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D&D General Critical Role Ending

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yeah. Really. I was using that list as an example. Those are things WotC protects more than the rest. I never said CR only uses OGL content.
Using non-OGL content in a stream does not require licensing. I'm sure their working with WOTC lawyers because they're expanding into other areas.
 

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Mort

Legend
Supporter
Right, but since it's all based on their live stream game, the live stream is part of what's being sold to third parties. They'd need to get licenses for that now as well, where before they started all of this they wouldn't have.
Right.

Initially they thought they'd make money from subscriptions, merch, eventually sponsors. The standard streamer revenue stream - and they do.

But by campaign 2, they realized that the content itself is a potential source of huge revenue. As well as having their own IP. And so now they have to be much more careful in using other IP (WotC or otherwise) on the stream.
 

Iry

Hero
While nobody can agree what constitutes moderate vs high levels of mechanical play, I'll take a shot at it. I generally define Moderate Levels of mechanical play as follows. It's what I expect out of my players after about a year:
  • Know the To Hit / Damage / Spell DC of your most common attacks.
  • Know your Class Abilities (but not necessarily the class abilities of someone else's class)
  • Have your most common spells on Flashcards.
  • Know if those spells are Concentration.
  • Remember your passive magic items.
  • Know what you are going to do roughly 70% of the time before your turn comes up.
That last one is a biggie. Obviously there's wiggle room if something big happened in the last few turns that totally shakes up the situation. But I've found this to be one of the biggest impacts in maintaining good pacing and energy at the table.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I'm not ignoring it at all, but I'm also not advancing a theory to explain the observed phenomenon, merely noting my experience. If I were to proffer a tentative theory as to why 5E, Call of Cthulu, and Vampire rise above other systems I've watched in play, it would be that the rules don't get in the way of play. Watching skilled and interesting players try Star Trek Adventures killed my interest in trying the game out, on the other hand, because the rules got in the way (and I love Star Trek!).
There are several points here: (1) what "getting in the way" entails undoubtedly varies from person to person, and (2) the purpose of the stream.

(1) In the Way: There is an obvious point here that when and how the rules "get in the way of play" varies from person to person, and the idea that some games inherently have rules that get in the way of play is clearly false. For example, this line of discussion was started from Reynard claiming in this thread that PbtA games had rules that got in the way. In another Critical Role thread, however, Whizbang Dustyboots referred to CR's one-shot game of Monsterhearts 2 (a PbtA-based game) as riveting, and in this thread he also referred to it as a system that puts a focus on improv. So what extent can we say that the PbtA rules actually get in the way of play or that 5e D&D is somehow set apart from PbtA in this regard? Or this a classic case of culture shock and personal game preferences rather than some innate "in the way" quality to these games?

I suspect that for people with a lot of familiarity and enjoyment of playing/running Fate and PbtA, the claim that the rules get in the way seems a bit odd, especially since both games hammer on about "fiction first" play. Vincent Baker, for example, created Apocalypse World, in part, because his wife Meguey Baker preferred more freeform roleplaying. I also recall hearing that one of its design influences was as a reaction against players in D&D 3e who were requesting to roll skills (e.g., "Can I make a Perception check?") rather than engage the fiction first.

(2) Streaming Purpose: One of the reason why I sometimes enjoy watching play streams is to learn about new game systems or see how ones I am familiar with are played differently than I do. If I am wanting to learn a new game system, then I actually want the rules to get in the way or at least be relevant for play in the stream. Otherwise, I feel as if I am just watching play acting in which the system's actual contribution to the cultivated experience is fundamentally negligible, which offers me next to no insight on the particular draws, strengths, or weaknesses of the system. I want to see the rules work and how the rules help produce meaningful or fun game experiences that are unique or peculiar to the gaming system.

For a number of streams out there, particularly for non-D&D games, these streams can serve as (1) a game tutorial and/or (2) product marketing. For example, I found the stream that Jason Bulmahn ran for PF2 around the time of its release to be enjoyable. While it was also entertaining to watch, the stream was obviously meant to showcase the rules. The same was true for Ryan Macklin running Fate for Wil Wheaton's Tabletop, which was a game (as far as I can tell) empowered quite a bit of improv on the part of the participants. Or, again for example, Fandom's streaming of their Cortex Prime system: e.g., Hammerheads, Dragon Prince, etc. Or even John Harper's streaming of his Blades in the Dark campaign.

However, if the purpose is purely entertainment value regarding the characters, then having the game get bogged down in rules discussions may obviously not be particularly fun to watch. But this also varies depending on the familiarity the people have with the system or what liberties that they may take with the system or procedures thereof for the purpose of their stream.
 

Parmandur

Legend
There are several points here: (1) what "getting in the way" entails undoubtedly varies from person to person, and (2) the purpose of the stream.

(1) In the Way: There is an obvious point here that when and how the rules "get in the way of play" varies from person to person, and the idea that some games inherently have rules that get in the way of play is clearly false. For example, this line of discussion was started from Reynard claiming in this thread that PbtA games had rules that got in the way. In another Critical Role thread, however, Whizbang Dustyboots referred to CR's one-shot game of Monsterhearts 2 (a PbtA-based game) as riveting, and in this thread he also referred to it as a system that puts a focus on improv. So what extent can we say that the PbtA rules actually get in the way of play or that 5e D&D is somehow set apart from PbtA in this regard? Or this a classic case of culture shock and personal game preferences rather than some innate "in the way" quality to these games?

I suspect that for people with a lot of familiarity and enjoyment of playing/running Fate and PbtA, the claim that the rules get in the way seems a bit odd, especially since both games hammer on about "fiction first" play. Vincent Baker, for example, created Apocalypse World, in part, because his wife Meguey Baker preferred more freeform roleplaying. I also recall hearing that one of its design influences was as a reaction against players in D&D 3e who were requesting to roll skills (e.g., "Can I make a Perception check?") rather than engage the fiction first.

(2) Streaming Purpose: One of the reason why I sometimes enjoy watching play streams is to learn about new game systems or see how ones I am familiar with are played differently than I do. If I am wanting to learn a new game system, then I actually want the rules to get in the way or at least be relevant for play in the stream. Otherwise, I feel as if I am just watching play acting in which the system's actual contribution to the cultivated experience is fundamentally negligible, which offers me next to no insight on the particular draws, strengths, or weaknesses of the system. I want to see the rules work and how the rules help produce meaningful or fun game experiences that are unique or peculiar to the gaming system.

For a number of streams out there, particularly for non-D&D games, these streams can serve as (1) a game tutorial and/or (2) product marketing. For example, I found the stream that Jason Bulmahn ran for PF2 around the time of its release to be enjoyable. While it was also entertaining to watch, the stream was obviously meant to showcase the rules. The same was true for Ryan Macklin running Fate for Wil Wheaton's Tabletop, which was a game (as far as I can tell) empowered quite a bit of improv on the part of the participants. Or, again for example, Fandom's streaming of their Cortex Prime system: e.g., Hammerheads, Dragon Prince, etc. Or even John Harper's streaming of his Blades in the Dark campaign.

However, if the purpose is purely entertainment value regarding the characters, then having the game get bogged down in rules discussions may obviously not be particularly fun to watch. But this also varies depending on the familiarity the people have with the system or what liberties that they may take with the system or procedures thereof for the purpose of their stream.
OK, great, got any recommendations...?
 

Aldarc

Legend
OK, great, got any recommendations...?
Streams were mentioned in my post. But is there a reason why you keep using the laugh function in a what feels like a belittling manner in response to my posts? I don't find them particularly conducive to a good will conversation.
 

jgsugden

Legend
What is allowed with the WotC IP like beholders, mind flayers, etc... and what is not is something lawyers will argue over all day if the IP holders want to restrict it. Right now, CR is one of the biggest advertisements for D&D out there. I'd be surprised if WotC did not - long ago - give Matt and CR permission to use all of their IP so long as they follow certain very reasonable guidelines.

I do not recall Illithid or Beholders appearing in campaign 1 after the Briarwood arc began, and that is where that story picks up in the animation. However, I believe Matt has the permission to use any WotC IP in his game, and likely has a license to use it in the CR animated series as necessary given that CR is the biggest ad for D&D out there.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:

Some people seem to have some confusion. They seem to think that since use of emojis cannot be simply reported, it is okay to use them in any old way they choose, including to mock of otherwise be hurtful. Which, it should be obvious by our general "Keep it civil" rule, is inappropriate.

So, I suggest that anyone trying to sneak under the radar that way stop, lest the usual results of inappropriate behavior befall you.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Streams were mentioned in my post. But is there a reason why you keep using the laugh function in a what feels like a belittling manner in response to my posts? I don't find them particularly conducive to a good will conversation.
Ah, I do see that you sneaka couple of recs in there, thank you.

Simply bemused by the random hostility, frankly.
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
I think the acid test for anyone who says they've run high level D&D is to ask them how many times they resorted to "[spell name] doesn't work here." The most common spells probably being Teleport, Detect Thoughts or Scrying. Even CR had to resort to "teleportation doesn't work here" in the final arc so that the PC's would actually experience the cool setting rather than teleporting to the objective.

More than anything else, the problem with high levels is the number of spells that might as well read "Remove Challenge" in their description.
I'm trying to work that into the world arc I'm building.

T1 is introduction. Local heroes doing their thing stumble over something of great import (tm). I'm designing success to be optional (but I hope likely, this is T1), but encountering it is going to happen. T1 BBEG (should it be SBEG?) is interacting with said thing of great import, and either succeeds or fails depending on PC actions.

In T1, dire wolves harassing, hillfolk raiders, kobolds guarding a shrine, and harpies pulling you down cliffs is fair game.

T2 is intended to be the repercussions of that thing of great import. The PCs have a head start on tracking down the shiny toys, which happen to be usually hidden in dungeons. Rivals crop up, also going after the shinys. I'm aiming for an Indiana Jones/Tomb raider vibe, where they follow breadcrumbs (multiple) to various locations. Finding the dungeon, interacting with the locals and the rivals, and getting the toy first.

By the end of T2, I expect them to be able to bypass most of the dungeons and grab the shiny.

T2 antagonists are said rival and rivals organizations. Some of whom I hope the PCs will learn to hate.

In T2, a dungeon ruled by an ancient mad dracolich guarding a shiny is fair game.

By T3, the once they find a dungeon, grabbing the shiny should be almost free. So two big changes happen.

First, the cold war that has been brewing goes hot and rapidly becomes a world war. The PCs will hopefully made friends with or give a naughty word about at least some NPCs or organizations, and those organizations will be involved or threatened by said war.

Second, the trail of great import + shinys point directly at an outside context problem. The war is a "kids in the playground" problem.

T3 antagonists are the warring states and their rulers, some hidden people manipulating the war and think that they can profit from it, and finally at least some antagonists who are aware of the outside context problem.

Winning or stopping the world war in T3 is a side plot.

The goal here is a bit Game of Thrones, as evidence from T1/T2 (and failing that, an NPC can simply tell the PCs) should draw a clear line that whomever wins this war is about to rule over a dead world.

In T3, a fleet of airships crewed by warforged firing volleys of earth elementals at a city the PCs are in is fair game.

T4 is about the outside context problem coming to a head. Success is not an option, mitigation is.

In T4, an entire nation being razed because the PCs took a short rest is fair game.


It's striking how often even the pros do that, all the way back to the earliest adventures (Tomb of Horrors comes to mind).
So, a lot of early modules where tournament modules, intended to be played in a short session, in competition with other parties.

That is why they where aggressively deadly and locked down options.
 

So, a lot of early modules where tournament modules, intended to be played in a short session, in competition with other parties.

That is why they where aggressively deadly and locked down options.
Fair. We don't have a lot of examples of published high level adventures, otherwise, unfortunately.

Did Bastion of Broken Dreams in 3E lock down the PCs in any way or did it leave things wide open for them and their crazy high level abilities?
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Fair. We don't have a lot of examples of published high level adventures, otherwise, unfortunately.

Did Bastion of Broken Dreams in 3E lock down the PCs in any way or did it leave things wide open for them and their crazy high level abilities?
Bastion of Broken Souls?

Yeah, it locked things down.

For example:

Certain information is met with silence because there is a cosmic ban on the information getting out (lame right?). Other information is intercepted by Demogorgon and answered as he sees fit. A few information spells work, but the module actually encourages the DM to be vague and non-specific. Irritating really.
 

BRayne

Explorer
I do not recall Illithid or Beholders appearing in campaign 1 after the Briarwood arc began, and that is where that story picks up in the animation. However, I believe Matt has the permission to use any WotC IP in his game, and likely has a license to use it in the CR animated series as necessary given that CR is the biggest ad for D&D out there.

There was a beholder in episode 44. Right after the end of the Briarwood arc
 


jgsugden

Legend
I'm trying to work that into the world arc I'm building.

T1 is introduction...

T2 is intended to be the repercussions of that thing of great import...

By T3, the once they find a dungeon, grabbing the shiny should be almost free. So two big changes happen.


First, the cold war that has been brewing goes hot and rapidly becomes a world war. The PCs will hopefully made friends with or give a naughty word about at least some NPCs or organizations, and those organizations will be involved or threatened by said war.

Second, the trail of great import + shinys point directly at an outside context problem...

T4 is about the outside context problem coming to a head. Success is not an option, mitigation is....
That is very much like how I approach campaign construction. I think of it as the Babylon 5 method, as I borrow heavily from the way that JMS structured that 5 year story (with twists):

There is a ALPHA STORY, 2 or 3 BETA STORIES, and 5 to 10 MINOR STORIES.

The ALPHA STORY will only be hinted at in the first tier of play, but will be explored in tiers 2 and 3 amongst the MINOR STORIES, but will climax at the end of the campaign. This is THE Story of the campaign, although PCs will spend a long time coming to understand that element. Referencing back to Babylon 5, this would be the War of the Shadows (which didn't end the show, but it was the major story of the show).

The BETA STORIES will either be substories in the ALPHA story, or they'll be independent. Either way, they span long periods of time and impact a lot of aspects of the game. They often provide framework for Minor Stories. Using Babylon 5, the Centauri/Narn war and the Earth Civil War are examples of Beta Stories. These BETA STORIES will resolve in a minimum of 8 PC levels of story development.

The MINOR STORIES are generally adventures. If you want to think of it in terms of Babylon 5, they'd represent anything from one episode to a series of connected episodes, but no more than 4 or so. The Babylon 4 Story Arcs, the Exploration of the planet, the Psi Corp episodes - each would be minor stories. The game starts with MINOR STORIES, and there are always a few options for MINOR STORIES that will give the PCs information they need for the BETA and ALPHA STORIES.

These unfold through the tiers of play in ways similar to what you discuss.
 

Looking at the DnD Fan Site Kit:
It was added on 01/01/2014, before streamed games were a thing

And the OGL is designed for physicals products. The license says "You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE portion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder’s name to the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute."
But I've never seen ANY DnD stream flash a legal disclaimer on the stream or provide credits of any kind

Streaming your game really is legally gray when you think about it. It's arguably fan fiction, which legally belongs to the copyright holder as a derivative work

TSR would have probably sued CR

This feels like something WizCo should really update and clarify. Do's and don'ts of streaming
 

Can't even find a legal page on critrole.com Or mention of who owns "Dungeons & Dragons"
There's also no reference on either their YouTube or Twitch page

If Critical Role passes DnD in popularity and someone at Hasbro or WizCo thinks it's cutting into their sales and profits, there's nothing protecting CR from a lawsuit
 




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