D&D 5E Grey beard culture question about critical role

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Because by 5e rules, you can either kill or knock out your opponent. The GM asking is good GMing.
Well, you can, but I don’t think that’s why Matt does it. Notice, he doesn’t do it for every opponent dropped or just for melee attacks. It’s the signal that this ends the fight and so releases all the tension and, naturally, brings out the cheers at the table (and among the viewers). So, it is good GMing, but not because it fits a 5e rule.
 

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jgsugden

Legend
I'm a grey beard. Literally and figuratively. Playing since the 1970s.

The style of game Mercer runs is similar to what I've been running since the 1980s. When PCs go shopping in my setting, it is sometimes just shopping - and sometimes an opportunity for a new adventure hook. When a PC kills an enemy, or an enemy lands a huge damage attack, I describe it or ask a player to describe it. I have entire 6 hour sessions without any combat (not often - but sometimes). And my groups still want to play with me and are intrigued by (some of) the storylines.

My advice:

1.) Watch a little CR. I'd suggest starting with Campaign 2. This will give you more of the feel of the style.
2.) Try to emulate it for a bit. This may not be appealing to you initially (or ever). This may not be comfortable. But trying it can be illustrative as to the elements of it and there may be elements of it you like.
3.) Don't feel like you need to be like everyone else. Some of the CR cast sit back and watch more than others during the shopping episodes. Some of them have elaborate 'How do you want to do this' ideas, while others just say, "I stab him in the throat." Just do what you're comfortable doing in the end ... but before you settle on what you like, try a few different things to see how they feel.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Weird. I wouldn’t call it skilled play. Skilled play is when the players solve the problems via thinking and interacting with the environment rather than engaging the mechanics.
This is a very goal-oriented view of the game. It conflates success in overcoming the challenges in the game with success in play. It's one among many valid ways to enjoy and play. But there are other valid ways, and they also can have skilled play.

Look at a game like Toon or Paranoia with very different types of "win" conditions. But even within games like D&D I've played with tables that were all about accomplishing the mission, others that were like a traveloge and were about exploring and seeing all the cool things the DM came up with in their setting, I've played soap operas with rivalries, love triangles, marriages and the like between several groups that crossed over in the same world, I've played politics and intrigue both as a party and when we all had secrets and used each other to further our goals. And then when you get to other games and genres it really expands.

The opposite of how CR plays. They’re obviously quite skilled as actors and voice actors, but that’s not an essential part of play. Role-playing is, sure. But role-playing is more than pulling a voice.
Again, saying it's not "an essential part of play" assumes your definition of play, which does not encompass everything. For the CR table, heavy RP is an essential part of their play.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Absolutely, and the videos of the home game when there was no audience.
See, those, to me, have a decidedly different vibe than the show.

To be clear, I don’t think they’re “playing for the camera,” but I do think there has been a shift in the vibe from then to now, which makes this comparison less convincing than it might otherwise be.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
No, I'm not and if you'd followed my argument through the thread that would be obvious. In fact, I've very much talked about the opposite of that, things like deliberately sharing spotlight and throwing out RP hooks to other players as elements of skillful play.

Since you clearly aren't actually responding to what I said, there must be all sorts of horrors in your past that is what you are actually responding to. I don't know what they are, but they aren't really relevant to my conception of playing the game well, and we probably both agree that whatever burned you and hurt you was poor play.

But to use your own dysfunctional description and your own dysfunctional classifications, I've yet to meet a player that really knew how to to role-play that couldn't roll play, where as I've frequently met roll players that couldn't role-play. And the worst sorts of selfish and self-centered play, spot-light hogging, rules lawyering, argumentative, time wasting, bullying crap usually come from roll players who have never considered that the fundamental ethic of play is always to ensure everyone is having fun. Because I played just a few weeks ago with a guy that made an art of "it's what my character would do" but not once sacrificed the fun of anyone else at the table, where as I played a few hours before that with a guy literally incapable of making in character propositions who never once considered anyone else's enjoyment but his own. There is nothing inherently toxic about "it's what my character would do". The inherent toxicity lies at some level below the excuses.
"Doesn't know how to roll play" and "ignores it in favor of What Crawford frequently describes as 'tell your story'." are not the same thing. I have multiple players at my table (five currently), "your story" is the story of one member of a group of adventurers working together as a party. Your earlier post was not ignored, I simply commented on the way it put a gold seal on the arguments used to support "My Character....." statements that tend to rely on "I'm a plater at the table so calling me on it will lead to drama". CR is professional voice actors, most players are not anything of the sort.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
See, those, to me, have a decidedly different vibe than the show.

To be clear, I don’t think they’re “playing for the camera,” but I do think there has been a shift in the vibe from then to now, which makes this comparison less convincing than it might otherwise be.
Sure, I'd say it seems like they were more...goblin like, in those videos.

But if they in some way take the game more seriously because they're in front of cameras, I would say that is far from the same thing as playing to the camera.
 

jgsugden

Legend
See, those, to me, have a decidedly different vibe than the show.

To be clear, I don’t think they’re “playing for the camera,” but I do think there has been a shift in the vibe from then to now, which makes this comparison less convincing than it might otherwise be.
They recorded a video of the three GMs that have run games in Exandria last night that was available on Twitch. If you see it, Matt talks a bit about player evolution. When a player is new and does not 'know the ropes', they tend to push more boundaries and do crazier things as they don't really understand their character sheet or the rules of the game. As they get to know the rules, they tend to pull back to the 'expectations of the game' and select more options from within the menu provided by their spell list, their character abilities, etc... Then, after a while they tend to push boundaries again by thinking about more than their character sheet again - looking at the features of the rooms they're in, etc...

Games, and specifically players, evolve. I've seen this a lot of times and I encourage players to move forward to get back to that third zone where they both know and understand the rules, but they think about the story.

In CR, when they recorded prestream games, most of the players didn't know the rules. Heck, most of them were still struggling with them throughout campaign one. Some were more experienced, but you can see the evolution of Sam, Ashley, Laura, Marisha, and Travis. Most of them have moved on to that third phase now which gets them thinking about the story and using the rules instead of thinking about the rules so much.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
They recorded a video of the three GMs that have run games in Exandria last night that was available on Twitch. If you see it, Matt talks a bit about player evolution. When a player is new and does not 'know the ropes', they tend to push more boundaries and do crazier things as they don't really understand their character sheet or the rules of the game. As they get to know the rules, they tend to pull back to the 'expectations of the game' and select more options from within the menu provided by their spell list, their character abilities, etc... Then, after a while they tend to push boundaries again by thinking about more than their character sheet again - looking at the features of the rooms they're in, etc...

Games, and specifically players, evolve. I've seen this a lot of times and I encourage players to move forward to get back to that third zone where they both know and understand the rules, but they think about the story.

In CR, when they recorded prestream games, most of the players didn't know the rules. Heck, most of them were still struggling with them throughout campaign one. Some were more experienced, but you can see the evolution of Sam, Ashley, Laura, Marisha, and Travis. Most of them have moved on to that third phase now which gets them thinking about the story and using the rules instead of thinking about the rules so much.
Link? Twitcv is a big place
 

Bolares

Hero
It's like the language / cadence. Or maybe the things they "expect D&D to be". A few examples:
  1. the interchange with merchants is not not something I'm accustomed to - this seems to be a big part of the experience
  2. the depth-of-character is really impressive, but again, I'm simply not accustomed to it - the group is "really in character" at the table
  3. the killing move, "how do you want to do this" is something new to me
  4. the mechanics of the game seem to be less important than the story of the game
Again, my DM is really amazing (I introduced D&D to him many years ago), and I'm having a very fun time, but I'm just...not...quite...connecting.
Okay, to me it seems like you want to connect. I'd try to start by focusing where you do have similarities, and talk to your friends and DM at the table. Ask for their help connecting. If you are not used to be really in character, try to make your character similar to you in some way, to make that transition easy. If you are not used to interact a lot with NPCs follow the parties lead, make small coments and do more when you are confortable doing so. Killing moves are fun for those who like to describe their actions, but shouldn't be mandatory, you can ask for help describing them, make it a table interaction moment.

With all that said, none of this should be mandatory, different play styles can work well together in a game. If the way they have fun is not that fun to you, be open about it and they will probably understand and let you focus on the parts of the game that are fun to you.
 

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
As a 52 year old gamer myself, and a Critical Role fan, I'd say you're fine. Just try to draw on your inner twelve-year old and bring that energy to your character. (Oh, and make sure your character has emotional baggage to work on.)

As a specific suggestion - the thing that CR does more than anything is have role-play interaction between two characters, instead of the PC and the DM. Think of something your character might want to know about another PC, and - in character, of course - ask them. This may be something they've been dying to play out in-game.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As a 52 year old gamer myself, and a Critical Role fan, I'd say you're fine. Just try to draw on your inner twelve-year old and bring that energy to your character. (Oh, and make sure your character has emotional baggage to work on.)

As a specific suggestion - the thing that CR does more than anything is have role-play interaction between two characters, instead of the PC and the DM. Think of something your character might want to know about another PC, and - in character, of course - ask them. This may be something they've been dying to play out in-game.
One of the best moments I've had as a player in the last few years was the whole process of dealing with the Althing, which is a gathering of all the leaders, merchants, and folk with something to bring to the assembly and speak about, in the northern region of the penninsular nation two of our PCs are from.

We wanted to influence the Althing, ahead of Thumi "Stormstalker" Geanavi, The Voice of The Mountain and a name in giantish that basically means the Arrow Sent To Fly Into The Heart of The Enemy, but gets transliterated as Lichbane, speaking before the Althing of the threat of the fiend-worshipping necromancer cult trying to break the seals that keep demons from pouring into the world, and basically calling for a War Council. (this is what happens when you take Folk Hero, and make a very imposing but socially awkward ranger/druid goliath)

So, hearts and minds, right? Start with food, follow through with providing a place to take a hot bath. So we started by my PC using the Galder's Tower spell to make a bath and breakfast in the center of the camping area of the Althing, and gladhanding in the days leading up to Thumi speaking. Thumi has the Chef feat, so she is running the kitchen, Dresden (my PC) and an army of Unseen Servants is running service, and the other two PCs are running around doing all sorts of stuff, sometimes taking over service so Dresden can run around doing other stuff (like haggling for new gear, commissioning magic items, meeting with important people whose voice will help get more votes in the Althing, etc). The whole thing, from flying our airship back to Kiltaith (the aforementioned penninsular nation) and visiting old friends and family to get as many friendly faces and voices at the Althing as possible weeks before, to setting up and getting a feel for the crowd, to gladhanding, to planning and discussing what Thumi needs to communicate, and all the adventure and conflict and tense moments peppered throughout about a dozen game sessions, was very nearly the most fun I've ever had as a player, and I'd say about 1/3 of it heavily or primarily involved interactions between player characters.


And just a note on PCs, and story focused roleplaying, since some folks seem to think the "vast majority" of such play is terrible nonsense full of "mary sues" with no flaws who are never in danger...
edit: nvm. It's not worth writing out a whole long thing about our campaigns and how we roleplay and focus on story without any of the behaviors that are supposedly rampant to the point of near-ubiquity. Suffice to say, I disagree with that poster.
 


robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Absolutely. It’s more collaborative storytelling than game. They engage the rules “when necessary” but otherwise keep chugging along.
I don’t understand this, is that not how most tables run? The rules cannot be engaged most of the time? Or are other groups rolling dice for every declared action?
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I don’t understand this, is that not how most tables run? The rules cannot be engaged most of the time? Or are other groups rolling dice for every declared action?
Actually! I have seen the claim Matt rolls too many dice and should sometimes let the characters through with out a roll.
:D
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Actually! I have seen the claim Matt rolls too many dice and should sometimes let the characters through with out a roll.
:D
I agree when a werewolf is just trying to break through a door to escape. Making Travis roll for that was terrible! :)
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Skilled play is when the players solve the problems via thinking and interacting with the environment rather than engaging the mechanics. The opposite of how CR plays.
This surprises me as I feel it is the complete opposite. The CR players really interact with the environment from what I’ve seen and are constantly coming up with creative solutions. It would be pretty dull otherwise.
 


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