The upcoming D&D Beyond Gen Con party isn’t the only party on the minds of Critical Role fans today. Nay! In the words of presidential candidate Liam O’Brien, “Thank f*** for a two-party system.” Indeed: both Sam Riegel and Liam O’Brien are vying for a presidential position here at D&D Beyond, and it falls to you—the humble voter—to determine who shall win.
Voting is now open! Before you fill out your ballot and cast your vote, however, make sure you know what these two men stand for. We turn to our Exandrian political correspondent, Larkin, to identify the facts. Who will make for a better leader? Who will help lead D&D Beyond into a golden age of prosperity? Choose wisely; the future is in your hands.
The Case for Liam O’Brien
Liam O’Brien may be an accomplished voice actor, voice director, and a cast member of Critical Role, but don’t let his hot university English professor aesthetic fool you. Mr. O’Brien is a tactical mastermind—as evidenced by his wizardly inclinations on this season of Critical Role—and he is willing to do anything to get what he wants.
O’Brien’s platform is describable in a single quote: “For too long has our great game been sliding into a lugubrious den of inequity, malfeasance, and ineptitude. We live in a world where any Tom, Dick, and Harry can come waltzing into the hallowed halls of both dungeons and dragons, […] and run roughshod over the time-honored traditions of fantasy make-believe.” To candidate O’Brien, D&D is an institution that must be preserved, as if in amber, to prevent any of its traditions from being affected by new players and the winds of change.
“The Rule of Law and the Law of the Rules!” declared O’Brien in his campaign announcement. Though his campaign has been plagued by scandals, including accusations of elitism, authoritarianism, and even collusion with a foreign government, candidate O’Brien has stayed strong and as aloof as ever. While candidate Riegel courts the crowds and seems to wilt and moan when the public eye drifts away from him, O’Brien remains consistently uncaring of what anyone seems to think of him or his policies.
A vote for O’Brien may well be a vote for gatekeeping, elitism, and authoritarianism, but it will also surely be a vote for strict adherence to the rules, a slick disdain for joy and personal expression, and for ruthless efficiency, all while sporting a dapper sweater vest.
The Case for Sam Riegel
Like his opponent, Sam Riegel is a beloved voice actor, voice director, and a cast member of Critical Role, and a close friend (and nemesis) of D&D Beyond. His relationship with the people behind D&D Beyond is stellar, but an anonymous source close to the project has said, “Why don’t his ads ever make sense? Would it kill him to actually talk about D&D Beyond for once instead of master debating with Liam for 15 minutes instead?” The D&D Beyond staffer in question refused to comment further, citing fear of “professional retaliation.”
Riegel’s campaign has long been based on his own charm and charisma, leading some to question if Riegel’s candidacy was not just an attempt to build a cult of personality and a monument to his own egotism, rather than an actual bid to improve D&D Beyond and its services for D&D players around the world. Despite these concerns, however, it’s clear that candidate Riegel is a proponent of many of the principles that Critical Role, D&D, and even D&D Beyond, hold dear. In what can only be described as a misguided attempt at an attack, candidate O’Brien described Riegel’s platform as “[reliant upon] charm, quick thinking, creative character choices […], a steady stream of things like heart, humor, complex exploration of the human condition, and the ‘playing of roles’ in this roleplaying game.”
However, in the recent D&D Beyond Master Debate 2019, Riegel displayed a shocking level of immaturity, one that may tank his candidacy. In his first response to O’Brien, Riegel made a series of nonsensical and buzzword-laden statements, seemingly in an attempt to court the youth vote. Despite this surprisingly lack of confidence in his own core message, Riegel may be the lesser of two evils, if you think that D&D is really about positivity, creativity, and charm—rather than bookkeeping, meticulousness, and exclusivity.
Before you vote, watch the D&D Beyond Master Debate 2019
This presidential campaign is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental. That said, vote for the REAL presidential election in 2020, for goodness' sake!
Larkin is an enigmatic entity who has only revealed his identity to us under threat of death, maiming, and conspicuous use of the Multiattack action. An Exandrian native, Larkin is an expert on all things political in the realm of Critical Role, and has graciously offered his assistance in clarifying some of the finer points of the O'Brien versus Riegel presidential campaign. Larkin has no social media presence, and does his best to remain secretive. Maybe we shouldn't have trusted this guy...