Nintendo Made a Custom Zelda TTRPG for Critical Role

An official Legend of Zelda tabletop RPG exists and it debuted last night during a special Critical Role one-shot. On Tuesday night, Critical Role aired a special one-shot Actual Play episode set in the world of Hyrule during The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom timeline. The episode was sponsored by Nintendo of America and featured the voice of Ganondorf himself, Matthew Mercer, leading a group of players through an adventure. The surprising part of Critical Role's Legend of Zelda one-shot wasn't that Critical Role had a video game tie-in – the company has had other sponsored one-shots before – but rather that the game used a custom-made tabletop RPG co-designed by Critical Role and Nintendo of America. 

The Legend of Zelda game itself was an unusual one – it uses the Powered by the Apocalypse as the base game engine, with the players having three core stats (each based on a different Triforce virtue) but with several additions such as initiative rolls. More importantly, Mercer noted that the game was a collaboration between Nintendo of America and Critical Role, meaning that at the very least someone at Nintendo approved the system and more likely actively helped to develop the game rules to make it feel like a Legend of Zelda game. 

Of course, the big question is whether either Nintendo or Critical Role will release the ruleset for public use. The livestream was a massive success for Critical Role - it was holding at about 20,000 concurrent viewers well into the session, far more than the average episode of Critical Role on Twitch – and there was a lot of chatter about whether fans would have the opportunity to play the game themselves. And since the game is a Powered by the Apocalypse system, it doesn't need a formal license to be published (the creators of the system have an open game policy that requires only the mention of Apocalypse World in the credits). So, the main hold-up is solely on Nintendo's end and whether they want to put out an "official" Zelda TTRPG for fans or keep it locked away in their vault. If they do the latter, than expect a fan-made recreation of the system in the not so distant future. 

In the meantime, the VOD of Critical Role's Legend of Zelda one-shot should go up next week on YouTube.