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My New Obsession: Critical Role

December 14, 2017

100UnfinishedBusinessSo, I’m a bit late to the game (as per usual), but ever since I discovered it, I’ve been obsessively watching episodes of the web-stream series Critical Role. Better nate than lever, and all that jazz…

If you haven’t seen it, it’s essentially a stream of the weekly D&D 5e game of a group of voice actors led by Matthew Mercer–a voice actor and DM-Extraordinaire. His group of 7 players (known as “Vox Machina”), with the occasional guest, adventure in the world of Exandria, primarily on the continent of Tal’Dorei, saving the world and causing mayhem wherever they go.

There is drama, pathos, adventure, comedy, and, most of all, lots of heart. Mercer has put together an unforgettable campaign and manages the proceedings like a pro. While the voice acting chops help, it’s his gift for storytelling that really makes the campaign come to the life. Just watching the show for as short a time as I have, I have picked up several tips for upping my GM game. Plus, it inspires me to aspire to have a great a time as he clearly is behind the screens.

But the group is just as great. They really get into their characters and roleplay well. You can tell that they, and their characters, are good friends and work together to have a good time. They let each other have their “special moments” and really gel as a unit. The relationship displayed between player and DM is ideal and shows what a great group can do with the game. Vox Machina is a strong because of the bonds forged in fire by the players (Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, and Marisha Ray).*

Currently, there are 115 “canon” episodes of the first campaign. They will be starting a new campaign in the new year. Each episode is anywhere from 3-4 hours of game play (it’s literally just a stream of their session, largely unedited). I’m currently on episode 68 and slowly making my way to the end so I can start fresh in the new year (I probably won’t make it, but I’m going to love getting there). The episodes can be found on Geek & Sundry, YouTube, Twitch, and on Alpha.

So, in the words of Grog Strongjaw (Travis Willingham): “Vox Machina! Fuck. Shit. Up!”

* Orion Acaba was originally part of the cast for the first 30 or so episodes, but then left the show for personal reasons. He was also a lot of fun in his episodes as well.
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