So, you’re interested in Critical Role!
That’s fantastic! If you’re anything like me, I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge of watching 400 + hours of RPG magic. Scanning through the playlist, I noticed the average episode is anywhere from 3 to 5 hours long. Um, no way! Do you know how many other shows I could binge watch with that time? A chance meeting with the incredible DM Matt Mercer at a Con finally changed my mind. He was SO kind to his fans and answered all their questions and stopped for pictures, all before he could even see anything in the Con himself. Once I started watching, I seriously couldn’t stop. My husband had to commandeer the tv remote from me several times just so I would sleep. This show is D&D 5E at its best. You get to see all of its strengths and weaknesses played out in an intricately detailed home-brew world. This show basically has it all. Dungeons….Dragons….you know… all the good stuff! Plus, there’s the added bonus of all the characters being played by amazing voice actors that bring the character sheets and dice rolls to life. Now, since there is so much content already out there, and I’m still playing catch up myself, this series will be an archival review. In future articles, I’ll recap the story so far and then jump in with episode-by-episode reviews.
Let’s Meet the Players!
Matthew Mercer as the DM. He’s been playing or dungeon mastering games of D&D since he was in middle school. He began DM-ing for the Critical Role bunch in 2013 as a birthday party one-shot game for Liam O’Brian. His homebrew continent Tal’Dorei and hilariously amazing NPC’s bring the campaign to life.
Liam O’Brian as Vax’ildan the half-elven rogue assassin/paladin. Vax and his twin sister Vex were raised by their human mother and knew very little of their royal elven father, who only showed an interest in them later in life. Vex is a master of stealth and sneak attacks and is most known for wandering ahead of his companions and nearly getting himself killed. Classic rogue.
Laura Bailey as Vex’ahlia the half-elven ranger/rogue. Vex is the group’s expert tracker, specializing in dragons. She and her armored pet bear Trinket can deal some nasty damage in battle. She is also Vox Machina’s resident gold hoarder and haggler. Her greedy streak has gotten her into some unexpected predicaments.
Ashley Johnson as Pike Trickfoot the gnome cleric. Pike is Vox Machina’s loveable moral compass. She does her best to keep the rest of her companions from being back alley “murder-hobos” and thieves. Her dedication to Sarenrae helps, heal, cure, and occasionally resurrect her party members. It also calls her away from time to time to rebuild a temple of Sarenrae in the city of Vasselheim (while Ashley is away filming for the show Blindspot).
Travis Willingham as Grog Strongjaw the goliath barbarian/fighter. Grog is Vox Machina’s tough-as-nails battle tank. He is the childhood friend of Pike, who nursed him back to health after Grog’s goliath herd exiled him and left him for dead after he refused to kill Pike’s grandfather who was caught wandering the woods. His impulsive nature and -2 wisdom modifier inspire some incredible encounters that usually leave a trail of bodies behind.
Sam Riegel as Scanlan Shorthalt the gnome bard. Scanlan is the purest definition of a rascal. He knows the location and quality of every brothel in Tal’Dorei and is a pro at talking himself out of sticky situations. His musical talent of singing D&D themed pop song parodies and reciting clever limericks help inspire his companions in combat.
Marisha Ray as Keyleth the half-elven druid. Keyleth is a royal member of a druid tribe called the Air Ashari. She joined Vox Machina while completing her coming of age quest, the ‘aramente”, which requires her to travel each of the four elemental planes to prove herself in battle. She has mastered the ability to beast shape and often protects the group by bending the elements to her will. While she does have the fearsome presence of a tribe leader, her social skills are seriously lacking. She often awkwardly bumbles through interactions and her misunderstanding of how some of her spells work have done the group more trouble than good.
Taliesin Jaffe as Percival “Percy” Fredrickson Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III the human gunslinger. Percy is a disgraced noble from the city of Whitestone. His family ruled over the town for generations but was overthrown by the Briarwoods several years before the start of the story. He is Vox Machina’s go-to guy for all their hare brained schemes and inventions. He wields two guns of his own creation named Pepperbox and Bad News. Percy is known for showing his opponents no mercy and leading the group with his diplomacy.
Orion Acaba as Tiberius Stormwind the dragonborn sorcerer. Tiberius appears in episodes 1-28 of Critical Role. He was a powerful magic user that through his family’s political connections and his own cunning managed to secure some of Vox Machina’s best magical items. He was often one of the first to react in battle and his fiery personality often rubbed people the wrong way. He left Vox Machina to focus on his own personal quests for Draconia.
Watch for Celebrity Guest Stars
Felicia Day,Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Will Friedle, Wil Wheaton, Kit Buss, Chris Hardwick, Jason C. Miller and Patrick Rothfuss
Be on the look out for my next article coming soon, when we’ll dive right into the Critical Role backstory! Stay tuned!