Why the Hate?

 

If you’ve spent any amount of time watching the livestream chat alongside each week’s Critical Role episode, you’re probably no stranger to chatroom hate. Whether it’s rules lawyers freaking out about Matt’s artistic/DM liberty or min-maxers losing their shit because someone used a magic item at the wrong time, chatroom hate is something we all have to deal with. Most of us have made our peace with the fact that sometimes negativity is all that certain shitheads have to offer, and most of us have also found our own ways to deal with it.

But in all honesty, we shouldn’t fucking have to. Because chatroom hate is inherently illogical, especially considering the basic components of Critical Role’s composition. Much of what follows will focus on the character of Keyleth, because (in my own experience) she’s generally been the subject of the most egregious and unnecessary hate. The underlying principles still apply fairly broadly toward Critical Role hate in general, though.

Much of the criticism leveled at Keyleth/Marisha is couched in terms of tactical and strategic blunders at the table. Both the player and the character have made mistakes in the past that caused drastic consequences. Most of us can probably describe a couple of those incidents in detail. However, none of those incidents form a valid foundation for criticism of either Marisha or Keyleth.

#YourFunIsWrong

Episode 43 brought us this fantastic phrase, and I’m going to drag it into a slightly metagame argument, mostly because it fits so well. For those who didn’t see it, or who need a refresher, go watch it now.

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Back? Good. Follow me.

The idea that someone’s harmless entertainment can be empirically and justifiably criticized and degraded by someone else is simply untrue. Devaluing another human being, especially for something that has absolutely no ethical impetus, simply makes no logical sense.

If I lost you with that last statement, you need to read up on human rights and stop contributing to a goddamn toxic society. That’s a subject for a much broader article than this one, however.

The point is, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy D&D. The game initially evolved out of the tabletop wargaming scene (think Warhammer 40k). Those games emphasized tactical acumen above all else – the strategic destruction of an opposing force. It’s no surprise, then, that early D&D publications tended to follow that sort of vein.

“Hi, my name is Gary Gygax and tonight, we’ll be taking a field trip through a dungeon that I’ve specifically designed to murder the ever-loving shit out of each one of you dumb fuckers.”

I’m paraphrasing, of course, but early D&D tended to be just a wee bit on the unforgiving side. This, in turn, produced a bevy of rules lawyers and min-maxers – and why not? It’s fucking natural selection at work, just around a table at your FLGS instead of out in a swamp somewhere. And if that’s what makes D&D fun for you? Good on ya, mate!

I have a bit of an anvil to drop on you, though. Rules lawyers, min-maxers: Critical Role is not entirely intended for you.

Note: I did not say you’re playing D&D wrong. You’re just not playing it our way. We still love the fact that you love D&D. We’re glad you exist, because more players means more games, and more games means publishers will make more stuff, and the games we love will reach more people and soon there will be a FUCKING SOCIAL UTOPIA WITH D&D AT ITS BEATING HEART!

Okay, maybe I took the thought experiment a bit too far, but you get the idea.

Inter-movement conflict is inherently illogical. It’s like white feminists looking down on POC feminists, or LGBTQ+ activists refusing to acknowledge bisexuals. There’s enough opposition to tabletop gaming as an acceptable hobby from without. We don’t need to be tearing each other down from within.

#YourFunIsFine

Story vs. Strategy

So where was I? Critical Role, as Mercer and others have repeatedly said, is a narrative-based game. The story being told is far more relevant than the tactical decisions players make in the heat of conflict. Sure, we all get a visceral thrill when Grog double-crits a couple punk-ass bandits in the ruins of Emon, but that’s because WE FUCKING LOVE GROG – the doofy, vaguely-illiterate barbarian who’s currently having apparent one-sided conversations with his new shiny-pointy. We equally (if not more) love pub crawls with Vox Machina + Gilmore (because Gilmore, for fuck’s sake), wherein nothing dies, nothing is fought, no treasure is found, and Keyleth hurls into the gutter as Vax holds her hair.

All of which brings us to the thing with Keyleth.

For a narrative-based game, the only logical criticism to levy is that which is based on the story being told. Coming down on a character or a player for strategic decisions only makes sense if that character is invested in a tactical mindset. All the Keyleth hate I’ve thus far encountered is based on two things:

  • Poor strategic choices in combat.
  • Choices resulting in inter-party conflict.

Let’s have a look at Keyleth, though, because those criticisms only hold water if the choices are inconsistent with the character herself.

Upbringing

Various references have been made to Keyleth’s childhood and younger years. She’s a talented druid from the beginning – albeit one initially left to her own devices and then suddenly pushed into rigorous and traditional training. No reference is made to any friends, siblings, or companions from her early days. Apparently, she was a fairly solitary child who had an abrupt and extreme change to her lifestyle as she began her education. This education, mind you, is described verbatim as endless spell memorization, teachings from ancient traditions, and exceedingly high expectations. This is not a field study with practical application; this is rote memorization with only ceremonial context.

Also, it’s stated that her mother left her life at a very early age, leaving Keyleth in the sole care of her father, already the archdruid of the Air Ashari. This event likely served to isolate her even more from what little community she possessed. This type of loss frequently serves as both a formative and a traumatic event in a character’s development. For additional examples, see Every Single Superhero Origin Story Ever.

Keyleth’s basically a fucking dyed-in-the-wool conservative religious homeschooler. And speaking as a former member of that system, it’s goddamn amazing the druid’s as well adjusted as she is. Neither tactics/strategy nor effective socialization is a big part of Keyleth’s childhood.

Early Adulthood

We don’t have a lot of detail on Keyleth’s first years out in the wider world, (or at least, I don’t. Marisha, wanna fill us in?) but we do know that self-doubt was something of a cornerstone for her at the time. By all accounts, it doesn’t seem that she was gently ushered out of her Ashari village with a decent safety net in place. It seems more of a go-find-the-other-tribes-and-you-know-“IMPRESS”-them-or-something vibe was in place. Therefore, Keyleth stumbles out onto the road on a quest (the same quest, mind you, that her mother attempted and, that’s right, NEVER FUCKING RETURNED FROM) and somehow lands in the company of:

  • a murderous, towering village idiot,
  • his very pious tiny friend,
  • a nymphomaniacal musician with a diagnosable fecal fetish,
  • a dysfunctional, borderline-codependent set of effectively orphaned twins and their pet bear,
  • a half-lizard magician convinced he’s finding the lost tools of creation, and,
  • a demon-ridden mad scientist on the run from Pelor-knows-what.

If THAT’S not a recipe for establishing healthy psychological habits, what is?

Like Percy says, of course, Vox Machina is greater than the sum of its parts, and these broken people manage to help fix (or at least stabilize) each other in meaningful ways. But they leave a gory trail – and not always intentionally. Hell, one of Keyleth’s defining character habits is her ritualistic internment of any innocents she accidentally kills, complete with the ceremonial pronouncement “I bury my shame.”

I know that Mercer’s universe is fictional, but it’s also populated by characters meant to be comprehensible and relatable. Keyleth, sweetheart, I’m not even a medical professional and I can tell you THAT’S BLOODY NOT A HEALTHY WAY TO HANDLE YOUR FUCKING GUILT.

And yet you’re going to demand that this girl has keen tactical combat skills and insightful interpersonal interaction? Wake the hell up.

Looking In From the Outside

Let’s be honest, here. The social rules in Tal’dorei are only vaguely approximate to those in our world. Keyleth and the rest of Vox Machina aren’t that different from most of the people they probably pass on the street every day. Plus, I really like hyperbole, so the last section may be a shade on the extreme side.

But as an inhabitant of her reality, Keyleth makes sense. She’s learning as she goes, and she’s doing her level best. Sure, from a tactical perspective it’s more efficient if the team always stays together, going the same direction, and cooperating like a well-organized military squad.

But that ain’t our Vox Machina, people.

Critical Role could easily be summed up as damaged people with great power facing bad situations and doing the best they can. That’s the whole show. Keyleth’s (and everyone else’s) fuck-ups are exactly what you’d expect. You can’t criticize them on a storytelling basis, and as a inherently story-focused show, that’s the only yardstick you can logically measure them by.

And that’s why we’re still always asking, is it Thursday yet?


Comments

Why the Hate? — 38 Comments

  1. When I first started watching CR, I had little hope for Keyleth’s character. I didn’t like too much Marisha’s way of hosting , I felt she was a little awkward. After she confronted Lady Kima, she started to grow on me until she became my favorite character

  2. I’m glad the cast can’t pay attention to chat and wish that G&S doesn’t share the hate with the cast, just ban. I haven’t liked Keylith at times, but I believe in character role play is inviolable Canon. Marisha is acting without a script and just as she is more charismatic than her character, so also is Keylith way more experienced and possibly damaged than Marisha is playing her. Scanlan probably sings better than Sam too.

  3. Love Keyleth (and Marisha). I even loved when she screwed up the spells by not knowing Exactly what they did/how they worked. Because I felt that that is how magic would really work in those cases when they are cast for the very first time. Especially with casters who get their spells naturally (like Druids, Clerics…) as opposed to those who read up to learn their spells (Wizards). Because “Here’s this spell that just came to me, and I’m casting it for the first time and I know EXACTLY how it will work, as though I read it out of a book”.

    I don’t want Marisha coming to my game and telling me that I am playing MY character wrong. (Though if any of them came to hang out that would be great).

  4. Story ALWAYS trumps rules because it’s the story the rules exist to tell in the first place. Marisha’s playing of Keyleth is dead on with the characters background and experience. She’s one of my favorites BECAUSE she’s so true to her character.

    Thanks for writing this. It’s well done. I’m just deeply saddened that it was needed.

  5. Well said,

    This only refers to those that have been bashing. What these people are doing is like telling the DM/GM of your campaign ‘that’s not how that npc is’ or ‘that dragon don’t act that way.’

    This is a beautiful show and if by any chance you don’t like, it bothers you, can’t stand the errors I image that twitch may have a show that feeds your need to nag.

    I know what it is to be a rule lawyer as I was one. This show introduce me to seeing and to pay attention to all the other things. I found by getting away from this I’m enjoying the game more personally and the show. By doing this I taken into my life and working on not putting so much judge dredd on the rules.

    For any who have an issue with the way the episodes are Matt clearly stated on episode 1 rules and certain dynamics are change and to keep that in mind.

    This show would not be the same if they were mid maxing, following the rules and remembering everything.

    I have been playing dungeons and dragons since 3rd edition on an almost religion basis. To this day I can’t say I have remember everything my character could do. Multiple notes,highlighters arrows. I played some of my most cherished characters due to their flaws.

    If the creator of the PC is playing them how they see fit who are you or anyone else to tell anyone how to do their part. It’s like telling a mother with a two year old that you never have met. “That’s not what your kid likes”

    My grandparents raised me and did teach me very valuable lessons. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  6. Keyleth/Marisha’s mistakes and how well she copes with them are basically one of the things I enjoy most about Critical Role.

  7. It’s about the story, not the game play, and these folks craft a truly amazing story. Even if it was about the game play, you still have to look at it in a really bad context to hate on the players. If you’re watching a professional football game then you kinda have a point if you want to call out ‘poor’ play. If you’re watching a few mates kicking a ball around in the park, you do not have a point. CR is few mates trying to have some fun, whilst entertaining us, for free. The haters do not have a point.

  8. Well written. I totally love the immersion the cast expresses with their whole bodies… Casting poses, prop usage etc. it’s why Marisha’s Minxy (spelling correct ?) “I bury my shame” was so great… Enter slumped shoulders, don’t look at me right now, Sabre-Tooth tiger disposing of “oops… Ahh crap… My bad”. It’s like Laura’s over-protection of her archetypal bear… and Sam’s constant friendly jibes about it… Hilarious. No one really cares that Trinket has never used the “help” action to allow advantage or flanked that many people… So yeah, hoots to the cast for being the great thespians and entertainers that they are and Boo to the nay-saying min-maxers / chat channel haters… Boooo

  9. Well stated! I’ve given up on live chat during CR. It was right around when Orion left the show that I got my fill of the sort of people in there and decided the show was easily just as enjoyable without it. I don’t care about giveaways and the such anyway, and not nearly enough so to see comments from people essentially acting as though they owned the cast comprising Vox Machina because they were subscribers to the G&S Twitch channel. It was, disgusting, quite frankly.

  10. Nailed it on all points. I mean, it’s utterly ridiculous that “purists” are so spoiled by their min-maxing habits and such that they can’t even so much as enjoy a more story-driven campaign. It’s always, “KILL KILL KILL!” with them. Granted, I’m just starting out so sometimes I end up getting into that mindset and/or metagame. At times, I don’t even notice that I’m doing it until someone points it out, and then I do what I can to resist such habits.

    That being said, Vox Machina is not your typical adventuring party. They’re all damaged, physically and emotionally, and most if not all of them are searching for why they do what they do. Keyleth in particular is a perfect example. She was literally forced out of her village once THEY believed she was ready. I can infer that she didn’t have any say in the matter. Instead, they piled all their hopes on her, thus why she was put through such rigorous training without her consent. And her lack of social skills makes total sense in that respect as she was very sheltered. Same with her naivete in regards to her spontaneous actions such as the Wind Walk fiasco in “Omens” or her wanting to help in any way she can even though it may end badly for her, as shown in “Glass and Bone” where she let out her frustration and suspicions on Lady Kima’s intentions.

    Granted, her suspicions were proven to be incorrect, but still, one could say she was speaking through experience. For all we know, she had a rather negative encounter with pious people in the past that made her distrust people like Kima who were placing all of their faith in their deities or patrons. I think a good example of that is her discussion with Kashaw in the most recent episode, “The Sunken Tomb”, where she gained more respect for him after he said that he believes in life itself, not his goddess/wife. And she’s also conflicted now in regards to her feelings towards Vax having changed ever since he revealed his to her as well as Kash, the man who stole her first kiss, returning to her life. In her own words, she doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, thus her indecisiveness in regards to coming forward.

    Also, for the record, Keyleth became my favorite during “Aramente to Pyrah”, where she revealed that she was indeed far more broken than what we initially believed. The moment where she talked about her death vision and the effect of her accidentally killing “the child” made her more emotional moments in the Kraghammer Arc make more sense in hindsight. That, and she has a strong moral compass that at times have gotten the party into trouble, but overall she means well despite the outcome.

    Overall, the haters need to realize something: the campaign is Vox Machina’s to play, not theirs. It’s THEIR story and THEIR rules. No one else’s. They’ll do whatever they damn well please, and if they have to deal with the consequences of making careless mistakes or ill-timed decisions, they’ll deal with them. Same with how they portray their characters as well as how Matt runs things: the choices they make are theirs and theirs alone.

    …I just had to get all of that off my chest because all of this pent-up frustration with the toxicity within the community was starting to get too much, and it’s not healthy to hold it all in.

  11. I agree with pretty much everything in this article. Much to my shame, I have been one of those shitheads that bashes character decisions…I’m trying to get better, but sometimes I still slip into those ways. As I have continued to follow the show, I have found myself actually wanting to try and play characters with similar personalities to Keyleth and Vax…even though they are my least favorite of Vox Machina, not that I hate them, they’re just my least favorite.

    I want to play characters like them to see if I’m capable of doing it, those characters are so different to me and every character I’ve ever played, that I want to know if I’m up to that challenge. I’m used to playing types more similar to Grog or Scanlan, sometimes Percy as well, but I’ve never really tried a character with a personality like that of Vax or Keyleth. This show has made me want to expand my horizons in that way.

  12. i find the reverse situation quite annoying too. When someone is mad because an item have been used wrong or a cast forgot one of his bonus everybody jump on him saying yourfuniswrong. Actually it’s his fun to min max thing, and he is in his right to be mad because RPG is also about skill and battle. He is hurting anybody by saying that and a lot of time the cast did say that they are happy that people keep telling them to not forget their stuffs.

  13. Just out of basic gamer curiosity, does anyone know the actually Alignments of the Vox Machina party members ?

  14. I agree with everything, but with one caveat… all of the above assumes (to differing degrees) that the players are making mistakes to enhance the story – if that is the case then awesome – as long as all players are OK with that, which I would assume they are! If however, it is because they do not know the rules around their character, or 5th ed (regular occurrence), then the ‘haters’ are technically correct.

    Especially when we want to emphasise the story, getting bogged down by rules mistakes – or the rules mistake taking over the story (turning into gusts of wind in combat) can take away from that for the time. Matt then has to lead them back to, ‘no you can’t actually do that, that isn’t how it works.’

    At the end of the day though, who cares 😛 if people get frustrated by it they’ll leave, and regardless they are giving feedback and buying into the experience on different levels.

  15. Slightly long post to get all my thoughts out on this 🙂 Looking ta the hate and bile that are thrown out, I can kind of see two different sources of the hate. Both stemming from the same type of player. If you’ve ever played a lot of games at conventions with random people, or even just random pick up games at various game stores, gamer gatherings, etc, you will tend to run into these people a lot more than if its just gaming with a group of friends. They do tend to be min maxers or rules lawyers or just an overwhelming desire to “win” or a combination of the three. An encounter or adventure is there to be beaten not as an unfolding story. To do that, the numbers must be tweaked to give the maximum damage output (or in rare cases to help maximize party DPS) . The tactics that they use in combat are not “What would my character do” its more “What do my character stats and abilities allow me to do” so they base their character actions on what will lead them to quickest route to ‘win” and any deviation to that will annoy them.

    Their ire is triggered by either the character’s actions or the players use of the rules or tactics not leveraging everything towards that one goal in the most efficient manner possible. looking at how the whole cast plays, story and character motivation dictate the actions more than the rules usually, which is part of why I love watching it all unfold. in playing games, I’ve had many moments (and thankfully so have my players when I”m a GM) where I’ve went, “This is a horrible, stupid idiotic idea… but this is what my character would do…”. This has lead to character death, but its also what leads to some of the most spectacular and fun memorable moments in games. But its those types of things that set off the power gamer triggers. And more so than the other players/characters, all those triggers are wrapped up in one pretty package with Marisha/Keyleth 🙂 And since this is the internet, I feel the need to point out, I can already feel you in the back going “But BC, there’s nothing wrong with how she plays her character!” And I absolutely agree, I’m just going into where I see the hate coming from.

    From the player aspect, looking at how Marisha has played, first her spell selection (And yeah, Druids have a ton of spells to choose from) when choosing what spells she has prepared for that day, she’s not always going “What does the most damage” she has a few go to spells for that, but from what she’s cast on the show, there’s a lot of damage spells she’s never used. And that pisses some people off, because its not the most efficient way of going about killing things. Some spells have a certain synergy with others, or combos you can use, to again maximize damage, Marisha doesn’t play that way and she shouldn’t have to. But that brings out the ire in the people who just want to ‘win”. its like watching a rabid armchair quarterback yelling that his team should have called a run, not a pass. And pointing out such silly things as “Well she didn’t have flame wall prepared, so she can’t cast it” kind of moot since the fact that she didn’t prepare it, makes them even madder. I can’t speak for what her actual motivation is to choosing what spells she takes is, but she’s always struck me as a combination of; This is kind’ve neat, this is something the character would do and these will let me handle a wide variety of situations. And the people yelling usually go by “This does damage. This does even more damage and these make my other stuff do more damage”

    And this also goes along with what tactical choices she makes in combat, beyond her spell selection. She doesn’t go for the ruthless, cutthroat actions that would maximize her bonuses or leverage the rules in her favor. And again, to those yelling, if you’re not putting out the most damage you can, you’re doing it wrong. For me, its hard to tell if those decision are in character decisions, playing the inexperienced, slightly flustered character, or just Marisha doesn’t think that way. Either way, it rubs the “kilkillkill” players the wrong way. This also parallels their problem with Keyleth as a character. She’s a socially awkward, girl with self esteem problems who feels in over her head with this whole Aramente (Or however you spell it) thing. But she should be a merciless killing machine dagnabbit! 🙂

    having said all that, I do feel that none of it is justified. Having players who play more for the story and make decisions based off of character motivation make games far more fun than the guys who don’t actually have a character, they have a piece of paper with numbers written on it.

  16. I’m not a fan of Keyleth. I personally find her rp scenes boring. 90% of the time it is basically just i use *insert nature magic* to do magical things. It just…. isn’t entertaining. When she rp’s, she is always overly dramatic to the point of being annoying.

    I guess its her character choice. I like marisha in other games (like the goblin game). It’s just Keyleth that i hate. In the end, i accept it and move on, because the others are entertaining as hell!

  17. It’s so weird to me when people freak out about rules and homebrewing. It is explicitly written in the book that the DM can and should ignore the rules if he or she wants to. And you can disagree with a character’s choices and think they made a strategic error, that’s fine, but when you start pissing and moaning every time they do anything and don’t give the others nearly as much crap as you do them, then your just hating that character for the sake of it.

  18. I’ve got to be honest, because I haven’t seen anyone voice this at present.

    Critical Role was once my favorite program, but that has slowly started to change. A certain party member has started to hijack the plot, the spotlight, and other players personal moments in a way that reminds me of some of the behavior of Orion before he was unceremoniously booted from the show. And I can’t seem to find anyone who will acknowledge or address it.

    Let me be clear: I have no problems whatsoever with the story or combat choices Marisha makes in CR. I’ve been a D&D player for years, and I know how difficult it can be to be a character with a strong moral code surrounded by players running a campaign with incompatible character alignments. It’s hard, and I credit that both Marisha and Ashley do the best they can when the darker members of Vox Machina dive into the murky waters of moral ambiguity.

    But what is seriously starting to grate on me is how Marisha’s rp is affecting Vox Machina as a whole. It’s clear quite often on the show how Marisha’s outbursts and rp-hogging make other cast members annoyed and uncomfortable, and it’s disrespectful not only to Vox Machina, but to Mercer, who has painstakingly crafted this journey for their enjoyment, as well as their occasional guest stars. (The Patrick Rothfuss episode comes to mind…oh man.)

    Marisha can be great; hell, she’s been awesome in the past. But she needs to show the respect, patience, and self-control that the rest of the CritRole team have been showing her and not wrestle away the show time every episode.

    Maybe I truly am a lone Critter in feeling this way, but I felt something needed to be said.

    • Thank you, i am a new viewer but after 60 episodes and not yet catching up… i feel Keyleth is cutting into the good that’s critical role, and you sir has explained why perfectly. Its not rping or spell messups i can skip those, its forcing her view on other good players and bad choices when others offer interesting ones.

  19. Since I’ve started binging Critical Role, Keyleth has quickly become my least favorite character. Before I continue, please note that this DOES NOT reflect my views on Marisha. Since the start of the show, Keyleth has become an overly preachy, spotlight-grabby source of conflict. The biggest issue I’ve seen came from the Briarwood story arc. She berates Percy at length for, essentially, not doing things the way she wanted. In most arcs, I can understand this (although the Cows and Consequences incident nearly made me skip the episode), but she was railing on Percy for how he was acting in what was, essentially, his story arc. This would be the equivalent of her telling Grog to not kill Kevdak, if only because all creatures deserve to live. Granted, while she didn’t, part of me honestly thought she would. And it’s this needless conflict that slows the story, that forces awkward group divides, that causes the, “Your fun is wrong” mentality that we rail the chat for that has made me honestly dislike Keyleth as a character.

  20. I constantly find keyleth to shout over grog, and constantly shit on his Intelligence. As he is a tactical barbarian he may not know the intellectual things but he knows how to fight. Creating Tactical plans using the environment to their advantage. In the beginning he would try to speak on his extremely good tactics, but keyleth just talked over him and he slowly gave up. keyleth also set Vax into a whining state of refusing to help his party. She caused a divide in the party, and you can see the some what factions of the party. Now when I watch the only development in character of Scanlan and grog are forced on them by Matt, because Keyleth Percy and Vax start to take the reins of the party. Vex was only being developed by her brother Vax, Scanlan is pushed by Matt and grog is left behind unless pike comes in to help it forward. I’m tired of vex, Vax, Percy, and keyleth since their all just from royalty. I got enough of that with tiberious. I know Vex and Vax left royal life to live on their own and all that. Though I want to go in depth of the past of grog, Scanlan, and pike. Though it may just be me but I’m tired keyleth pushing people’s characters in directions that shove them out. I want grog to start asking about his old tribe again and see that story development so bad it makes me mad at keyleth hijacking tendencies. She’s constantly trying to force people into her mind set, but in doing so it hinders the development of someone else’s character.

  21. All i got from your post is that you are a Keyleth lover. And there is nothing wrong in that, Just like the people who dislikes Keyleth.

    We all have our favorite characters and least favorite ones in a story, that is what makes it all good.

    Your post essentially glorifies everything that was established about Keyleth even the horrible moments giving it a backstory referenced reasoning. It’s a double edged sword. Because what you or most of the critters might find Quirky and funny some of the minority might find it annoying and horrendous to watch.

    Again it’s nothing against Marisha, she is a beautiful, strong, talented women who is very charismatic in that fact she is nothing at all like Keyleth. When she actually played that character in Deadlands I found her not to be annoying at all.

    But in critical role, Not always but at some moments, Especially the ones like;

    1 – The time she gave shizzz about killing an old women, bringing down the whole group’s energy, wasting their time and made most of the people watching live cringe. When it was her, exactly a week before that episode CHEERED with the Lizard friend whilst butchering that same old lady.

    2 – When she murdered a soldier who was running away from the group just so that it would look cool and powerfull but yet cried while killing the undeads and so on. O_O

    3 – When she was constantly bothering Percy about his ruthlessness, the corruption point and warning him not to give into the smoke demon, to not do what he wants. Yet when the actual moment came along which was the Briarwoods battle where Vex was laying unconscious/about to die, Percy got the HDYWTDT abd she cheered ecstatically, yelling “KILL HER PERCY, KILLL HERR…” While it was the murderous towering Village Idiot who suggested no, “DON’T kill Lady Brairwood, we might not know what is about to come”

    4 – Juggling lemons while Scanlan and Pike where having this wonderful moment just because she wanted to keep on having the attention on her, wanted people to laugh and say oh how thoughtful she is, how quirky keyleth the superhero is and possibly also wanting Fan Arts drawn of that moment.

    5 – The overacting during her quite frankly not at all too exciting Personal story arcs. Where she disregards the other characters in the game and quest forward as though it were a single player game.

    The point is Keyleth would have been perfect in playing an actual Druid. Druid’s are often Nomadic people that belong to small tribes who are basically outlanders, outcasts and nature loving survivalists. Combining aspects of Nobility and Druids was the mistake.

    So on every important story moments, RP fillers and Battles Keyleth dons on the [I AM A SUPERHERO PRINCESS of the world and all elements, who is the main CHARACTER of this game and the most important one that everybody loves. So F y’all SOBs, I am BETTER than YOU] “Hat” Some of us fans find her intolerable.

    Constantly interfering on other player’s scenes, have a say on everything, hindering the progress of story lines and not at all paying attention to what other players have to say but instead only thing about what cool things you have to say. Will obviously garner frustrations from faithful fans.

  22. Im sure shes a lovely person IRL, I am just speaking about Marisha on critical role. I have been watching non stop the last few weeks to catch up and am on episode 45. Marisha’s issue is she doesn’t read or understand her spells or abilities thus making gigantic mistakes that you cannot claim the character would make. You don’t learn a spell without knowing what it does. On multiple occasions she could have/would have wiped the group due to these issues. Climbing the tree in Whitestone when the giant was running towards her (Yes because climbing a tree would certainly stop a giant from hitting you…) lecturing others about killing people, while doing it with glee. Calling a wolf a dog (as a druid). The over dramatics and shouting for one, you can pretty much count every episode for her to destroy my eardrums as Marisha shouts about something that doesn’t need to be shouted at. The cringe worthy romance with Vax made me skip forward those scenes, as it was just so forced.

  23. I have to say that I have the same thoughts as Elsworth’s critique. Couldnt care less about her m
    Mess ups during battle, etc. We’ve all been there as players. I loved the earlier episodes because they felt much more collaborative. Everyone had time to shine and show growth. The episodes as of late have not been. What should be other characters spotlights lately, feel hijacked or meta-gamed away. I enjoy Marisha on many other things, but it’s feeling less and less like Critical Role as time goes on.

  24. I have to say everytime Marisha opens her mouth I skip ahead (same with Liam, bit that’s besides the point).
    I just can’t take it anymore. It is so freaking cringeworthy when she tries to “act”.
    She comes across as a preachy, overly dramatic hypocrite, always telling other people how morally wrong they are.
    Maybe she should try to have a bit more fun with her persona, like Travis and Sam, instead of trying to make everyone realise what horrible people they are.

  25. Ms. Ray’s character Keyleth is the character most unlike it’s player. Remember that these folks are actors and they treat D&D like they would treat a part in a TV show. They think deeply about their characters background and motivations and then speak “In the characters voice”. There is strategy in D&D and you can make optimal choices but if that is all you do you are only exploring half the game. These folks really really try not to meta-game. They try to act in their characters voice. Most importantly remember that Keyleth and Ms. Ray are not the same person. I really like watching these folks play and they are all wonderful but I think that Keyleth is the hardest character because she acts from her emotions. Doing that she will not always make the optimal move but that is where the fun is. 🙂

  26. If you like Keyleth, that’s great. Everyone is entitled to have a favorite character. As for Mariana, I’ve met her before and she’s a total sweetheart.

    However, you cannot ignore that she’s not only a terrible D&D player, but she’s constantly metagaming, back tracking, a distraction, interrupting other players and gets incredibly whiny when things don’t go her way.

    For example, the first use of mistform. She didn’t read the spell correctly and caused a total party wipe, but, she threw a temper tantrum and Matt backed up two rounds to change it.

    She will claim she has advantage on die rolls when she rolls poorly and then rerolls the die again because she “didn’t know”.

    She has never had a turn that lasted less than two minutes because she’s unprepared or changes her mind halfway through.

    If she does less than decent damage, she complains. Every. Single. Time.

    She chooses to attack instead of heal allies despite claiming she’s a leader, a pacifist and there to help.

    She’s constantly butting into every political conversation even though she’s made it clear numerous times that she’s a shy awkward character that doesn’t like to get involved verbally.

    She murdered a child, a guard and a homeless guy in cold blood.

    She’s contradictory, cheats, complaints, and does everything in her power to be the center of attention. If you like that style of gameplay, that’s great. I encourage people to support their favorite players. However, you absolutely CANNOT defend them for their choices and say that it’s valid role playing when we all know it isnt.

  27. You didn’t address my issue with her… which is, uh, get off your fucking phone Marisha. Seriously. You’re not looking at the Elemental Evil book on your phone like Orion… so what the fuck are you doing? Everything has to be recapped for her, or she just makes some insane out-of-context action. It’s totally disrespectful to the table, and the people trying to watch, so put the fucking phone down.

  28. Keylith is the literal epitome of the “dm’s gf” that you can ever see. She does that guy shit, and no one says anything, only rarely does mercer check her on it. Often she meta games to the same levels that orion did and they sacked him. Yet keyleth remains. Her “antics” are annoying as fuck. Just look at the out of combat play from all of them and you can tell how terrible she is.

    Vax out-of-combat play: Mostly Melodramatic but still believable, distressed over his situation and wants the best for his friends

    Vex out-of-combat play: Usually talks with Vax or Percy about issues but nothing too offending in any way. worst thing one can say is that her dialogues are forgettable

    Grog out-of-combat play: Hilarious, unforgettable antics with his mates and fucking with NPCs

    Pike out-of-combat play: Heartfelt, believable and very entertaining motherly disposition toward her friends who she legitimately cares about and is often on point with the humor to boot

    Percy out-of-combat play: Currently baffled by the masses of knowledge around him and has a snarky wit that is plenty entertaining to listen to

    Scanlan out-of-combat play: Do I need to say anything?

    Keylith out-of-combat play: “I’m crying” “I’m mad” “*Autistic screech*” “*Awkward shaky voice*” “*Derailment of fun for the purpose of sparking nonexistent conflict.*”

    One of these things is not like the others.

  29. Marisha has kinda always rubbed me the wrong way. From being constantly unprepared, to being overly dramatic at times where it just seems forced. It also really bugs me that she has this really narcissistic way of playing where everything has to be about her. I know some will say she is role playing, but I don’t think it is when there have been numerous occasions where she gotten upset because things didn’t go the way she wanted them to. I can see it some of the other player’s faces as well that they are tired of it too. Travis constantly gets annoyed with her not knowing what she is doing. It seems like multiple times per game Matt will say “now Keyleth it’s your turn”, and instead of being ready, he is greeted with “Huh? What? Oh! Okay, okay…” while she then holds up everyone because she isn’t prepared. I still love the show, and Marisha because she can have some awesome moments, and she is generally pretty awesome. I just wish she would prepare more, and maybe let other characters do their thing.

  30. I’m up to episode 76 (Jan 2017) which is probably about 266 hours of D&D with level 14+ characters. The frustrating part is Keyleth after all this time is STILL played as a novice fool who hasn’t grown or changed (and Marisha still fails to really pay attention).

    Hopefully by the time I get caught up (ep 101 is out at the time of writing) she has started actually maturing her character into something more appropriate. (Really she should’ve made some changes starting at the fire ashari / fire plane stuff.)

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