With the D&D mega-hit Critical Role returning tomorrow night, it seemed fitting that their latest volume of Chronicles of Exandria landed on my doorstep earlier today.
The 3rd of its kind, with two volumes dedicated to the adventures of Campaign 1’s Vox Machina, Chronicles of Exandria: The Mighty Nein is a beast of a coffee table book that will stun and amaze casual page-flippers, while undoubtedly eliciting squeals of delight from those “in the know” – Critters, as they’re lovingly called.
The nearly 5 pound, 250+ page behemoth is chock full of art, and as we’ve covered before, it’s not your run-of-the-mill fanart. The art has been lovingly provided by an army of insanely talented artists, with styles that run a wildly broad gamut ranging from aesthetics of child-like whimsy to grittier, more adult illustrations…from broad, epic landscapes to meticulously detailed portraits.
The book is structured as a recreation of Beauregard Lionett’s journal – one of the main characters of Critical Role. The “journal” recounts the party’s adventures so far, or at least, as far as the narrative had gone when this volume was beginning to be put together.
Engrossing illustrations help paint the broader picture as Beauregard provides “impressions” of various characters, factions and events as the journal progresses. It definitely features that Marisha Ray “flair” in the writing, and the added touch of handwritten notes in the margins is thoroughly charming.
D&D cast members Liam O’Brien and Taliesin Jaffe took point on the creation of this product, with resident Critical Role historian Dani Carr and the other cast members offering support with the text. You can tell that their combined previous experience has been brought to bear in bringing this gorgeous tome to market.
I apologize if I’m sounding biased here – I just can’t properly express just how beautiful this book is. The sheer joy it brought me flipping through the pages, poring over Beau’s notes, scanning the brilliantly structured credits in the back to find so many familiar names from the Critical Role fandom…it’s a delightful experience that will likely be recreated time and time again.
Arguably even more important is that even if someone has no idea what Critical Role is, it serves as a superb “coffee table book” to inspire conversation and quiet appreciation.
If you are a fan of Critical Role, you owe it to yourself to get this book. It’s a monstrously large letter of love from the artists that breathe life into the fandom…an analog slideshow of the moments and memories that fans have shared over hundreds of hours with The Mighty Nein.
And it’s only just begun…