Oh yeah? I haven't watched much Critical Role (love Mat and company, just isn't my thing), but that's what made me realize there was more than one way to enjoy D&D.Penny Arcade (and a couple others) are played for whimsey. Critical Role? Well, they have fun, like most games I've played, but I wouldn't put it down as exactly lighthearted. At least not all the time.
Specifically, there was a social interaction scene where the randomness of the d20 was really coming through, and I thought to myself, "See, this is why 5E skill checks are so terrible". But instead of being frustrated about it, the cast were ENJOYING it! They were laughing hysterically at not only the "slapstick-ness" of it all, but also how it was taking the adventure into unexpected territory. It's kind of when I realized I was taking 5E way too seriously and if I was going to have fun with it, something in my play style was going to have to give.
Oh, that's what I mean. I think playing 5E exactly like the older systems (as most of us did when it came out) leads to silliness just by nature of the mechanics. The earlier episodes I watched, it seemed like everyone knew certain situations were silly, but just kind of rolled with it since the rules were the rules, which led to the specific tone of the show?While much of the banter/interaction is lighthearted, Mercer seems to take the mechanics quite seriously. He's pretty old school that way and does not go rules light at all.
In order to have a more grounded and believable game, I think house-ruling on the fly is absolutely needed; and from the sound of it, Mat does this at least occasionally, right? Curious if over the years he's become more comfortable doing that (like I have) or if it still bothers him.