When I came back to playing Dungeons and Dragons, I started looking around at online resources and things to grow my knowledge of roleplaying games. Eventually, as I started following following people on Twitter, I saw a variety of folks declaring themselves as #Critters. Not too long after that, because I am not the smartest man, I learned that they were declaring themselves as fans of the show Critical Role.
What Is Critical Role?
Critical Role is a show on the Geek and Sundry website and the Project Alpha website, where Matthew Mercer DMs Dungeons and Dragons for his voice actor friends online on Thursday nights at 10 PM Eastern. The game originally started as a home campaign before it moved to the network and the internet. The campaign is all set in Mercer’s homebrewed world called Tal’dorei and the players were at fairly high levels when the it began being televised. (Mercer has even partnered with Green Ronin Press to publish a guide to his campaign world, which you can find on Amazon.)
But the challenge of Critical Role was that the show takes a lot of time. Some episodes run as long as 4 hours and as the fame of the show grew, it was hard for people to jump in and catch up. Personally, I made a committed effort to watching around episode 95 and used YouTube and forums to fill in the gaps I had. Recently, Geek and Sundry and the cast of the show released all the episodes in podcasts as well. I can’t say that I saw it all but I can say by the time they closed the first campaign, I found it to be very moving and challenging. The cast are all excellent actors and roleplayers and Mercer is considered one of the best DMs for good reason.
But, now is a fantastic time to jump in if you have been interested. The crew just started a brand new campaign, set in the same world some years in the future in a different part of Tal’dorei. And as they are starting from scratch, each player took on a radically different character. It isn’t just that the players are switching seats, they are willing to try new classes and combinations.
Critical Role’s New Cast of Characters
So here is a quick cast and character list to get you up to speed on the new campaign (and season?) of Critical Role.
Travis Willingham, who played a goliath barbarian in the first season is now a half-orc hex blade warlock named Fjord.
Liam O’Brien has moved away from his rogue in season one and is now playing a human wizard named Caleb. His backstory is tied to another character, Nott, the goblin girl being played by one of Liam’s best friends in real life, Sam Riegel, who, for my money, was the MVP of campaign one running the gnome bard Scanlan.
Laura Bailey moved away from her ranger with a bear named Trinket to play a tiefling cleric from the trickery domain. When we first meet her character, she is traveling with Beauregard, a human female monk, being played by Marisha Ray, who was a half elf druid in campaign 1.
Finally, Ashley Johnson moved from her peppy gnome cleric Pike to playing a quieter and potentially darker character: an Aasimar barbarian. And her character Yasha is a part of a circus-like venture with Taliesin Jaffe, who is playing a blood hunter – a Mercer-created class. (It is a good sign to see Jaffe and Mercer partnered together again in a unique class as Jaffe played a gunslinger class that was also of Mercer’s creation in campaign 1. And if you want proof that Critical Role has the attention of creators: DnDBeyond came onboard as a sponsor and you can play this custom class in their system now.)
And if you want a snippet of each of the characters being introduced, here is an excellent clip from YouTube user Critical Role Highlights where the new characters are introduced.
Where and When to Catch Critical Role’s Second Campaign
If you have ever thought about jumping onboard with the show, now is an excellent time to watch Critical Role. The shows are on the website for the subscribers immediately after airing live on Twitch and Project Alpha. Or you can wait until the Tuesday after when the shows go up on YouTube, again, for free.
Us East Coasters have a hard time watching live, as the 10 PM start sometimes means 2 AM finishes. But, with it available so readily, you can definitely add it to your watch. (Personally, I am watching it while I work out each week!)