Critical Role: Through the Trees
October 1, 2019 1:31 PM - Season 2, Episode 79 - Subscribe

The Mighty Nein follow the trail of the Cult of the Angel of Irons in hope of beating them to their prize in the Lotusden...
posted by booksherpa (7 comments total)
Ugh! I felt so BAD for them at the end. It was very anticlimactic. They made some clever choices, did well despite being down on spells, and got lucky with Fjord charming the Laughing Hand, but the fact that Obahn was able to get the heart so easily and bamf out with Yasha meant it was all for nothing. It was still fun to watch, but I felt bad for the players because it seemed like there was no choice they could have made that would have led to a positive outcome.
posted by booksherpa at 1:35 PM on October 1, 2019

Yeah, I felt like they were average level lucky on the dice rolls (succeeded in charming the Hand, failed at mage handing the heart) and basically got the same result as if they hadn’t shown up at all. I assume it’ll be more satisfying when they finally do succeed at something with Yasha’s help (presuming Ashley will be back soonish) but I hope they do some favors for the Shadowhand in the meantime.
posted by tautological at 5:19 PM on October 6, 2019

Sometimes the dice don't tell the story we hope for - Oban got lucky, Nott didn't, and the party was so tapped for resources at that point that they would've been in real trouble trying to press the issue.

Found some of Matt's rulings this episode a little weird - he got very caught up in the humanoid blood being a material component in Summon Greater Demon, when in fact it is optional; it goes for creating a circle of protection for the caster if they want one. Then he was incredibly flexible on Marisha's held action for "shit goes down", and he was kind in how he flexible he is with teleportation circle. Not a criticism, just interesting to note for myself how hard consistency is.

Anyways, finally caught up, just in time for episode 80 to hit YT.
posted by nubs at 11:17 AM on October 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Watching this now.. I've been thinking for awhile about how crunchy the game they play is. As I understand it, before they had the show they were playing Pathfinder, and I think before that, 4E. These are like the crunchiest, fiddliest-ass D&D versions ever.

And they -- bless them -- just aren't very crunch proficient. Liam and Sam are, but the rest of them get lost in their turns and capabilities *quite a bit*, even after years and years of fairly intense play. Like, by now they should kinda know if they have a bonus action left. And like, here they are at level 10 or so, and just now Travis is finding out he has spell components.

Some part of me thinks maybe they would be better off playing a less crunchy game? This has been on my mind.

However, it's not like they're unengaged. In fact they are pretty pushy. And so I think in this episode I realized that what makes it work for them is that the complicated rules allow them to push. "I attack... I miss!! Shit!! Wait... can I move? Oh wait!! I have a bonus action!!" It's like they see it like something that can be hacked out every turn, and they can in the moment fight to do extra stuff if they push for it without needing to memorize rules. So I think maybe a simpler system wouldn't satisfy them, because even though they'd grok it fully, it would be less pushable/hackable.

(And I would bet Taliesin has left a lot of stuff on the table just because he is less pushy. Sam and Liam are still pushy, but the action system is EZ for them, so they seek other areas to get away with their scams lol.)

Side note:

FWIW I've played a lot of D&D in various versions, but I really cut my teeth on WHFRP (1st ed). It's action system was move **OR** attack. You got to do one fucking thing on your turn, but as a result action came back around to you pretty fast. I kinda always want to go back to that. In recent years I've played a lot of B/X D&D, and a couple other systems that have side initiative or phased initiative. What's interesting about those games is that it's never "your turn"! Yet I think a lot of people think it's pretty fundamental to go around the table
posted by fleacircus at 8:56 AM on May 29, 2021

Also I think if I had the chance to fix minor-ish things about 5E, the first thing I'd do is redo saving throws because right now they are confusingly similar to ability checks. Also the interactions like "I use my power on the monster. / Does it get a save? / Uhh.. Wisdom.. no.. Con.. no... uh.. / Okay I looked it up, it's Charisma. What's the DC? / Uhhhhhhh..." are just brutal.
posted by fleacircus at 9:44 AM on May 29, 2021

Aw fuck I'm not going to catch up.
posted by fleacircus at 11:12 AM on June 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Considering the length of the final episode, it might take people who are up to date some time to finish it. Plus, this just means you have a whole hiatus in front of you!
posted by dinty_moore at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

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