Welcome to Tavern Talk Thursday! This is a weekly column where we chat with a member of the TTRPG (tabletop role-playing game) community to learn more about how they found themselves at the table, what they love about tabletop gaming and other fun things. Think of it as a little sneak peeks into the minds of our fellow players and DMs.

Are you ready for your next adventure into the dark and twisting dungeons? Before heading out, take a rest and check out our latest chat. This week we sat down with the master of voices, Mark Meer. Chances are, if you have ever played a video game, you have heard his voice. He’s worked on projects like Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Meer has also spent years within the TTRPG community, enjoying games at home with friends and appearing in live plays like with The Black Dice Society. Keep reading to check out everything Meer loves about the community and what exciting things he has been up to.

Keep up with Mark Meer on his social media! (Twitter/Instagram)

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Mark Meer

Mark Meer D&D In A Castle

Julia Roth: Let’s chat your TTRPG backstory! How did you find yourself at the table?

Mark Meer: I started playing Dungeons & Dragons back in the 80s, Satanic Panic and all. My first table was a group of older kids who brought me in to play the team cleric. I was instantly hooked, and in a few years, when they all moved on to other interests, I had to learn how to DM and teach other people how to play just to get my RPG fix.

JR: Favorite world to adventure in?

MM: I started in Greyhawk, so there’s nostalgia there… I’ll always have a place in my heart for the Forgotten Realms, so getting to meet and play with the Realms’ creator Ed Greenwood in recent years has been a real treat… but my absolute favorite D&D setting has always been Ravenloft. The Domains of Dread are my wheelhouse. I’m a fan of horror in general, so period Call of Cthulhu universes are also a top pick – 1930s and 1940s campaigns, particularly.

JR: How has your extensive work in the voice acting industry changed your playstyle?

MM: I think it might be the other way around since I always credit D&D with being my first improv, acting, and voice acting experience. And my very first voice-acting gig was on Baldur’s Gate II with Bioware! In fact, for the first few years, almost all of my video game voice work was on licensed D&D games… I’d say it’s actually my improvisational theatre training that’s benefited my playstyle the most – I had already been doing voices in my games for years. Still, improv teaches you great lessons about accepting offers from your players, narrative structure, and more.

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JR: Backstory or class first?

MM: I usually pick class first, then figure out backstory.

JR: Favorite spell and why?

MM: Major Image has soooo many possibilities… Failing that, Disintegrate!

JR: Who has been your favorite character to play?

MM: Why must you make me choose? Up until a couple of years ago, I would definitely have said Baeloth Barrityl, aka Baeloth the Entertainer. He’s a Drow Sorcerer I first voiced in Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition by Beamdog and subsequently played in tabletop games at events like D&D Live and on streams like Idle Champions Presents. I’ve also used him as an antagonist many times in home games and my D&D in a Castle campaigns. He’s very fun to play!

Headshot of Mark Meer

However, I really grew to love my Grave Cleric, Brother Uriah Macawber from The Black Dice Society. He was a timid Ichabod Crane type in a dhampir/lycanthrope/undead-filled party, so he started out utterly terrified of everything, including his traveling companions. Didn’t realize how much fun I’d have playing the group scaredy-cat. I’d have to say Uriah is my current pick.

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JR: Do you have a particular race/class you enjoy?

MM: I always tend to favor spellcasters, whether wizard, warlock, sorcerer, cleric, druid, or bard.

JR: You have done quite a bit of work within Baldur’s Gate. What has been your favorite?

MM: As mentioned, Baeloth the Entertainer tops the list, but I also enjoyed Rasaad yn Bashir and Voghiln the Skald. Among the many and various monsters, Elan Garaq the Rakshasaand Ghourahlk the Beholder were both fun. Playing an Ettin that argues with itself also stands out in my memory…

JR: What is your favorite system to play within?

MM: Given my many years with it, I’ve probably played various editions of D&D the most, but I also very much enjoy Call of Cthulhu. Only played them a few times, but Alice Is Missing and Ten Candles have both floored me every single game.

JR: Tell us about the wildest adventure you have been on?

MM: The wildest is probably the Call of Cthulhu LARP I did in the UK with some friends of mine that ended with a real-life, 15-foot-tall Wicker Man actually being set ablaze in a field in Wales. (One of the game runners had extensive experience with pyrotechnics – don’t try this at home.)

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JR: What has been your most impactful moment at a table?

MM: There were some absolutely amazing, emotional scenes in Bookshops of Arkham, the Call of Cthulhu mini-series I recently did for Chaosium’s YouTube channel. Hats off to my players!

Headshot of Mark Meer reading a book and holding a D20.

JR: Favorite dice to use?

MM: The set I got at D&D Live in 2019 and the customized set that Die Hard Dice made for the cast of The Black Dice Society have both been very, very good to me.

JR: Would you rather face off against an entire dungeon of undead or charm your way through a royal court?

MM: How about a Necromancer/Bard that charms his way through a dungeon of undead?

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JR: How has it been taking part in so many different live-play TTRPG shows over the last few years?

MM: Loads of fun! I’ve had a great time on The Black Dice Society, Idle Champions Presents, D4, Stitch of Fate, L.A. by Night, The Claw Firm over at Demiplane… plus all the charity one-shots. Always great to roll dice with friends.

JR: Favorite TTRPG Monster?

MM: I do like a lich. 

JR: Good luck charms or rituals before a game?

MM: If I’m the GM, my standard ritual is frantic last-minute prep. If I’m playing, probably a smoke.

JR: Who is sitting at your dream table?

MM: Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Orcus, Demogorgon, Vecna, Tiamat, and Doctor Doom… and they’re all playing 1st level Neutral Good halflings. It’s a very strange dream.

JR: What are you most looking forward to within the TTRPG world?

MM: Chaosium’s got a bunch of stuff in the pipeline that I’m eagerly anticipating… Can’t wait to get my hands on the new Cults of Cthulhu book! Also interested in the “Time to Harvest” campaign.

Tavern Talk Thursday: JOSH DEAN

Julia Roth
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