Crafting a Mystery with Liam O'Brien

"Crafting a Mystery with Liam O'Brien"
Miscellaneous episode
"Crafting a Mystery with Liam O'Brien" (Mx34) thumbnail featuring Liam O'Brien.
Episode no.Episode 34
AirdateMay 7, 2024 10:00 PT
Running time13:57
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
"Creating Characters for Candela Obscura: The Crimson Mirror" (Mx33)
"The Re-Slayer's (Bonus) Take w/ Matthew Mercer" (Mx35)
List of miscellaneous content

"Crafting a Mystery with Liam O'Brien" (Mx34) is an interview with Liam O'Brien on his experience as the game master of the third chapter of Candela Obscura for the Circle of the Crimson Mirror.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

First reaction[edit | edit source]

Liam is often nervous when beginning to play or write for a TTRPG, but over time, he’s gotten more comfortable and able to enjoy his nervousness. He emphasizes the importance of starting the story, rather than being concerned over trying to perfectly rule a situation.

Session zeroes[edit | edit source]

Critical Role’s first campaign started without a session zero, but Liam has fallen in love with them. He loved the Circle of Tide & Bone's session zero and the Circle of the Crimson Mirror's, too, because it's the time where he gets to discuss expectations, learn who his characters are and what drives them, and therefore what the story will be. After the Crimson Mirror's session zero, he had to adjust some of his previous plans to serve the players' and characters' interests. For example, it was important to provide Edgar with the opportunity to operate, as he is a surgeon.

Game design and genre[edit | edit source]

Candela Obscura is different from a Cyberpunk or D&D game because the horror and mystery genres are pre-established. Liam likes how Candela facilitates character introspection and interplay between characters as they explore intense concepts. Liam also thinks the Candela system allows for more freedom with roleplaying and less mechanical restraints. Even though he likes a lot of mechanically heavy game systems, Candela allows players and GMs not to worry about mechanics, and instead to follow the story and only use dice as a tool to settle disputes or challenges.

Episode starts and ends[edit | edit source]

Liam thinks starting a campaign is a very fun experience, and he thought a lot about the beginning of the campaign. Liam likes seeing characters reveal traits in crisis, which is why he decided to start with the Circle of the Crimson Mirror on the SS Dandridge. Liam also likes to end episodes and moments before breaks in ways that excite and intrigue the people at the table, which informed a lot of his decisions.

As a GM, Liam believes that it's important to allow characters time within the game to let them do actions they enjoy, causing tension by keeping them away from those things, and surprising them with big moments. As a player, Liam doesn't mind having boundaries on a story. It helps him to have a purpose and roleplay with an objective in mind, which makes him feel more creative.

Players[edit | edit source]

All of the following is interspersed with clips from the series of the characters in question.

Alexander loves the macabre and his experience playing monsters made Liam happy they could work together. Liam especially liked Edgar's "quiet integrity" and subtle nuance, such as his emotions as he slowly grappled with becoming a killer. Aimee Carrero is an emotional and powerful roleplayer, and she surprised Liam with her decision to have Grimoria emotionally interface with souls and their memories. Her choices changed his plans for the last two episodes of the chapter. Liam brought Imari into the circle because he has directed Imari for video game projects multiple times, and knew him to be a loveable and talented person. He brought levity and fun to the table. Imari’s goal with Malcolm was to make a “badass” in Newfaire, and Liam believes he succeeded. Liam is still impressed and a bit skeptical of his dice. Taliesin's roleplay as Leo is some of Liam’s favorite roleplay from Taliesin ever. Taliesin also surprised Liam with how he figured out and investigated parts of the mystery. As the creator of Newfaire and a generally knowledgeable individual, Taliesin brought a lot of wisdom to the table.

Final thoughts[edit | edit source]

Liam believes that people roleplay to explore different perspectives and possibilities.

References[edit | edit source]