We’ve had our survey out for two weeks now, and we’ve already received over 2700 responses! We want to thank all the critters who have offered suggestions, feedback, or just love. We’re planning on keeping the survey open until tomorrow night (midnight PT after Talks Machina), so if you haven’t had a chance to respond, the window is still open for a little while longer.
We are still combing through the responses we’ve received already, as well as considering what we can do to change or improve. While many are being taken under consideration to implement down the road, there are a few frequent responses that we’re able to address now.
Media References and Puns
The Media References probably take the most amount of our collective time each week to compile, and the survey results seem to indicate that most of you use them in some capacity. We appreciate the concern from many of you about the amount of time it requires to put them together, and they will continue for as long as visitors continue to find them useful. Many of you suggested paring down on some of the more “obvious” references, such as the announcements from the beginning of the show. These suggestions are being taken into consideration for what should appear in articles in the next campaign.
Could you link every timestamp to its corresponding part in the Youtube video?
Unfortunately, the time required to listen to the full episode, find the reference (often collaboratively), find appropriate links, and type out the timestamps already takes a lot of our time. Linking to each individual moment, while convenient, would be more work than the project is worth. We will still provide the timestamps so that anyone interested enough to rewatch the reference can easily find it. (Remember that all timestamps use the version of the episode uploaded to the G&S site and Youtube, not the Alpha or Twitch VODs.)
Could you link to the specific reference in that specific piece of media, rather than just to a page about it?
In rare, notable cases, we’ll attempt to link to clips on Youtube. Most of the time, however, this can be infeasible- either the clips don’t exist online, or they’re fairly difficult to find.
Is there an easy way for us to send in any potential references that we think we’ve found?
We’re pleased by the overall response to the Monster Analyses; apparently you critters really like them. While we can’t give away ALL of an encounter’s tricks (no, really, we can only deduce so much), we have seen a couple of fairly simple suggestions we’ll look into implementing. Stay tuned!
Can you get with Matt so you can recreate the monster entry on the standard Monster Manual format so I can use it in my game?
Matthew Mercer is a pretty busy guy. We prefer to let him do his thing, and we’ll do our best to field any questions we can figure out. Besides, half the fun is in building the creature based on clues!
Can you recreate the monsters in the standard stat-block format, or make note of when a monster is heavily homebrewed?
On our end, when there is a parallel between a CR and an MM creature, we do our best to list the points of contrast to emphasize where the homebrewing was required. However, even if we do know a creature’s full stats or it is quite clearly textbook, we like to save some of that information as an exercise in adaptation for the Dungeon Master (and potentially leave players just a little bit more in the dark!).
Could you include a picture of the monster?
We love featuring Critters’ artwork, so if there is art of an encounter, we ask the artist for permission to feature it. However, sometimes art isn’t made available before we post, and in those cases, we try to get a good screenshot of the mini Matt used in the episode. Due to copyright reasons, we refrain from using art from the Monster Manual or other sources not directly from the community that we can’t readily secure permission to use.
Can you include the lore for the monsters in your analysis, apart from the fight?
For most random creatures, we have some of the standard lore in place before we dive into the encounter. Due to the creative differences between Exandria and The Forgotten Realms, we’ll refrain from stating “this is how it always is,” but we’re more than happy to provide context when we can.
Could you give your opinions on Vox Machina’s strategies, speculation on what could have happened differently, and such?
We’re wary of replacing facts with opinions, and are super hesitant on speculation. We especially want to avoid diverging into criticism or “what they should have done” because that would be overly critical of a game that’s, frankly, not ours. We just have the numbers!
Can you be a bit more specific with Challenge Ratings in the Monster Analyses, and discuss how I, as a new DM, might adapt a creature for my own game?
This is a question we’ve received since very early in our run, back when there was only one of us instead of four. There’s been some great advice on creating combat encounter in both GM Tips and Matt Colville’s videos. However, for those looking specifically to Critical Role as their guide, we’ve got something in the works to answer your questions once and for all.
A lot of you mentioned that you didn’t even know that these were a thing we did. Understandable, and something we’ll try to get the word out about more! In the meantime, we’ll add the link to the Quick Answers tag to Running Stats to make it easier for you to access.
Can there be a schedule for these, or publish more frequently?
Can you add more questions to the articles?
Can you maintain a theme for each Quick Answer?
Can you break answers into categories within an article?
We try to publish when we think we’ve gather enough questions that we can answer from the various inboxes. Sometimes we might sit on a question for weeks before we get enough buddies to publish. If you want more answers, send more (answerable) questions!
Is there an easy way to find an answer to a question I’m looking for?
We’ve found the search bar extremely handy in our own research to “did we answer that one before?” For those of you just looking to browse past answers, the Quick Answers tag is your friend!
Can you try to pull from Twitter more often? Why didn’t you answer my question?
We try, we really do! If it’s during the live show, the number of mentions we get bury questions rather quickly. If we catch it and think we can answer it, we’ll add it to the list to publish later, but the inboxes are a much more reliable means of making sure your question stays on our radar.
Could you put out a blanket statement saying you don’t take full-show rewatch requests? It got tedious to hear you say it.
We have put out several blanket statements, and it is listed in our FAQ. However: new critters want to know things and miss the memos! While we’re sure we’ll continue to get requests for things we won’t be able to track, we’ll keep the reminders out of the questions section.
In response to the majority of the responses we received: We love you all, too!
We received a few requests for more off-the-wall articles, like our random galleries or random trivia articles. We love them, too! They can be difficult to come by since they’re primarily dictated by circumstance, but we’ll continue to publish them as inspiration strikes. (We’d also like to remind everyone of the Archive, in case you REALLY want to fall down the rabbit hole.)
Stats and Archives
Many of you seemed to find arriving to the links to the character sheets difficult. While we have yet to figure out a way to provide links to stats on the homepage that won’t clutter the site, we’ll keep it easy enough to get to any character’s sheets from the homepage in two clicks!
Are the sheets available in PDF?
Absolutely, in the standard D&D character sheet! Always have been, always will be. Just click on the image character cards on the Character Stats page, and they’ll take you to the latest collection of updates for the corresponding character.
Would you mind using the Alpha cards as your links to the character sheets instead of the Twitch cards?
We default to using the Twitch cards since they are readily available to the general audience. While we definitely have access to Alpha (and recommend you subscribe if you’re able), we refrain from using them as content on our site, for professional courtesy reasons.
Can you list when each character leveled up?
Can you update the character sheets with all the new items, abilities, and traits as soon as they are available?
Character sheets are, surprisingly, the most difficult things for us to keep updated. Items change many hands mid-episode, new abilities are often kept secret (often passively, sometimes intentionally), and even when we do deduce something, it can take weeks for us to ensure that that information comes across every applicable sheet. Though we’re grateful when the cast does oblige, similar to asking Matt for monster statistics, we prefer not to harass the cast for peeks, and half the fun is figuring out what’s new from the clues! If the ability/item/level is shown on-stream, we still try to avoid updating anything until the Monday after the live episode, so those without a Twitch subscription get a chance to avoid immediate spoilers if they missed the episode live.
We also tend to avoid listing general items each character carries (see the above about changing hands often). For consistency’s sake, if a character gets a new weapon/special item/ability in the middle of a level, we only update it on their next level’s sheet, since they didn’t have it the entire time they were that level. We try to keep the sheets as readable as possible, and we found that adding tons of extra item information gets really cluttered (the Weapons section, in particular, gets difficult to read, quickly). Additionally, we can only work with the information we have. Sorry, gold tracking is out!
General Running Stats
While most of you stated that you were able to find what you needed, a significant number stated the layout of our recurring stats could be more easily presented for better navigation. There was also suggestions to create an archived Vox Machina section separate from the new campaign. Rest assured; as some of you may have noticed, a lot of that is already in the works!
Headers by category?
Yes! You’re all absolutely right! We’re working on it!
Can you create a page to update all of your statistics in real time?
That’s… a lot of work. We do have our own private live docs that we keep during the live show, but we choose to delay public release of our statistics for quality assurance purposes. Also, we try to honor that there are a lot of people who can’t watch the show live, and don’t update our public docs where major spoilers can’t be avoided until the episode comes out on Monday.
Would you mind linking every single timestamp to the corresponding point in the video?
Uh… That’s also a lot of work, and not really feasible.
Can you provide general information on weapons and items?
Suggested Things to Track
Lots of stuff here, too early to comment. Some of you may find that we’ve tracked a lot of what you’d like to see!
We’re happy so many of you find the live feed valuable, and are equally happy to make the show accessible to so many of you. We’ll keep it going as long as we can!
Sorry I don’t follow on Twitter; that’s a lot of tweets during a stream, and it can be a bit spoilery.
No worries! We’re there to give the most up-to-the-minute coverage of Critical Role that we reasonably can. If that’s not what you need, please use the resources we have to your satisfaction!
What about live tracking character condition, health, etc?
We’ll leave that to Alpha; we’ve got our hands full with the rest of the episode as it is!
Have you considered archiving your tweets?
We’re looking into it. We have an experiment that a few critters have found already. If it’s successful, we’ll keep it going and make it known to those of you who want to follow.
Can you put an index together?
We’re not entirely sure what you mean, but apparently most of you think the site could use a Table of Contents style page. For the time being, our Running Stats page will stand in the place of this, and we’ll work on making it more readable. For articles, tags are your friend!
Could you make the search bar easier to use?
Unfortunately, we have no control over that. The one on our new site, at least, works far better than the one our Tumblr did. We also strongly encourage everyone to use the tags either in the search bar or at the bottom of each article; it’s best way to find stuff!
Could you make the site more mobile-friendly?
Before releasing the site redesign into the wild, we tried, we really did. Thanks to some weird formatting issues on Squarespace’s end, it made the site completely unreadable and unusable.
Can you make an app?
*former app developer screams into the void*
Do you have an API of any kind?
Nope, just Squarespace and Google Docs over here. But, if you have something in mind, let us know, and we’ll do what we can to help out.
Thanks again to everyone who responded! We love you, and we hope to continue this project as a whole to be educational and entertaining! (And if we may be so bold, if you love what we do, we have a Kofi to keep us rolling! Thanks to those who have already donated, it is greatly appreciated!)