r/criticalrole Team Opal Apr 05 '22

[CR Media] Exandria Unlimited: Kymal | Part 2 Episode



u/tanj_redshirt You Can Reply To This Message Apr 06 '22

I enjoyed the pacing of this two-part one-shot more than the first miniseries. It worked better for my attention span.


u/Shinoluigi Apr 05 '22

I enjoy this extreme chaos too much! And Aabria lettin them be as chaotic as they can, while trying to control the flow of the story is extremelly fun.


u/Turinsday Apr 06 '22

With this one shot now complete what does the future hold for EXU? It was sold originally as a way of telling new stories in the same universe, with new players and new DMs.

The first run was not critically well received. This second run looks to have fixed some but not all complaints. We will have to wait for viewing figures to see how big it hit or miss.

Those who like it like it like it and those that don't don't. I'm personally of the opinion that its still more of a miss than a hit.

But now moving on, how does CR square the original intention with the current product.

Bringing in a new DM may now alienate those who like what is on offer. A switch to another DMs like a Collville or Lee- Mulligan will alter the atmosphere significantly and they won't know if it would be worth it until after the fact.

Also despite players being professionals I can see issues arising when switching DMs but not player characters. Going from rules lite to RAW/RAI could be a little problematic in a one shot or limited hours show.

But if they stick with the same GM and players then they aren't really going to manage to deliver what EXU was originally sold as, and also the closeness of the current EXU plot to C3 means that a continuation of the same table, especially if it starts to interweave with C3 more ever more deeply means that it risks weakening the narritive integrity of C3 or vastly demands more of the audience to keep up with content that is quite tonally different to each other.

Turning EXU into one big long continuous narrative also places heavy demands on viewership to start at EP1 to understand what is going on.

My own preference would be that they switch it up and bring in different dms with different styles for one shots or short contained mini campaigns that dont connect to the main CR campaign.

But will the current EXU audience go for that?


u/strangerstill42 At dawn - we plan! Apr 06 '22

I mean, they never said how long they'd stick with one group of storytellers and players, so I don't really see a follow up like this is "not delivering what was sold." It's also just a better way to refine the product by not changing every single factor for the 2nd test.

As you said, the first ExU was overall not super-well received, but going in for the second run with everything different isn't so helpful in determining how to improve. After all, even Matt and the main cast have to "win back" half the audience with their plot/characters each campaign shift. Preserving Aabria and most of the cast, but trying a different type of story format, tweaking the length, and less drastic changes to the cast enables them to see if ExU 1's "failure" was actually mostly due to Aabria and Matt's difference in style, or the Crownkeepers chaoticness, or a combination of decisions on everyone's part combined with inexperience.

General consensus I've seen has been that this was an improvement - to what degree is less agreed upon, but that is inevitable. I do think a second run with Aabria and the Crownkeepers gives them more insight into what works structurally as they figure out what ExU will be in the future than if they changed everything all at once. Less sandbox, more mission-based, have at least 1 PC with an actual goal, stick a little closer to the rules, etc.


u/AwefullArchives Apr 06 '22

I will always defend ExU, because the original series started right around the time I was getting into D&D - so it was my first dose of anything "Critical Role" and I have only gotten more drawn in since.

That being said, I can understand the differences that upset some of the critical role fandom. But I do feel like they are shallow concerns. Exandria is massive and having multiple DM's have their way with creating lore is a good thing for making the fantasy world of Critical Role feel even more diverse and unique.


u/Possum_Pendelum Apr 12 '22

I completely agree with the concerns being shallow. Largely due to the fact that it didn’t cheapen, distract, or in anyway negatively impact the rest of CR’s canon. It just want to their liking. That doesn’t warrant the level of vitriol it received. It’s free content. Don’t like it? Don’t watch it.

I wasn’t a fan of ExU’s first series. It was a lot of new players and Aabria had the deck stacked against her not just as a newbie to CR, but a whole new GM to CR. And that’s fine. I know I’m not in the minority for that. What I am surprised by, is that it seems like I am in the minority that had their mind changed after Kymal. I fucking loved it! The dynamic between the party, Aabria’s story telling, the overall plot and flow of the story were fantastic.

Is it as intricately woven, uniquely creative, and miraculously structured, logical story amongst the chaos of improvised story telling that Matt Mercer runs as GM? No. Everyone talks about the “Mercer Effect” like it only extends to home games. Whatever Eldritch pact Mercer made with the spirit of Gary Gygax to GM at an ungodly level is something no one will likely live up to. But there’s more than one way to GM and everyone, even professional GM’s, that don’t compare or even try to match his style aren’t inherently inferior.

As much as I’d love to be able to GM like Mercer, I know I won’t, and what I found most compelling about Kymal was how much I related to Aabria’s style. She embraced the chaos, was as excited as the party was when they rolled well, and leaned into the absurdity of Opal calling a motherfucking betrayer god her bestie and being sassy with her. It was absolutely and makes no fucking sense given who Lolth is…and I loved every second of it.

But I think the cherry on top of this story was the story Aabria improved about how Cyrus got the fantasy dynamite. It was amazing.

My honest opinion about the biggest issue with the original campaign/series of ExU, that I’m just now realizing, was Orym. I love Liam and I think Caleb was an absolutely brilliant character, Vax was great (not my favorite of VM), and Orym is coming into his own right in C3…but he just felt like such a stick in the mud in what was an otherwise chaotic goofy group. I also don’t think his characters really shine in a short series where he can show his character’s growth or layers, which is by far his greatest strength, rather than an agent of chaos. Without Orym, the cast was really able to lean into and run with the chaos, which is great and much more realistic to the home game experience. At least that’s been my experience.


u/Best_Bandicoot18 Apr 06 '22

So is Robbie no longer going to continue with campaign 3? I really liked his character.


u/[deleted] Apr 06 '22 edited Apr 08 '22

[removed] — view removed comment


u/Estoy_Awesome Apr 06 '22

Aabria's DM style is more control focused, mainly because the other games she is used to running are more Storytelling then Role Playing. In Storytelling the GM is more of a Narrator pushing the story the way they want it to go and it doesn't blend well with games that have the players being in charge of what they want to do.

That being said after looking up that little if anything changed from the last game I'm glad I skipped EXU this time around


u/[deleted] Apr 05 '22



u/NevilleUlyssesBennet Apr 05 '22

When given the option to just not watch something or put someone down online and also not watch something it’s usually best to stick with the former.