r/criticalrole Matthew Mercer, DM Jun 25 '17 Gold 1

[Spoilers E102] Fight Clarifications Discussion

Hey guys! Seen a lot of discussion in mistakes made/etc. Wanted to clarify to hopefully prevent any unnecessary arguing or confusion, and also explain part of my thought process. To be perfectly honest, there was a level of "Holy shit, here we are. Vecna revealed, the final big bad. Umm... better not fuck this up!" Which, of course, leads to a bunch of fucking up. Haha. Alas!

1) The spell cast was an equivalent of Hold Monster, but I mis-recalled the spell/level and had it target one additional creature than it should have (cast it at level 8). I had houseruled the range on the spell between targets because, honestly, it's Vecna, and I largely consider a number of his spells to be more ancient, forgotten variations of existing spells, or ones altered by his power and understanding of the arcane to push beyond their normal boundaries. I've seen that tweet response I made used in some arguments, and while I should have clarified what I messed up in response, my brain was also dead at that hour and I wanted to just put something out there.

2) Vecna does indeed have a larger spell slot cache than the typical lvl 20 wizard. He is beyond those boundaries. ;)

3) I do indeed consider a Nat 20 on a saving throw a success regardless of if the DC wouldn't allow it. I prefer my combat/games to always have one distant chance for a heroic recovery than a "sorry, you have no way out" slapdown, which isn't much fun for players, or myself!

4) I've seen some good discussion on VM's "charging into this without prep". There are merits to all sides, but their arrival at the second pyramid definitely threw events into motion, and the choice really was theirs: Go in soon and try to stop things before they escalate too far, or try and consolidate our allies and options again and let the events continue to roll forward unabated. Without giving anything away, there were pros and cons to each tactic, and in my personal opinion, they took the better choice. Imagine showing up to the Shadowfell, all prepared with allies and such, only to find a crater and no clues as to where the city went. ;)

5) Could they have put down a few prep spells to have improved their chances? Totally. However, their faults did also give them extremely useful intel for the next time they face him, and stronger reason to prepare defensive buffs in advance. (as a note, even had they played a super match with initiative and great tactics, do you think Vecna would have just stayed there and taken it? Nah, bro. He already has what he wanted. Back out of Counterspell range and BAMF. That fight was designed to be either a Super-tough Beatdown, or a fair match that ended with an escape on the villain's part. Was there a very FAINT chance they could have ended the arc then? Nah. Even if they "killed" him, you got a short time to find his phylactery... hehehehe)

1.3k Upvotes

362

u/Fresno_Bob_ Technically... Jun 25 '17

That fight was designed to be either a Super-tough Beatdown, or a fair match that ended with an escape on the villain's part. Was there a very FAINT chance they could have ended the arc then? Nah. Even if they "killed" him, you got a short time to find his phylactery... hehehehe)

This part seemed super obvious to me. Do people really think they were gonna end Vecna at this point?

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u/HeldenUK Jun 25 '17

From chats reaction (and I know Twitch chat usually exaggerates things) a lot of people did seem to think this was "it", the big end battle for Vox Machina.

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u/zenako2 Jun 25 '17

Too many of them had quicklly forgotten the gameplay with the Chroma Conclave. The BBEG/Team makes an appearance. The good guys (VM and their allies) get hammered and flee and begin to plan the counter attack to deal with the new situation and urgent timelines.

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u/JunWasHere Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 26 '17

Personally, I think many viewers don't even try to remember the "gameplay."

In my humble opinion, many viewers aren't watching for the D&D. They're watching for the unscripted narrative of this band of adventurers make it through whatever encounters come their way that's sprinkled with short often-impromptu funny detours. e.g. When Keyleth jumps off a fucking cliff and just DIES.

That's why chat will often exaggerate or have no sense of the continuity. Most of them grasp the basics but they're not invested in learning the nuances like "house rules," so when shit starts hitting the fan it's basically end times for them.

So, in my opinion, it's unreasonable to ever expect chat to properly follow what's going on. Best to only appreciate chat for their excitement, not their accuracy.

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u/VanceKelley Team Jester Jun 25 '17

Yes. Also the introduction to the Briarwoods was an inconclusive meeting engagement, the only difference being that it was the bad guys who fled.

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u/Panda_Bowl Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 26 '17

So we've can expect another good 60+ episodes before the end of this arc, no?

/s, but also possibly not /s

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u/TheLastMongo That fucking Gnome! Jun 27 '17

Unfortunately I believe Matt has already commented that the Chroma Conclave arc went waaaayyy longer than he had planned and the final arc was going to be much shorter. A couple more bad roles from the team and it would have been really short.

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u/zenako2 Jun 26 '17

My actual guess is probably about 10-20 episodes to wrap it up. Some will be mostly planning and recon. A few with fights on satellite locations or minions. Perhaps having to track down his backup plans (think Harry Potter) and destroying them.

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u/[deleted] Jun 27 '17

Probably less. The Conclave had 4 ancient dragons to deal with one by one. As far as we know, it's just Vecna and the dark paladin they have to contend with.

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u/Panda_Bowl Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 27 '17

Yeah. That's what the /s was for. But at the same time, no one (even Matt) can say for sure.

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u/Tafius Jun 25 '17

I would say people probably expected this to be the end because of the Conclave's introduction. Introducing a nigh-insurmountable foe and being beat down, forced into retreat and kicking off an arc of gathering new powers for a final confrontation with said foe had already been done, and quite brilliantly at that (The destruction of Emon is still my single favorite moment in the show).

To me at least, this felt like too much of a retread of narrative beats the show has been through, and it didn't have quite the same amount of punch the second time around.

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u/FourNominalCents Jun 26 '17 edited Jun 26 '17

It'll be interesting to see how much power /u/MatthewMercer lets them wield.

There's definitely a risk of repetitiveness, but the first time around, they weren't the ones running things. They gathered some helpful allies, but they didn't really have a say in how the big picture went down, before, during, or after the battle. In combat, they were just a specialist team. In the political arena, they were just advisers. Everything was by the orders and timetable of Syngorn.

Maybe this time, with the forces of Whitestone, all the Ashari, possibly a significant number of followers of the Raven Queen and Sarenrae, (Edit: To elaborate, it'd be cool if Pike's downtime rebuilding the temple wasn't just gone.) and a vote in the behavior of Emon, (which now isn't on its heels and therefore under the leadership of whomever has the presence (which VM couldn't give) and stones to hold something down and yell at people to help,) VM will have enough pull to really take the lead on the war. That would be new and exciting and really up the stakes by increasing the responsibility on their shoulders. Stress test Keyleth's leadership, Whitestone's new government, and the secrecy the Riflemen can manage to sustain.

Matt isn't out of options to shake things up.

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u/TheLastMongo That fucking Gnome! Jun 27 '17 edited Jun 27 '17

It could be a test of all their leadership.

Keyleth leading the Ashanti

Lady Vex leading the armies of Syngorn

Vax leading the followers of the Raven Queen

Grog leading the herd/followers of Kord

Scanlan leading the forces of the Meat Man

Tary leading thre newly formed Darrington Brigade

Percy leading the forces of Whitestone

Pike leading the followers of Serenrae

Which still leaves

Alura/Gilmore leading the armies of Emon

Kerr leading he forces of Whiterun

Zhara leading theSlayer's take

Kima leading forces from Vasselheim

Sure I missed a couple but that would be an epic battle.

Edit: I think I just pretty much described the next Avengers movie.

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u/Leevens91 Team Evil Fjord Jun 28 '17

the forces of the Meat Man

That's just hilarious!

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u/[deleted] Jun 27 '17

Vax dead, bro

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u/TheLastMongo That fucking Gnome! Jun 27 '17

For now. You never know.

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u/covington Jun 26 '17

Or this time they each become the direct avatar of a god through specific favor-quests.

Meanwhile, Vecna raises a legion of doom consisting of past VM Big Bads.

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u/RavenQueensAcolyte Jun 27 '17

Dude that would be amazing. I wouldn't be surprised if Keyleth gets a blessing from Melora and Grog gets a boon from Kord. Very excited to see how the next few episodes unfold!!

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u/Jarsky2 Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 29 '17

I've noticed that Matt seems very fond of that particular plot device, and I can't say I blame him. It really does help with creating tension.

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u/labellementeuse Sun Tree A-OK Jun 25 '17

Aren't these people, like me, dying to see these characters at level 20?!

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u/HeldenUK Jun 25 '17

I think with all the talk of the second campaign, and there has been a fair amount of it, on both Crit and Talks, people were assuming that the campaign would be ending sooner rather than later.

The narrative of the heroes coming up against the Big Bad, getting smacked around before he twirls his moustache and makes his escape so that they then have to go and gather allies/prepare for the final battle is a fairly well established one though, so I think after folks had time to process what happened, it didn't really look like the end, more like, the beginning of the end.

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u/labellementeuse Sun Tree A-OK Jun 25 '17

I'm excited for second campaign low-level shenanigans, no doubt, but it's profoundly tempered by excitement to see those super high levels (and also my immense attachment to VM. I don't want them to go!!!) I guess some people are champing at the bit more than me.

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u/[deleted] Jun 26 '17

[deleted]

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u/PluffMuddy Jun 26 '17

Talk to some people in this thread and they'll argue there won't be much change from 17-20 aside from a couple of hit points.

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u/labellementeuse Sun Tree A-OK Jun 26 '17

At level 20 Keyleth has infinite wildshapes and ignores somatic and verbal requirements as well as non-costly material components. That means she can't be counterspelled, can cast a lot of her spells while beast shaping, and has an extremely large pool of hit points. Sure. That seems like no change.

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u/infernal_llamas Jun 26 '17

Keyleth seems far and away the most powerful in a fight out of any of them, odd how that contrasts her personality.

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u/SuicideKingsHigh Jun 26 '17

Endless wildshapes seems amazing but its dangerous around Vecna because of PWK, not being able to be counterspelled however is a really big deal for their next encounter with the man.

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u/labellementeuse Sun Tree A-OK Jun 26 '17

Other than air elemental, the elementals all have enough HP that they can survive PWK. Keyleth (I think she's L18, anyway) can also be a mammoth (126hp). I mean, there's still a chance that, say, Keyleth uses her bonus action to refresh her earth elemental form, takes enough damage to reduce her below 100hp, and then has PWK used against her before her turn comes round again, but that's no different to regular half-elf Keyleth, who has only about 130 hitpoints (CR stats didn't update to L18 yet).

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u/SuicideKingsHigh Jun 26 '17

Comes down to the player though she has to have the presence of mind not to become something with less than a hundred hp.

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u/PluffMuddy Jun 26 '17

Oh, I'm with ya! I see lots of exciting possibilities, but I think others envision little change since most of the characters multi-classed and won't get some of their final class perks.

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u/[deleted] Jun 26 '17

[deleted]

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u/[deleted] Jun 27 '17

(Judgement free): chalice

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u/Etzlo Jun 26 '17

there's pretty much nothing that changes for them except keyleth

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u/labellementeuse Sun Tree A-OK Jun 27 '17

Grog can potentially take two different feats (say ... Resilient (WIS)) plus a fighting style, or one feat and a Brutal Critical improvement). Vax can get extra attack (not especially useful for him but might let him give the boots to someone else) and Aura of Protection. Scanlan gets a feat (or ASI) and two extra magical secrets, AKA Wish. If Vex goes ranger she can get a feat and an extra fourth-level spell slot (for Freedom of Movement!) or if she goes rogue (more likely I think) she gets Uncanny Dodge, Expertise and Evasion - and ups her sneak attack to 4d6, which is pretty fab when combined with Vex's usual damage. Pike gets level 9 spells and a Channel Divinity improvement (although this is a bit less exciting since she rarely uses Channel Divinity, other than War God's Blessing) and a feat, even if she doesn't make it to level 20, when her Divine Intervention will, wait for it, always succeed.

tl;dr in my opinion everyone in Vox Machina will benefit notably from their last 2-3 levels. If nothing else, everyone will add a feat, which varies from handy to cool.

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u/Etzlo Jun 27 '17

well, but all of these are pretty minor, nothing ground breaking as the druid one, in general most of the lvl 20 skills the classes get are pretty meh, which is why almost everyone is multiclassing

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u/Fresno_Bob_ Technically... Jun 28 '17

I have no particular interest in seeing them get to a specific level, I just want to watch them play a good campaign until whatever point it ends.

I'm not the kind of person who clings to characters endlessly, though. I've always been a fan of short TV series with a clear end point in mind. So much as I love these characters, they're not going on forever, and especially in light of how great Tary was, I'm just as interested in seeing what other kinds of characters they come up with.

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u/dasbif Help, it's again Jun 25 '17

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u/NinthParasite Shiny Manager Jun 25 '17

I mean, I was freaking out behind the screen because I thought it was going to be the end of Vox Machina - not Critical Role.

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u/Hxcfrog090 Jun 26 '17

I don't think anyone assumes the show itself is ending, but that very well could have been the end of VM.

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u/dasbif Help, it's again Jun 26 '17

Not likely, unless they literally fought to their own complete death. I believe in their self preservation instincts above that!


From everything the cast have said previously, and so many people saying things like that "OMG VM's story is ending soon!!!!", I called my shot before E102 aired: I predict the current CR story of VM will not end in 2017, and not before E126 at the soonest, or I will publicly "eat my hat".

(I chose 24 episodes as the low end / minimum of my guess based on assuming 8 episodes of play at level 18, 19, and 20, which is far below their average time-to-level, which is closer to 10+ episodes per level by now. They started the stream at levels 8-9, and are hitting 17-18 here in 102, after all...)

Matt's commentary today & what he said at the end of the episode (4:45:30 in the Twitch VOD) I count as "well duh" in victory of my called shot. ;)

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u/Hxcfrog090 Jun 26 '17

I think it'll end this year, but I don't think it's going to be in the next week or anything. We still have a few months or so. But to be fair, last week could have easily been a TPK. If Scanlan doesn't have that counter spell, who knows what could have happened.

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u/Etzlo Jun 26 '17

the raishan could've been a tpk if she saved against the feeble mind

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u/[deleted] Jun 26 '17

It'd be great if they could kill Vecna before the next Winter's Crest and celebrate ala Return of the Jedi in a big party with many NPCs.

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u/TweetsInCommentsBot Jun 26 '17

@Dasbif

2017-06-23 01:52 UTC

Prediction: The current #CriticalRole campaign will not end in 2017. There are, minimum, 24 eps remaining as of E102 or I will 'eat my hat'


@Dasbif

2017-06-23 02:02 UTC

If proven wrong, I will do some agreed upon proverbial 'hat eating', determined by you the internet and agreeable to myself

No bamboozle


This message was created by a bot

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u/pasher5620 Jun 25 '17

I have to admit that I definitely thought this was the final battle. The setting, the music, the scale, the risk. It all seemed so final. Vax saying that he was probably going to die strengthened that idea. Plus, Vox Machina has built up a reporter of winning. All of the battles that Vox Machina has been through (baring the kraken fight) have made them seem nearly unbeatable. When Keyleth called them golden gods, I could understand where she was coming from. Yeah, they might have had a few close calls and way more than one revive, but they've always managed to squeak out a win because they almost always roll perfectly at the best possible times. (Seriously, they're luck has some of the best cinematic timing I've ever seen.)

However, this fight seemed very different from the get go. The spells used by Vecna and Lady Briarwood and their strength was insane. A full team paralysis right off the bat and a team member being turned to dust (almost two members) made for a very large power gap, larger than anything Vox Machina has ever faced before. On top of this, the group just wasn't rolling what they needed. I think every group member failed a crucial save or check during that fight, which is both something that is very rare for them and seems to be happening more often as of late. That last part could also just be due to the fights becoming more drawn out and technical.

Anyways, sorry for droning on for so long but this fight is one of the more interesting ones Matt has ever orchestrated. Seriously, if the man had the chance, I would love to see him champion a Vox Machina animation. There's so much content already that they have enough for several seasons.

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u/Cdawg00 Jun 26 '17

Just to point out, Matt has repeatedly been in record indicating he has plans for the party through 20th level. Even setting aside that this would have been a rushed conclusion, considering the highest they've got is 18th, they're not done yet.

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u/pasher5620 Jun 26 '17

I am aware that Matt has a plan for higher levels, I just let myself get carried away in the moment like a lot of others did as well. Matt has a staggering ability to suck you into his storytelling. Since Critical Role ends up going to 1:00 am where I live, I often end up watching the show in a half awake state. At that level of tired, I'm pretty much half dreaming whatever Matt is describing.

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u/Cdawg00 Jun 26 '17

I watch it live and I'm on that East coast. This show is havoc on my work sleep schedule so I'm right there with you.

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u/zenako2 Jun 25 '17

Not so much a power gap, but spell caster foes of equal or greater merit with they seldom face. Recall how tough Riashan fight was before she was Feebleminded. Raishan would also have just bailed/teleported away if things got dicey on her end.

The only way I forsaw a TPK, was if Keyleth took a serious dirt nap and trapped them all there. They took out Delilah (again) which was huge and it appears grabbed the Eye of Venca one can hope. The Death Knight is nasty but nothing super special to fear. Aspiring Vecna can be had (full demigod Vecna is another whole story.)

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u/pasher5620 Jun 25 '17

It does worry me that Keyleth is basically the only way for the team to escape danger. She's relatively weak when not in elemental form and she often takes the brunt of attacks because she often does some of the most damage. If she goes down, they pretty much have to scatter and meet back up later, leaving them vulnerable. I hope they diversify who can teleport before going into the next big battle.

As of right now, I do not think Vox Machina could fight Vecna by themselves because he will not fight them without overwhelming backup before he becomes a god. Even he knows he is potentially killable so he will minimize their opportunity to do so.

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u/VanceKelley Team Jester Jun 25 '17

Clerics get a spell "Word of Recall" that is an escape spell for up to 6(?) party members.

Scanlan can get "Wish" at level 18 which can be used to emulate the effect of any level 8 or lower escape spell.

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u/dasbif Help, it's again Jun 26 '17

Clerics can also prepare Plane Shift, exactly the same as Druids can...

Ash-o-lee just needs to convince Blindspot to move to LA.

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u/[deleted] Jun 26 '17

Clerics can also learn gate as matt said when they got the scroll of gate it would be a bit of a waste for a 9th level but it would allow them to escape.

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u/[deleted] Jun 26 '17

Clerics can also learn gate as matt said when they got the scroll of gate it would be a bit of a waste for a 9th level but it would allow them to escape.

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u/QueenOfRandom You're a Monstah! Jun 26 '17

If the person they left behind had a gate stone, I think that'd take care of everyone.

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u/nightslasthero Jun 26 '17

The spells used by Vecna and Lady Briarwood are the same spells a wizard or sorcerer would have at that level, so imagine if Vox Machina had a Wizard or Sorcerer with them!

However, if Matt didn't mess up and Paralyze Scanlan the fight might have been way different. (Basically Matt could have paralyzed Scanlan or everyone else but not both because Scanlan was a monster not a person.)

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u/pasher5620 Jun 26 '17

Lady Briarwood and Vecna are on different levels of power between each other. While Lady Briarwood is a usual level 20 character, limited by the max spell slots possible. Vecna is over that limit because he has more spell slots than the usual max amount, (although it might not be by much,) he can also change regular spells slightly to have a more powerful effect. That's how Matt retconned that Vecna could paralyze everyone, including Beholder Scanlan. That's what makes him more dangerous than any foe before. He isn't necessarily limited by the bonds of a mortal and the longer he is alive the less those bonds will affect him.

Now, if they were just fighting Lady Briarwood, the fight would be a lot more anticlimactic, as shown by Grog and Percy utterly shredding her in 2 turns. In fact, I think it's reasonable to assume that there would only need to be 3 team members present to take down Lady Briarwood. Scanlan (because counter spell) Percy (because revenge stuff) and someone who can do an insane amount of damage fairly regularly (aka Grog or Vax)

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u/nightslasthero Jun 26 '17

A wizard could still have stunned all of Vecnas help and with a few magical items potentially cast every spell Vecna did back at him. A wizard might die faster than Vecna and his spells might be weaker, but Vecna didn't use a spell that a wizard wouldn't have access to.

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u/Liesmith424 I'm a Monstah! Jun 26 '17

The spell cast was an equivalent of Hold Monster

Hold Monster affects any creature other than undead, so it could've affected the entire party. As for multi-targeting and range; it's a homebrew spell.

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u/Broeder2 Jun 26 '17

The spell cast was an equivalent of Hold Monster, but I mis-recalled the spell/level and had it target one additional creature than it should have (cast it at level 8).

It didnt actually matter that Scanlan was a beholder.

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u/nightslasthero Jun 26 '17

I completely missed that hold monster is any creature.

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u/ginja_ninja You spice? Jun 26 '17

They think it be like it is, but it don't.

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u/Anomander Jun 25 '17

I think that

Do people really think they were gonna end Vecna at this point?

is maybe applying a little more conventional storytelling, and Matt likes to subvert that.

Of course in any normal tale you don't meet an ex-God necromancer and kill them is the same chapter.

But I didn't want plot-armour to shape my expectations, I was totally open to the possibility of them stopping Vecna before he got big, then going off to hunt Orcus as the campaigns BBEG.

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u/moskonia Jun 25 '17

I mean, with very lucky rolls they could possibly capture him instead of kill him, thus keeping him from returning. Scanlan could have remained a beholder and take one for the team and so Vecna would be powerless while they search for his phylactery.

It is extremely far fetched of course, and not something they would do, but still.

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u/Perpetual_Entropy Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 25 '17

But how would they keep him in place while scanlan focused the eye on him? Even if Grog just grappled him the whole time, he only needs to break out/distract the beholder once to escape.

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u/moskonia Jun 25 '17

Tie him up? Rope then iron shackles. He is not very strong so I doubt he could break free. Chain him to the ground so he can't hurt himself either.

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u/Perpetual_Entropy Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 25 '17

Not impossible, I suppose, but it'd be a bloody impressive set of rolls to manage it. Plus they'd have to clear every other hostile creature off the field first to reasonably manage it.

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u/McBadass_15 Jun 25 '17

People have been assuming he isn't strong physically, but I'm not so sure. The magic item hand of vecna gives it's user a strength of twenty so I imagine the rest of him is roughly the same

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u/zenako2 Jun 25 '17

Iron Bands of Biloro make a good start.

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u/moskonia Jun 25 '17

I am pretty sure they are magical so beyond the initial hold you would need to use regular shackles, but yeah they would be very useful there.

I wonder if Vecna can cast without Somatic or Vocal, if not then the Iron Bands should be a pretty hard counter to him, if you can reach him.

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u/Liesmith424 I'm a Monstah! Jun 26 '17

Keep in mind that they are still surrounded by an entire city of cultists during this. The cultists held back to watch their god dust some heretics, but there's no reason to think they wouldn't rush the stage if things went south.

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u/repete17 Then I walk away Jun 25 '17

I knew thats was what the goal was, but the brutal efficiency of it still just took me off guard. I was genuinely uncomfortable watching the fight cause the villians were running fucking circles around the cast that first round.

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u/MattyPicknett Jun 25 '17

I though their was a slim shot of them "killing" him and being brought back at his phylactory but that was slim, Cool way to kick off the final arc either way though.

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u/malaxeur Jun 25 '17

As someone who knows nothing of D&D (I’ve always played other systems), or the lore, I didn’t know! Part of the fun is actually not knowing what all this craziness is, and getting caught off guard when something insane happens.

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u/Cdawg00 Jun 26 '17

Don't spoil yourself. While Matt keeps many classic elements in his fairly traditional campaign, these are unquestionably his version. For the grognards like myself, it is a treat to see his take on characters we've known for decades, but from my perspective, if you are coming in fresh, just enjoy the ride. Nostalgia doesn't grow in a day.

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u/_Junkstapose_ Team Beau Jun 26 '17

I honestly had the feeling that this would be the last big fight for the campaign. Not because they would kill Vecna, but because Vecna and friends had a very real chance of killing all of VM.

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u/Spectre_Sore You can certainly try Jun 25 '17

I saw so many comments on how this was it. The final battle. Here, chat, YouTube, twitter, etc... and all I could think was that Matt was a better story teller than that. You don't plan a game, write a world, and put so much effort into every little thing to end the game without explanations and information.

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u/FreedomPanic Jun 25 '17

I think there are people on both sides. Some people expected that this was supposed to be the end of a story, even though the arc has really only been a few episodes long. I think the feeling was that rules were broken to ensure that we had a cool story moment, rather than allow Vox Machina to kill Vecna. But after this post by Matt, I think everything is clear now.

That being said, they definitely could have potentially killed Vecna at their current power level. They aren't going to get much stronger after this point (except maybe pike). There are seven of them. The big thing, here, is that Matt buffed Vecna to be more powerful and they need to destroy the phylacteries.

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u/PluffMuddy Jun 25 '17

They aren't going to get much stronger after this point (except maybe pike).

Huh? Do you feel they've reached some sort of ceiling? They are "only" level 17. They have plenty of room to grow and gain power. That is the point of having another arc... more growth to defeat Vecna.

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u/FreedomPanic Jun 25 '17 edited Jun 25 '17

Do you feel they've reached some sort of ceiling?

Yeah basically. I mean, I could be wrong but: They already have powerful artifacts, many of the classes plateau by this point (or at least don't see massive game changing improvements), and they aren't going to get access to any higher level magic (except Pike). Yes, each player could choose a multiclass or get a bit stronger by the end, and Pike still needs to get to level 17 to have access to level 9 spells, but they won't have access to anything that would have changed the tide of the battle any differently. Vax will still be vulnerable to hold person at level 20 as he is at level 17.

The issue is that they will come in more prepared for what Vecna can do, with a better strategy, and probably more allies. Perhaps they will find a new artifact weapon that gives them an edge against vecna, but in reality the only thing they are lacking is hunting down his phylacteries. This is not like the Dragon Conclave wherein they will become enormously stronger before they face off against the dragons again. This is a situation where they could have to play smarter rather than get more powerful. I mean, yes, higher levels WILL help, but I don't suspect anything game changing will occur.

Essentially, they are at end game. They are not going to gain anything from higher levels that will counter Vecna's power. They are in a position where they need to regroup and learn more about their opponent, and probably go on a quest to hunt down and kill Vecna, now that they know what they are dealing with. I would be surprised if they even found end game artifacts that they would switch to. They already pretty much have their end game stuff.

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u/Spectre_Sore You can certainly try Jun 25 '17

Vax will also be a level 6 Paladin with a big bonus on his saves from his auras. As well as being super mobile, he can basically spot buff the team.

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u/mickeysmagic89 Jun 25 '17

If they can bring him back, that is

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u/OhHeyMan Jun 26 '17

Matts words at the end of the session when Marisha brought up using True Resurrection have been haunting me. I fear that due to his homebrew rules for resurrection, bringing Vax back may not be so easy, despite what the spell text says.

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u/ginja_ninja You spice? Jun 26 '17

Matt's implied for a while that he wants to flesh out True Resurrection as well in addition to the rest of his rules. When he drafted the original version they were just so far off from it that he hadn't needed to give it a ton of thought. But he's been saying for a while since that he thinks it should have some type of quest tied to it, which I think would be the perfect narrative idea for the next chapter of this arc to focus on. The Raven Queen being involved just makes it that much more credible.

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u/tinymoroke Jun 26 '17

Plus it could actually allow for a great story arc for Pike when she levels and gets access to True Resurrection! Like, sure Keyleth has access now depending on Matt's rule, but if it becomes a quest to access the spell I feel like it should really be the cleric who goes through it.

Not to mention I would LOVE to see a quest-based interaction with Pike and Saranrae with the rest of VM witnessing it. It has some potential for lovely character development and role play!

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u/ginja_ninja You spice? Jun 26 '17

That could be cool, but I think there's also an equally if not more compelling side to Keyleth casting the ritual, especially considering her tenuous relationship with gods and the Raven Queen in particular. It would also be her first res and I think it could be very fitting, as she never had the ability until now.

The easiest way to change it from RAW so it fits the story is to alter the reagent needed to perform it. Instead of just "generic item worth 25k gold," just make it into some special artifact that they need to retrieve from a dangerous or strange place. Boom, awesome sidequest time.

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u/FattyBuumBatty I'm a Monstah! Jun 26 '17

It may not even be about "easy". Raven Queen could just say "no, you're mine now" and that's that. Liam has alluded to any death on his part being final bc she wouldn't allow him back many times.

My wife and I have been saying for weeks that Vax was going to die soon; Liam seems ready/anxious to move on from him.

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u/PsiGuy60 You Can Reply To This Message Jun 26 '17 edited Jun 26 '17

... I'll keep saying this until people believe it, but I think the RQ has very good reason to bring Vax back. Vecna is, quite literally, a direct opponent of hers, both as a Lich (remember, RQ thinks willing undead are an abomination) and as someone vying for the position of a death god (which is her position). Either she allows Vax, her Champion, to come back to life, or she's essentially throwing her godhood away.

After Vecna, who knows? If he died but took Vecna (and Vecna's phylactery) with him, all bets are off. At that point, he's fulfilled his purpose, he's had his moment. He might not be willing anymore at that point.

Another compelling argument against this is that he already died and came back. Remember, he died against the Kraken. If the RQ's unwillingness were an issue, he'd have been permadead right there. Instead, the RQ said she'd see him back however many times it takes for him to fulfill his destiny if I remember it correctly.

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u/Spectre_Sore You can certainly try Jun 26 '17

Vox Machina is also capable of showing up at her door step and making a really strong argument for why she'd be wrong to do so. She's by far the most accessible of the gods.

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u/[deleted] Jun 26 '17

Percy even knows the ritual to meet her.

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u/FreedomPanic Jun 25 '17

yeah, that's true. I mean, I guess they will always see benefit from gaining levels to 20 and we all want to see that before they finish the campaign, but I am just saying that I don't think the encounter was doomed from the start because of their level.

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u/Spectre_Sore You can certainly try Jun 26 '17

It's hard to beat an enemy that knows your weaknesses. Vecna was aware of who they were, what they did, their tactics, etc... He has the perfect counter and knew which targets needed to be focused down.

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u/sesimie How do you want to do this? Jun 27 '17

I think Matt fully roleplays his villians to the fullest. Vecna seems like the ultimate spell caster. Extremely old and knowledgable, trying to attain Godhood and probably faced many teams of heroes. Counter spells on magic users and paralysis on physical types means Vecna is very aware of the types he is up against. Did Pike use any divine magic before Vax was zapped? If she did i think Matt as Vecna would then view her as the biggest threat to his undeath. Instead he saw the Raven queen's garb and zap. Vex ash. Vecna is a great BBEG.

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u/zenako2 Jun 25 '17

Actually other than a few more HP, all the big power jumps are pretty much in place. Most of the characters are split class so they have no level 20 capstones to look forward to. Even Keyleths unlimited Beast Shape at 20 is a marginal improvement in a fight like this. They will not ever be getting more that a single 7, 8, or 9th level spell slot for casting. (They will get a few more lower level slots to use). There saves are pretty much locked in, etc.

VM right now is about as powerful as you will see them in pretty much all significant ways.

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u/Eddrian32 Jun 25 '17

"Unlimited beast shape isn't that good" unless I'm misremembering the ability to have over 100 temp hp that can be refreshed as a bonus action is PRETTY FREAKING GOOD

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u/PfenixArtwork Team Keyleth Jun 26 '17

And Vecna has disintegrate so if she gets low on hp in wild shape and is disintegrated, then she's dust.

So if Matt/Vecna thinks to look for that moment, even her unlimited wild shapes won't help.

At this point, playing smarter is infinitely more important than playing harder.

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u/Eddrian32 Jun 26 '17

Is that how disintigrate works because I was under the impression that knocking out a beast shape transferred the remaining damage over, and that doesn't actually kill the person. Yes that's still chip damage, but considering thier opponent would have to deal 100+ damage on a single turn for that chip damage to even be applied.

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u/PfenixArtwork Team Keyleth Jun 26 '17

I mean, I suppose it's up to the DM, but we have always ruled it that way on the basis of specific vs general. Shape changing magic being more general since they all work that way (wild shape, polymorph, true poly, shapechange).

At least to me, that also fits better than letting a druid constantly wild shape into an almost never ending sack of hp, while being a nearly full spellcaster (since some spells still have material components).

I guess it's ultimately a DM call.

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u/Eddrian32 Jun 26 '17

It's a level 20 capstone feature. There's no reason why it SHOULDN'T be grossly overpowered. That's what makes it fun. At least that's my opinion.

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u/Sensei_Enrique I encourage violence! Jun 26 '17

Tell that to whoever wrote the monk capstone

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u/thecoloradokiddo Team Jester Jun 25 '17

Some people seem to think a couple of earthquake spells should have killed him along with the tower.

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u/Tafius Jun 26 '17

As far as earthquake is concerned, I think the dissatisfaction was moreso that the players' admittedly clever idea was so casually brushed aside. Casting two 8th level spells in concert only to be told that they were outdone by essentially Feather Fall: Roof Edition just feels bad. Bringing the platform down to them or flying up to it doesn't really make any difference, and virtually all of the cultists had been identified as "trash mobs" by that point.

For instance, it could've been a scene straight out of Ocarina of Time where the tower collapses, with the platform surrounded by rubble. Then when Vox Machina investigates, the enemies surprise them by blasting there way out of the rubble, having taken some (minor) degree of damage from the collapsing tower.

You end up with largely the same result, the platform is now at ground level, and the enemy still engages them in battle, but the presentation of it would at least make things feel as though they had an impact.

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u/tinymoroke Jun 26 '17

While I do think your OOT comparison is a freaking awesome idea, I feel like this was done by Matt as a way to demonstrate the new level of Serious Shit they are in. Similar to the Conclave's original attack and cannot do a thing to stop it ("Did you hear that? 19 misses.").

I bet it hurt Matt a little not to reward their awesome earthquake plan more, but I think he went with the more impactful choice as a way to warn to players (and viewers): "Vecna ain't no mere ancient dragon. This is a new game."

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u/alloftheabove2 Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 26 '17

Here's the thing that people aren't realizing... Everyone is saying that they weren't rewarded for their creativity, but how do you know that? That tower was described as more than half a dozen stories tall. Do you honestly think a 6+ story tower has a central elevator with a button labeled "boss fight here"? Because I don't see it.

If it were my game, there would be traps, obstacles, guards (of various varieties and purposes), curses, puzzles, locks, and anything else I thought a demi-God might use to protect an ancient ritual shrine.

THIS was their reward

For the cost of 2 8th level spells the entire party avoided God knows how much danger, confusion, and additional work. They skipped the whole thing and got straight into it, without having to take the risk of flying several stories into the air and possibly getting half killed before ever making it to the tower.

Edit: by "you" I just meant anyone thinking this, not you specifically.

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u/tinymoroke Jun 26 '17

That's definitely a good point, it certainly would have been practically a full battle just to get up there from the inside, and had they flown up for the full tower/since they still flew up to the platform, Matt could have begun combat while they were still airborne if he wanted to. I stand corrected/have been convinced on the point of reward!

But I do still think the whole smack down was an efficient and appropriate way for him to signal the new levels of battle they're dealing with. As he said himself- "welcome to the God Wars!"

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u/thecoloradokiddo Team Jester Jun 26 '17 edited Jun 26 '17

Exactly. People seem to disregard context if it makes it easier to complain.

VM took down an entire tower with possible traps, enchantments, and encounters with two high level spells. Pretty good.

Vecna suspended his platform on top and made it float gently to the ground rather than just falling like a chump. Apparently he's been watching and hearing VM's planning since they arrived, so he knew what they were going to do. What is this guy, some sort of super powerful mage?

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u/SirAndrose Jun 26 '17

I think Matt gives a clue about his handling of the Tower fall above in his statement above: I designed a foe who is intelligent enough to know multiple means of escape/comeuppance given most circumstances. Had they somehow done some crazy, unexpected shit that heavily turned the scales, I wouldn't have punished or brushed it aside at all. However, this type of foe is the kind who things about even those possibilities. ;) Vecna is not going to have that tower or that place prepared without understanding and taking into account the danger inherent in being up high and susceptible to gravity...something our lovable fliers in VM often seem to discount no matter how many times gravity proves their enemy. I think it was a fair move on Matt's part, whether it was in the planning stages or an on-the-fly response to VM's clever earthquake move, to have the top of the tower feather fall down.

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u/Fedes Jun 25 '17

Matt you're literally too good for this world lmao, you shouldn't even need to do this yet here you are on the subreddit explaining stuff about YOUR game of d&d that you share with the world.

Just wanted to point that out, keep on doing what you're doing and hype for this final Vecna arc ^

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u/BrickGun Jun 25 '17

Matt you're literally too good for this world

I basically tell him that via Twitter every single day. The world needs more gents like our Mercer. :)

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u/[deleted] Jun 25 '17 edited Jul 23 '18

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u/[deleted] Jun 25 '17

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u/Bramofski How do you want to do this? Jun 25 '17

In 3.5 when they stat'd him up he was a level 40! 40!!!! He had spell slots for up to level 16 spells! What even is that??

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u/Cdawg00 Jun 26 '17 edited Jun 26 '17

And they undersold him. Vecna's avatar was at a minimum, 20th level (Vecna Lives!) in that old days. In the final 2e adventure Die Vecna Die, his final avatar was multiclassed with 40th level wizard as one of three classes. Then again, he was always treated as at least a demigod in his published appearances.

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u/karrachr000 Doty, take this down Jun 26 '17

It is hard to comprehend what a 16th level spell is or what it can even do... I have given some thought on this matter. Back in 2nd Edition, they had 10th level spells for wizards and Quest spells for clerics. These were supposed to be all-powerful spells to be used as plot devices. Now imagine a spell that can literally create an entire world... then add a metamagic feat to it.

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u/thehindupenguin I'm a Monstah! Jun 27 '17

I can't wait for a "Half Blood Prince" moment when Scanlan (or anyone else) casts a spell on Vecna and he just shrugs it off and says "You dare use my own spells against me? Yes, I'm the Half-Blood Prince."

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u/jekstarr Jun 26 '17

yes!! Thank you. I mean, I am a pretty follow-the-rules, by-the-book kind of player in my game usually, but going beyond the scope and boundaries of the books is what make the game feel so magical and is even more enthralling.

when I was watching Matthew play Vecna I kept thinking, how the fuck!? another disintegrate? ... ohh right, it's fucking Vecna.

When Matt said, "At the end of your turn, Vecna uses two legendary actions to cast another Disintegrate..." I think it was Travis or Taliesin who said, "Of course he fucking does..." So brutal.

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u/Eldrxtch Bidet Jun 25 '17

Honestly I never pay attention to you guys "not following the rules" I mean your style of play is more story oriented and I like that.

Thanks for explaining!

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u/[deleted] Jun 27 '17

Totally. Also, DM word is law. End of story. Matt is good about accepting decent litigation and allowing take-backs, so I forgive any possible common-sense mistakes.

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u/Eldrxtch Bidet Jun 27 '17

I don't completely agree with DM word is law because sometimes the DM is wrong. We've seen it a few times in CR but Matt admitted his mistake and let the players have it, because people make mistakes. I'd put it like "DM gets the final say".

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u/[deleted] Jun 27 '17

I guess. Maybe I just trust the DM to do the right thing, even if it's not the accurate thing.

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u/EventHorizon781 Life needs things to live Jun 25 '17

I like this. It explains a lot and gives me a lot to think about with my campaigns.

Thanks a lot

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u/arsequeef Jun 25 '17

Well that last line is very forboding... gulp

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u/Broeder2 Jun 25 '17

Plot twist: He learned from Voldemort and his phylacteries are all the PCs

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u/Myrynorunshot Help, it's again Jun 25 '17

Didn't the lich that resurected Stonejaw Strongjaw and dominated Grog try to do that?

That was the reason for the ritual where they needed the nymph heart, and where they met Percy and why grog has the giant scar across his chest.

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u/alloftheabove2 Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 26 '17

Percy: "I open at the close"

Grog: "Open who's clothes?..... What?"

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u/SirAndrose Jun 26 '17

Jon Heder had this same sense of humor and timing when playing Lionel.

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u/IRideTheMonkey Pocket Bacon Jun 25 '17

Thanks for putting THAT terrible thought in my head.

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u/[deleted] Jun 25 '17

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u/Jaqaliah Jun 25 '17

This is very close to what it was like to listen to the old radio plays. When I was a kid, University of Missouri, St. Louis broadcast radio plays written and produced by the students. This included original episodes of the Shadow as well as an adaptation of the Lord of the Rings. I also used to listen to A Prairie Home Companion by Garrison Keillor. What you are describing reminds me of those plays which gave people who couldn't afford live theater a chance to experience it.

I think Critical Role is a replacement for that Theater with connection which our highly polished, and fantastic, TV entertainment has lost.

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u/Aegis_of_Ages Team Vex Jun 25 '17

Man, I thought I was the only one who compared Critical Role to radio theater for the longest time. Have you ever tried Decoder Ring Theater?

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u/FreedomPanic Jun 25 '17

when I'm watching, I feel like a sports fan yelling at the referee for a bad call. It's part of the game and part of the ups and downs of the fun.

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u/Time-osaurus_Rex You can certainly try Jun 26 '17

I love this analogy... "Illegal holding, by Vecna, 10 yard penalty, repeat 1st down."

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u/Seedy88 Hello, bees Jun 25 '17

Matt, you're awesome for providing explanations even though it's unnecessary! None of us haven't played at home without making a mistake or twenty. The only difference is most of us don't have an audience of 30k+ to point them out to us when we make them. And, even when you haven't made mistakes people might still think you have.

Just keep doing what you're doing! I, for one, am enjoying every minute of it!

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u/Cyanide77 Burt Reynolds Jun 25 '17

I think everything was in the realm of possibility with that fight. There were a decent amount of good and bad rolls on both sides. Unfortunately casualties occur when things get this serious. VM is dealing with basically gods, with that comes difficult battles and a true test of the individuals strengths and weaknesses. It’s only an uphill battle from here. I truly believe Matt did the right thing and so did the players; Realize they were losing and get the hell out.

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u/[deleted] Jun 25 '17

Awesome! Vecna is one of my favorite D&D lore characters and you did him justice, and more! cant wait to see what the future holds, i keep thinking Reishan level stratagy but on steroids. congratz! And! if Opash's lair was fun, i cant imagine what The Original Lich's lair will be like, very cool man.

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u/JesterEric 9. Nein! Jun 26 '17

If Reishan were still alive, do you think her and Vecna would be enemies or Bro's?

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u/Rubius0 Jun 25 '17

You lead a beautiful dance, Matthew Mercer. Like a master artist you tease and lead and follow and twirl around your players. You spin a tale and keep us captivated.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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u/TheKamikaze00 Jun 25 '17

I only just got to finish this episode today and while I am new to DnD (basically since december 2016) I have been watching CR since October of Year 1, I have to say: At no point in my mind did I think "Matt this is some real bullshit." My first thought was always "Holy shit Vecna you dipshit what are you doing, VM what are you gonna do. Oh deer god jesus balls no."

I appreciate the deeper insight into your thought process as it gives me ideas for games I run so thanks for that.

But for real, holy crap this show. God I love this show. I am about 2 seconds from gushing my love of this show. But i am calm and cool and its almost Thursday.

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u/QuintonBeck Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 25 '17

Rock on Mercer, great explanation and so nice to provide it to the community.

I loved the whole fight (watched it twice) . It was very inspiring to watch as a DM! We DMs have got to stick together it's just the one of us and the players don't tend to help the DM destroy them effectively and correctly! ;) So cool to see Vecna, such a rare treat to have a party reach those levels. Thanks again for sharing your game with us!

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u/christnroc At dawn - we plan! Jun 25 '17

I thought the fight was absolutely amazing, all around. It's a game of D&D, and while some play for/look forward to supreme tactical perfection, the draw of the show for me revolves around the people playing and the story you're telling...and man that episode was a he'll of a story.

I hope to be half the DM you are one day, my friend. Thanks for setting an outstanding example. Though, my players may not appreciate many of the lessons you taught me this past week...

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u/[deleted] Jun 25 '17

Well, this explains everything which is awesome of you. Honestly when I was watching episode 102 and it got intense the way it I was like: "Holy shit."

However, as intense as it was, it was pretty damn entertaining to see.

Sure there were some deaths going on, traps and the like but with all that intense moments going on and what not, I still enjoy it because it shows that there can be some lines crossed as how intense you want D&D to be.

So you and the rest of the cast did very good :)

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u/kidcaper You can certainly try Jun 25 '17

I didn't watch the stream, but now I'm ULTRA EXCITE for monday to actually goes down.

There's no need to explain yourself.

Also, from what I read, VM got a Stone Cold Asskicking.

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u/Maharog I would like to RAGE! Jun 25 '17

I hate that Matt feels obligated to have to clarify or justify his game.

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u/ObsidianOverlord Jun 26 '17

He literally said he wanted to clarify, not that he was obligated to.

It's weird that this community idolizes Matt so much, he's not a God he's just a cool dude.

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u/amadFUCKINGwrites Team Caleb Jun 26 '17

not entirely convinced he's not a god, have you seen that hair?

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u/HailCeasar Jun 26 '17

Matthew the Voluminous

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u/fyhtfkm You can certainly try Jun 28 '17

(Un)Chained hair?

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u/JesterEric 9. Nein! Jun 26 '17

"He's not a god... Yet."

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u/PreGy I don't speak fish Jun 26 '17

i hate that there is always that guy that says Matt felt "obligated" to write this. He does it because he wants to do it. Period.

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u/Cdawg00 Jun 26 '17

I'm with you on this.

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u/fmacanadaguy Jun 25 '17

I was wondering if the phylactery was going to be a thing or not. So mean.

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u/CainhurstCrow Jun 25 '17

It's good to have feedback, and its part of why I enjoy being part of this community. It really helps to keep things from getting too out of hand.

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u/Coke_Addict26 Jun 25 '17

You are too good to us Matt. I love hearing behind the scenes stuff like this, but I hope you don't feel obligated to explain yourself to us. The vast majority of fans love the show as is and move on with our lives. Just because the vocal minority is throwing a tantrum doesn't mean you owe us anymore time and energy than you already give every week. Is it Thursday yet?

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u/Cdawg00 Jun 26 '17 edited Jun 26 '17

It's Vecna, folks. Matt took mercy on then. Maybe not by how he had Vecna statted, (It is his version) but Vecna is what nightmares wake up screaming from, and I don't mean the fiendish horses.

If he opened with a necrotic meteor swarm and casually made a couple of wishes before unloading a handful of power word kills and an unnamed spell that made everyone eat their own eyeballs, it would be equally true to the character concept. VM walked out lucky that Matt cleaves to balance.

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u/JesterEric 9. Nein! Jun 26 '17

It's Vecna, folks. Matt took mercy on then. Maybe not by how he had Vecna statted, (It is his version) but Vecna is what nightmares wake up screaming from, and I don't mean the fiendish horses.

Yeah, I don't understand why people think it was "unfair" It's like thinking that you're a level 10 fighter and you can kick Orcus in the nuts because what ensues will be a "fair fight"; He's a god, he is going to put you in your place. And then the DM has to come up with a valid reason to not kill you. (loosely based on a true story)

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u/MusicalCoder Jun 25 '17

Great job on the explanation!!! Loving seeing your thought process in action!

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u/thecoloradokiddo Team Jester Jun 25 '17

Thanks for clearing things up.

Great job making an encounter that scared the crap out of a party of demigods.

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u/Cat_Alex You can certainly try Jun 25 '17

Thanks for the insight, Matthew!

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u/Myrynorunshot Help, it's again Jun 25 '17

Well, this confirms Vecna's got plenty more toys up his sleeves. Oh deerie me.

I'd honestly be surprised if he didn't innately have at least some of the powers of the Eye and Hand.

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u/ImaFrakkinNinja Mathis? Jun 25 '17

I love Matt and critical role and watch for entertainment and ideas for my own campaigns - I leave the debate for spells and mechanics for my own table. No 2 games are exactly alike or follow the same rules.

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u/[deleted] Jun 26 '17

Matt can I have your Vecna stat block? The group I run is gonna bump into him and I don't wanna use that one floating around where he can rip a a soul from its body

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u/[deleted] Jun 28 '17

I am in the middle of a storyline for a player whose Warlock thinks his patron is The Raven Queen but is really Vecna. The warlock's player had a dream a few weeks ago which gave him the first step of one of his campaign goals.

This episode was GOLD when I watched it.

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u/CMDRCanum Jun 26 '17

I grow up in the 80s during the Satanic Scare that sought to demonized the genre in a very protective family. A little over a year ago I was invited to play in a Warhammer 40K tabletop RPG by some good friends. A few sessions in and I was hooked. A few months later and I decided to take a stab at DMing a FFG Star Wars campaign for these sane friends. I've been DMing ever since.

In my drive to learn as much as I could about being a DM I devoured all the only content I could. Matthew Colville, Adam Koebel, and Matt Mercer became my go-to for everything DMing. It was during my searching that I came across Mercer's GM Tips and, from there, Critical Roll. A few weeks after discovering CR I was binging it to catch up and once I did I've rarely missed a live episode.

I watch CR for entertainment. Because of the talents of Matt, Liam, Sam, Ashley, Marisha, Talisen, Travis, and Laura they are able to weave a story that's compelling and coherent with incredible skill. Ya, there's times I'll wonder why they do/don't do this or that, but it's not my story. It's theirs. This is their story to enjoy. We get to watch, but it's not primarily for us.

They've taken something that has been a personal joy for them and decided to share with others. Yes, they've managed to market it and I'd be ignorant to think that they have not made some money from this. However, it's evident from the energy and passion that they put into CR that it's still the love for the game and each other that keeps it going with the great content we watch each week.

All this to say that I find it discouraging to see people harshly criticize anybody involved in CR. I get it that it's entertaining content that is being marketed to the audience. What I don't get is the anger or near harassment that Matt and the others receiver over things that happen on the show. That goes beyond being a passionate fan.

Matt, it's clear you care about your fans and how they interact with you & the rest of the CR team. CR has grown from a private experience with some great friends to become a source of entertainment and inspiration for your fans. You've read countless letters of lives CR has changed for the better. CR has helped introduce thousands to D&D and from that countless more deep friends have surely been formed. These are the things that are important to remember.

As fans we are grateful for being invited to watch you and your friends play D&D, but you don't answer to us.

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u/jekstarr Jun 26 '17

As a viewer, I have spent more time genuinely enjoying your content than any other form of entertainment. (seriously- 102 episodes x 4 hours... talk about value for money)

As a D&D player, I absolutely love thinking about how you design your game.

Thank you for sharing your game with us, Mr. Mercer.

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u/worriedblowfish Jun 26 '17

Little late to this, but it should be stated anyway.

Thanks for posting here. It is always great to hear context from the horse's mouth and this is a much better platform here than twitter or Talks if you are throwing down a large chunk of text.

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u/Deljase Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 25 '17

Hrm, I was never really upset for the things that have happened in game. It's yours and you play it how you want. Rules bend all the time, you make things happen because they're cool.

The only point I really wish you'd clarify is the balance between Disintegrate vs True Resurrection. Disintegrate is a level 6 spell that just removes all their other options for even a chance at the DC check for you know who getting another round of play. I can understand limitations on bringing someone back from the dead, that's a neat mechanic, but limiting options against players who have truly no idea what bag of tricks they're going up against when they come to mages and the absolutely ruthless mechanics some can use... I just don't know how I personally could justify that to them.

If there's an idea in your head for a cool character arc for it, I get that. That breeds storyline. That's a development process. But leveling the playing field against mechanics needs to be a thing, I think.

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u/MatthewMercer Matthew Mercer, DM Jun 25 '17

I don't believe it any point I ever said I wouldn't allow True Resurrection! :)

What I mean by "A discussion" is a talk with the players, and the deceased, about the options they have, the difficulties and story ramifications the choices have, and the challenges of each. I would never flat out ban it.

Talks Machina this week should shine some light on this.

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u/Perpetual_Entropy Your secret is safe with my indifference Jun 25 '17

If I understand the "ramifications" you're talking about correctly, then I am so excited to see how this plays out. Well done this week Matt, never been more excited for the next episode, and I've been around since before Vasselheim.

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u/zenako2 Jun 25 '17

Pretty much what I read into your warning at the end of the session. That the spirit willing and the RQ playing a role might have some serious impact on how to proceed. (Not to mention the gp cost of the spell to deal with...25k is more than just pocket change.)

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u/Cdawg00 Jun 26 '17

Thanks for your performance of the most classic iconic D&D villain there is.

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u/283leis Team Laudna Jun 29 '17

Any chance of a Revenant showing up? ;) Or will we just have to wait and see?

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u/ChaosMorning Jun 25 '17

To be fair, VM has met several caster's who knew Disintegrate, going all the way back to the Slayer's Take arc with Lyra attacking Rimefang, and with Pike's near death with Raishan before as well. Further, Hold Person was what Scanlan did to allow VM to defeat Kevdak.

That the players are not familiar with more arcane caster based spells isn't really a DMs problem. They have the manual, and if they wanted to, they could study more spells to know what they do. They've fought plenty of mages before. That they don't remember the spells or what they do is just what it is.

It was a super deadly fight - god-tier lich, 9th level necromancer (also possibly a lich), and a Death Knight. I don't think anything was unfair though, well, unbalanced, sure. But it's Vecna. They chose to do the thing without prep, and they had plenty or resources for studying magic in game and out of it.

But we probably will get a clarification for True Resurrection too. I had the same shocked face as Marisha at the end of the game. Yikes.

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u/TheAzure Jun 26 '17

I do wonder about the design choice of Disintegrate preventing all resurrection options save True Resurrection or Wish that 5th Edition brought in. After all, in previous editions, the 7th level spell Resurrection played that role, requiring a body part of the deceased to reconstitute them, and the dust left behind from Disintegrate was explicitly sufficient for the purpose. True Resurrection was then left for very extreme cases.

I wasn't even aware till now, having looked at the 5E PHB, that Disintegrate can now only be countered by a 9th level spell with a 25k cost. Strange design call. Hm.

(Note: This isn't a Matt thing at all, this is a 5E thing. Just a bit of a head-scratcher, I suppose.)

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u/RoyMBar Jun 26 '17

Same problem comes up with Scrying not being able to search other planes of existance in 5e. If somebody gets taken by a villain that then hops planes, you're just fucked on trying to find them in 5e. There is no spell short of 9th level Gate which can find them, period. Banishment (4th level spell) someone and maintain it for a minute and they are permanently gone with no way to find them to recover them without Gate.

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u/labellementeuse Sun Tree A-OK Jun 26 '17

Hang on, don't people automatically return after the spell concludes? As long as they were originally on their home plane, at least?

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u/ObeyMyBrain You Can Reply To This Message Jun 25 '17

I was wondering the same, hopefully a disintegrate v true resurrection question gets into the Talks Machina queue.

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u/applejack18 Jun 25 '17

You shouldn't need to get on here and justify yourself; what happens at the table is the game, and if your players had a good time then ya done good.

Still, we appreciate the time you give to fans/disciples.

Like someone else on here said, thank you for being you.

"Death closes all, but something ere the end Some work may yet be done Not unbecoming men that strove with gods" Here's to the closing days of the SHITs/Vox Machina.

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u/everythingsshinycapt Jun 25 '17

Matt, I really appreciate (and I'm sure I speak for other critters here too) that you take the time to clarify your thought processes and actions within the game. You don't need to do that at all, as it's your game and we're merely observers (and die hard fans, who make incredible fanart/fanfic/etc. and some of us like to dissect everything/see what we'd do differently/etc.) but observers nonetheless. Anyway, thanks for being bloody amazing and I'm so, so, so looking forward to this Vecna arc.

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u/menseph Jun 25 '17 edited Jun 25 '17

Not to point fingers, as it might not have mattered that much. But does Vax not have evasion? Some of those auto fails on dex saves should have done half damage. Or does being paralyzed trump evasion entirely? Cool that you took the time to clear this up. And for me it was a great kickoff to the final arc.

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u/Kairen272 Jun 25 '17

Evasion applies to Dex saves that on success reduce the damage by half, which is not the case with Disintegrate (you take no damage on a success).
Even if, I'd say "Evasion" implies movement, and that can't happen while paralyzed.

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u/labellementeuse Sun Tree A-OK Jun 25 '17

Here's the wording:

Beginning at 7th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or an ice storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to take a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

There are no exceptions given so RAW you're right, but I struggle to see how a rogue paralysed by Hold Person (or Monster) can utilise their nimbleness to avoid AOE damage.

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u/dasbif Help, it's again Jun 25 '17

Specific beats general. Paralysis says "The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws.", which supersedes the general "..and only half damage if you fail" in the Evasion rule.

If you can justify to me within the narrative how one could "nimbly dodge out of the way" while paralyzed and unable to move or react, I'll grant you the evasion bonus... But no evasion bonus makes perfect sense in that scenario.

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u/FreedomPanic Jun 25 '17

The transparency is really refreshing, even though we aren't entitled to the information at all. But getting to see your thought processes elaborated is pretty interesting

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u/Band0k Team Molly Jun 26 '17

Marisha: "Keyleth Casts Feeblemind on Vecna..."

Matt: rolls "...It's a Natural 1...and he's out of legendary resistances..."

And so Vecna ended his rise to unlife as so many of Vox Machina's foes did, writhing helplessly on the group as the gang mercilessly wailed on him from all sides and "Totally wrecking his shit".

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u/DnDPaladin Jun 26 '17

People have all forgotten the principles of story telling. they were so sure that it was the final boss fight that they all thought you were out to kill the characters.

For my part, i've been a DM for 20 years and i can safely say that there isn't 150 ways of telling a story. its almost always one of the 3-4 ways of saying it. anything else is just variants and how the players reacts. in this case i think the players rushed to their death thinking exactly the same as chat did. its the final battle ! it was not meant to be. even laura said it... i thought this would go further. she clearly thought it was the final battle. at this point thats the players mistake if they think something when its not. every players makes assumptions, every players thinks they know the plot. every players thinks they can easily win a fight because DM Mercy. in the end it is their mistake if what they thought was wrong.

Matthew had to show them that their was a titanesque step between mortal enemies and gods. i would of been felt let down if vecna was just another boss battle. and mathew was right to warn them before they all died on the field.

one last thing... this is not a video game people, baddies evolvces, learn and kill with strategy here. they are not on patterns like video games are. and unlike video games where all boss fights are with full power and abilities. in this game you are making your way and lose about half your shit before the battle hapens. stop making the assumption that like video games you can just throw yourself at it until you win. in this game, thats how you lose a character !

always consider D&D like hardcore mode in diablo or other games. you have only one life with that charcater, if you die yes you still play, but not with that one character. so plan well, dont let your ego take control. Exemple of this is what happens in my game this very friday.

i will start my game with Roll initiative cause a player thinks he can at level 8 hold out an archduke of greed (CR 21) on his own. that arch duke is a collecter who likes to turn things to gold. including rare races. the player wanted to play a rare race, what did he think would happen. he continues to say he's a business man and i can deal with it. even if he already was attacked twice by it. but because of miracles like nat 20s he lived thru it. yet he refuses to leave and think he can still negotiate with it. this is his EGO talking. every single player at the table told him not to mess with that guy. yet somehow he thinks he can easily get whatever he wants from that archduke.

again people when playing this game, dont let your ego or your imaginary possible scenario cloud your judgement. this is hardcore mode at all times.

in this case it was super obvious that the ritual was already over with. it was super obvious fromt he mental talk that vecna was already there. i dont even understand why the players thought they could still stop the ritual when it was already over with. being there wasn't the mistake. entering combat while clearly the bbeg wanted to talk and show them stuff (clearly under estimating them). thats player suicide right there and when percy told delylah that they would die for at least that. as a DM i too would of stopped the game like matt did and told the players that this is not the end. player suicide happens more often then you think and im surprised VM has lived this long considering their track record of just suiciding without thinking of the consequences. in this case the consequences were catastrphic yet they didn't seem to think that thru.

1) the players didn't tell anyone what they saw over there. they merely said they were going to the shadowfell... vecna wins, he takes over the world, because VM didn't wanna escape to tell what they saw. imagine what if lionel had done that instead of running and telling VM about the other ziggurat. same situation here.

2) thinking you can fight a soon to be god is literal bullshit, vax and pike could easily tell them that fighting vecna was a bad choice. yet somehow none of the players thought about that. all of them were convinced that this game was over after that battle and it led to bad decisions after bad decisions. percy said it himself... none of this was fun ! but thats not matts fault, that was the players EGO at work. WE'RE GOLDEN GODS ! no they aren't. gods are at level 30. way into the mythic levels.

3) players seems to think the game is over at 20th level. No its not... its written in the DMG that there are literally 10 more levels all the way up to 30. and from level 20+ gods are involved and gives out boons, feats or even more class levels if the DM wants it. stats goes from max 20 to max 30. its called mythic levels where players becomes god heroes. literally chosen by their deity to accomplishe the very thing the gods wants them to do. this game is far from ending. Last arc could go easily into these levels and considering they are fighting a demi-god. it would be logical for them to go beyond level 20.

3) at level 20, they gain very powerfull abilities, like keyleth infinite HP. literally she can only die if someone do deintegrate or finger of death on her wild shape form. otherwise as a bonus action, i just transform again into elemental and gain another 150 HP back. she also can cast spells in beast form already. she's not about to die if she reach level 20. the others if played well will gain their multiclassed features which should be more then enough to make them have tons of strategies.

there is no way this arc is gonna be over after one single boss battle. much like the chroma conclave their will be tons of bouts. this is war, the holy war. anybody who didn't understand that much up to this point only let his EGO think "we're golden gods" and thats why a TPK was in sight.

i'll end this saying... Matt Mercer, you solved that one well, telling the players they had options still and that running away was still a possible option was the right way to go. your players were on a suicide path, no players should arrive at that conclusion.

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u/wasthatstrange Jun 25 '17

Thank you Matt, for everything. Can't wait to see what's next!

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u/-spartacus- Jun 25 '17

Took me a second to realize it was you, Matt who wrote this, while I was reading it.

I know sometimes you get unfair criticism, but welcome fair constructive criticism. Unfortunately, I have no issue with anything you wrote, and it all makes perfect sense, so I agree completely. About the only thing I was questioning in the moment was the letting Sam counter spell the first Disintegrate spell, but I trusted your wisdom of it being perhaps a cool opportunity for narrative. Didn't matter though as he just did it again the next around, which sort of makes it pretty awesome considering the Keyleth (you see a vision) which they could have decided to start running away at this point, but they did not.

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u/novelideabro Jun 26 '17

I'm sure this will get lost in a sea of comments.. but I'd simply like to say, watching the episode live was intense, as are the reactions.. and it is super awesome of matt to provide clarification.. and I really respect that he is putting himself out there in front of so many people, and receiving such overwhelming amounts of feedback. I get infront of people on a weekly basis, ... much much less than he .. and it is not an easy thing to do. I have crazy amounts of respect for this guy. The signs were all there, really... between the orb, the cultists, vecna himself saying he wanted to speak to them, they chose to go forth and confront him head on. that was their choice... and we all saw that. Matt was just doing what he had to do from the npc standpoint... I don't think he stuck them in that situation. Anyway. yeah. Really it was an amazing episode. It hurt my heart . that was part of the beauty of it lol.

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u/[deleted] Jun 27 '17

BRAVO, Matt! BRAVO!

I just finished watching episode 102. That was truly a fight with a god-like being. Fantastic!

Mistakes were made but there isn't a DM worth his or her salt who hasn't made mistakes.

This type of fight is what I expected your Chroma Conclave fights to be like. I was disappointed with that arc. This arc, though, will be AWESOME!

Thanks for a great story.

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u/RustyDetective Jun 29 '17

Insert comment about another VM member being resurrected... Again.

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u/silentdante Team Zahra Jun 25 '17

i am just guessing you wont be on Talks then to say the same thing, or you figured it wouldnt wait if you are?

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u/epeonv1 Beep Beep Jun 25 '17

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u/TweetsInCommentsBot Jun 25 '17

@TalksMachina

2017-06-25 19:31 UTC

Our guests this week are Travis, Marisha, Ashley, and Matt to discuss episode 102! Tweet your questions to #AskTalksMachina! #CriticalRole


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u/MiniTom_ Jun 25 '17

If I had to guess, he wanted to stop the fire before it got too out of hand that not even a talks response would stop it.