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Critical Role is an American web series in which a group of professional voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons. The series is broadcast live on Thursdays at 7:00 pm PT on the Critical Role Twitch channel, with the video on demand (VOD) being available to Twitch subscribers immediately after the broadcast. On the Monday following the live stream, the VODs are made available for the public on Critical Role's website and uploaded to their YouTube channel.

Critical Role
GenreFantasy
Dungeons & Dragons
Created byMatthew Mercer
Based onDungeons & Dragons 5th edition
Starring
Theme music composerJason C. Miller
Opening theme
  • "Critical Role Theme Song" (Season 1)
  • "Critical Role Too"
  • (Season 2, episodes 1-43)
  • "Your Turn to Roll"
  • (Season 2, episodes 44-present)
Ending theme"Twin Elms" (Season 1)
"Welcome to Wildemount"
(Season 2)
Composer(s)Jason C. Miller
Kevin MacLeod
Justin E. Bell
Colm McGuinness
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes115 (Season 1)
67 (Season 2)
Production
Production location(s)Los Angeles, California
Running timeApproximately 180–360 minutes per episode
Production company(s)Geek & Sundry (2015–2018)[1]
Critical Role Productions LLC (2018–present)[2]
Release
Original networkTwitch.tv
YouTube
Original releaseMarch 12, 2015 (2015-03-12)
Chronology
Related shows
  • Talks Machina
  • Critical Recap
  • Between the Sheets
  • Handbooker Helper
  • All Work No Play
  • MAME Drop
  • Pub Draw
  • Travis Willingham's Yeehaw Game Ranch
External links
Website

Critical Role is also the name of the studio owned by the cast. Travis Willingham serves as the chief executive officer,[2] Matthew Mercer as the chief creative officer,[3] and Marisha Ray as creative director.[4]

Contents

Campaign structureEdit

The Critical Role storyline occurs in a campaign that consists of a series of story arcs, which are usually played over multiple episodes. Between - or sometimes within - the major story arcs, the characters rest, resupply, or go on side quests. In addition, every player character has a backstory, an unfinished part of their personal history that can be relevant to the campaign from time to time. Sometimes, major story arcs are intrinsically tied to a character's backstory.

Both campaigns are set in Exandria, a world of Matthew Mercer's creation.[5]

Campaign oneEdit

Campaign one takes place primarily in Tal'Dorei, a continent of Exandria. It follows the exploits of an adventuring party known as Vox Machina, previously known as the Super High-Intensity Team, a rag-tag group of mercenaries originally formed in the swamp-town of Stilben. It consists of Vax'ildan, Vex'ahlia, Pike, Grog, Scanlan, Tiberius, Keyleth and Percy.

Pre-series historyEdit

In their adventures prior to the start of the series, the group saved the family of Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei III, ruler of Tal'Dorei and its capital city of Emon. In appreciation, Uriel gave the group seats on the city council, and provided them with a residence called Greyskull Keep, which is located just outside the city. Episode 36, titled Winter's Crest in Whitestone, features a summary of the pre-series history (starting 1 hour 35 minutes into the episode), with artwork created by Wendy Sullivan Green and voice-overs provided by the cast.[6]

The forthcoming Critical Role animated series will include a canonic story that takes place within the pre-stream time frame.[7]

On-stream campaignEdit

The first episode of the show aired on March 12, 2015, beginning the on-stream part of the first campaign, which concluded with its 115th and final episode on October 12, 2017.[8][9]

The Kraghammer story arc (episodes 1–16) jumps in at the point in Vox Machina's story where the cast's original home game left off. It takes place primarily in the subterrenean depths of the Underdark, and culminates in a battle between Vox Machina and a dangerous beholder by the name of K'varn, who is controlling an entire city of Illithid.

The Vasselheim story arc (episodes 17–23) splits the party into two groups, who seek to prove their worth to the "Slayer's Take", a local adventurer's guild in the ancient city of Vasselheim, by taking on dangerous missions. This arc features multi-episode guest appearances by Felicia Day (Lyra), Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Zahra), Wil Wheaton (Thorbir), and Will Friedle (Kashaw), adding a new twist to the now-divided adventuring band. This arc also includes the first episode (episode 22) that touches on a character's backstory, as Keyleth visits another druid tribe to continue her Aramenté, a journey to become the leader of her people.

The Briarwood story arc (episodes 24–38) leads Vox Machina to Percy's ancestral home, the city of Whitestone, which was once ruled by his family. The party have to fight for control over Whitestone against Lord and Lady Briarwood, who are responsible for the demise of most of the de Rolo family and have taken the city as their own. The Briarwood's ties into necromancy and a secret cult make things even more dangerous, and Vox Machina must stop them from completing a ritual that threatens to endanger the entire kingdom. During the early stages of this arc, Tiberius leaves Vox Machina for good.

The Chroma Conclave story arc (episodes 39–83) begins with the attack of four ancient chromatic dragons on Emon, the capital of Tal'Dorei, with the Sovereign and other important political figures falling in the onslaught. The dragons take control over and divide the kingdom, and in order to defeat them, Vox Machina needs more power than they currently have. They search for the "Vestiges of Divergence", famed and extremely powerful magical items from ages passed, which are scattered throughout the world. During the ongoing battles against the powerful dragons of the Chroma Conclave, the backstories of some characters are also further explored. Smaller arcs focus on Grog's herd that once exiled him, the last figure from Percy's traumatic past, as well as a strained family reunion for the twins, Vex and Vax.

The Taryon Darrington story arc (episodes 84–99) begins with the departure of Scanlan from the group, whose mental problems and disagreements with the group culminate in an argument that shakes the party. While traveling to Ank'Harel on the continent of Marquet, Vox Machina meet Taryon Darrington, an inexperienced aspiring author and adventurer. Adventuring together with Taryon, some smaller story arcs see Vox Machina helping Keyleth (who seeks to complete her Aramenté), literally traveling to hell, as well as dealing with Taryon's family, who reside in the Dwendalian Empire on the continent of Wildemount. During this arc, which is loosely defined by Scanlan's absence and Taryon's presence in the party, Pike's family also makes an appearance and her relationship with them is explored. The arc includes a one year time skip between episodes 94 and 95.

The Cult of Vecna story arc (episodes 99–115) revisits the mysterious and dangerous artifact that was activated beneath Whitestone Castle during the Briarwood story arc. Scanlan finally rejoins Vox Machina, while the party now has to fight a cult which tries to summon the evil lich demigod Vecna, who seeks to ascend to true godhood and rule Exandria. His ascension actually succeeds and he becomes the only god on this side of the Divine Gate, which keeps the other gods from directly interfering in the world they created. With the indirect help of some of the prime deities who aid them with special powers, Vox Machina are the only group of heroes who can possibly stop the "Whispered One" in one gigantic final battle.

Post-campaignEdit

The Vox Machina: The Search for Grog one-shot was played at a not-streamed live show on January 19, 2019, and released on YouTube and Twitch on February 23, 2019. This in-canon game explored an event that took place in the final episode of campaign one, but was not played out in detail back then because it would have disrupted the already ongoing epilogue. Several additional Vox Machina one-shots are planned such as Vox Machina: The Search for Bob.[10][11] The Search for Bob is a continuation of The Search for Grog one-shot. It is scheduled to air on Twitch on June 21, 2019 and then the YouTube VOD will be available on June 23, 2019.[12]

Campaign twoEdit

The second campaign began on January 11, 2018. The story of the second campaign follows the exploits of an adventuring party known as The Mighty Nein and takes place on the continent of Wildemount, which was briefly visited during the Vox Machina campaign. The Mighty Nein campaign is set 20 years after Vox Machina's final battle against Vecna.[13][14]

The Trostenwald/Alfield story arc (episodes 1–7) serves as an origin story for the new adventuring party, whose members meet for the first time in Trostenwald, a town in the south of the Dwendalian Empire. Seven very different individuals join forces to investigate a zombie attack in a circus for which two of them worked previously. After seemingly solving the mystery and freeing themselves from accusations against them, the seven individuals (Fjord, Beau, Caleb, Nott, Jester, Mollymauk and Yasha) agree to form a traveling party. They make their way north towards Zadash, the second-biggest city in the Empire, but run into trouble on the way, specifically in the town of Alfield. After lending their assistance to the Empire's police forces, the crownsguard, during a gnoll attack and its aftermath, the group come up with the party name "The Mighty Nein" for the first time.

The Zadash story arc (episodes 8–18) covers the party's adventures in the city of Zadash. They come into contact with both the upper class and the underbelly of the city, do a job for the crownsguard, briefly support a secret group that fights corrupt high ranking government officials and eventually start working for The Gentleman, an enigmatic figure who controls the criminal underground of Zadash. During their time in the city, the Mighty Nein also participate in a fighting tournament and witness the beginning signs of war between the Dwendalian Empire and the Drow of the Kryn Dynasty, rulers of the eastern country of Xhorhas. Also, the Nein - unbeknownst to anyone else - "acquire" a mysterious power source that both the mages of the Empire-allied Cerberus Assembly as well as the Kryn were heavily invested in.

In the Northward story arc (episodes 19-31), the Mighty Nein leave Zadash to deal with two important missions for the Gentleman. Their first errand takes them westwards to Berleben, a town in the Labenda Swamp, and eventually into the swamp itself, where they investigate a smugglers' safe house that went dark. Their second errand takes them northwards and outside of the Empire's borders, where they are supposed to aid an ally of the Gentleman in the lawless city of Shady Creek Run. During this journey, the Mighty Nein encounter a dangerous group of slavers. Three party members are kidnapped, while the others desperately try to save them. During their fights against the slavers and their allies, the party experiences hardships and grief. Mollymauk falls, but the others get their revenge and also gain a new ally (Caduceus). After completing their second errand, which was also tied to the slavers' business, the party returns to Zadash and - for now - finishes up their work for the Gentleman.

The False Serpent arc (episodes 32-47) leads the Mighty Nein out of the Empire on a more private mission, as they travel southwards towards the city states of the Menagerie Coast, where they hope to find out more about Fjord's strange and growing powers. After briefly visiting Jester's mother and following certain leads in the coastal city of Nicodranas, a crazy series of events leads to the Mighty Nein sailing a boat onto the Lucidian Ocean. While learning more about Fjord's powers and the ancient being that grants them to him, the party is forced into working with a cunning pirate captain and eventually ends up in Darktow, an island controlled by the pirate group known as the Revelry. After severing their ties with the pirates, Fjord figures out that continuing on his path may cause a catastrophe in the process, and the party decides to leave the ocean. They head back into the Dwendalian Empire after hearing about developments in the now ongoing war with Xhorhas, specifically a Kryn attack in the city of Felderwin, Nott's former home in the eastern part of the Empire.

In the Xhorhas story arc (ongoing from Episode 48), the Mighty Nein travel east. Arriving in Felderwin, the group learns that a halfling named Yeza was taken by the Kryn. This forces Nott to open up about herself, revealing that she hasn't always been a goblin and that Yeza is actually her husband. In search of Yeza, the Mighty Nein travel underground and into the wastelands of Xhorhas. After reaching the city of Asarius, they take on mercenary work to gain favor with the Kryn, managing to seal a dangerous rift to the Abyss, the demonic plane, which opened under the city. As their reward, the group asks for an audience with the Bright Queen, ruler of the Kryn Dynasty, hoping to trade their favor for Yeza's freedom. During the audience in the capital, Rosohna, the party are accused of espionage. In a last effort to save their lives, Caleb pulls out the object the party "acquired" in Zadash. It turns out to be a "Beacon", a key part of the Kryn's religion that was stolen by the Cerberus Assembly, a theft that probably caused the war. The Mighty Nein are declared "heroes of the Dynasty" for returning the Beacon, and Yeza is released from prison. The party takes on more work for the Kryn to understand more about them and the war. On their next mission, they discover and close more rifts, concluding that someone is causing them on purpose. The Kryn reward the Mighty Nein with a house in Rosohna, and despite being conflicted over their new allegiances, the party continues to investigate the case of the rifts. A stakeout on likely culprits in Rosohna partly fails, and the Mighty Nein track an escaping figure northwards, right through the Barbed Fiels, remnants of an ancient calamity...

Cast and charactersEdit

Currently, the Critical Role cast consists of eight main cast members. A number of guest players have also appeared on the show over the years.

MainEdit

The cast, their character(s), as well as that character's race and class for the two campaigns are listed below. When a player has taken the option of multiclassing, the classes are listed in the order taken by the player.

Actor Campaign 1:

Vox Machina
(2015–2017)

The Search for Grog

(January 2019) (One-Shot)

Campaign 2:

The Mighty Nein
(2018 - cont.)

Matthew Mercer[15] Dungeon Master
Ashley Johnson[15] Pike Trickfoot
(gnome cleric)
Yasha Nydoorin
(aasimar barbarian)
Laura Bailey[15] Vex'ahlia "Vex" Vessar
(half-elf ranger / rogue)
Jester Lavorre
(tiefling cleric)
Liam O'Brien[15] Vax'ildan "Vax" Vessar
(half-elf rogue / paladin)
Lieve’tel Toluse [note 1]
(elf cleric)
Caleb Widogast
(human wizard)
Marisha Ray[15] Keyleth of the Air Ashari
(half-elf druid)
Beauregard "Beau"
(human monk)
Sam Riegel[15] Scanlan Shorthalt [note 2]
(gnome bard)

/ Taryon "Tary" Darrington [note 3]
(human artificer)

Scanlan Shorthalt
(gnome bard)
Nott the Brave
(goblin rogue)
Taliesin Jaffe[15] Percival "Percy" Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III
(human gunslinger) [note 4]
Mollymauk "Molly" Tealeaf [note 5]
(tiefling blood hunter) [note 4]

Caduceus Clay [note 6]
(firbolg cleric)

Travis Willingham[15] Grog Strongjaw
(goliath barbarian / fighter)


Sir Bertrand Bell [note 1]
(human fighter)

/

Grog Strongjaw
(goliath barbarian / fighter)

Fjord
(half-orc warlock)

For the first 27 episodes of Campaign One, Critical Role had nine cast members.[15][16] Orion Acaba played Tiberius Stormwind, a dragonborn sorcerer.[16] Acaba's last appearance was on the October 10, 2015 episode, and his official departure was announced on October 28, 2015.[17] He left to work on other projects.[18] The character Tiberius will not appear in the forthcoming Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina animated series.[19]

GuestsEdit

Guests are an irregular occurrence on Critical Role and, in most cases, only stay on the show for a one-off appearance or a few consecutive episodes. Only a few guests (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Will Friedle and Patrick Rothfuss in Campaign 1, as well as Khary Payton in Campaign 2) have appeared in non-consecutive episodes, with their respective characters playing an active role in different parts of the overall storyline. So far, Chris Perkins is the only guest to have appeared in both campaigns, playing a different character for each campaign.

Actor Campaign 1
(2015–17)
Campaign 2
(2018-current)
Felicia Day Lyra
(human wizard)
N/A
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn Zahra Hydris
(tiefling warlock)
N/A
Wil Wheaton Thorbir Falbek
(dwarf fighter)
N/A
Will Friedle Kashaw Vesh
(human cleric)
N/A
Kit Buss Lillith Anioska Daturai
(tiefling wizard)
N/A
Chris Hardwick Gern Blanston
(dragonborn wizard)
N/A
Jason C. Miller Garthok
(half-orc rogue)
N/A
Christopher Perkins Shale
(goliath fighter)
Spurt
(kobold inventor)
Patrick Rothfuss Kerrek
(human paladin)
N/A
Noelle Stevenson Tova
(dwarf/werebear blood hunter)
N/A
Jon Heder Lionel "Chod" Gayheart
(half-orc bard/barbarian)
N/A
Darin De Paul Ethrid "Sprigg" Brokenbranch
(gnome rogue)
N/A
Joe Manganiello Arkhan the Cruel
(red dragonborn paladin/barbarian)
N/A
Khary Payton N/A Shakäste
(human cleric)
Mark Hulmes N/A Calianna
(half-elf sorcerer, 1/10 black dragon)
Ashly Burch N/A Keg
(dwarven fighter)
Sumalee Montano N/A Nila
(firbolg druid)
Deborah Ann Woll N/A Twiggy
(forest gnome rogue)

BackgroundEdit

Matthew Mercer serves as the show's Dungeon Master, who runs an ongoing Dungeons & Dragons campaign for the seven other cast members. The group's first campaign began two years prior to the start of the series as a one-off, simplified Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition game for Liam O'Brien's birthday.[20][21] The players enjoyed this initial game so much that they continued to play while switching to Pathfinder.[22][23][24][25] After Felicia Day heard about the private home game from Ashley Johnson, she approached the group about playing it in a live-streamed format for Geek & Sundry.[23][25] In order to streamline gameplay for the show, the game's characters were converted from Pathfinder to Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition before the web series began airing on March 12, 2015.[8][26]

In June 2018, Critical Role launched its own Twitch and YouTube channels, with cast member Marisha Ray being announced as the creative director of the franchise. Critical Role then started to self-produce new shows and content which did not air on Geek & Sundry's channels.[27] The sets for their shows moved from Legendary Digital Network's studios to Critical Role's own studios in July 2018.[28] In February 2019, Critical Role's amicable split from Geek & Sundry and Legendary Digital Networks was completed, with live broadcasts of their shows and VODs airing exclusively on Critical Role's channels. "Legacy episodes" (the entirety of Campaign 1, the first 51 episodes of Campaign 2, as well as the first 100 episodes of official discussion show Talks Machina) remain available in Geek & Sundry's archives on YouTube and Twitch.[29]

FormatEdit

Critical Role is a mixture of a weekly show and a modern gaming Twitch stream.[24] Each episode usually runs for 3 to 6 hours[30][31] and is streamed live on Critical Role's Twitch channel on almost every Thursday, with possible breaks from the show being announced at least one week prior to the broadcast. The VOD is made available for subscribers of Critical Role's Twitch channel immediately after airing, before being uploaded to Critical Role's YouTube channel the following Monday, where it can be watched for free.[32][29]

Critical Role has played with a live theater audience six times: the first for episode 60, Heredity and Hats, held on July 14, 2016, at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles;[33] the second for episode 62, Uninviting Waters, held on August 6, 2016, at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis;[34] the third for episode 109, The Ominous March, held on August 18, 2017, at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis;[35] the fourth for episode 29 of the second campaign, The Stalking Nightmare, held on August 3, 2018, at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis;[36], the fifth for episode 37 of the second campaign, Dangerous Liaisons, held on October 4, 2018, at the United Palace Theatre in New York,[37] and the sixth for a one-shot game called Vox Machina: The Search for Grog, held on January 19, 2019, at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel in LA.[38]

A number of the streams have also served as a donation drive to support nonprofit organizations such as St Jude, 826LA, Extra Life, and Doctors Without Borders.[39]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

As of January 2016, each episode of the show has been watched for more than a million minutes on Twitch, totaling over 37 million minutes watched for the whole series.[22][40] Additionally, the YouTube archived videos have over 17 million views.[41] It has amassed over 68 million views overall.[42] On January 11, 2018, the second campaign's first episode peaked at 135 thousand viewers on Twitch and YouTube, compared to the first campaign finale's 40,000 viewers.[citation needed]

In a January 2016 article, Polygon described Critical Role as a "thoroughly modern" show with a business model that is still developing.[22]

The show has caught the attention of the publishers of Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast, who discussed it at length on two occasions on their official D&D podcast, along with cast members Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, Liam O'Brien, Laura Bailey and former member Orion Acaba.[43][44] In an interview with the online gaming magazine Polygon, lead D&D designer Mike Mearls commented about the show, stating "It was really cool, as a guy who works on Dungeons & Dragons, to open up my Twitch app on my iPad and see Dungeons & Dragons in the first row".[45]

Viewer responses to the show have been overwhelmingly positive,[25] with many fans, nicknamed "Critters",[46] creating content such as fanart, fan fiction, character-inspired music, and fan-created merchandise for the show. Fans also send in many gifts for the cast and crew, resulting in occasional "Critmas" episodes during which the gifts are opened and distributed.[47]

The cast of Critical Role are active participants on sci-fi/comics convention circuits, appearing for panels and signings at San Diego and New York Comic Cons.[23] For the 2015 New York con, "critical rolls" were available from one of the food vendors.[48]

AccoladesEdit

Year Award Category Result Ref
2016 Streamy Awards Gaming Nominated [49]
2018 Streamy Awards Live Streamer Nominated [50]
2019 Webby Awards Video Series & Channels - Games Won (Webby Award & People's Voice) [3]
2019 Shorty Awards Games Won (Finalist & Audience Honor) [51]

Spin-offsEdit

ShowsEdit

One-shotsEdit

Instead of an episode in the main storyline, the series will occasionally feature a one-shot game, often with several guests replacing absent cast members. Some have a tangential relationship to the main storyline; others are fully independent adventures.[52] Not all one-shots use the Dungeons & Dragons game system, as some are based on different, often one-page RPG games. As of February 2019, over 20 one-shots have aired, and every cast member - with the exception of Ashley Johnson - has taken up the duties of Dungeon Master/game master at least once.

Talks MachinaEdit

On September 28, 2016, Geek & Sundry announced Talks Machina,[53][54] a fan-centered after/talk show hosted by Brian W. Foster, a close friend of the cast. On Talks Machina, the latest episode of Critical Role is discussed with some members of the cast of Critical Role, who answer fan questions and give some insight on in-game decisions. The first 100 episodes of the show were broadcast on Geek & Sundry's channels and are available via a playlist on Critical Role's website. Beginning in February 2019 and coinciding with Critical Role's split from Geek & Sundry, new episodes now air live on Critical Role's Twitch channel on Tuesdays at 18:45 PT. The VODs are available to Twitch subscribers immediately after the show and are also uploaded to YouTube on the following Thursday.

Talks Machina has been available in a podcast format since episode 101. Like the podcast version of Critical Role; there is a week's delay between the broadcast of Talks Machina on Twitch, and the corresponding podcast episode's release.[55]

Critical RecapEdit

Hosted by Critical Role production coordinator Dani Carr, Critical Recap quickly summarizes the events of the previous week's episode of Critical Role.[56] Starting with Episode 11 of the second campaign, Critical Recap aired on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel before the Critical Role live stream on Thursdays. After Critical Role's split from Geek & Sundry, new episodes of Critical Recap are now premiering on Critical Role's YouTube channel every Tuesday, while a rebroadcast airs on the Critical Role Twitch channel immediately before the Critical Role live stream on Thursdays.

Animated seriesEdit

On March 4, 2019, the cast launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a 22-minute animation called Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special.[57] The animated story will be set just before the streaming portion of the campaign started – when the players were around level seven – during a time when, canonically, there is an in-game period of roughly six months when the (then eight) members of Vox Machina were not all together at the same time. For a single 22-minute animated short, fulfilling the other campaign rewards, and the fees associated with a crowdfunding campaign; the cast projected a cost of US$750,000. Not knowing how long this would take to raise, the campaign length was set at 45 days.

Within an hour of launch, however, the Kickstarter had reached more than $1,000,000.[58] At the end of the first full day, all of the announced stretch goals had been unlocked, and the total had reached more than $4.3 million.[59] With four 22-minute episodes funded in the first 24 hours,[59] additional stretch goals were added, expanding the project into an animated series. The first two episodes would cover the pre-stream story arc. The subsequent episodes would adapt the Briarwoods' arc, also from the Vox Machina campaign. By March 18, 2019, eight 22-minute episodes had been funded.[60] Finally, on April 4, 2019, the last published stretch goal of $8.8 million was reached during the airing of episode 57 of Campaign 2, pushing the total length of the animated series to ten episodes. A "secret" $10M stretch goal of Travis Willingham being filmed going around a haunted house was reached April 16.[61] The final total raised by the Kickstarter when it closed on April 19, 2019, was $11.3M.[62] When the campaign closed, it was one of the most quickly funded in Kickstarter history, and was the most funded Kickstarter for TV and film projects.[63][64]

The cast will reprise their respective Vox Machina roles, with the exception of Orion Acaba.[65] The animated series will be written by Jennifer Muro, and animated by Titmouse, Inc.[58] The project is slated for release in late 2020.

ComicsEdit

Geek & Sundry produced a six-panel series of webcomics weekly from November to December 2015 that describes a "Winter's Crest Festival" that occurred pre-series. The webcomics are written by cast members Marisha Ray and Taliesin Jaffe, and feature artwork by Wendy Sullivan Green.[66]

On July 22, 2017, at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International, a comic book that tells the tales of the beginning of Vox Machina pre-stream and pre-game was announced.[67][68][69] It is written by Matthew Colville, drawn by Olivia Samson (a long-time member of the Critical Role community), and colored and lettered by Chris Northrop.[70] It was scheduled to be released before the end of 2017.[71] On September 6, 2017, Geek & Sundry announced that they partnered with Dark Horse Comics for the comic book. They also revealed the cover for the first digital issue by Deborah Hauber and release dates. It was announced to be available digitally beginning September 20, with a physical graphic anthology to follow in Spring 2018.[72] The first digital issue was released on September 20, 2017.[73][74][75] A trade paperback Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series I was announced on March 11, 2019, and is due to be released on October 15, 2019.[76]

On March 11, 2019, a second set of six comic books was announced continuing the Vox Machina Origins stories.[76] Also published by Dark Horse Comics, Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series II is written by Jody Houser, drawn by Olivia Samson, colored by MSASSYK, and lettered by Ariana Maher. Issue one will release on July 10, 2019.[76]

Campaign setting booksEdit

On August 8, 2016, Green Ronin Publishing announced that it had signed a licensing agreement with Geek & Sundry to release roleplaying game sourcebooks based on Critical Role. The announcement was made by Chris Pramas, president of Green Ronin and Ryan Copple, General Manager of Geek & Sundry, live on the 62nd episode, Uninviting Waters, at Gen Con 2016.[77] All books in the series will use the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition rules. The books will be written by Matthew Mercer and will be set in the world of Exandria.

The first book, titled Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting, is set on the continent of Tal'Dorei where most of Vox Machina’s adventures take place.[78] The hardback edition was released at Gen Con 2017 on August 17, 2017,[79] while the PDF version was released on July 17, 2017.[80][81] On July 14, 2017, Green Ronin revealed the cover by Aaron Riley of Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting on Twitter.[82]

PodcastEdit

On the 100th episode of Critical Role, the launch of the Critical Role podcast was announced: an audio version of the game sessions.[42][83] It is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, and at the Geek & Sundry website.[84]

The first campaign's podcast episodes were released in batches of 10-15, between June 8, 2017[42] and January 8, 2018.[85] Since the start of the second campaign, the podcast episodes have been released on the following Thursday.[86]

Art booksEdit

On August 18, 2017, at a live show in Indianapolis, The Chronicles of Exandria Vol. I: The Tale of Vox Machina, a Critical Role art book was announced. It includes backstories for Vox Machina, as well as some of the NPCs. It features artwork from the community.[87] On August 3, 2018, was announced.[88] The Chronicles of Exandria Vol. II: The Legend of Vox Machina, a sequel to the first art book, was released November, 2018.[89]

The first Mighty Nein art book The Chronicles of Exandria: The Mighty Nein was announced on March 11, 2019.[76] It is expected to be published late 2019.

Video gamesEdit

Obsidian's RPG Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire received a free DLC entitled Critical Role Pack on launch day, adding additional character voices and portraits. The set corresponds with eight characters from the first campaign, making up the bulk of Vox Machina.[90][91] Additionally, the characters Arkhan the Cruel and Spurt the Kobold appear as playable characters in Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms. Arkhan's inclusion was announced on Talks Machina as part of a sponsorship deal.[92][93]

Licensed miniature figuresEdit

In July 2018, Steamforged Games (SFG) raised approx $1.2M in a Kickstarter campaign for a collection of miniature figures based on player characters (PCs) and non-player characters (NPCs) from both Critical Role campaigns.[94] The Kickstarter campaign included miniatures of both Vox Machina and the Mighty Nein, which will also go on commercial sale at a date not yet announced. The Kickstarter also included exclusive miniatures of Taryon Darrington, Doty, Pumat Prime, and three Pumat Sols. [95]

In February 2019, SFG updated backers that the quality control samples received had failed to meet both theirs and the Critical Role cast's standards.[96] Due to this, and SFG's manufacturing partner stopping production for Chinese New Year, the expected fulfilment has slipped to from March 2019, to "summer 2019."[96]

SFG also sell a "Vault" line of miniatures based on the first and second campaigns. Unlike the Kickstarter miniatures, which are manufactured using PVC, the "Vault" miniatures are produced in resin as low-volume, limited editions.[97][98]

Charity involvementEdit

On October 16, 2015, the Extra Life fundraiser episode raised over $20,000 for the Children's Miracle Network during the broadcast.[99] This charity episode included a reappearance of the Critical Rejects, as well as three members of the Critical Role cast, Liam O'Brien, Marisha Ray, and Orion Acaba.

During the show, viewers are invited to donate money to 826LA, which is later provided in a lump sum to the charity.[100] Donation amounts and messages appear live on the stream, and on earlier episodes, a list of donors was read at the end of each session. During Geek & Sundry's 2015 Extra Life fundraiser, a special interactive episode was broadcast. This episode alone brought in over $20,000 for the Children's Miracle Network, and the event as a whole raised over $76,000. In late November 2015, Geek & Sundry's Twitch channel held a special Doctors Without Borders fundraiser, with nearly half of the $10,000 goal being raised during the 4-hour Critical Role broadcast. In December 2015, the cast released a "Critter's Guide to Critmas" in response to the flood of gifts they were receiving from fans, asking them to instead donate to a variety of charities, with a different cast member sponsoring each charity.[101]

In Spring 2018, the show held a charity drive for 826 LA which resulted in community members donating over $50,000, which was matched by a generous community member. This charity drive resulted in some prizes being unlocked for the community, such as discount codes for D&D Beyond and Wyrmwood Gaming, a second Fireside Chat with Matt Mercer, and a second Honey Heist run by Marisha Ray.[46]

The Critical Role studio and Stephen Colbert teamed up for Red Nose Day for a special one on one adventure with Mathew Mercer as Dungeon Master that aired on May 23, 2019. Fans were able to donate to the cause and vote for elements of the adventure such as Colbert's companion, his class, his legendary weapon, and the villain. In the one-shot campaign, Colbert played a half-elf bard named Capo, and had a bee named Eric as a companion. The event raised $117,176.20 for the charity. [102][103][104][105][106]


See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Vox Machina: The Search for Grog (One-Shot)
  2. ^ Episodes 1−85, 99-115
  3. ^ Episodes 85−102
  4. ^ a b A homebrew class developed by Matthew Mercer.
  5. ^ Episodes 1−26
  6. ^ Episodes 28-present

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit