For those of you who are unaware, you may have been missing out on an amazing display of Dungeons and Dragons.
Whether you’re new to the game and are wanting to get into it, you’re a hardened veteran looking to improve your game, or just looking for a fun time filled with laughs and adventure…you NEED to check out Geek and Sundry’s Critical Role!
To briefly explain what it is for those who’ve never heard of it: Critical Role is a game of Dungeons and Dragons that streams on Twitch almost every Thursday.
It is hosted and Dungeon Mastered by the brilliantly talented actor/ voice actor known as Matthew Mercer. He and his motley crew of other renown voice actors wander through the mystical land of Exandria, which is a setting created by Matthew himself. The Critical Role gang started their campaign around 2012 or so as a one-shot campaign that grew into an ongoing one. Eventually the group was approached with the idea to make their campaign a stream and thought it would be a fun experiment.
Since then, Critical Role has exploded in popularity with their streams being posted on YouTube and receiving millions of views! If you’re not watching Critical Role, and you love D&D…it is a MUST WATCH!! Do allow yourself some time though, as you can imagine each episode is quite lengthy.
However, in this article I’m not just going to be telling you about Critical Role, but I’ll be sharing with you some facts, and personal opinions about the show and the wonderful people involved in it. I’ll also discuss how Critical Role has impacted the Dungeons and Dragons community. So, buckle up and let’s roll some initiative!
The Wonder That Is Critical Role: Critical Role’s Impact on Dungeons and Dragons
After the initial launch of Critical Role in June of 2015, they took the web by storm. The show has provided a great media outlet to show people just what Dungeons and Dragons is all about. In truth, there are a plethora of Dungeons and Dragons streams out there. However, many people would agree that Critical Role is one of the best and I happen to be among them. The show has brought together a community of individuals known as “Critters” and, what an amazing group of people!!
Their ranks include people from all kinds of different backgrounds and experience with Dungeons and Dragons.
Many critters have even had their lives improved by the show. Those suffering from depression have written to Geek and Sundry on multiple occasions thanking them for bringing this show to life, as it has helped them cope and re-inspired them to pursue a once loved passion. Critical Role may be a Dungeons and Dragons show, but it is so much more than that. It’s truly a spectacle that has touched the hearts of millions of people.
Not to mention they host donations to a number of charities. Here’s a link to Geek and Sundry’s website to check them out: http://geekandsundry.com/tag/charity/
The man, the myth, the LEGEND! Matt Mercer is a man who has fine-tuned his craft over many years. By his own words, he started playing Dungeons and Dragons about 20 years ago and has since shared this game with anyone he could. As a Dungeon Master, Matt brings his NPCs to life with a wide variety of voices, gestures, and personas. He’s excellent when it comes to allowing his players to do what they want, as long as it is within reason. Even when things go beyond the realm of reason with a players’ interest, he finds a way to accommodate things to allow the player to act as they desire. Even if the results aren’t what they intended. Matt is also a master at being able to improv. No matter how tricky the situation, I have never seen him stumble. He keeps the story moving forward fluidly, coming up with NPCs on the fly, possible story paths, and plot hooks.
As I stated before, the setting Exandria is something that Matt created himself in its entirety.
This speaks volumes for his creative imagination as Exandria is a huge world with extensive lore and history. It has multiple continents with different realms of influence and populaces. A myriad of creatures and peoples roam this vast world for many different reasons. There are special organizations within the world with their own goals and purpose. Matt has even created a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, custom fit for this world. If you ever want to learn more about this incredible world that he created, you can buy his Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Guide that is now available. You can also look at the free pdf version online.
As aforementioned above, Matt is a well-known actor and voice actor, so if you’re curious about some of his work here’s a link to his Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Mercer
Travis plays Grog Strongjaw, a goliath barbarian with titanic strength, and a…. below average intellect. Grog has love for three things above all: Combat, Women, and Ale. He will often create some of the best comedic relief in the game as Grog. Stepping into Grog’s massive boots, Travis brings this character to life with a low, gravelly voice and big, bombastic gestures. As a classic barbarian does, he will often rush into the thick of battle after saying his most famous phrase “I…would like…to RAGE!” Travis also tends to make some interesting and even poor decisions when he roleplays as Grog, keeping in mind his low intelligence score of 6…Awwww yeah…. that’s right… -2 modifier baby! I love watching Grog make intelligence checks, it’s always hilarious especially when he succeeds!
Here’s his Wikipedia if you’re interested in his other works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_Willingham
Laura is known as the half-elven ranger Vex’Ahlia. Her character is the twin to Liam’s character Vax’ildahn. She acts as the party’s treasurer and loot monger. Laura plays Vex as a generally good character that doesn’t mind picking pockets for shiny things every now and then. Vex is always haggling and using her feminine charms to get the better of whomever she barters with. She rarely takes a part in the buffoonery, however she’s not dull. She empathizes with the common folk, yet she prioritizes the party’s safety first and will vocalize it with the group. Laura does a great job roleplaying as the puckish and money conscious ranger. Her voice is a smooth, silky tone. Accompanying Vex is her bear Trinket whom Matt usually voices and roleplays as. I must admit Matt’s portrayal of Trinket is some of his best work! You might laugh but it’s true. Unfortunately, Trinket doesn’t come in much handy most of the time, but he is still a great addition to the team, and can be yet another source of laughter.
Her Wikipedia will give you more information on her work before and after Critical Role: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Bailey_(voice_actress)
Liam acts as the half-elven rogue Vax’ildahn, twin brother to Vex’ahlia. He is great playing his role as the sneaky sneak of the group. Liam keeps to the shadows and often scouts ahead with his sister played by Laura. He plays Vax as a fairly reasonable, morally complex character. He seems to care for the common folk, but has no quarrel with disposing of an immediate threat. Liam roleplays Vax as a brooding character with a touch of mischief. One of my favorites things he did as Vax was shave off half of Grog’s beard. Liam uses cunning and cleverness in all situations and never hesitates to explore all options. He has also had many disagreements in the past with his party members which can cause him to be a bit of a loner every now and again. Still, he is an invaluable damage dealer of the party and many of their foes have been done in by this dashing rogue. “Dagger, dagger, dagger!!!” ~ Liam O’Brien
Here’s a wikilink for his works and history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_O%27Brien
He is better known as the gunslinger and tinkerer, Percy. His posture and etiquette are that of royalty. After all, his character is the son of a royal house which really helps when the party is in need of a diplomat. Talesin does very well at playing the cautious and meticulous type. He is always crafting new and exciting items to try in future games. He’s been known to make special arrows for Vex and even a taser gauntlet for himself. Talesin does well in portraying this young man with a dark and tortured past. Early in the show you see him play his character, struggling morally between choices of righteousness or vengeance. In the process, you will see things that would leave one to believe his character is quite mad. All that aside, Percy is a great character and a welcomed addition to Vox Machina.
If you’re curious about Talesin’s work and history, check out his Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliesin_Jaffe
Marisha plays as the half-elf druid, Keyleth. She roleplays Keyleth as a socially awkward and timid person. However, she has proven to be quite ferocious in battle commanding the fury of the elements and changing her form to that of wild beasts. Marisha plays a very good natured character, and is usually the party’s voice of conscious. She will almost always question any action she finds immoral. The party doesn’t always listen to her reasoning but it helps to keep their integrity in check. Although Marisha plays her character timidly, she is fiery when Keyleth witnesses injustice and has nothing but sympathy for those innocents who suffer. Overall a fantastic addition to the team, and a great contributor.
Here’s her Wikipedia link if you’re interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marisha_Ray
As the gnomish bard Scanlan, Sam is a devious, witty little git. He always has something funny to say for every situation and is definitely the number one source of comic relief in the show. Sam uses his arsenal of magic know-how and charm to make it by in every situation. His character is also a bit of a rockhound. However, he longs for the true love of a fellow gnome and never falters in its pursuit. Sometimes Scanlan’s cleverness can get him into trouble, but it’s great that he can talk himself out of almost any situation. Always look to Scanlan for a great laugh, a wonderful song, or a clever limerick.
Of course, here is his Wikipedia as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Riegel
Yet another gnome enters the fold as a cleric named Pyke. She is kind, sweet, loveable, and always works towards the best interest of the party. Her interactions with Scanlan are by far some of the funniest, as his advances on her are shut down quickly and often. She works as the groups healer and bringer of faith. Ashley is one of the newer players of Dungeons and Dragons, but roleplays her character well. What she says when speaking on matters of faith can be a bit obscure, so I’m unsure how experienced she is in playing a devout character. It’s also unfortunate that later in the series she becomes less available to join the stream, but she joins the party as frequently as she can.
Here’s her Wikipedia for her works and history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashley_Johnson
Last but certainly not least, we have the dragonborne sorcerer Tiberius Stormwind…from Draconia!! Orion plays an intelligent, albeit unwise red dragonborne. The character is very upstanding morally and has a righteous fury. His temper is lost easily when threatened, and doesn’t take threats to his loved ones lightly either. However, Tiberius (or Tibbs) is not above using his name, title, and position if it benefits him and the party. His vast arsenal of spells and knowledge of the arcane has helped immensely throughout Vox Machina’s adventures.
Unfortunately, Orion is no longer with the Critical Role cast. He had some personal things happening in his life and through a mutual understanding, he left. There is no guarantee that he won’t rejoin Vox Machina for future endeavors however. All and all, we wish you well Tibbs!
Here is a link to Orion’s IMBD if you’re curious of his work and history: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1039206/
And there you have it! If you haven’t checked out Critical Role and you love Dungeons and Dragons, then you’re missing out!
Thank you all again for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article. Please don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more updates, tips, tricks, and articles! Go forth Critters!
Author: Ven’Orik (Zach)
I’m just a regular nerd with a passion for storytelling and fantasy. Growing up I read books by Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, and this solidified my love for the genre. I first started playing D&D when I was 13 and have been pursuing it since. I’m just here to share my knowledge and hopefully learn a thing or two from all of you as well!