In this installment of Critical Hit – A Major Spoilers Dungeons and Dragons Podcast: The party travels to Thundertree and meet plant monsters and zombies.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. I am more than a little turned off by the bad attitudes. It’s one thing to find legitimate problems with something, but clearly looking for some tiny thing to complain about is off putting. The divide is clear. Some players ( Matt ) have honest questions, some are looking for something to misunderstand. The slightest change met with the thickest snark. The air is thick with bad intent. When you look for a reason to complain, you will always find one. You can easily tell who has the bad attitudes. It’s too bad because the enjoyment (laughing) and the roleplay is as good or better than ever!!! Why try a game you clearly have no intention of giving a honest chance? What’s the point? unless making sure you don’t like it is the point.

    • It may just be me relistening to this for tenth time, but you may be reading a bit more into our comments. The same thing happened when I compared DnD to WoW in the early episodes – there is a point of reference that everyone is coming from, and in the attempt to understand new rules and structure, comparing it to what players know is going to happen. In the case of the Hit Die, I think there is a legitimate concern that you could role to regain hit points and role anything less than the max possible number.

      I understand you have a concern with the players trying to get their feet on something stable they understand, but once the foothold has been established, I do believe there is a different perspective on the game. For example, I’ve never said I hate 5e. In fact, I have stated many times on this site, that there are some real positive things that I like about 5e, and if invited to play a game, I would most certainly do so.

      Thanks for your comments Tiles!

    • I kind of agree with Tiles.

      For context, I, like Matthew, played the hell out of 1e and 2e back in the day but kind of fell away from it in my 20s. You guys got me back into D&D and really sold 4e to me and so I really value your judgement as a group. I was really sceptical about the play test but have really been won over to 5e after giving it a fair crack.

      As a listener, it feels like Rob has no interest either in running a published adventure or in trying 5e and I rckon it’s next to impossible for players to make a game fun with a disinterested DM.

      I think that Adrianna’s criticism that the location of a castle being unknown makes no sense is unfair (live in Scotland where you can’t throw a stick without hitting some unnamed ruined fortification) and probably stems at least partially from the generally negative attitude. I can’t imagine anyone having this criticism if Rodrigo had come up with the idea.

      These things make the podcast a little less fun to listen to for me, though I’m still loving the characterisations, esp by Rodrigo and Adrianna.

      • Laughing, I thought Adrianna’s obvious frustration as a writer was hilarious! Made me realise what I sound like when I get exasperated at bad logos and typography.

      • A have to second your sentiments here, Gritpipe. Each one is spot-on:

        – No way would the players treat Rodrigo’s game this way;

        -Rob has been set up for failure. He’s running a published adventure that no one in the group really cares about, and the players know it’s temporary so there’s little investment or story development- which is at the heart of the Critical Hit campaign;

        -Adrianna seems so blase about 5e and this game that she’s not fun to listen to, and I LOVE her roleplay sensibilities.

        I really looked forward to the 5e interlude, but now I just want to get back to the ‘real’ game.

    • Im with comrade tiles as well on this. It feels like there is a bit of kneejerk whining going on, from the dismissive attitude towards unfamilliar mechanics to the somewhat Ill informed skepticism regarding the writing of the canned adventure (and the distaste for pre built adventures in general.)

      It is dissimilar to previous criticism of the game mainly in tone. Steven’s early criticism was based on his comparison to an unrelated game, did not have a petulant tone and was opposed fairly by rodrigo.

      Anyway, I lay my honest feedback at your feet for you to see to it as you will. Obviously I continue to enjoy the pod and appreciate all of those involved, and perhaps when making something you shouldn’t listen too carefully to external commentary, so as to not compromise your vision.

  2. Wasn’t my favorite one, the first 20 minutes are particular tough to listen to for enjoyment. Reminded me of putting the kids in the backseat to take them somewhere they really don’t want to go and all they do is complain on the way and meh everything when they get there. Well you don’t have to love them all but you can still love the show.

  3. I wonder if part of Matthew’s unhappiness with fighters is because he is not using his fighting style in the game. Isn’t he a shield defender with Protection style isn’t he? His play style may not fit the build.

    I appreciate the way Rodrigo is leaning into his character and the bard mechanics. I can see that Stephen was meant to play a monk. I love Brian getting to be free of attack rolls and his cocky “bring it.”

    I did wonder on the running of the game whether the DM was supposed to read out loud the background text – like the part about volcanoes and zombie plagues – or just the descriptions.

    • It is entirely possible, but there are a lot of elements of Next that I’m still unclear on, and given how long it took me to internalize 4E and not try and play it like AD&D, there’s going to be a learning curve.

      Mileage varies and all…

  4. Hmm a ‘worthwhile’ comment. I HATE change, it seems some of you do too. I am also not a fan of pregens. Last year I either played in, or ran 4e, Pathfinder, 5e, Call of Cthulhu, the Laundry Files and Dark Heresy games. I have enjoyed them all. The game I enjoyed most was a 5e game of mines Phandelver. However both players and DM approached it with a positive attitude and the party really worked character wise. The amount of rocks being thrown here would never happen if Rob had created the scenario himself, for reasons both of politeness and of familiarity. To run a pregen well you have to really know it and when you find bits you or your players won’t like, amend it. Matthew is of course, correct mileage may (some would say will always) vary. However, if you go back and listen to your early struggles with 4e (and some struggling still continues) they contain a lot less venom. Unfortunately, I am sure the series is in the can. Beyond the snark there is some good roleplaying going on but in this episode it was pushed into the background. To be honest 5e is rules light compared to 4e, combats certainly won’t take 3 critical hit episodes and I think the strengths of Critical Hit are character and storytelling. I note a mention of Dungeon World…..I would have thought a storytelling system of that kind would really suit you guys…are we going to find out?

      • I’ve been more than clear about it: I’ve always hated change, and even being aware that I hate change doesn’t make it any less frustrating when it happens.

        That said, adapting quickly (albeit with lots of voracious complaining when I can get away with it) is one of my most important real-world skills. Ironic, ennit?

  5. I love it when players try hard to interpret game mechanics into the actions of their characters. Example; Rodrigos use of inspiration. Rodrigo describes what his character is doing.
    This requires an understanding of the rules and effort.
    5e, 4e, 3e, 2e, 1e are all high quality rule sets, not perfect
    They are what you make of them.

  6. There was one episode where Mathew tried to have his character jump horizontal in the air and take out three guys at once. Something like that and Rob said no can’t happen, it’s not in the rules). Ok fine DM has final say but I’m thinking it would be nice to find a way to make menuvers like that possible. How about have Mathew role a hard DC athletics check, or even medium DC if he rolls way over the DC then give him some extra damage dice. If he rolls way under he gets a face full of dirt. At the same time I do understand this is a new ruleset and Rob might not want to start tinkering yet.

    • At level 3 the warrior can unlock all kinds of special maneuvers. I don’t care how creative a level 1 wizard gets with his description, he isn’t turning a scorching hands into a meteor swarm. Why should the fighter be any different?
      I’m 100% with Rob here. Not untill you get a power that says you can do that… Which is at level 3.

      • Tazsul, it’s not a matter of using ‘powers’ that the character doesn’t have. When Matthew asked if he could flying body slam the 3 goblins, I couldn’t believe that Rob said ‘no’. You can *try* ANYTHING. Rob didn’t have to grant Matthew an attack on all 3 targets- that just tosses the rules out. He could have ruled that Matthew could attack one and roll an Athletics check to knock the other two targets Prone. If he failed the attack or the Athletics check, Rob could say that now Matthew (sorry, can’t recall the character’s name) is now Prone.

        I think that it’s very ‘4e’ thinking for players to ask what they can do or think they’re limited to the powers/maneuvers they have. It’s a creative game, and the rules are there to foster and allow creativity.

  7. It appears to me that Rob did not really read the module before DMing. He seems uninterested and is constantly getting information wrong. It would be hard to be a player when the DM isn’t engaged enough to know the material.

    • Yeah this. I think if your DM just started reading from the text of a canned adventure that is reason enough to leave and find a new game. If the DM isn’t interested in the world then the players will be even less so.

      The information presented in the adventure is just supposed to prep the DM so that he can grow a world out of it. It saves you the time of creating it all from scratch but you should still be putting in the work so that you aren’t presenting the information provided by NPCs like you are reading a news bulletin. That’s not fun. It’s unsurprising that people aren’t having fun. The DM needs to own that adventure or it won’t be fun.

  8. I thought it was just me. I mean, I haven’t posted a comment on here in a while and this ep got me to do it. I want to offer some constructive criticism. I hope it comes off that way…

    I think maybe having the whole regular crew on this was a mistake. If people aren’t really interested in diving into a new system, their frustrations can become uncomfortable for the listener. I think Rodrigo, even if he isn’t into this new 5e thing, is doing a great job of playing a character and inhabiting the rules. Perhaps Dr. Brad (was that his name?) would have been a better option instead of the remote players. (trying to be honest to be helpful here)

    I know that playing remotely is difficult under the best of circumstances, but the disinterest has veered into an area that I think is taking advantage of this DM. Some of this behavior would not have been tolerated by Rodrigo, and I always keep in mind that Rob has worked past speech issues that have caused others to be shy and unable to even speak publicly. I really admire that about the guy, and I hope that in the future he can be given a bit more room to be in charge if he runs a game. The mini campaign he ran in the last break was fun. And it’s a treat to hear Rodrigo play as a character.

    I don’t mind the general dislike of new features of 5e, but I think elements like rolling for hit point recovery actually make the game a little more realistic and a little less like a video game. I like that, and I can see how it could lead to some interesting role playing moments.

    You’re still the best! This just feel this wasn’t the finest hour of the series. Excelsior and stuff.

  9. Oh, c’mon guys! Chill.Take it for what it is, they’re trying out a new system so we don’t have to. Everybody is a little ackward because math is hard, Rob is a little stiff because he has to read from the book to get the story going and there’s no Torq.
    It’s a great ep, and specially informative tothose of us wo haven’t bought new books.

  10. ? What are people thinking ?
    The first 23 minuts were som of the funniest podcasting ever.
    You guys and gals (the podcast Crew) are such great nerds, and i love your rants, and Rodrigo wispering ” …and we were allmost playing.”
    There are plenty of straigth real-play-podcast to choose from, what makes yours the best are what you do that isn’t rolling dice. Thou i love when you do that to.
    Im not trying to such up, but please remember. For every one that comments criticisem 10000 people loves you

    • Yes, must admit I feel the same way. I think any frustration is all pretty good natured grumbling, and you only get a bit of the story without facial expressions.

      Also must be hard trying to retrain your brain from 5(?) years of 4E conditioning, on the fly, while being recorded and being entertaining.

      Speaking of entertaining – great role playing yall.

      • Thanks Gary. I would say many of the comments are good natured grumbling. There isn’t anyone in this group who hates 5th edition, regardless of how it sounds, or what other people may perceive from listening.

        • Sorry to go off topic Stephen, but I just got a new credit card – could you point me to the best spot to update my subscription details? Thanks in advance!

  11. It’s really starting to sound like the group has already decided they hate 5th edition, the complaints, pessimistic attitudes, and constant nit-picking the game rules, has made these podcasts a chore to listen through.

    I think this was the wrong group for these podcasts.

  12. Really loving the 5E adventure, and this episode as a great one!

    I ran the module for a group of friends of mine, and it’s funny how several of the problems we ran into (from a 3rd and 4th edition background of D&D) with 5th ed are seen by you folks as well. We were mystified by the hit dice and had to re read what they were about for around 20 minutes before figuring them out.

    • It’s interesting to hear from someone what has had similar experiences that we did! Thanks Dereck and thanks for being a Major Spoilers VIP! More people like you will enable us to create another RPG podcast for more in the future!

  13. I’ve switched over to 5e for one of my regular groups, and my other one is Pathfinder. I think there’s a lot to be learned from watching people try to get around in another edition than they’re used to, and when I start running 5e as a DM, I’ve got some other stuff in the toolbox from listening to Rob run Lost Mine of Phandelver. 4e was awkward until everyone got the mechanics. Super Nintendo was awkward until you got used to the buttons. Windows XP keeps things in different places than Windows 2000 did. We’re all still alive.

    For the main CH storyline, I’m fine with 4e because I don’t want to think about mechanics anymore and focus on the story. 5e is pretty awesome. I’ve enjoyed it the most out of what I’ve played and have played every edition except 3e. If you like it, play it. If you don’t like it, don’t play it. Basic rule of life, applies to everything.

    Long story short, keep up the good work.

  14. As a big fan of Critical Hit I’m rather disappointed with all the whining and complaining about the 5e rules, more from some than others.

    To all those saying this is typical when you start a new rpg, all I have to say is I’ve never been in a game or heard a game with this much negativity out of the gate. Plus what makes it worse, is that most of the complaints were made just for sake of complaining (Adrianna’s remarks about the castle).

    If this is what I can expect from future episodes, than goodbye Critical Hit, I’m off to find a new rpg podcast.

  15. Long-time listener here, I guess can sort of understand how some people might find the “complaining” off-putting but honestly I thought the opening discussion was pretty entertaining…especially the part about “losing” an entire castle (as long as Rob wasn’t taking the criticisms of the adventure writing personally). I also don’t see the harm in a little commentary as you guys explore a new rules set in the off season.

    It’s interesting to hear the players trying out new characters. Rodrigo and Adrianna in particular are really bringing theirs to life! I wonder if some listeners are hearing Vesca’s disinterested/snarky tone and reading that as Adrianna’s personal opinion about the adventure?

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  16. Ok, I guess I have been out of the 4e loop for a while, but where will Matthew build his new character? Is the wotc 4e character builder still available ? How will these guys level up in the future? Are there other companies offering a 4e builder? Pen paper??

    • Wizards of the Coast have archived their online builder, so there is still access to that. Beyond that, I haven’t seen a 5e builder appear on line, so I guess we’ll all have to revert to books and paper :)

      By the way, thanks for becoming a Major Spoilers VIP Tiles. Glad you are supportive of what we do.

      • Love this show. As does everyone who has commented on this board. ( I suspect ) I wish I supported sooner! Worth every penny. If someone on these boards wants to sing up for silver I will upgrade to gold!!

  17. I do love the podcast and am happy to hear you guys playing the same adventure my group is just finishing. I will agree that the negativity can be a bummer. A possible solution could be to make more of the questioning be done in character. For example, the group wants to know if horses are available and if they would make the ride any shorter. Instead of Rob answering, suggest that they ask the innkeeper. Adrianna doesn’t know why they wouldn’t know where a castle is located, have Vesca(sp) talk to the priest who told them about it in the first place. I think the more of this that is done in character, the better the show is, as everyone’s in character work is very good. Not to say I don’t enjoy the out of character banter and jokes. I do like it a lot. All in all, a great show.

  18. This was probably the hardest podcast for me to listen to. I felt a lot of negativity, and the whole episode left a bad after-taste, and the combat was going so very slow when it should be really quick….

    I loved Rodrigo & Stephen’s attitude and role playing. Brian seemed to understand the rules the best, with Rodrigo in a close second.
    I couldn’t figure out if Matthew was kidding though. especially when he said I hate 5th edition when he rolled a 1.
    Adriana picking a sad sack character didn’t help the mood.
    Rob. Well Rob is Rob.

  19. As much as I love the main campaign, I really like the shift in the group dynamic in these off season episodes. Rodrigo as a player is absolutely hilarious, and Rob’s (ahem) *intimate* knowledge of the rules makes him a great GM. Also, I love that Adrianna has gone from a character that cares too much about everything to a character that doesn’t seem care about anything. I didn’t think I would enjoy hearing this group play a module as much as I have. I’m hoping for more next season break!

  20. I would not recommend this arc to anyone remotely curious about 5th edition. I know how edition wars can get, but I found Robb’s lack of enthusiasm at running a canned adventure and Adrianna’s griping to be frustrating. It feels like neither are really trying to enjoy it. Stephen and Rodrigo both are great and making the best of a new thing. Brian seems to be a go-with-the-flow kind of person and learning new systems is business as usual.

    Hind-sight is always 20/20, but if Superman could reverse the rotation of the earth and go back in time. I think exploring 5th edition and running a canned adventure should have been 2 different efforts.

    All of this is coming from someone who loved 4th edition, enjoys Pathfinder, and is excited about 5e but has not played it yet, so take that for what you will.

    When the roleplaying does take place, it’s just as good. It’s fun hearing Rodrigo on the other side of the screen. I’m glad I’m not a player in this game, Vesska’s (spelling?) attitude gets on my nerves. But she’s still a very entertaining character.

  21. I’m really enjoying listening to you guys go through Lost Mines of Phandelver. I don’t really mind the bitching. I’d rather hear honest reactions and would worry if you felt you couldn’t say what you were thinking in the moment.

    That said, you’re some kind of weird bizarro world. Most of D&D is either sticking with the 3.x systems or galloping ahead to 5. Fourth Edition is the red-headed stepchild.

    As such, I think the audience for D&D 4 is small and will probably shrink. I know you’re committed to doing Rodrigo’s next campaign in 4th but I’d encourage you to consider switching over to 5th over time. As fun as you guys seem to bem I have little reason to listen to a 4e podcast and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’d tune in every week for a 5e version.


    • I guess the question is whether you listen to the podcast for the mechanics or the story. Saying you don’t want to listen to a 4e podcast because you don’t play 4e is sort of like saying you don’t want to watch The Godfather because you’re not in the Mafia and their world works differently then you’re used to. It’s still a compelling story. The main line quest is a compelling story too. I still have no idea what the world is going to look like when the new season opens.

      • The analogy is terrible (with apologies) but the point is not. I’m listening for the combo. I have lots of places to get compelling stories. It’s podcasts that deal with the mechanics that are more rare.

        If the podcast has a built in audience that loves the story and is happy with the edition, obviously keep on keepin’ on. I just personally hope they do more 5e later. But I doubt they wiil if Adriana has anything to say about it. ;)

        • I don’t believe anyone has said that we would never play D&D Next/5E again. Our Game Master runs his game his way, and he’s chosen not to transition at this time. Given that, a couple months on from these recordings, 5E is still not what I consider to be a complete or fully operational system for our characters and purposes, he’s making the right decision.

          Mileage, as always, may vary.

          • Yeah, I now understand that you guys play the same characters in every season. Switching systems would probably suck for that. Moving to 5th at some point would really be best done with a completely fresh slate. Like I said, you’re fun and I hope you do it some time.

            Is there somewhere on the site where you describe what class, race, and (especially) level your 4e characters are? I listened to a few of the old episodes and it seems like you’ve been fighting “world threat” enemies since the very beginning. I think I just assumed at some point you’d want to wind up the cosmic epic level stuff.

  22. After over a year of listening I’ve finally caught up on all of critical hit, y’all have helped me through many long days of work. Jumping onto the critical hit band wagon as late as I did 5e was in its final play test era and promised a bright new future to dnd, I’ve bought all the hard back 5e books released so far (through your amazon link ofcourse) and started DMing a homebrew game the day after I got the starter set in. I absolutely love 5e but hearing in almost every mailbag episode that CH would not jump to 5e I wasn’t expecting any 5e gaming coming through my pods of casting. Imagine my excitement when I reached the 270’s range and started seeing 5e tags on future episodes! That excitement turned into a sinking feeling in my chest when I started listening and heard all the criticism and negativity the gang had to offer about the new edition. Beyond that what scares me even more are people like j Perez (above) whose only 5e interaction so far is the disinterested comments about the mechanics that are littered through out these episodes. I can honestly say that had I listened to these past few episodes before reading about the system myself I would not have given it a chance due to the level of negativity shown by just about every player sitting behind a microphone. I’m not a fan of 4e, I found alot in that system that I didn’t like, the railroaded character classes being the major turn off for me, but the system works for your group in ways I just couldn’t imagine before, it even got me looking back into 4e with the mindset of maybe my first impression was made too early. I think the vibe of creativity and acceptance of the general rules and willingness to change things that don’t work for your group that is abundant in the 4e main storyline is whats lacking the most in this phandelver campaign. I’ve read through enough of the comments to know that Stephen is willing to play more games set in 5e. I think it would be great to hear Stephen DM a campaign with the new edition rules modified to your group style as rodrigo did with 4e and with a cast of players enthusiastic about the new edition like dr. Brad seemed to be. That said I truly enjoy about 95% of critical hit (I’m one of those who skips through combat episodes) and Matthew you’re a genius with torq, I really hope he some how finds a way around that “never heard from again” thing.

    Completely switching gears here, Stephen, I know you run the MS site, how hard would it be to incorporate a “thumbs up” type button in the comments section?

  23. Frederick Pagliarulo on

    It seems like a lot of people were unhappy with the attitude toward 5e and the questioning of the module in this episode. To be fair, the first time I listened to it I wondered why everyone was down on it, but after listening again I realized that the negativity was coming from the fact that not only was there a learning process, but there was a real world gap between playing sessions. Also, frustration seemed to grow from a combination of unlucky rolls and having baby characters. Personally, I’m not a big fan of running straight from a module. If I use a module, it’s simply to steal ideas and elements for my home-brew. I also feel like a lot of the complaining was tongue-in-cheek, and that we that love 5e, should not take it too hard that our favorite podcasters aren’t as enamored with it. Rob isn’t as rigid about squashing side-talk and references during his game, and while it’s been a little distracting from the story, I think the humor has been exceptionally sharp during this campaign. Everyone has given me at least one LOL moment. Critical Hit is by far my favorite podcast, I hope it stays around for a long time no matter what edition is played. Thanks for the hours of unique entertainment!

    • Thanks for the comments Frederick! Since you are a VIP member, you should have access to a rather long bit that was left on the cutting room floor from last week’s episode that should give you a few more of those LOLs.

  24. I’m a fan of D&D 4E, and have yet to play 5E. Listening to your podcast is giving me a good idea for what 5E is like. I’m kind of thinking that I won’t like 5E, but I’ll reserve my judgment until I actually play it. Enjoyed listening!

    • From a person who’s dealt with more edition wars than he would like to admit, the best way to learn a new edition is by trying it out with as open of a mind as you had when learning your first edition. 4e is so different from 5e and previous editions that if your only experience in D&D is 4e it will be like learning an entirely new game as opposed to the same game with a little variation on rules

    • 5e is a return to a version more similar to other versions of D&D. 4e is the outlier. But I’ve been told that a number of changes are nomenclature, that sneak the improved parts of 4e in through the side door.

  25. The biggest tragedy of people not being invested in this game and compaining the whole time is that it mires Rodrigo’s time as a player rather than a DM.

    • Frederick Pagliarulo on

      I don’t know if it is a tragedy, but I agree that Rodrigo is just as good a player as he is a DM. He really adds a lot to an RPG session.

  26. Thanks to Critical Hit for putting on a really good podcast. One point of kudos: sound/production quality is just good enough where I can listen to it on my phone’s speaker in the car and still hear it over traffic. I assume this is not actually easy to achieve, since **most** rpg Actual Play podcasts don’t get there. So, great job on the sound quality!

    I’m sure all this feedback is too late because you record weeks or months ahead. Still – – –

    I believe those frustrated in the audience are confounding two issues – the Critical Hit crew made 2 changes at once a) switched editions, b) ran a published adventure.

    I don’t know that the issue is so much attitude toward 5e. The group does a good job meta-criticizing themselves regarding their own response to change and about the ongoing tradition of edition factions in D&D in general. All this is in good fun, although add the little bit of negativity on this issue to the negativity/meta-talk about running a “canned” adventure, and it can become a double whammy. I too had trouble getting through the first 20 minutes on this particular podcast.

    I believe the issue is the attitude toward published modules. I feel that (at least some in) this group wrongly sees published “canned” modules as the realm of the uncreative and unresourceful and are making that sort of a self-fulfilled prophecy. Rodrigo generally spit on published modules among amens when they came up in mailbags in earlier episodes (I’ve listened to the most recent 1.5 seasons or so and heard this occur twice).

    Stephen, my guess is you sat down and said “realistically, most people out there aren’t creative genius DMs like Rodrigo [I agree!] and/or don’t have the prep time to put into this that he does [also very true!] and so . . . it would be helpful for us at Critical Hit to try out what they have available to them, in the way that they would do it.” And possibly told Rob “let’s just run it exactly how it is in the book, so we can give our audience an experience like they might have.” This was the wrong assumption.

    I am running the same adventure (LMoP) and use the published material as a springboard for my own DM creativity and that of the group. I think that is what most people do. You hear it on other podcasts. The DM on “Board with Life” is running this adventure fairly closely and almost never sounds like he is reading anything. And yes, we mortals still can’t hold a candle to Rodrigo and your group’s commitment to story and character, but we definitely end up somewhere in between. I truly believe that Rob would be in that same “in-between” space and the group having more fun than they are, if this exercise had been designed that way.

    Thanks again for all you do —

    • Thanks for your comments Jorge!

      I believe we addressed this in a previous episode (I think the two just before we started this campaign), but just in case we didn’t/haven’t yet, it went “something” like this…
      FADE IN
      Stephen: Hey, we should try a canned adventure experience since WotC sells so many of these (redacted) things. Rob, I think you can do a good job, here’s a 4e canned adventure (I think it was something related to Baulder’s gate).
      Rob: Okay.
      (cue time passing musical montage)
      Rob: Hey, let’s kill two birds with one stone and do the canned 5e adventure from the Starter Kit.

      FADE OUT

      UPDATE: These episodes were recorded between November 19 and December 10, 2014 (three recording sessions).

  27. I enjoyed this whole ep’, sometimes nice to hear the discussion on the system behind the story. It’s a shame you guys don’t sound like you’re having a good experience of 5e though (maybe you are by the time we catch up to recordings, hello future people!)

    I’ve very much enjoyed 5e, it’s brought the role play back into the RPG, it’s less like a table top wargame ala Warhammer. In 4e you started as batman and worked towards becoming superman. As someone who plays magic users in most RPG games I am really enjoying 5e for all the things Steven finds jarring; we’re supposed to have low hit points and no armour, we’re a weakiling bloke in a dress who trusts to limited supernatural powers… limited because they’re hard to learn/weild… otherwise everyone would be doing it!

    I hope you guys get a few levels into Rob’s game, 5e characters start to really come alive by levels 3/4-6

    Shame there are less punny attack names for Mathew to get his teeth into though! *flies away in a Victoria Secret’s Surge*

  28. I can’t believe nobody made a Plants vs Zombies joke yet!
    Was it just fruit hanging too low?

    I love Critical Hit with a passion and this insight into 5e is great. I can see the downsides and upsides (in my mind) and I have to say the critical hits themselves sound like they would feel great, potentially rolling a whole bunch of dice at once, even if they could all be low.
    Can’t wait to see what happens in the next season, though.

    • Yeah, Plants vs. Zombies was the first thing that came up in my group when we saw the sign ;-)

      Also, canned adventures, 5e, off-season, blah blah blah. I’m just excited because having you guys playin’ LMoP at the same time that I’m running it is the closest I’m ever going to come to playing D&D with the Critical Hit Crew!

  29. Hi, fellows.

    It seems to me you all may be suffering from first level character suck-itis? Often a symptom of having recently been awesome and smack-downish.

    I think I was hoping you’d like 5e more, since it harkens back in many ways to AD&D, the flaws of which appeal to me. I fully realize it’s just nostalgia, though. You guys got me to try out 4e (equally flawed) which I also enjoyed, because you demonstrated that it’s not the system but what you do with it. It does perhaps feel like in your approach as a group to this “canned” campaign you’ve momentarily forgotten your own good example. Still, no biggie. You like 4e’s peculiarities, I imagine, for the same reason I like the old school – it’s what you know first and best.

    That being said, what I love about 1e is it’s very loosely-gooseyness. You don’t like rolling for hit point increases? Don’t do it. Everybody gets max hit points, or average, or Subway sandwich coupon booklets – whatever works for your group. That’s what the old school was all about. If you read the intro to the 5e PHB, you’ll see it this is again encouraged. Similarly, just because there’s boxed text in an adventure doesn’t mean you have to, as a DM, read it robotically word for word. As a comparison, The Adventure Zone podcast is simultaneously playing through the same scenario and wildly veering from the script. Not that you have to wildly veer, but would a little veering hurt? ;)

    Whatevs. If you guys want to play Parcheesi, I’ll listen to that, too. You’re all valuable and contributing members of society. Please keep doing what you’re doing. Or Parcheesi. Either way.

  30. My group started with Essentials and for most of us it was our first tabletop RPG. It was very reassuring for me to hear that your reactions and observations to 5e so mirrored ours, being perhaps the best 4e group on the interwebz. We will continue to play Encounters as 5e, but so far it looks like our home game will remain 4e.

    Keep up the great work! Really enjoying this adventure and waiting with baited breath for next seadon. Torq rules (still), yay Ket!

  31. I am really enjoying this session (Inter-season?). I know for the longest time that the fans were always pining for Rodrigo to DM for them, and this really show how awesome he would be as a player in your group as well, the rest of the cast and crew have had their player bone fides well established. I had caught some of it when Rodrigo played his spear throwing character in the land of the dinosaurs, but as a Bard he really shines.
    Of course, he is playing the same kind of character I do, so I might suffer from the Matthew-Rob effect of having two people trying to fill the same role in a group of friends. :)

  32. Well, by this time tomorrow we will waiting for the dice to drop and the music to hit. Some will go to sleep with it playing as you drift off, some will enjoy with a hot cup of coffee on Saturday morning. 5e Crit Hit. Final episodes. Life is good.

    I need to remind myself as I enjoy the game that this was recorded before they got 74 comments when they asked for 50. They didn’t know we would be so invested in this trial run of the new system. So let the heavy sighs begin, the moaning and frustration commence. No worries, can’t go back now.

    I will find the silver lining in the creative brilliant gameplay that they don’t notice is happening. The entertaining quick battle and dramatic healing that encourages roleplay. I will hear them laugh and converse because they aren’t reading power cards but enjoying the game and each other. I will enjoy their characters personalities and choices in combat .

    Soon Rodrigo will start his mind blowing ( I’m sure ) new campaign and this trial will be but a memory. But for now it is mine. All mine. Can’t wait.

    Thanks in advance

  33. Dear Critical Hit team, I love your storytelling, your rp, and I have been listening to the entire podcast with the Orem and co story arcs with great enjoyment.

    That said, I had to stop this episode before finishing because of all the reasons others have mentioned above.
    Rob said to begin with that he does not want to run a canned adventure, he is not interested in a canned adventure, and the rest of the team is equally uninterested in a canned adventure. Add to that running it in a new system to you guys. No matter how inspired the RP is from Rodrigo or Adrianna (and I am loving that part) your DM is not interested in making the pre-generated world into a cohesive story, and you as players are apparently not invested in anything, or interested in investing yourselves.

    I know you’ve already finished this story, probably, and I feel bad for you torturing yourselves further. I think I’ll just not download the other episodes of this story from you guys. I have seen the Lost Mines of Phandelver done by other groups with a DM who is invested and makes the players care, and it’s been pretty great.

    See you again in the main story, and thanks for the years of entertainment up to this.

    • A real play podcast will have real players with real issues, expectations and complaints.

      I’m just as invested in Malogog as in Torq, Biumm or Burai. The system and the adventure provided problematic moments that made it a different (and in some ways frustrating) experience, but it was still a fun adventure overall.

      We appreciate honest feedback and try to make an honest show, and the 5E run we took reflects that. I do feel bad that it wasn’t up to your expectations, and am glad you will be back with us in the main narrative.

      But our shortfalls were unequivocally not due to a lack of commitment or care on the part of my very skilled and talented colleagues. Mileage, as always, may vary…

      • This run at 5e represents the honest unequivocal commitment and care of you and your colleagues? The SYSTEM made it problematic and frustrating ?

        The comment section of this episode is not reflective of this take. You are seeing something not all are seeing.

  34. Stephan, I’m not sure if you have noticed this yet but the pure awesomeness that is Eledrin is back! It’s in the DMG. No longer must you be a totally lame “High Elf”
    It’s in a section on building a custom race. Don’t have my book with me to get an exact page.

    I am thoroughly enjoying this podcast. I just made it through the archives and these 5e episodes remind me very much of the early episode with Matthew saying he hates 4e and why can’t I do this thing?

    I’ve been running a 5e biweekly game since it came out, and I find it immensely funny that the module writers made the exact same mistakes I did. Monsters may not be labeled artillery, soldier, skirmisher anymore but they totally still have the roles. I also chose goblins for my first arc not realizing that I would be sending my poor players into endless waves of high accuracy/damage highly mobile skirmishers. Nobody died but they sure learned to fight tactically.

    The culture shock from 4e to 5e is highly entertaining, and I find it immeasurably funny that the very first thing Stephen did after complaining non stop about crits not being max damage was roll a crit over max damage. Also I concur with some if the above statements regarding the issue isn’t entirely edition shock so much as level shock. You guys went from mid level kitted out characters to level one, underequipped characters. It’s a huge power drop on top of the unfamiliar system.

    And ending on a positive note: Thank you so much for the hundreds of hours of entertainment. You folks are awesome.

    • Hi Tazsul. Yup. I’m aware. We received our DMG the day before we finished recording our 5e adventure. Overall, I think we all had some level of fun playing this game – obviously some more than others. I’m glad you enjoy our content! Hearing from faithful spoilerites around the world is always puts a smile on our faces, regardless if the comments are positive or critical.

  35. Game play was decent. Interaction was par for the course (read: Amazing). Attitudes were a little low. Was Adrianna blazed, because if she isn’t someone needs to find out who clubbed her over the head like a baby seal. Seriously.

    Besides the general attitude of the party, I really liked this episode. I’m sad that it seems like the groups time within 5e seems to not be going over so well, especially with the difficulties with the rules- With my experience in 5e there was a slight learning curve, but everyone who had their own PHB did ok, and after our first fight everyone kind of fell into place. I had the luck to be playing with a solid group that played through all of the play testing versions. I have to ask, are the rules really that bad? Because I thought that they were written well enough to be understood by those without higher education, and those with higher education? Maybe y’all are too smart for these basic rules? :)

  36. I picture Rodrigo’s character in a purple suit, dancing near a chocolate river, singing a song. “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of Bardic Inspiration.”

  37. When I started to treat this series as more of a bit of a look at 5e and less of an adventure to take seriously, it got easier to listen to. Rodrigo’s always a pleasure to listen to as a player and Rob’s doing well considering how much the other players seem to be distracted and complaining. Perhaps all of us being used to Lopez’s iron hand has led to some misinterpretation of what Steven/Matthew et. al actually mean with what they say about fifth edition, or even with Rob running things. Lord knows I’ve misinterpreted enough from fellow players at my own table when I can actually try to read their body language.

    Still, it hasn’t come off well in a lot of the 5e episodes, as you’ve probably heard enough of already.

  38. I almost feel silly for commenting on an episode from so long ago when it will almost certainly go unnoticed. I just want to immortalize my feeling that Adrianna’s attitude is so terrible that it is taking away from my enjoyment of Rodrigo is as a player, and that is such a shame! He is brilliant.

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