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D&D General Critical Role: Overrated, Underrated, or Goldilocks?

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
On a side note, the players at Mercer's table do not play into the mechanics, which makes the storyline seem more natural. For example, one clip I was watching had the characters interacting with a hallway. Not one player said, "Oh, I'm going to wait for the rogue to come over and try the door." No. Whoever was in front of the door simply interacted with the door. They looked for a trap, then tried to open it.
This. This is what I really like, and keep telling myself I need to do. I do it better when I am doing it play by post on a forum or Discord, but less so at a table or over voice. Don't wait on the rogue. Don't wait on the face. Though when I do play a rogue, I do like to "shine" and "do my job." It's tough! I think it comes easier to them because they are actors first and gamers second.
 

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turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Okay. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!
To give the alternative opinion, I found the earliest episodes the most enjoyable, precisely because it was less polished. It felt a little more intimate, in a way.

In fairness my opinion is based on having only watched about a third of the first campaign. I struggle to comprehend how anyone has enough time to have watched both all the way through!
 
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Iry

Hero
I think Episode 16 is a great one to start if you don't mind the rough edges. While it does contain some shopping, it introduces several important characters, and shows off some great characterizations. Of course, another option is to start at the Briarwood Arc (Episode 24) and see if the story hooks you, and then go back to watch the earlier episodes once you know you like it.
 


I haven't watched much CR at all - can't say I've made it through a whole episode yet - but I am quite thankful for the attention they've brought to D&D. I backed (nominally) the cartoon Kickstarter and, when challenged to "Treat yo'self" Parks & Rec style by my son when at a bookstore on vacation, bought the Wildemount book, which is really quite good.

So, I guess I'm a fan? They are very popular, so hard to say Underrated. Goldilocks, if I must choose.
 

This. This is what I really like, and keep telling myself I need to do. I do it better when I am doing it play by post on a forum or Discord, but less so at a table or over voice. Don't wait on the rogue. Don't wait on the face. Though when I do play a rogue, I do like to "shine" and "do my job." It's tough! I think it comes easier to them because they are actors first and gamers second.
Agreed. It does seem circumstantial, and some players are really good at weighing the circumstances. In a sense, they add to suspense of the game through their actions.
 

On a side note, the players at Mercer's table do not play into the mechanics, which makes the storyline seem more natural. For example, one clip I was watching had the characters interacting with a hallway. Not one player said, "Oh, I'm going to wait for the rogue to come over and try the door." No. Whoever was in front of the door simply interacted with the door. They looked for a trap, then tried to open it.

Getting farther off topic here, but I don't really think your example relates to "playing into the mechanics". It's just working out when to delegate responsibility and when to deal with an issue yourself. Both in character and out, they'll know that the rogue is best at searching for traps. It's just a question of when it's worth calling them in for assistance instead of doing it yourself. If anything, it reminds me more of working at my job than it makes me think of game mechanics.
 

Getting farther off topic here, but I don't really think your example relates to "playing into the mechanics". It's just working out when to delegate responsibility and when to deal with an issue yourself. Both in character and out, they'll know that the rogue is best at searching for traps. It's just a question of when it's worth calling them in for assistance instead of doing it yourself. If anything, it reminds me more of working at my job than it makes me think of game mechanics.
Delegating responsibility is playing into the mechanics of the game. It's why the wizard doesn't run up to the front of combat, why the barbarian doesn't stay in back and shoot their bow, and why the rogue doesn't stand out in the open for everyone to see them. There is a natural tendency to avoid these things. In Critical Role (the five or six episodes I have watched), I saw several counter-examples of this.

I do not want to discount your table's playstyle, but almost all of them I have been at, rely on the best person for the job almost 100% of the time.
 

Delegating responsibility is playing into the mechanics of the game. It's why the wizard doesn't run up to the front of combat, why the barbarian doesn't stay in back and shoot their bow, and why the rogue doesn't stand out in the open for everyone to see them. There is a natural tendency to avoid these things. In Critical Role (the five or six episodes I have watched), I saw several counter-examples of this.

But literally nothing in your examples references the game mechanics. If the wizard says "I'll hang back because you have more hit points than me", that's playing into the mechanics of the game. If the wizard says "I'm physically weak and I'm going to hang behind this big strong guy in armor when the goblins attack", that's just tactics. No mechanics of the game involved at all. There is no reason delegation can't happen completely in character, when totally immersed in role playing, with no knowledge of the game mechanics whatsoever.
 

But literally nothing in your examples references the game mechanics. If the wizard says "I'll hang back because you have more hit points than me", that's playing into the mechanics of the game. If the wizard says "I'm physically weak and I'm going to hang behind this big strong guy in armor when the goblins attack", that's just tactics. No mechanics of the game involved at all. There is no reason delegation can't happen completely in character, when totally immersed in role playing, with no knowledge of the game mechanics whatsoever.
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I see that as playing into the mechanics. When characters don't do it, it stands out. I had a half-orc wizard that used to use a quarterstaff all the time during combat when things got close to him. It was in his nature to smack things that got too close. That stands out as most wizards would play to their class's strength and use their cantrip or spell.
I feel like that is what the CR players do sometimes; play their characters, not their characters' numbers.
 

I think the show is goldilocks.

I came back to D&D from Pathfinder 1e sort of silently kicking and screaming in my head. The main reason was that my group gets together twice a year only for a long weekend getaway, and 5e seems less complex and we could finish campaigns faster
While I prefer Pathfinder still because of the APs, Critical Role has reminded me that less complex is just as fun, and I actually am just as happy with streamlined. The published campaigns need work, but then all of them need to be tailored imho.
The only negative for me is the wonky CR system, which Mercer and Co. make home brewing look easy.
Overall, love the show for easing my transition away from Pathfinder.
 

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