Okay, so at the cost of revealing my power level, I am a former actor IRL. Not AmDram bollocks either. Classically trained with a specialisation in Shakespeare and other contemporary theatre. With a little improv and musical theatre thrown in. I know drama kids. Part of the reason I left acting was despite the fact I love acting, I love entertaining on stage and having an audience's attention, I could not fucking stand drama kids. They are insufferable. They go on about their favourite musical. Which always happens to be the popular box office hit for the season. But also Rent. They must emulate the characters from Rent. Hence why many actors you will find are despicable degenerates. They're emulating Rent. I wanted to act, to immerse myself in a character and entertain people. Be true to the role and do as good a job as my talent allows. Drama kids want everything to revolve around them. Shakespeare is boring and not to be taken seriously, they want to imitate that one scene from that mainstream slop they like. They want to go straight to TV and ignore theatre completely unless they get that role they like in that musical they like this season. And above all, never tell them to improvise from scratch. They can't do it. They all freeze up. They cannot do anything creative. Everything is derivative of something else. And improv is "not what I signed up for". This isn't from Secondary school drama class by the way. This is the mentality of students from top professional drama schools and actors in the industry right now.
What's the relevance here? A lot of the Critical Role zoomers are drama kids. In fact I'd say all of them are. Even if they only do it as a hobby. They saw Critical Role and thought it was a great stage for their self indulgent bullshit. They don't understand that it's a game. Because it is presented to them as theatre. And they are surprised when autists like me expect them to play a game. Because everyone else runs it like dumb community theatre because there are no neck-beards left in the hobby. I am the anomaly to them. Because I expect them to respect the rules. I expect them to improvise a new character from scratch and not a clone of someone from Critical Role. I have expectations and that is all wrong in their eyes. Because I get in the way of their community theatre bullshit. I want to be a nice GM. I don't want to rail road. I mostly run sandbox style games with a narrative and I improv from there. At first, I found if I sort of laid out my map like an MMO. With quests revealed and marked on the map as the PCs became aware of them, I could entice the gamers who played 4th ed. Even though I mostly played 3.5 at the time. Or Traveller, Or VtM, or something that wasn't just DnD. It worked until the Critical Role kiddies came in. They just want to derail everything so they can force through Gay Marriage and Cutting Off Dick rights. And me trying to get them to do anything at all including actually play the game is "railroading" and "gatekeeping". Hell, just putting down a book that isn't DnD in my LGS like Traveller or Dark Heresy is "gatekeeping." My role as GM is essentially irrelevant.
This could have been fixed if Matt Mercer was just honest about his livestream being a reality television show. It's not DnD. That's all he has to say. But he won't because he knows he'll lose money. So he has to say cop out statements like "Play DnD how you like."
No fuck off, you don't play it how you like. You play DnD with it's rules. Maybe you house rule one or two things here and there. But if you don't like DnD rules you play something else with rules you do like. Which people used to do. Games in general from ancient times to now, had rules. Those rules dictated how you played the game. And differentiated one game from another.
Imagine you're playing a game of Football. But all the players insist on playing with Hockey Sticks. And then they don't even push the ball around. They just mill about. Wack each other with sticks, do funny dances and quote livestreamers. If you point out that maybe it's time to play the game, you get called a gatekeeper.
"Matt Mercer said we could play Football however we liked. Everyone plays Football differently. Stop being so restrictive. Lots of people play football with hockey sticks. We just do whatever. That's the point of games. "
And because you're now in the minority, you can't play Football the proper way at all. You can't even play different games like Cricket, Rounders, or Rugby. Because those games "look too hard" and people have a fit if you even mention something other than their version of Football. So you just leave. That hobby you really like just can't be played at all. And it's filled with arseholes anyway. It's not the worst thing in the world. There's an increasingly shrinking list of other hobbies you like. But it still hurts that something you spent a lot of time on and made friends with has been so thoroughly perverted and destroyed.
No seriously, fuck Matt Mercer. People who constantly tell people how "nice" they are and constantly talk about the "nice" things they do for people are not nice. This should be obvious for the people on this board.
Fuck, I wrote a lot of shit. I'll stop now.
At risk of this becoming Grognard shop talk - but Wee Willy Wheaton isn'tdoing shit, and Fellatio Day is blame to Critical Role
I haven't really had your issues. For online, I prescreen anyone with delicate sensibilities so I generally have the exact opposite where the bigger problem is screening out edgelords. But for in-person, I also don't recruit around the LGS, I recruit my nerd friends and coworkers, which seems to reign in a lot of the shit.
Friends who have recruited around the LGS said the way to do it basically run a bunch of one shots/single dungeon campaigns as solid waste filters to see who's worth inviting over for
There's also a fair bit of not rising to their bait (and again, the short-run dungeons will probably help with that). They want to be a gay married trans gender orc? Awesome, it's never going to matter. You try to make it matter? Turns out not one NPC gives a solitary fuck, play the game and kill some goblins.
Other piece of advice is I explain to my party that actions have consequences, Play Chaotic-Neutral games, win Chaotic Neutral prizes. If you are an annoying prat, everyone will treat you like an annoying prat. Try to murder everyone in town because they hate you? Get murked by the town guard who are no strangers to adventurers going rogue, roll a new character or get the fuck out.
Granted all that is easier if you have a "example player" who isn't a complete fuckstick for the other players to see "Oh that's how I do it withouth being a complete emoqueen" and emulate, but sounds like you lack that, and I honestly don't know what to tell you to do there.
I will also go ahead and out my heresy: I like 4th Ed. Or at least I like what they tried to do to limit rules lawyering and stream lining everything. But fucking WotC had to go and kill any possibility of a 4e SRD by burying it behind copyright so you can't just give people a web site and have them roll up a character.