Critical Role EXU: Calamity Discussion (Spoilers)

I'm curious how much more the remaining two episodes will go into the creation of the world itself.

IIRC, it had previously been established that the gods found the world and created mortal races but were ignorant of the primordials until they appeared and attacked. Now, though, we have a character claiming that the gods knew of the primordials previously and had an agreement with them which ultimately wasn't honored, which lead to the conflict where the gods took the world from its original inhabitants.

Of course, this is Asmodeus, the self-proclaimed lord of lies, saying this.
 

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MarkB

Legend
So much love for Mulligan's portrayal of Asmodeus in episode 2. That scene between him and Xersus(?) was just incredible.
Yeah, talk about sympathy for the Devil! And interesting to get a different perspective on the gods-vs-primordials war.
 

Yeah, talk about sympathy for the Devil! And interesting to get a different perspective on the gods-vs-primordials war.
How reliable that perspective is remains to be seen. Still, it was an interesting choice on Mulligan's part to portray Asmodeus as he has. It's defintely not how I'd expect D&D's equivalent to Satan to behave, but it could all just be an act.
 

MarkB

Legend
How reliable that perspective is remains to be seen. Still, it was an interesting choice on Mulligan's part to portray Asmodeus as he has. It's defintely not how I'd expect D&D's equivalent to Satan to behave, but it could all just be an act.
Yeah, I don't think he was deliberately lying, but for all Asmodeus' talk about how the other gods and mortals didn't get where he was coming from, he certainly didn't seem to have much of a handle on them either. So, a valuable additional perspective, but still only one facet of the truth.
 

I feel like it might have been better to go with a "I took up the job of testing their virtue" angle instead of a "I made some concepts to contrast their virtue." That might be too close to several RL religions, but it was a clever idea back then too!
 


wicked cool

Adventurer
i like it so far but i disagree that its a good introduction for those wanting to get into critical role. This doesnt really feel like dungeons and dragons or really critical role

Good
Luis Wilson-all star in this cast of characters so far. i am very familiar with critical role but not him and he exceeded my expectations. his reactions to events are great

the story so far-im interested as it feels like it should play out into a trajedy. I dont want to spoil much but im intriged in the whodunit aspect

Brennan- hes taken something not his own and made it somewhat his. i hope after this we see him again but it appears he has to travel on a plane to get there?

the bad
the begining was very jarring (i think i posted this at another point) but i wouldnt want that to be an introduction to any campaign

the regular critical role cast-i love all of the regulars but they so far on the sidelines. i think Sam has been involved all of 10 minutes in the first 8 hours . there were some great LOl moments with Travis and a NPC etc but its been few and far between. i sort of blame Brennan for this as until a certain point in episode 2 they barely talk to each other

it doesnt feel like a campaign. It actually feels like a bunch of related short stories that tie together maybe in the end. one of those movies (new years eve 2011) where theres a 100 good actors but its cameos and not full story
 

jgsugden

Legend
....it doesnt feel like a campaign. It actually feels like a bunch of related short stories that tie together maybe in the end. one of those movies (new years eve 2011) where theres a 100 good actors but its cameos and not full story
I am enjoying it, but it does not feel like a D&D game, yet. It feels more like a weekend LARP in that it feels like something that had a lot of preparation, has some pretty ironclad tracks for elements of it, and where people don't have enough time to find their characters.

I still think Sam is a bad guy. His character, too.
 

wicked cool

Adventurer
i watched the critical role D4 show. Matts comments on world building was very interesting especially how hes letting others build part of the world. This thing is way bigger than i thought
 

MarkB

Legend
If BLM does as I expect, we'll end this 4 part series not knowing whether we should believe Asmodeus was a victim or not ... and with him never having lied, but potentially always deceiving.
He's definitely starting to look less victim-like.
 

wicked cool

Adventurer
good episode (im caught up through today) ,Its good to see high level battles . Sam gave me a laugh out loud moment with his language background choice and im hopint Travis is able to do what he needs to do . This is a spoiler thread however i havent seen much traffic since last week so i will say little until others post. It was a very good episode but no the very best of critical role

I do want a crossover event of matts campaign and Brennans at some point or the 2 of them involved in a d&D game at the same time

Lou and Liam are really good at brining character drama.
 

MarkB

Legend
This is a spoiler thread however i havent seen much traffic since last week so i will say little until others post.
It's tough to time viewing a thread on this topic, since the show streams on Thursday and then airs the following Monday on Youtube. I generally only check in with it on Tuesday after catching up with the episode.
 

I do appreciate how Brennan wrapped up the last 5-10 minutes of Ep 3. The look on people's faces of "Oh, hells, what did we do?" was great. I have an appreciation of how they played characters with strong wills and surety of their purpose.
 




mcmillan

Adventurer
I do want a crossover event of matts campaign and Brennans at some point or the 2 of them involved in a d&D game at the same time
If you aren't aware Matt was a player in the Escape from the Blood keep - a 6 episode game Brennan ran where the players were the lieutenants of an evil overlord dealing with the fallout of their master being defeated
 

So the last episode of Exandria Unlimited: Calamity is starting off well.

The first thirty minutes or so of this has consisted of resolving the repercussions of a magical disaster by:
1. One character's arm getting ripped off.
2. Several characters' magical items exploding off their bodies.
3. An explosion that deals both fire and bludgeoning damage.
4. And a concussive blast.

One of the characters is already dead.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
BE WARNED - Spoilers for the entire series starting with this post :)


Well, turns out I was very, very wrong about this mini-series not being a full on railroad. Still loved the performance and especially loved Brennan's Asmodeus, but wish there had been some actual stakes in the final confrontation instead of a fail forward with complications towards a pre-determined ending. Much prefer meaningful consequences that determine the outcome of the story when players roll dice, especially in a climactic encounter.

EDIT: After some additional time to think about the episode...

Man on man, this was soooo close to being a perfect live-play DnD one-shot. Brennan and all of the players nailed it all series long. And then in the final encounter, maybe because the session had gone on so long, Brennan muddied what the stakes were, what the meaningful result of failure was, and, for me, it really hurt the ending. All props to the players for roleplaying through the emotions of the scene anyhow, but I think this is a great lesson in the critical importance of communicating the consequence of failure to the players.

Brennan's mistake, IMO, was in trying to tie the release of the Primordials to the actions of the PCs in those final 3 rounds and also threatening the total destruction of Exandria, both of which both the audience and the players new was impossible. Because of that, all of the drama around the die rolls fell flat for me (again, if it did for the players, they did an excellent job hiding the fact).

Here is how Brennan could have set it up with the players to really make the end impactful.

"Laerryn, you've done it, in 18 seconds the city will touch down and the Primordials will be banished from Exandria. But there's a problem. Right now, the energy that will be released will send out a wave of destruction hundreds of miles wide, killing all those both in the city and all those who have just recently fled on airships. Enemies have stormed the Abborial Calix to kill you and the party, and you have just 3 rounds to try and minimize the destruction. Here's how it will work. You can make one DC20 Arcana check a round with your action, resulting in the following."

0 Successful Checks - The city and all the airships fleeing will be destroyed.
1 Successful Check - The city and all the people in it will be destroyed, but the airships will survive.
2 Successful Checks - The city will start collapsing, but those in it, including you and your friends, will have a chance to escape with additional checks (this is what actually happened, allowing Cerrit to escape, but not Quay and Laerryn)
3 Successful Checks - The city will be preserved (for now) allowing all those still alive on it to escape.

Most interesting about the above, is that Laerryn would have had an interesting decision to make after making 1 good check, in that killing all of the corrupt officials still in the city and all the devils there may have been a worthy sacrifice.

Please note that I'm really not trying to back-seat DM or throw shade at Brennan. It's amazing what was accomplished in these 4 sessions, and just like in real life, sometimes DMs don't make the best decisions or don't communicate perfectly, especially after a long and draining session. I LOVE this series, but a big part of the reason I watch live-actual play D&D is to learn to be a better DM myself, so the above is really about me processing and learning, not about trying to diminish or crap on anyone involved.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
Spoilers: BLM did an amazing job delivering an experience. As a DM, I'd put that up there as one of the best overall deliveries I've ever seen. Great job given the constraints, but there were a few things that I agree diminished the execution a bit (minor gripes):

1.) It felt like it 'kind of' stopped being a game for the first few hours of session 4. He just ignored time rules and had rounds that lasted minutes with an inconsistent 'time stop for kind of no reason' excuse for it. The problem I have here is the 'kind of' aspect of it. He muddled back and forth between game and exposition in a random and hard to follow way. I'd rather he had a more distinct way of shifting gears into 'real time' and 'time stop time' that gave them distinction and decreased the muddling. For example, when I have to deal with PCs that have split the party but I need their time to stay interwoven (as their actions still impact each other), I will stand in one place when DMing one group and move physcially to another place to keep the other group distinct. BLM had a lot more tools than I did, and if he'd tried to make this more distinct it could have a stronger delivery of those first few hours.

2.) There were aspects that had to be there, so there was always going to be some railroading, but I would have liked it if there had felt like there were more options for resolution. Yes, the continent he 'introduced' had to be destroyed, but if it did not happen here, he could have foreshadowed it was coming instead. I was excited in the second episode because I thought there was a chance these players were going to have a real option to change the modern setting by their actions - that Campaign 3 might find a City in the Hells that once floated above Exandria. I no longer feel that was ever on the table. This campaign seems to have had as much 'choice' as the original Baldur's Gate games on PC - you can come at the side quests in different ways, and your abiltiies will impact how you fight battles - but in the end you have a single core path. It would have been better to have a dozen or so potential endings that had different potential meanings for Exandria's long term future. This was a high level game. In my experience, those work best when they have real stakes.

Yes, there are shadows of this and Matt (or others) could weave upon what took place ... but there was a missed opportunity.

3.) Amazing. BLM uses that word too much. It started to get ... distracting for me.
 

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