They Got Magic and Flair
April 18, 2019 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Critical Role, a 4 year old web series airing 7pm PDT Thursday nights in which a bunch of nerdy ass voice actors play Dungeons and Dragons, launched a Kickstarter on March 4th to fund an animated special.

If you're familiar with McCree in Overwatch, Jaina in World of Warcraft, Roy Mustang in Full Metal Alchemist, Ellie in The Last of Us, Akihiko Sanada in Persona 3, Phoenix Wright in Ace Attorney, Margaret in Persona 4, and the little blonde kid in Mr. Mom (to name a few of a few thousand credits among them) you know these actors.

Critical Role's Kickstarter goal was $750,000, but they did not reckon with the passion of their fans, known as Critters. The Critters hit that goal in 40 minutes, crossed the $1,000,000 mark within an hour, and before their Q&A/Kickstarter hype livecast came on that night, had blown through all 5 stretch goals.

In the past 45 days, as the Kickstarter continued to blow past goals, the special expanded to become a two-parter, and then added 8 more episodes (complete with theme song) based on their first campaign.

This is the top funded TV/Film Kickstarter of all time, beating the MST3K reboot (previously) and the Veronica Mars movie (previously). They are also the 5th most funded Kickstarter of all time in any category and the 5th most backed Kickstarter of all time in any category.

In the end, they raised over 11 million dollars and had almost 90,000 backers.
posted by booksherpa (49 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
BIDET!
posted by Faintdreams at 3:15 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


I am a lng time Critter, and I backed the KS early and Big(ish) and in the future I am going to receive a plush Armoured Trinket Bear and a KS special edition Vox Machina Beanie hat and My body can barely contain all the Squee right now.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:17 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I’m so proud of those nerdy-ass voice actors. What really impressed me is that the average contribution was well over $100. People really, really want this to happen.
posted by a hat out of hell at 5:35 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I very much hope this doesn't go the way of many other Kickstarters that wildly exceed goals. I've seen a lot of kickstarters say "We got eight times as much money, so I guess we do something eight times as big" without realizing some of those costs go up geometrically rather than linearly.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:09 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I very much hope this doesn't go the way of many other Kickstarters that wildly exceed goals. I've seen a lot of kickstarters say "We got eight times as much money, so I guess we do something eight times as big" without realizing some of those costs go up geometrically rather than linearly.

I do wonder what they're planning for distribution, but I think it's a good sign that they stopped offering more elaborate physical backer rewards pretty early on, and it looks like they talked to their animation company about costs before setting more stretch goals.

That first night 'kick off party' stream is so fun to watch because they're all so overwhelmed (in a good way) that they don't even know what to say about what is happening, or what is real anymore.

And super looking forward to Ashley DM'ing a game!
posted by dinty_moore at 6:16 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


They have self-funded what could be credibly called an entire season of animation. That's got to be an attractive draw to any of the subscription services, Netflix, Prime, whomever, especially with a demonstrated audience in the millions.

They seem to have set this up relatively smartly. Though nothing is ever that easy when big projects kick off, a great team is so, so important to success. I'm quite hopeful that they've got a good shot of making this work.
posted by bonehead at 7:12 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I heard Critical Role described as "the biggest thing you've never heard of" and it feels so true. I only just started watching at the beginning of campaign 2 and keep running into other fans going about their everyday lives. I had no idea how big the fanbase was around it until I started watching, so it doesn't surprise me at all that Critical Role keeps getting so massively underestimated.
posted by lilac girl at 7:14 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Critical Role got me into D&D/TTRPGs as a jaded 30-something, there is an unalloyed joy to it that constantly surprises me. They’re genuinely lovely people and they deserve all the success that is coming to them.
posted by brilliantmistake at 7:35 AM on April 19


A friend, a chef, and one of my borderline non-nerdy friends, has become a super-fan, and now wants to host a D&D campaign.

You nerds are *everywhere*, and infectious.
posted by DigDoug at 7:36 AM on April 19


you spice?

Huge fan of CR and the whole community. It's been discussed a lot here, but CR, the Adventure Zone, and 5th edition D&D in general has been instrumental in making tabletop gaming so much more open and accessible than before. Playing Dungeons and Dragons is the highlight of my week, and I wouldn't have met the great friends I play with had it not been for CR.
posted by rossination at 7:44 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]




I’ve always wondered why Critical Role isn’t on Fanfare, surely there are enough critters here to make it worthwhile?
posted by a hat out of hell at 8:42 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Someone tried a few years ago, but didn't get much of a response, I think?

No reason why someone else can't start posting again they'd like.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:47 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I started watching CR a little over two years ago when I took up spinning (like yarn, not like bikes). The combination made me come up with two fiber-related character classes and the backbone for cold-era SFF setting involving weaving having been magic, then jacquard looms and early computing.

After a while I found myself using the same color combinations over and over again so I started making critical role themed yarns, which is possibly the weirdest expression of fandom I've ever participated in (and I say this as someone who once created a tumblr dedicated to investigating whether or not Ben Edlund was actually a muppet).
posted by dinty_moore at 8:59 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Playing D&D has been the bright spot of the last two years for me and thank god it’s popular again. There’s nothing better than a few hours every week with friends where we aren’t dealing with real life problems and can talk to animals.

(If anyone has a lead or a recommendation in a good place to get started on CR I would be awfully grateful. I keep on being daunted by how far behind I am at this point.)
posted by velebita at 9:37 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I say this as someone who once created a tumblr dedicated to investigating whether or not Ben Edlund was actually a muppet

What was the verdict?
posted by DigDoug at 9:47 AM on April 19


What was the verdict?

Nothing conclusive, but there were a lot of MS Paint pictures created in the service of finding out. Muppets are an ongoing theme in his work from "The Tick" on, and one can take the Angel episode "Smile Time" to be a reflection on the difficulties those with felted status might feel in Hollywood.

(The Vax yarn is planned as a three-ply, for dagger dagger dagger, the Percy yarn was a collection of poor decisions layered on top of each other that ended up looking better than it had any right, and Jester's is this machine washable faux cashmere that's surprisingly soft and strong. I can post pictures)
posted by dinty_moore at 9:59 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


@dinty_moore - As both a fellow spinner and a fellow Critter, I would love to see your yarn.
posted by darchildre at 10:19 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


velebita: If anyone has a lead or a recommendation in a good place to get started on CR I would be awfully grateful. I keep on being daunted by how far behind I am at this point.

It is a ridiculous amount of content. I’ve heard many people catch up by listening to the podcasts, which are easier to multitask to, and can be sped up with little loss of comprehension. I had the advantage of having a bunch of time on my hands.

If you want to watch them, starting with Campaign 2 is less overwhelming, just because there’s half as much of it. For Campaign 1, you could start with episode 24, which reduces the quantity by 20%. On the other hand, there is some good stuff in those first 23 episodes. If you just want to be prepared for the animated episodes, watch Campaign 1, episodes 24-38.
posted by booksherpa at 10:29 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


faintdreams: BIDET!

Bidet, beep beep, and hello bees!
posted by booksherpa at 10:57 AM on April 19


This is my favorite show of all time.

I cannot even begin to explain how it has changed my life and the way I view my interests. Have been crying with joy since the wrap party last night.

$11 million.

All for this phenomenal cast of good people.

Happiest of thoughts for at least a month.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:37 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


All for this phenomenal cast of good people.

So much this.

I did my best to keep my personal feelings out of the post, but I am delighted that these wonderful, creative, funny, talented, humble, AMAZING people get to make an animated series of, arguably, the best arc of the first campaign. I both smiled and teared up every time they appeared stunned by the response, especially Matt. I understand the difficulty of imposter syndrome, of refusing to believe you’re really that talented or that beloved. Hopefully they believe the 88,887 of us that just told them they are.
posted by booksherpa at 11:55 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Blegh. My wife and I bounced off this show pretty hard. Using quotes this transcript, I tried to write a post with a rundown of the things in the first episode that made us bounce off it, and it turned into this crazy 1200 word rant (including many links and quotations, in my defense) that would have almost definitely derailed this whole thread, which I don't think I want to do, especially in light of this comment.

In short, I've been playing tabletop RPGs since I was eight, it's my favorite hobby, I'm stoked that it's becoming so popular, and I'm so fucking frustrated that I can't enjoy this show or connect to people over it, because my wife and I found it so aggressively charmless and unfunny in the opening episode. We literally didn't get through the character introduction videos, because three out of the first four characters (and, therefore, players) didn't seem like people we wanted to spend time with.

I would be so grateful if someone with a little spare time and, ideally, thick skin could field my rant and tell me whether the things we disliked about the character intros are representative of the characters, players, and show? This successfully funded animated series seems to be about the same campaign whose character introductions inspired my stupid rant which I've spent over two hours on at this point. I'd really like to know whether this is something I should give more of a try, or whether I can just write it off as yet another popular thing I just don't get or like, even though it seems like it should be squarely in my wheelhouse, like Bojack Horseman or Supernatural, and I don't want to completely blow up the thread to do it. Even this comment's too long at this point. Sorry.
posted by Caduceus at 2:15 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Still have the longest comment in the thread. Cool, cool. Good job, me. Sorry.
posted by Caduceus at 2:17 PM on April 19


Yeah, I too would love to hear what people love about this show so much. I don't dislike it so much as I find it boring. One of the top complaints about running a ttrpg is that things often happen at a glacial pace but when you're a player at least you get your turn in the spotlight. And I don't want at all to dump on CR - I'm glad the CR team has made a fun game among friends into a hot property and I'm glad other people like it. I just do not get it. And per Caduceus, I've been playing D&D since something like 10.

The resurgence of 5th ed has been amazing and I'm very happy it's happened but it perplexes me a bit that so many people get into it via these D&D podcasts/livestreams. I mean, I guess it's somewhat obvious that it's hard to find people at random to get into it, but I just don't get the appeal of CR and its ilk. I post this not to grouse but as a sincere request for someone to share with me what they like about it.

[That all said I will admit to being a regular Adventure Zone listener, but I think the McElroy's dynamic is different than CR's]
posted by GuyZero at 2:36 PM on April 19


I would be so grateful if someone with a little spare time and, ideally, thick skin could field my rant and tell me whether the things we disliked about the character intros are representative of the characters, players, and show?

I mean, I can do that, or you could try to see if you like the second series better (same players for the most part, different characters). The first series' characters were a lot of the players' first D&D characters ever, and I can see how you could get that feeling from their intros. But, like a lot of campaigns, the characters did evolve from their origins.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:37 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I too would love to hear what people love about this show so much. I don't dislike it so much as I find it boring. One of the top complaints about running a ttrpg is that things often happen at a glacial pace but when you're a player at least you get your turn in the spotlight.

So one thing is that I'm usually listening while doing something else (spinning, or exercising, or just playing on my phone). I'll watch TV while spinning, too - but with something like CR, there's some visual stimulation, but not enough that I'm worried that I'm missing something. I think it does help that they're voice actors, so they're pretty good about it being easy to tell what's going on aurally, too, and they're all decent at coming out of left field and doing weird unexpected shit, and Matt is a good enough DM to allow it to happen.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:46 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Caduceus: I would be so grateful if someone with a little spare time and, ideally, thick skin could field my rant and tell me whether the things we disliked about the character intros are representative of the characters, players, and show?

Hey, no worries about the length of your comment or squashing the schmoopy. I tried the first episode as a podcast originally, and gave up. If it wasn’t for a strong recommendation by someone I trusted, I might never have tried Critical Role.

The first campaign is a continuation of the home campaign they had already been playing for 2 years. They were approached to stream it, and weren’t interested because they didn’t want to lose the dynamic they had. When the offer became “keep doing exactly what you’re doing, just let us stream it”, they agreed.

So, the first episode starts in the midst of a campaign, complete with relationships and in-jokes unknown to us. The sound sucks. Keyleth can be annoying. There’s some crude sexual humor, especially with Grog and Scanlan. Things are kind of jokey. Orion Acaba (Tiberius) is AWFUL (in my opinion).

And then, slowly, it gets better. Relationships build. The sound gets better. Things get more serious. Orion leaves.

Honestly, if you’re willing to give it a second chance, start with episode 24. It’s the beginning of the arc that will be animated, and there’s a reason they picked it. It’s a tight story, great action, serious character development, plus occasional humor. You’ll miss some good guest shots, and some stuff that crops up again, but it’s an easier place to start.

And if none of that grabs you, the 2nd campaign has a character named Caduceus who shows up later on. ;)
posted by booksherpa at 3:08 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


Okay, so, I'm not saying I'm any good at spinning, and a lot of this was from when I was still fairly new. But the general idea was that shortly after I started spinning, I'd inherited a bunch of roving, but kept on defaulting to the same colors over and over again. And yeah, I'm doing this entirely for my own amusement.

Keyleth: The first one of these I made after deciding to start this project. A crunchy two-ply and firey color.

Percy: I took the first roving that I tried to spin on my spinning wheel - some undyed wool of dubious origin that was slightly felted, tried and sort of failed to snow dye the singles, and then did a 3 ply (action surge) with one undyed single. So multiple acts of hubris and experimentation, one after another. The end result ended up being a workable yarn somehow? Recently became a cowl and a hat.

Vex: A sport weight combination of a blue/gray wool that seemed like it was going to be rougher than it actually was, and some nice unidentified ball of blue/white/black roving that maybe had some rayon (tree) in it? V. Pretty, in my opinion.

Vax: Not finished. I have a blue-black single and then some really nice cobalt blue single that I was going to 3-ply with a black/white that was the 'sibling' the Vex's unidentified ball of roving. But then I decided the end result would be too much like Percy's, and maybe if the whole reason to do this is to do something different, maybe I should try to not make the yarn too similar.

Scanlan: Not yet finished, a luxurious alpaca/silk with whose colorway was 'shades of Prince'

Taryon: Silver and gold, a little thick and heavy.

Second Series:

Jester: Hello Purl Faux Cashmere in a varying array of blues, and ended up surprisingly soft, strong, and easy to work with - not feeling like acrylic at all. Two plied for extra duplicity. Will be used for a baby thing soon.

Fjord: Malabrigo Nube Aguas . Extreme softie despite everything. Fractal plied, because fractals and seashells go together or something. Ended up being thinner than expected. Given to a friend who will actually knit with 700 yards of laceweight.

Mollymauk: I took a ball of this weird red and light blue combination that I'd been calling 'sun bleached cubs fan' and claimed to have some banana silk in it (maybe?), and then combined with a pansyish purple that was somewhere in the middle of the two colors. Given to a friend who will use it, as Molly would have wanted.

Caduceus: Malabrigo Nube arco iris, plus some white/magenta alpaca that was the softest, fuzziest thing ever. I did a four-ply of it, then overdyed it with some silvery grey - I was trying for some fungal-ish colors.

Yasha: I took some black/white roving and some blue/purple/white roving and spun them into singles, plied them together, and then plied the 2 ply together for some MONSTAH (or cable plied) yarn. Super thick (well, worsted), looks a little more like a 90's solo cup than I was anticipating.

Beau: Chain plied (because monk) blue/brown wool. Spun on the spindle, strong. Sport Weight
posted by dinty_moore at 4:24 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


Thank you for the kind replies, those were insightful. (Also, here's the episode transcript I failed to link properly in my first comment, which I used to break down things I didn't like in the comment I didn't post. Just in case people who like this show want transcripts for some reason. There's a whole Tumblr of them.)

I feel like this:

I mean, I can do that, or you could try to see if you like the second series better (same players for the most part, different characters). The first series' characters were a lot of the players' first D&D characters ever, and I can see how you could get that feeling from their intros. But, like a lot of campaigns, the characters did evolve from their origins.

Plus this:

The first campaign is a continuation of the home campaign they had already been playing for 2 years. They were approached to stream it, and weren’t interested because they didn’t want to lose the dynamic they had. When the offer became “keep doing exactly what you’re doing, just let us stream it”, they agreed.

Pretty much explains everything we didn't like. First D&D character syndrome explains why the barbarian and the druid could have as easily said, "I'm a barbarian/druid, you know what that means," and had as functional of backstories as the actual backstories they presented, and the fact that they weren't actually gung-ho about performing explains why the jokes are lazy or pseudo-jokes and they players don't come off very well in the way they're representing themselves. I mentioned several times in the comment I didn't post about the character backgrounds being "perfectly functional character background[s] for a [character] in a D&D campaign which you're not hoping people will pay you to watch." It being someone else's idea to get people to watch them, which they weren't that into, clears things up a lot.

So, the first episode starts in the midst of a campaign, complete with relationships and in-jokes unknown to us. The sound sucks. Keyleth can be annoying. There’s some crude sexual humor, especially with Grog and Scanlan. Things are kind of jokey. Orion Acaba (Tiberius) is AWFUL (in my opinion).

You name-checked everyone here we had a problem with, except Orion who we didn't even reach, so we'll definitely not give it a try before episode 24. I will do that, though. It would at least be nice to see some of what people like and appreciate about this show, even if I decide it's not for me in the end.
posted by Caduceus at 5:45 PM on April 19


Caduceus, thank you for raising the issue and booksherpa thank you for the clear explanation. I also went in thinking "this is 100% for me" and tried several approaches, bouncing off. Hearing that the sound and some of the... Neither fun nor well done characters get better or move on is great.

I tried many other actual play options before finding and now becoming completely immersed in The Glass Cannon and its related shows. Those guys have a similarly exciting arc of success with a Pathfinder, a slightly crunchier ("simulationist"-er) game system that shares roots with D&D but they, also being various flavors of voice artists and enthusiasts manage to meet my unreasonably high bar for recording quality ("good radio") as well as great character and improvised storytelling (still guided by well-written content).

Related, I'm warming up to D20 Dames, an all-woman podcast that is (on a listen from episode one) catching up quickly on my *good radio" scale.

So I'm downloading CR again starting at episode 24 and will report back. Regardless I'm glad another thing like this is finding its audience.
posted by abulafa at 5:50 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


dinty_moore, those are lovely - I especially like the look of the Jester and Keyleth yarns. Thank you for sharing!
posted by gesso at 6:10 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I am unapologetically delighted by CR enough to have done fanart for it, since it gives me my D&D fix without having to jump through the hoops of nonsense involved in scheduling a game of my own. I bounced off the Adventure Zone hard enough to enter orbit. I'm pretty sure it's just down to the flavor you like in your fantasy/improv.

If anybody's looking for more games to watch/listen to, since we're dropping recommendations:
Dungeons and Randomness has a DM juggling three groups in the same world who all stay pretty low-level, so the focus stays more at the "helping a town" level.
Roll20 Presents has a DM who delights in doing silly voices and is the only campaign I've ever seen where the bard is the adult.
posted by tautological at 6:30 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I will say that Keyleth remains somewhat annoying. I like Marisha Ray, the voice actor who played her, but I didn’t always like her role-playing choices. Grog and Scanlan continue to be the main comic relief. Travis Willingham, who played Grog, stayed true to his INT of 6. He does have some interesting and serious moments, though. Sam Riegel, who played Scanlan, is just a comic relief kind of person. He, too, has some pretty serious moments, as well as a certain amount of comeuppance. Also, his bard moments are funny - he’s good at singing and improv, and it shows.

Probably my favorite thing about the show, though, is Matt Mercer, the DM. He’s literally the man of a thousand voices. When his players surprise him, he responds quickly and creatively. He has crafted this amazing and detailed world that serves as a giant playground for the players. Matt takes the snippets of players’ backstories and weaves them in beautifully. There are multiple beloved NPCs that feel almost as developed as the PCs. He would also probably be the first to say that he’s just bringing what he’s good at to his game, and that other GMs are just as good, if not better. Matt is good people.
posted by booksherpa at 6:40 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I tried and failed to start with campaign 1 for a lot of the reasons mentioned here. I then bumped into campaign 2 and fell in love with it. Once I digested all of that I went back into the original stuff, but now I can overlook their imperfections, because I know where they're going and I more or less love them all.
posted by Shutter at 6:45 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I’ve always wondered why Critical Role isn’t on Fanfare, surely there are enough critters here to make it worthwhile?


I thought about it when S2 started, but it was a little daunting: each episode is 3-4.5 hours of content every week and I’m often 2-3 weeks behind; I didn’t want to be making posts for episodes I hadn’t seen yet.

One of the top complaints about running a ttrpg is that things often happen at a glacial pace but when you're a player at least you get your turn in the spotlight. And I don't want at all to dump on CR - I'm glad the CR team has made a fun game among friends into a hot property and I'm glad other people like it. I just do not get it. And per Caduceus, I've been playing D&D since something like 10.

When one of my friends starting urging me to watch CR, I felt the same - why the hell would I want to watch other people play? And I bounced hard off the first episode multiple times for many reasons outlined above. In retrospect, starting at episode 24 is probably the easier entry point - the audio issues are largely improved and the characters are a bit smoother - when it was a homegame, they would play infrequently and playing every week gave the players a much better sense of them (IMO). What I latched onto was the realization that I was having a chance to watch a group of performers engage in a structured improv exercise with each other. The other learning was that I didn’t need to watch intensely all the time - I often had my Bluetooth headphones on while I did housework or other stuff, and then bring my attention to full when things got intense. I also would watch in small chunks of 20-30 minutes instead of trying to down 3- 4 hours of content at once.

Anyways, it’s also ok if it doesn’t work for you. You can just walk away.
posted by nubs at 8:06 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I love that CR has a fan base that, over 4 years, went from sending them pizza during their livestreams to giving them 11 million dollars.
posted by bibliowench at 8:15 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


We too found S1 too hard to get into. We essentially started with S2 and haven't looked back. I would strongly recommend that as a newcomer. You miss nothing in terms of story or worldbuilding. The S2 characters are very well drawn, and their decisions have consequence from the beginning. The S1 bunch did acquire some weight of character, but slower and later as the players figured things out.
posted by bonehead at 8:16 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I’m in the minority, but I haven’t been able to get into season 2 as much as I did with the first campaign. Critical Role got me back into playing d&d for the first time since middle school, and I find myself much more interested in combat than story since I’m thinking about what my characters would do. Everyone has so.much.backstory, and two out of the last three episodes were mostly storytelling/shopping.

Too much drama, not enough killing things. I still love the show though.
posted by bibliowench at 8:26 PM on April 19


I can't listen to any Actual Play shows because I find the inability to join in excruciating (I love playing rpgs but don't have the time or people and I miss it dearly), but I'm excited to see the show.

I wonder how much it will resemble the story telling style of a campaign swayed (if not driven) by the results of die rolls vs a story written for tv starring the characters you know and love. I kind of hope it's the 2nd.
posted by Reyturner at 8:45 PM on April 19


Reyturner, my understanding is that for the Whitestone arc portion of the episodes (episodes 3-10) they are going to treat the game play as a finished story to guide the script. They have specifically said this will be accessible to non-gamers and those unfamiliar with Critical Role. So.... 1.5?
posted by booksherpa at 8:51 PM on April 19


I'll take it!
posted by Reyturner at 10:02 PM on April 19


Extremely interesting breakdown of the Kickstarter funding over on the CR Reddit.
posted by anastasiav at 8:41 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


I haven't given Critical Role a shot yet because a friend recently got me listening to the Glass Cannon that abulafa mentioned above. Like Critical Role it's voice actors doing a campaign; it's Pathfinder which is just a "forked" version of D&D from 3rd edition. Pathfinder has always sort of scared me because unlike D&D 5e it's got rules for everything, but one thing I learned listening to them is they can totally mess up the rules and it doesn't matter all that much.
posted by mark k at 10:32 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Actual Play podcast recommendation: The Magpies is a Blades in the Dark game following a band of thieves who go from scratching out a living to becoming renegade vigilantes affecting the entire city's power structure. Metafilter Bonus: They include a rallying cry for 5calls.org before every episode and the four actresses nominate monthly featured charities to highlight; April's is the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center.
posted by persona at 11:47 AM on April 20


You had me at Blades in the Dark. I played once literally while in line for a Glass Cannon live show and I really loved it. Thanks, persona.
posted by abulafa at 8:18 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


I will say that Keyleth remains somewhat annoying.

Keyleth is not my favorite, but she (and Marisha Ray) received an outsized amount of hatred that I'm sure is due to gender. Keyleth hit some character notes that frequently provoke misogynist backlash. Not that you can't dislike the character for other reasons, but I had to really interrogate my feelings about Keyleth. I started to appreciate her more after I realized how much intentionality was behind some of those dumb choices, how Marisha was really trying to portray a type of personality (that I think she succeeded at).

My least favorite character was actually Vex, who I thought was simply ... boring. Vax was also boring at first, but at least interesting things happened to him, which gave him the opportunity for a lot more character development. I started to appreciate Laura Bailey a lot more after S2 started, and I saw how different her new character was. In hindsight, there was a lot of intentionality in Vex's character that I missed too - although I don't think it played as well in the format, because so much of Vex's struggle was internal.

I should have liked Grog the least because he was the one built the most out of tropes, but I think it actually ended up working well because Travis played true to his strengths (and weaknesses). Grog lightened the drama, without being as forcefully comedic as Scanlan. He shook things up, often by being stupid as fuck. He wasn't the most interesting from a character development perspective, but I think the ensemble needed someone like him.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:45 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


Re: the comments about C1 or C2 being harder to "get into";

I think it's important to remember how C1 got started: a group of friends playing what was intended to be a one-shot adventure for Liam's birthday. Some of them hadn't really played before, so the characters are tropey in part because of that beginning. Then they had so much fun they made it into a home game, and then they agreed to try to livestream it for G&S. But I think the general nature of the characters comes in part from that origin of the one-shot, with players who were largely new. C1 is also a more "traditional" D&D campaign - a group of heroes (or anti-heroes) defeating the big bad(s).

C2 on the other hand is where most everybody made what I think of as their "second" D&D character - a little more edgy, with secrets and dark histories, to the point where there were some questions as to why this group was even together. C2 is also more morally ambiguous, with no clear "baddies" yet; it took me a while to grab onto C2, until I started to view it as a group of misfits and assholes who might just save each other, while bumping into larger world events that lack clarity as to what is the "good" outcome along the way.

They are two different styles of campaign, and they are going to appeal tin different ways. Part of why I may have struggled to get into C2 may have been that I was still finishing C1 when it started; I was jumping back and forth between them and they are very different in tone and feel; for me, C2 didn't really feel like it had it's feet under it until e35, "Dockside Diplomacy".

I should have liked Grog the least because he was the one built the most out of tropes, but I think it actually ended up working well because Travis played true to his strengths (and weaknesses)

Travis was so fun to watch as Grog, particularly at moments when you could see Travis had figured something out that the rest of the group hadn't, but he couldn't share it because he was staying true to Grog's intelligence. It's been great to see him play one of the "faces" in C2, where he is again playing true to Fjord's strengths and weaknesses.

Anyways, as someone who has played since I was about 10 (with a very long break in my 30s-40s), starting with the box sets and 1st Ed, this...renaissance...is still amazing to me. The fact that there are such a plethora of actual play podcasts/VODs out there, that so many people are playing and watching and sharing with each other has made this hobby amazing; seeing how others make use of spells and items and abilities in different ways just spurs my own creativity with my campaign, whereas when I took my long break it was in part because I felt stagnant with the group I was with - we had been playing together for a long time, and we had some set patterns of how things worked and didn't work. Now, I have access to tons of content, homebrew, and perspectives I never had. It's amazing.

On a further personal note, my twenty year old niece has gotten into the game in a big way with her friends. I bought her the DMG and Monster Manual for Christmas, as she was about to move into the DMs chair; she spent a big chunk of time looking at the artwork in the Monster Manual and then turned to me and asked what the monster on the cover was (for those unaware, it is a beholder, one of the unique signature monsters of the game). I was so thrilled to have a chance to tell her what it was and look at the description with her together and she her eyes light up as she started picturing how and where to place such a creature (I had a similar experience with the son of a neighbour, all of twelve, who was starting to DM with his brother and my kids - he was sharing how he had used a mimic and everyone had been surprised, but he could never do that again; I just looked at him and said "forget chests - think doors or chairs"). Sharing this stuff is so much fun, and I think that's part of the success of CR and the other liveplays out there - we get to share in the fun.
posted by nubs at 8:30 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]




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