I wanted to revisit the show Critical Role for another of the good things it teaches. Namely, I want to refer back to Rule 3 of being a better player: remember it is play. Because that is one of the things it can be very easy to forget (at least for me.) And it is so clear from watching/listening to these shows that these people get that.
It is funny when I watch an episode how I will find myself thinking what I would do in that situation the players are in. Sure I probably know the rules better than any of these players. And it is clear I approach the game very differently. Because I know I would do things differently as pretty much every player.
Does that mean I am a better player? I am not sure. From a tactical, beat the GM, style of play that answer is probably yes. Given what I know of the characters they have I am certain I could be even more effective than they are in many situations.
But do I have as much fun as those players? Even our Pathfinder group, which has a lot of fun and jokes a lot, has a very different kind of fun. In watching the show I have seen so many more interesting and fun choices made that I wonder a little. Am I guilty of not following Rule 3?
Here is how I answer that question. If I was being graded I would say I am getting a 70% grade. It has taken me a while but I think in the last couple of sessions that I am finally playing my character in a way that takes a fun and creative approach while still being effective. As a GM, I try my best to remain open and run things in such a way that everyone can have fun. It is not always easy. So I am not great at this, I do tend to let my practical side win out a little too much.
All of this is why I basically forced Jimmy to watch the show. And strongly encourage people to watch at least one episode, especially new players. To see role playing when it is not bogged down by numbers or tactical decisions. I think if you start from that direction, having fun with it, and later on figure out what is really possible, the game gets much better for everyone.