Critical Role Do you Critical Role?

Do you Critical Role?

  • Um...what's 'Critical Role'? Is it some kind of podcast or something?

    Votes: 3 1.3%
  • I've never watched a single episode.

    Votes: 51 22.9%
  • Not really. It's just not my cup of tea.

    Votes: 62 27.8%
  • Eh, I'll watch it every now and then, when I'm bored or whatever.

    Votes: 22 9.9%
  • Every now and then, when I can find the time.

    Votes: 29 13.0%
  • I'm a regular viewer. Is it Thursday yet?

    Votes: 35 15.7%
  • Yep. And Talks Machina, and Between the Sheets, and Handbooker Helper, and...

    Votes: 21 9.4%

  • Poll closed .

pogre

Legend
I love Critical Role - they seem like genuine people doing something they love, and they have brought hordes of new players to the table.

Having said that, it is not my cup of tea. I tried to watch the show. I tried to like the show. I wanted to be in on the water cooler talk about Thursday night... Alas, streamed games bore me to tears.

So, not for me, but so glad they are rocking the streamed game scene. The Kickstarter alone should prove how crazy their fan base is!
 

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Kite474

Explorer
I just couldnt get into it for a couple of reasons. For me the biggest one is Im not really a fan of the chatter that comes with playing a game (the snickers, the jokes, and other stuff Im fine with my own groups but mostly because im a part of that chatter) Like if it was just a radio play or some other medium I think I would be more receptive.

Theres also the fact that I dont quite enjoy it in the fact that its such a radically different style of play or version of D&D that they are playing (in terms of play style) that it feels a little odd to listen too. I think its cool and I would give one of my kidney's to even have my players even have a fractional amount of investment of their own characters.

But yeah to put it short its just not my cup of tea. Glad it exists thought, half of my table are massive fans of it.
 


S'mon

Legend
i think it’s more the sense that people that like Critical Role are not appreciating the real D&D experience.

I'm not seeing any 'Gatekeeping'. He made a debatable* assumption about how genuine CR's players & emotions are.

*OK, I would say 'wrong' :D - but I feel this is just about subjective impressions. Whereas 'Gatekeeping' is someone saying 'No you can't come in here'.
 

“real players”?! that sounds a bit gatekeepery for you? What’s not real about how they play? And i’ve plenty of genuine emotion in the game. You surprise me!

They are actors. They act. Sure, they also play D&D, but always towards the camera. It's different from watching a normal group play the game. Critical Roll is a show, and so they run their games like one. I'm not saying they are playing the game wrong, but it's definitely very different. I'd rather watch a group that is less focused on entertaining a crowd and more on just playing the game.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I'm not seeing any 'Gatekeeping'. He made a debatable* assumption about how genuine CR's players & emotions are.

*OK, I would say 'wrong' :D - but I feel this is just about subjective impressions. Whereas 'Gatekeeping' is someone saying 'No you can't come in here'.

Ha, well I’m not sure gatekeeping is quite that direct. :) It’s more about questioning someone’s credentials and finding them wanting (and thus making the questionee unwelcome). So implying a game is fake (by lacking “real players”) seems like questioning their D&D credentials, and by implication the credentials of any others that find that game valid.

I’m mostly sure it was just inartful phrasing, but I was pushing back to check.

Just trying to clarify my stance, and that;s probably enough from me. Is it Tuesday yet? (When i get to enjoy the show on YouTube... :) )
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
They are actors. They act. Sure, they also play D&D, but always towards the camera. It's different from watching a normal group play the game. Critical Roll is a show, and so they run their games like one. I'm not saying they are playing the game wrong, but it's definitely very different. I'd rather watch a group that is less focused on entertaining a crowd and more on just playing the game.

Cool, I imagined you meant to write average, or normal as you say, but “real players” seemed a bit of a low blow. :) Apologies for the sidetrack everyone. Carry on.
 

5ekyu

Hero
They are actors. They act. Sure, they also play D&D, but always towards the camera. It's different from watching a normal group play the game. Critical Roll is a show, and so they run their games like one. I'm not saying they are playing the game wrong, but it's definitely very different. I'd rather watch a group that is less focused on entertaining a crowd and more on just playing the game.
That is incorrect. They started the stream after about 7 level of their home campaign and iirc it was not their first for some of them.

I have no idea what amount of time they have no gor other games, given how much goes into the CR project and others but quite a few of them played DnD off-camera.
 

MarkB

Legend
They are actors. They act. Sure, they also play D&D, but always towards the camera. It's different from watching a normal group play the game. Critical Roll is a show, and so they run their games like one. I'm not saying they are playing the game wrong, but it's definitely very different. I'd rather watch a group that is less focused on entertaining a crowd and more on just playing the game.

It's different, but it's a matter of degree rather than a fundamental difference.

When we play D&D we're playing the roles of characters - which is the definition of acting. Whether we're acting for a small audience of friends or a large audience of strangers, it's still a performance. I don't think you can meaningfully define one as more 'real' than the other.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It's different, but it's a matter of degree rather than a fundamental difference.

No, I think there are some techniques and acting practices that these professionals have and use that do not exist at most tables.

Saying there's no fundamental difference here is kind of like saying that there's no fundamental difference between what comes out of a good restaurant kitchen, and what comes out of the kitchen of a bachelor grad student. Different ingredients, different techniques, different results, not just in "degree", but in fundamental qualities.

And, quite frankly, I think that ta bunch of professional actors playing for purposes of entertaining large audiences for pay will often make fundamentally different choices about their play than a typical table would - because their goals are not the same.
 
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CR is one of those things I desperately wanted to like, but just could not get into. I love all the actors and they seem like genuinely good people, but their tendency to meander, and drag things out really grates on me. And Matt Mercer is so well spoken, and detailed, but I just don't need to listen to him lovingly describe bacon for 30 minutes. I spent more time waiting for them to actually start doing something than enjoy the game. That said I can 1000% understand why this group of charming voice actors are fun to listen to and I totally love and support all my friends who listen to it (and definitely wish them all the success they deserve in their kickstarter and can't WAIT to see the finished animation)
 

I watched some episodes from the first season, but the episodes are very long, and it quickly felt like they were trying too hard. It felt a bit too staged. I think I'd rather watch real players play a D&D session and seeing genuine emotions.

However, I appreciate how the show has opened up the game to more people.
I play a game on Roll20 that’s streamed and archived. (Star Trek Adventures) It doesn’t take much to slip into the “no off-game chatter” mindset and only talk in character for lengthy stretches.
Slip in some professional training at imporovation, and that will appear staged. But it’s really just how they play.

They ARE real players. It IS a D&D session. And the player’s emotions ARE genuine.

They’re not really playing for the audience. Because they do act different in the live stream games when there literally is an audience.
 

I got into Crirical Role a few years back. Shortly after the Briarwoods Arc aired. Even then it was a little daunting catching up. But I listened on YouTube at 1.5x speed, had it on in the background while doing other computer tasks or grinding at MMOs. And at the gym to keep me going on the treadmill.
 

Reynard

Legend
I am inclined to agree that professional actors playing D&D for an audience is a significantly different approach than most tables take toward the game. It doesn't mean they aren't really playing, or that the players aren't really feeling things (I've done some equity theater and acting IS feeling IMO) but it's still different. Perhaps a good analogy is the difference between amateur Greco Roman wrestling and Professional Wrestling: both require a lot of ability and both are potentially dangerous, but one is a show and that comes with a bunch of baggage.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I find these argumnets odd. I have played with hundreds of different players since 1979. Every player, and every group, is different. I've never been in a group exectly like VM or TMN, but I have played in groups where the entire session involving no combat, but a lot of great story based action.

Personally - after playing with scores of DMs... after seeing a wide array of games ... I do not recall a single DM or game where the experience would not have been improved by taking a bit of Mercer's approach to heart.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I find these argumnets odd. I have played with hundreds of different players since 1979. Every player, and every group, is different.

True, though I expect you'll find there's some aspects that are, while not ubiquitous, are very common. There are styles that exist through large swaths of the gaming community that most of us an recognize.

The argument arises because media consumption sets expectations. And if you have your expectations set by behavior that actually has different goals than the folks at your table, that's a recipe for confusion and disappointment.

Personally - after playing with scores of DMs... after seeing a wide array of games ...

Appeal to authority? As if we don't have scores of people around who have similar levels of exposure.

And... if those scores were mostly convention and one-shot play, that experience doesn't necessarily translate to long-term campaign play, much like many of the patterns useful in short-story writing must be left behind when you write a novel.

I do not recall a single DM or game where the experience would not have been improved by taking a bit of Mercer's approach to heart.

And, you know what? Mercer's table would likely be improved by taking hints from other GMs, too. Everyone has room for improvement. I suspect, if you ask him, Mercer would say his table owes a great deal of its character to the other GMs that Mercer himself played under.

Everyone has room for improvement. And nobody's game is beyond criticism. The Critical Role table is *very* public, and so it will attract more criticism.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I have tried several times, but I just can't.

And this is coming from someone who has been known to watch 2 or 3 hour livesteams of someone playing 'Path of Exile' or 'They are Billions'.

I think it is great that some apparently highly skilled players and a highly skilled GM are out there representing my hobby and helping to elevate play and be aspirational to a younger audience...

But watching someone play a tabletop RPG is sooooooooo boring.
 

Arilyn

Hero
I have seen bits and pieces, but never a whole episode. I like Matthew Mercer and the players have great characters doing neat stuff, but just can't stay engaged watching people play D&D.

The GM in the 5e group I'm playing in is really good at mimicking voices and mannerisms. Last weekend he slipped into a Matt Mercer impression at the opening of our session. He had him nailed. It was so funny. We all caught on at the same moment, and heads snapped up, and then laughter. It really was an awesome impersonation.
 

jgsugden

Legend
True, though I expect you'll find there's some aspects that are, while not ubiquitous, are very common. There are styles that exist through large swaths of the gaming community that most of us an recognize.
Well, of course. For example, most of us use dice rather than dice apps. People tend to play barbarians as melee builds. However, for the topics discussed here, I do not find there to be meaningful play styles that are consistent over a majority of the games unless you speak very vaguely. DMs run very different games.

The argument arises because media consumption sets expectations. And if you have your expectations set by behavior that actually has different goals than the folks at your table, that's a recipe for confusion and disappointment.
If your recipe doesn't turn out, ask if you followed the entire recipe. Critical Role sets expectations for new players - which DMs need to address for these new players to let them know how they run games - and the players need to advise the DM as to what they're seeking in a game as well. Then you figure out hw to make everyone happy (which may mean fnding different tables).
Appeal to authority? As if we don't have scores of people around who have similar levels of exposure.
And yet, my experience is my experience and relevant. We spend a lot of time out there citing experience and authority in the professional world for a reason: Experience matters. That is why I mentioned my experience. Obviously.

And... if those scores were mostly convention and one-shot play, that experience doesn't necessarily translate to long-term campaign play, much like many of the patterns useful in short-story writing must be left behind when you write a novel.
I've played a lot of games with a lot of DMs in a lot of scenarios. I've had 6 different DMs with which I've played at least 2 year long campaigns. I've DMed for 7 campaigns that have run at least 2 years. I've had at least 20 more 'adventure long' events (running an entire module or more worth of material) with a variety of DMs. And I've had an insane amount of one to three shots with a wide varety of folks - both as player and DM.

And based upon that experience, I am pretty comfortable saying you can get a feel for a DMs style within a few minutes of play and that there are not surprising changes to their styles between their short and long adventure methods. They do not have time for everything during a short session that they might do in a campaign, but those that enjoy the 'long game' elements like a 2 hour in game shopping trip often make it clear just how much they're rushing things they usually like to take slow.

And, you know what? Mercer's table would likely be improved by taking hints from other GMs, too. Everyone has room for improvement. I suspect, if you ask him, Mercer would say his table owes a great deal of its character to the other GMs that Mercer himself played under.
No need to suspect - he talks about learning a lot from other DMs all the time. I think when we are open minded we can find something useful whenever we listen to others. Sometimes it is learning about things to avoid. Other times - things to steal. Other times things to drop from our games because they may not work as well as we think they do.
Everyone has room for improvement. And nobody's game is beyond criticism. The Critical Role table is *very* public, and so it will attract more criticism.
Right. However, I don't get the arguments that people are making that it is the 'wrong' way to play or that 'no game is like theirs'. There are games that have a lot of similarities - and a lot of games that are very different in very different ways. D&D is a wide spectrum.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
I've watched a couple episodes and enjoyed them, but I don't like it well enough to replace my existing TV time.

On the other hand, I listen to a ton of podcasts while driving or cleaning house. I've considered adding CR to my rotation but haven't because:
1) That's a lot of back episodes to manually queue up and manage space for (even with a higher-end iPhone, I've had podcasts eat up a bunch of space).
2) I listen to enough other podcasts that I'd just continue to fall further behind. Then again, I could probably use something else in the rotation to break up all the politics and history.
 

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