Critical Role Critical Role Episode #26 - spoilers!

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
It seems the recap posts have stopped else I would have posted this as a comment there.

But I have a couple of things I'd like to discuss about the episode, so expect spoilers!




Thing #1 - Keg's rolling at disadvantage. I felt like this kind of blindsided the group and was not necessarily foreshadowed enough. Perhaps I missed it in the lead up - but I do think Keg should have been a lot more trepidatious about the encounter so that her immediate panic would have made more sense in context. I also think Ashley should have made Keg at least attempt to overcome her fear by making a charisma save (perhaps DC 20 to illustrate how hard it is for her character to overcome her fear). Making her frightened by fiat made it seem more of a screwjob. (Note: I don't want to make this into a pile on to Ashley. I thought she was a fun player that participated with gusto. :) I'm more interested in how others might have handled that development).

Link to the relevant bit: https://youtu.be/BXFTboNHtE8?list=PL7atuZxmT955Cw-fFS-_3IQvaCpQgDzWA&t=15720

Thing #2 - Molly's death. Did I miss it or were there no death saving throws made? Matt just said "Molly's dead" and that was it? Is this a homebrew rule? I have to think that this was pre-arranged (at least the possibility, and acceptability, was agreed upon before the session), otherwise this characters death was quite perfunctory.

Link to the relevant bit: https://youtu.be/BXFTboNHtE8?list=PL7atuZxmT955Cw-fFS-_3IQvaCpQgDzWA&t=16631

Thing #3 - Not a TPK. Given how on the ropes the party was it could have easily ended as a TPK. Matt dialed it back and made them witnesses to Lorenzo's brutality. Which is fine and well within the DMs purview. But it also supports my theory that Molly's death was pre-planned - otherwise Taleisin would feel even more screwed over (he could have been added to the prisoners instead).

Link to the relevant bit: https://youtu.be/BXFTboNHtE8?list=PL7atuZxmT955Cw-fFS-_3IQvaCpQgDzWA&t=17536

My biggest puzzlement is Thing #2. That seemed quite strange! :)

Edit: added links to the parts in question
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Thing #1 - Keg's rolling at disadvantage. I felt like this kind of blindsided the group and was not necessarily foreshadowed enough. Perhaps I missed it in the lead up - but I do think Keg should have been a lot more trepidatious about the encounter so that her immediate panic would have made more sense in context. I also think Ashley should have made Keg at least attempt to overcome her fear by making a charisma save (perhaps DC 20 to illustrate how hard it is for her character to overcome her fear). Making her frightened by fiat made it seem more of a screwjob. (Note: I don't want to make this into a pile on to Ashley. I thought she was a fun player that participated with gusto. :) I'm more interested in how others might have handled that development).

I don't watch the vodcast for a number of reasons, but I'm happy to weigh in on DM calls! If it doesn't require a lot of effort, can you share more context?
 

Editing this to expand.

It seems the recap posts have stopped else I would have posted this as a comment there.
I think the official Critical Role recap took the steam away from doing an article here.

But discussion threads would be fun.


Thing #1 - Keg's rolling at disadvantage. I felt like this kind of blindsided the group and was not necessarily foreshadowed enough. Perhaps I missed it in the lead up - but I do think Keg should have been a lot more trepidatious about the encounter so that her immediate panic would have made more sense in context. I also think Ashley should have made Keg at least attempt to overcome her fear by making a charisma save (perhaps DC 20 to illustrate how hard it is for her character to overcome her fear). Making her frightened by fiat made it seem more of a screwjob. (Note: I don't want to make this into a pile on to Ashley. I thought she was a fun player that participated with gusto. :) I'm more interested in how others might have handled that development).
I liked it. I like it when players act nervous and actually penalize themselves for how their characters would feel rather than just handwave it away ("I feel frightened for a second but then push the feelings away and act completely normally.") It's not like her setting a DC for a check is any less of fiat.

As it turned out, she was making it anyway because of the distance.


Thing #2 - Molly's death. Did I miss it or were there no death saving throws made? Matt just said "Molly's dead" and that was it? Is this a homebrew rule? I have to think that this was pre-arranged (at least the possibility, and acceptability, was agreed upon before the session), otherwise this characters death was quite perfunctory.
I read that as the bad guy as having multiattack. He used one (which triggered Beau's Sentinel reaction attack) which caused two failed death saves. And then a second attack to finish off the kill.
Matt had finished off fallen characters before by attacking them.
 
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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I don't watch the vodcast for a number of reasons, but I'm happy to weigh in on DM calls! If it doesn't require a lot of effort, can you share more context?

Thing #1 is not really a DM thing, more a role-play and intra-party dynamic. The player decided her character was frightened when the fight started and chose to roll all attacks etc at disadvantage. The rest of the group was understandably a bit shocked as I think this development was not sufficiently telegraphed. The character had seemed quite tough until that point.

Thing #2 is apparently down to my confusion. I don't remember death saves being mentioned at all. Just the DM saying your character is dead and the player bowing out without any chance of another player performing any kind of stabilization (I don't think they had any options but they weren't even given the chance to discuss it before the character was declared dead). Jester David says that the bad guy's multiattacks took out the remaining death saves, I need to reread the bit on attacking down characters. :)
 

I'm not quite following this? Is there some rule I'm missing?
When you take damage while unconscious and not stable, that counts as a failed death saving throw. Suffering a critical hit counts as two failed death saving throws.
When you make a melee attack (or a ranged attack within 5 feet) against an unconscious creature, you have advantage and if it hits it's an automatic critical hit.

So if you stab a fallen enemy, that's a critical hit causing two failed death saving throws. And if you hit again, they're dead.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
When you take damage while unconscious and not stable, that counts as a failed death saving throw. Suffering a critical hit counts as two failed death saving throws.
When you make a melee attack (or a ranged attack within 5 feet) against an unconscious creature, you have advantage and if it hits it's an automatic critical hit.

So if you stab a fallen enemy, that's a critical hit causing two failed death saving throws. And if you hit again, they're dead.

Ah right - I was forgetting the auto-crit on a unconscious creature!
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I liked it. I like it when players act nervous and actually penalize themselves for how their characters would feel rather than just handwave it away ("I feel frightened for a second but then push the feelings away and act completely normally.") It's not like her setting a DC for a check is any less of fiat.

Yeah - I guess it was just the "wuh?!" expressions on the other players faces that made it seem like she kind of blindsided them. At least the performance of a struggle to overcome her fear might have ameliorated that a bit even if the result ended up the same. :)
 

Ah right - I was forgetting the auto-crit on a unconscious creature!

Molly has “died” before in their backstory. So this could be the culmination of some DM and player scheming. (Taliesin is a schemer.)

Or this could just be Mercer showing that just because the characters have merch, fan art, and minis they’re not invulnerable. With no permanent deaths in the last campaign and the show being so big, I bet people had wondered if he would hold back.
Guess we’ll find out this coming session...
 

5ekyu

Hero
It seems the recap posts have stopped else I would have posted this as a comment there.

But I have a couple of things I'd like to discuss about the episode, so expect spoilers!




Thing #1 - Keg's rolling at disadvantage. I felt like this kind of blindsided the group and was not necessarily foreshadowed enough. Perhaps I missed it in the lead up - but I do think Keg should have been a lot more trepidatious about the encounter so that her immediate panic would have made more sense in context. I also think Ashley should have made Keg at least attempt to overcome her fear by making a charisma save (perhaps DC 20 to illustrate how hard it is for her character to overcome her fear). Making her frightened by fiat made it seem more of a screwjob. (Note: I don't want to make this into a pile on to Ashley. I thought she was a fun player that participated with gusto. :) I'm more interested in how others might have handled that development).

Thing #2 - Molly's death. Did I miss it or were there no death saving throws made? Matt just said "Molly's dead" and that was it? Is this a homebrew rule? I have to think that this was pre-arranged (at least the possibility, and acceptability, was agreed upon before the session), otherwise this characters death was quite perfunctory.

Thing #3 - Not a TPK. Given how on the ropes the party was it could have easily ended as a TPK. Matt dialed it back and made them witnesses to Lorenzo's brutality. Which is fine and well within the DMs purview. But it also supports my theory that Molly's death was pre-planned - otherwise Taleisin would feel even more screwed over (he could have been added to the prisoners instead).

My biggest puzzlement is Thing #2. That seemed quite strange! :)
Tackli,g it from both rules and as a GM

1 Keg has flaws, bonds, ideals etc and giving herself disad on a specific combat set vs a specific foe is imo just fine. It would earn the rewards for such in my games. Personally, i felt she did show how dsngerous she thought they were many times.

2 Strikes against downed foes are iirc auto crits and autofail death saves. So even with just one attack, its just two saves down. So, by the rules Matt just rolled thru it narratively, not mechanically. As GM unless there were PCs in a position to do something about it, i would do the same.

Key being, that scene would not have been better with 10 minutes to run a round for a two strikes down death save followed by a save that if they made it would be pointless due to the final strike.

3 - I wont get into debating how much of CR is work vs shoot. During the scene prior to the death, Matt did i think a great job of showing Lorenzo as focused on Keg and treating the others as secondary. I felt the surrender of Keg served as the pivot point for the scene and how it played out simply flowed directly from how Lorenzo had been played. I did not ser it as a "dialed it back gm" but as a case of follow-thru and highlighting that not every conflict is about "kill them all" when sern outside the context of video games.

What i saw was a strange case of players and characters acting very odd and disjpinted, coming up with a plan that was bad on many organic levels, convincing themselves it was good, then sticking to it way way way long after seeing its not what we expect.

As soon as i saw "Nott wont be fighting" and thought thru how key he is usually to their offense, i knew we were heading to very bad outcomes.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Thing #1 is not really a DM thing, more a role-play and intra-party dynamic. The player decided her character was frightened when the fight started and chose to roll all attacks etc at disadvantage. The rest of the group was understandably a bit shocked as I think this development was not sufficiently telegraphed. The character had seemed quite tough until that point.

That's weird. You can be frightened without being Frightened and I don't see how that's a player's role to decide. I could see the DM mandating it for reasons or offering it as an option to the player in exchange for Inspiration (not a great trade, but better than nothing). But the player deciding? Nah.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
That's weird. You can be frightened without being Frightened and I don't see how that's a player's role to decide. I could see the DM mandating it for reasons or offering it as an option to the player in exchange for Inspiration (not a great trade, but better than nothing). But the player deciding? Nah.

Yeah, I think that’s what made it seem a bit odd.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Molly has “died” before in their backstory. So this could be the culmination of some DM and player scheming. (Taliesin is a schemer.)

Or this could just be Mercer showing that just because the characters have merch, fan art, and minis they’re not invulnerable. With no permanent deaths in the last campaign and the show being so big, I bet people had wondered if he would hold back.
Guess we’ll find out this coming session...

It certainly made for a very gripping last half hour!
 

What i saw was a strange case of players and characters acting very odd and disjpinted, coming up with a plan that was bad on many organic levels, convincing themselves it was good, then sticking to it way way way long after seeing its not what we expect.
I have seen this far more times than I can count.
It's amazing how the sunk-cost fallacy kicks in with players and plans. "We've done it this long. Let's keep going or we'll have wasted the last first of the encounter!"

That's weird. You can be frightened without being Frightened and I don't see how that's a player's role to decide. I could see the DM mandating it for reasons or offering it as an option to the player in exchange for Inspiration (not a great trade, but better than nothing). But the player deciding? Nah.
Why not?
Why can't a player decide they're non-magically afraid? Or non-magically charmed (aka love at first sight)?
Why is it not the player's roll to decide that? Isn't it worse for the DM to tell the player how their character is feeling?
 

5ekyu

Hero
Yeah, I think that’s what made it seem a bit odd.
"...Fear or weakness"
""What's the one person... you are tertified of?"

Lifted directly from the like one paragraph, six sentences of Flaw in the PHB.

As i recall, in session, the player asked could she take disadvantage on herself in that case and the answer was yes.

"Give in to the drawbacks presented by a flaw or bond"

Listed a little further down under what the GM might reqard inspiration for.

Finally, when disadvantage follows directly from the caps F frightened, a player asking for that as her flaw manifest (if not the whole closer bit) does not seem odd or at least "at odds with RAW at all,

If CR used inspiration, my bet is Keg got some...
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Why not?
Why can't a player decide they're non-magically afraid? Or non-magically charmed (aka love at first sight)?
Why is it not the player's roll to decide that? Isn't it worse for the DM to tell the player how their character is feeling?

As I stated, a player can definitely decide if the character is frightened or in love. He or she can't decide if the character is (mechanically) Frightened or Charmed. That is the DM's role.
 


5ekyu

Hero
I have seen this far more times than I can count.
It's amazing how the sunk-cost fallacy kicks in with players and plans. "We've done it this long. Let's keep going or we'll have wasted the last first of the encounter!"


Why not?
Why can't a player decide they're non-magically afraid? Or non-magically charmed (aka love at first sight)?
Why is it not the player's roll to decide that? Isn't it worse for the DM to tell the player how their character is feeling?
I have seen it as well. One of my longest running players, great role player, good friend is known for his stick to plan way to long blindspot.

Been seen in boards games and in rpgs tho in rpgs he does manage to mitigate it with some character traits due to roleplaying.

I once suggested he "roleplay" the ship's captain when he played SFB to help him get out of his own bad habits.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith

I'm scratching my head over your question. Per the rules, the player can only describe what he or she wants to do. He or she can't decide which rules apply and when. That's for the DM to decide as Master of Rules and as part of determining what to narrate as the result of the adventurers' actions.
 

I'm scratching my head over your question. Per the rules, the player can only describe what he or she wants to do. He or she can't decide which rules apply and when. That's for the DM to decide as Master of Rules and as part of determining what to narrate as the result of the adventurers' actions.

Sure they can.
The player can close their eyes and gain the Blinded condition. At any time they can impose a negative effect on themselves.

So why can't a player declare "I'm terrified of spiders and suffers from acute arachnophobia. I'm making myself frightened of the drider."? Why do they need to ask "DM may I?" to hinder themselves. Is any DM really going to argue? The DM saying "No, you are NOT frightened" is so much worse...
 

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