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In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


GoneRampant posted:

Except Travis and Sam, who I am convinced can do no wrong between them.

*Warning, this post started out as a response to this and ended up becoming a cast evaluation*

Yeah, Sam and Travis are by far the most entertaining members of the cast. I won't hear a bad word said against either of them. They have such a instinctive grasp of their characters that their RP seems so natural.

Laura is a close runner up, and you can see how playing Jester rather than Vex has freed her from a lot of the baggage from that character (namely, her relationships with Trinket and Vax) that was holding her back.

Next would be Liam and Taliesin. Liam always plays a "that guy" (Vax was an angsty edgelord and Caleb is an antisocial and selfish lone wolf*), which I feel limits him in a way that is unfortunate because I love Liam. And don't get me wrong, Caleb is a gigantic improvement over the brooding and histrionic Vax but Caleb is still a bit of a gloomy prick who, in any other group, would be a nightmare to play with.

Meanwhile, Taliesin is really hit and miss. Percy during the Briarwood arc was probably the best RP from anyone in the entire cast across both campaigns (so far) and he was my favorite character for a brief time. After that, Percy developed an ego, which I thought was a very believable direction go in considering he beat his demons, reclaimed his heritage, and became a lord.

Unfortunately, there was no further growth, even after that ego got him killed. From then until the end of the campaign he was just this irritatingly smug know-it-all who pretended he was always in control (despite all evidence to the contrary) with only a few moments where we got a flash of the old Percy. His relationship with Vex was nice, at least: much better than Vax and Keyleth. And, to be fair, I like Molly. There's still an element of know-it-all-ness to him but I'm hoping that it won't become his most dominant character trait like with Percy.

And then there's Marisha. Now I know some people take their personal hatred of her way too far... but that doesn't invalidate the valid criticisms of Keyleth.

Keyleth was an awful character because she was so inconsistent. Marisha wanted her to be both the burgeoning leader going through a journey of self-discovery and emotional growth and the happy go lucky carefree flower child, but there was no real coherency between the two sides of the character. She was just "awkward": where "awkward" could mean anything from being abrasive and self-righteous to being borderline autistic. Marisha also has the tendency to step on other people's toes during roleplay so Keyleth would frequently make herself a part of something and end up derailing it (the defining example of this is in the episode after Umbrasyl when Percy said he was going to go talk to Vex, and this was in the days before they were a couple so their scenes together were still a rarity, and Keyleth pulls him aside to have an emotional breakdown for like the second time in the episode, which ends up distracting Percy for long enough for Matt to move the episode along so he never actually talks to Vex).

Unfortunately, Beau seems like more of the same. She's a bit better, but that's probably because she's interacting with Fjord/Travis more (rather than Percy/Taliesin and Vax/Liam). She also tries too hard to be cool, which is a really unlikable character trait, but I'm my crossing my fingers that she will improve.

Ashley is a weird case in that as far as RP goes she's fairly unremarkable (but I acknowledge she plays the least and her frequent absences must make it difficult to maintain a grasp on her characters), but as an improviser she's ridiculously good. Basically any scene in campaign 1 where she and Sam got to riff off each other (e.g. Doty's unsubtle sketching of the rest of Vox Machina and the subsequent commentary between Tary and Pike) was comedy gold.

The take away from this post is that Campaign 2 is great so far, guys.

*also Caleb is totes a werewolf. Or a were-something.

In It For The Tank fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2018 around 17:42

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In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


NowonSA posted:

Battle Royale chat

The last battle royale was a real poo poo show. Keyleth's victory was basically assured from outset because everyone (except poor Sam) decided to not fight her. Had they focused fire on her they definitely could have beaten her, but it's like they had all individually decided that it was impossible and were just playing for second place. Taliesin's sole objective was clearly just to kill Scanlan, and Liam's only strategy was to survive as long as possible by staying out of things. Even Travis, who is usually the most entertaining character in the battle royales because of his ridiculous tanking ability, wasted most of his turns exploring the map until he got cheesed with plane shift. Only Sam recognized the big picture but his clutch feeblemind wasn't enough because even after that everyone still didn't fight Keyleth so she was able to just waltz to victory by virtue of her archetype's broken capstone. The entire thing ended up being a huge slog.

The best battle royale was the Tary/Grog/Keyleth/Vex/Percy one. That one had everything, including five draws from the deck of many things, Grog rampaging around the map, Keyleth as a dragon, and Tary playing like a genius.

I loved that Grog was able to escape the two attempts to cheese him by sealing him in the necklace and plane shifting him, because it made for a much more interesting fight. I'm still a bit disappointed that Matt even allowed the players to cheese each other like that since it seems to go against the whole point of the battle royale - and it's not like spellcasters don't already have a huge advantage at higher levels anyway.

In any case, there is a definitely a limit to PvP where it either becomes rocket tag or a slog and I think that the penultimate battle royale was the last sweet spot.

I think that, instead of doing a battle royale, a more interesting special event would have been an endless battle where Matt throws increasingly stronger waves of enemies at the group until they finally collapse or until they beat a Tarrasque or Tiamat or one of the demon gods in Out of the Abyss.

For Vox Machina at level 20, you could have done a full on boss rush with only a few opportunities to heal and restock supplies. Start with K'Varn and then unleash all the other major enemies they fought throughout the campaign (which I'm spoilering because I realize not everyone has watched Campaign 1): the Trial of the Take targets, the Briarwoods, Orthax, Kevdak and his horde, Ripley and her men, Saundor the Archfey, Yenk the Goristro, the Pit Fiend, the Chroma Conclave (probably should be fought separately but I think it's funnier to imagine fighting all five at once just for the sheer absurdity), the kraken, the Briarwoods again, Vecna, and then the ascended Vecna. Give Vox Machina like three breaks where they can gain the benefits of a long rest, heal, and possibly revive the fallen but that's it. That would be balls to the walls insanity.

In It For The Tank fucked around with this message at Apr 7, 2018 around 21:50

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


The very first session for Liam's birthday was 4th edition, then they switched to Pathfinder for the remainder of the home game, and now play 5th edition on the stream.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


Obby the Rat describing his living situation remains the funniest exchange in the entire series.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


I'm liking Caleb more and more, I like his particular brand of angst much more than Vax's. I enjoyed his Jugend back story too, I just wish Liam had had the opportunity to tell his back story without Marisha interjecting trying to guess the ending. Just wait 30 seconds and let him tell you what happens, christ.

Squinty posted:

For me, the fake memories bit was where it crossed the line from potentially interesting character drama to bad and dumb soap opera melodrama. It feels like an excuse to make the character as dour and emo as possible, without actually making him responsible for the stuff he feels guilty for.

I disagree because Caleb specifically refutes that defense because he admits that fake memories or no he wanted to kill his parents for their apparent betrayal of the empire. He still feels all the guilt.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


Nehru the Damaja posted:

If you want to suggest a better concise way to describe someone who for two characters in a row has been like "well gosh uh, I don't know, it's just I uh... well maybe uh" then I'm up for it. I'm sure she's a nice person but Yasha scenes grind the pace to a halt and for all that sacrifice, all we know about this character is backstory, not who they are or how they act or what they value.

This is part of the reason why I am praying that Beau/Yasha doesn't become a thing. Ashley hasn't gotten a grasp on her character yet but Marisha foisted herself on her immediately. Now the fandom has latched onto it because "omg lesbians" and I can't help but feel like Ashley is getting press-ganged into a romance. It's like Vax/Keyleth all over again - where Liam basically decided for Marisha that they were gonna be a couple - but even more forced.

It doesn't help that Beau and Yasha have zero chemistry together. I'm a massive fan of cringe comedy but their awkward interactions are just utterly tepid. I'd much rather Yasha ended up with Jester just because Jester has enough personality for two people and could carry a taciturn partner.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


Blockhouse posted:

so is this like an actual thing or some weird projection

Vax's near death experience at the beginning of the Briarwoods arc was the first time there was any hint of a romantic connection between the two, and from there Liam leaned hard into it, doing stuff like kissing Keyleth out of nowhere and cornering her for one-on-one RP in typical Vax fashion until it just became a thing that was happening.

Compare to Percy and Vex where it (seemingly) arose organically between the two players rather than one player really forcing it.

In It For The Tank fucked around with this message at May 23, 2018 around 21:01

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


It's too bad that Reincarnate only includes the PHB races because the idea of Nott reincarnating into another goblin or something even worse is hilarious.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


The problem is like half the characters have "is a dick" as a personality trait. The most moral people in the group are the warlock who has a pact with an eldritch horror and the cleric whose god is her imaginary best friend. In another form of media a dysfunctional group of assholes learning to work together can work but in a role playing game they insist on reasserting how much they are not into the whole teamwork business and shooting down each other and doing their own thing.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


Bad Seafood posted:

I definitely agree Matt's been pulling his punches. I think he's a pretty good DM, but the dude seems real hesitant to slap his players for anything.

See: the tenuous alliance with Raishan last campaign where Vax, Percy, and Keyleth were so audaciously antagonistic and disrespectful to her that it is a miracle Matt didn't have her break from the party and raze Whitestone in retaliation. In nearly every conversation they had, those three would insist on insulting her, threatening her, and just generally making asses of themselves in such a way that it began to reflect poorly on Raishan that she continued to put up with their bullshit, even if she did need them to kill Thordak. One time Percy even tried to shank her, hastily backpedaling when he ended up attacking her illusory double, and she let it go.

Seriously by the time they fought Thordak I was rooting for Raishan because VM had just become so insufferable. Her defeating them after Thordak was one of the greatest episodes of the last campaign.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


Gaz-L posted:

Percy trying to stab Raishan wasn't intended as a direct double-cross, it was to force her hand and make her reveal herself. It was actually pretty clever.

No way. That's how Percy (read: Taliesin) tried to justify afterwards once he realized he'd hosed up. I remember the top half of the table especially calling him out for his transparent attempt to recontextaulize it as "Percy being a master manipulator"/"according to keikaku" bullshit. He was 100% going for the kill (or rather, maximum damage), which is why he specified he was taking all three attacks that he could rather than just one.

Rewatching the scene now, you can see Taliesin seemingly run it by Marisha right before he does it and you can see from his panicked reaction when Matt begins to describe the illusion that Taliesin was not anticipating his attacks not landing and being exposed for nothing. It seems to me that Taliesin wanted to reveal J'mon but everyone was hesitant because of Raishan, so he decided to fight her right then and there because they had Allura and Gilmore with them, and he says something to that effect as the rest of party freak out when he announces the attack.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


I think the K'varn fight represented the first big indication that Orion's days were numbered. For Orion to sit out the fight was bad enough but to then claim the kill as well was just doubly obnoxious. I would have loved to have seen Tiberius get triple mind blasted and killed because it would have been so deserved.

chitoryu12 posted:

There’s some suspicion that he may have been cheating, as people started looking a lot closer at his dice as the campaign went on.

Matt actually confirmed that Orion was cheating in an off-the-cuff reddit post that he subsequently deleted. I can't remember exactly what he said it but it was something flippant like "the only one who was fudging their rolls is gone now". This is to say nothing of Orion's metagaming and general munchkinry.

In It For The Tank fucked around with this message at Jun 13, 2018 around 18:51

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


Scanlan is the glue that holds everything together.

In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


I just caught up after falling behind for a few episodes.

Cliff notes:

- Molly was boring as hell. Him dying was the best thing that could have happened to him so that Taliesin can play a better character. I would be interested for the character to return as amnesiac NPC somewhere down the line though.
- Ashly Burch is awesome - she's a great guest and I love when players behave sub-optimally to RP - and I hate the contingent of the fandom who want to watch a version of Critical Role where the party just steamrolls everything without difficulty and freak out whenever something bad happens. The best episodes of this show are when everything is going wrong and the party is playing by the skin of their teeth (some examples: Scanlan soloing a mansion of enemies, Vex's first death, Percy's first death, Raishan's first fight, Scanlan leaving). I'm glad Ashly is sticking around for the next few episodes.
- I hope Matt continues to ramp up the difficulty in spite of the backlash from the lovely fandom. I'm a big fan of Matt but he does generally take it easy on the party. Even with the increased difficulty of the Iron Shepherds encounter, there is no doubt in my mind that Molly would still be alive if he hadn't knocked his own dumbass out. To emphasize my previous point: I think the show is at its best when the party has to overcome great adversity and their lives are in genuine peril, so I hope we see even more deadly encounters going forward.

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In It For The Tank
Feb 17, 2011

But I've yet to figure out a better way to spend my time.


I'd prefer he didn't. Too often Molly just felt like Percy during negotiations, and Percy was the worst negotiator (in an RP sense, not mechanically) because all he would ever do is unctuously flatter the person he was negotiating with and constantly undermine his own position in an attempt to appear inscrutable and machiavellian.

I hope Taliesin's new character dumps CHA hard and he stays far away from the negotiation table.

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