Critical Role: Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up
June 22, 2021 12:37 PM - Season 2 (Specials) - Subscribe

nubs, I hope I did ok. I didn't see you post this one, but I wanted to be able to comment on it.
posted by bleary at 12:37 PM on June 22, 2021

No worries bleary! Anyone can post, and my home computer went down for the count last night, so my evening was spent trying to figure out a replacement.
posted by nubs at 2:19 PM on June 22, 2021

Hope your computer situation gets sorted out soon, Nubs!

I don't know how popular this format was, but the relaxed atmosphere was kind of fun to watch. It was a unfocused at times - they mentioned Jumanji Cosco, decided it was too early, but never circled back to answer that question at the appropriate time, but I also felt like a good amount of questions were answered, and it was interesting to see what the other players were wondering about.

For the Leaky Tap and the skeleton, I thought the owner might have been a drow, but I thought she might be a secret agent, not a refugee. Maybe she and Essek can swap tips.

(I'm kind of glad we didnt get the world where Matt Colville was an NPC, I'll listen to him for tips sometimes and I really enjoy hearing his explanations of monsters and battle management, but his vibe is so different than Critical Role's, especially the M9 campaign we did get, that I could see it as something more grating than fun)
posted by dinty_moore at 7:32 PM on June 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed this very much. The meta discussion is always really interesting to me because they are all such thoughtful and considerate actors/roleplayers.

I loved Liam recounting how he was losing his mind when Sam used "Bren" as a fake name which then turned out to just Sam being cute by using "Veth", "Bren" & "Otto" as "fake" names in sequence. The synchronicity is incredible at times.

The other thing that struck me was the faith put in Matt as a DM when it comes to major parts of the character back stories. Molly being a literal blank slate and trusting Matt to come up with something interesting for the "time before" is a good demonstration of that.

And finally it's great to have it reaffirmed how organic the story and characters really are; from the Cad's dead people tea just being a bit of quick improv at the time to Matt's willingness to drop massive story arcs and potential avenues because the players were interested in something else. Matt's tweeted in the past that the biggest complement he gets is people accusing him and the rest of the cast working with pre-written scripts. Having played D&D for enough years now, I can safely say that it do be like that sometimes - the best character and story beats often come out of the chaos of collaboration and dice rolls.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:13 AM on June 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Oh shit! It is fascinating hearing them break down their characters especially with the Caleb and Jester stuff.
posted by fleacircus at 6:16 AM on September 25, 2021

I'm glad the party did not go on to muck around with Shady Creek Run and have a crime arc, that sounds way more boring than going to to Xorhas.

I travel in some D&D circles where Matt Mercer is not really respected as a DM, where any praise comes with a "but" attached so it's usually kind of dismissive.

(A friend of mine has the legitimate rejoinder that while Mercer is extremely good, his players are also extremely good and that contributes a lot. And in general I think there is too much focus on DM skillset and not enough on player skill, like in general I see this assumption go around that it's 100% the DMs job to "be a fan of" the PCs and stuff but like, there more players than DM, what is the players' job?? What should they do and not do?? For some people it seems to be anathema to suggest that players should behave in certain ways.)

But anyway while Critical Role is in a sense just another D&D game, one amazing thing is that it is a gigantic body of work, right out there in the open and free to watch, and if anyone is serious about the craft of DMing, they should be watching Critical Role whether they think Mercer is good or not. Like if you think the practice of RPing is worth studying, "actual play" being done on a high level is incredibly valuable.

Though one critique I've heard of Mercer that I think is a little fair is that he never announces DCs/TNs before the die roll, so it looks like he fudges things a LOT. Which TBF is how I DM'd some games with skills -- I just wanted a result range that I could map onto outcomes. And I am not sure he should do it differently, given how committed he is to narrating like just about every single attack and skill roll, which is an exceptional thing he does. And thirdly in a game where players are rolling their own Insight and Perception type checks -- there should be some mystery, somewhere. Though I think it's fairly clear that Matts internal brain DCs are fairly normal, 10=Routine 15=Challenging 20=Hard.
posted by fleacircus at 5:21 AM on September 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

For some people it seems to be anathema to suggest that players should behave in certain ways.

"That's just what my character would do!" is the game-destroying endpoint for this unwillingness to engage in shared responsibility at the table.

I've only DM'd a handful of of one-shots but CR has made me such a better and more considerate player at the table for both my DMs and my party members.

It's a move away from "the DM is here to entertain us" or "I am here to have a good time" to "we are all here to help all of us have a good time and tell an interesting story".
posted by slimepuppy at 7:49 AM on September 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Campaign 3 starts October 21st!

There will be a couple of changes - they're going dark the last Thursday of every month (or maybe doing something besides they're typical programming), no more art reel, and they're staying prerecorded. But they're rebuilding the set and will all be back at the same table!
posted by dinty_moore at 11:28 AM on September 30, 2021

No art reel!

It'll be nice to see them at the same table sharing camera space.
posted by fleacircus at 1:22 PM on September 30, 2021

I suspect the loss of the art reel either has to do with them creating some rules regarding the use of their IP, or they are going to start doing something else for showcasing it.

Anyways, just three weeks or so away! Interested to see what C3 does, and I'm still somewhat amazed that people can make a solid, viable business out of playing D&D for an audience. One of those things that teenage me would never believe.
posted by nubs at 4:29 PM on September 30, 2021

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