platform that allows different players/ cast members to shine in different ways.
10/10 production quality like Rollplay has can’t be stressed too much though. It’s incredible how polished and pleasing the show(s) are to look at.
I tune in for entertainment and to have some fun watching the show, but what keeps me around is good roll play with people who know how to have fun and play together with each other. i use these rpg streams and videos most times and a background video as i play games, and if the show can get me to stop playing the game and make me focus on it instead, then i know that i got a good one on my hands and will see it keep on watching.
For Me, Living in australia. It starts with is it live when I can watch. If not am I invested enough to spend the time to go out of my way to watch?
I would like to watch Jesse’s shows but timing is my biggest problem.
the next piece is game or theme. Scifi usually gets me straight away.
The next piece is who is on the show, do I know them from other hobbies/likes?