MCDM RPG takes off

Image by MCDM Productions

MCDM RPG is a Dungeons & Dragons-inspired heroic role-playing game initiated by the team of the well-known and popular talking head Matt Colville.

MCDM RPG’s crowdfunding campaign on Backerkit has already reached a total of 2 million (!) and 750000 US dollars. That’s amazing! But as Matt Colville, the mastermind behind MCDM RPG, says in the crowdfunding video with watery eyes: “Everything I’ve done since I was sixteen has led up to this one moment.

MC the DM

Matt Colville is a household name to many role-playing game fans. The man who can speak staccato like no other, with his gestures and facial expressions often looking like they’ve been devised by an AI and rendered at one and a half times the speed. Not a diss, just an observation.

Because I like Matt Colville. I’ve probably listened to his monotone but very thoughtful monologues for hours. Long story short: this Matt Colville (MC) is a Dungeon Master (DM), hence MCDM, makes his own Roleplaying Game (RPG) with his team. Complete derivation: MCDM RPG.

Why another heroic fantasy TTRPG?

On the one hand, probably because D&D has gambled it away with the loyal following that created content for D&D themselves. See the OGL debacle! And secondly, because it’s the right time for all role-playing game creators with millions of followers to get something of their own off the ground.

The MCDM RPG system is based on 2W6 plus modifiers. It is supposed to be very heroic (every attack hits) and it is supposed to be cinematic and tactical. So D&D, but even simpler and more direct. If you listen to Matt Colville, the goal is to do exactly what Wizards of the Coast (D&D publisher) failed to do. Namely, to develop the new thing together with its own community. “Would you like to have this? No? Then we’ll do it differently!”

How much this is the case and how well it works remains to be seen. But what we can agree on, while leaving questions of taste aside, is that the thing looks fantastic, combines a lot of experience and is as lean and simple as possible at first glance.

What I like about it

What I like about what I’ve heard about it is the simplicity. It tries to do everything very stripped down and streamlined. It has great illustrations and a really heroic design. It also brings together many, many years of first-hand experience from game masters and players. And certainly less influence from accountants, key account managers, marketing specialists and sales reps than in other large role-playing games.

What I’m not so keen on, and I’m probably in the minority, is the heroic approach. The fact that I belong to the fringe group means that Matt Colvile and his team at MCDM Productions are doing everything right here too. As you know, I personally like the approach of: I’m standing here in this medieval town and I have a sword. Now there’s something going on here that can’t be explained by worldly knowledge, oh dear!

Many renamed acquaintances

It would make little sense to completely reinvent popular and well-known classes and just as little sense to take names from DnD for which you will later be sued. For example, Pathfinder 2 now does without the Owlbear and Tieflings are now called Nephilim.

The Rogue is called “The Shadow” in the MCDM RPG and the Warrior is “The Tactician”. So far there are three fighting classes and three spellcasting classes. More are sure to come.

There will be two books, not three as in D&D. But the concept remains the same. There will be a book called “Heroes”, which corresponds to the Players Handbook, and one called “Monsters”, which corresponds to the Monster Manual. There won’t be a Dungeon Master’s Guide, but Matt Colville has recorded hundreds of videos over the years that are actually system-agnostic and therefore also work for MCDM RPG.

What is still to come

Much is still to be developed, even the name of the role-playing game is possibly just a working title. I’m curious to see how lean it will remain in the end, because every game is lean at the beginning of the development phase. In the end, it could get out of hand again because there are so many good ideas and lucrative additional books waiting in the heads of the creators that it would be a shame not to send them to crowdfunding.

For me, this isn’t the least attractive alternative to D&D I’ve read about so far, and it will certainly be exciting to compare the game to other new fantasy role-playing games such as Daggerheart by Critical Role. Anyway, it’s nice to see a large roleplaying community willing to fund new books. May it stay that way.

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