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How Critical Role’s Success Is Driving a New Adventure

On tonight’s episode of Critical Role, Matthew Mercer announces as the stage is set for this week’s adventures, shenanigans and memorable moments. A dining room table once filled with friends, recording for their own enjoyment, is now a multi-million dollar brand of professional actors broadcasting every week. We, as fans, have been through the triumphs of Vox Machina, the trials of the Mighty Nein and now, a new world has been created ready for Critical Role’s newest party to take by storm. This group of actors has created something truly magical from a mere tabletop game, but how did they achieve multi-million dollar success from such small beginnings? Let’s take a look back at how the Critical Role universe was created in honor of the new campaign premiering on October 21, 2021.

An Overview of the Show

Critical Role is a weekly podcast and stream on Twitch and YouTube in which voice actors play the tabletop game, Dungeons and Dragons. Every week, seven actors and a dungeon master enter a world created by Matthew Mercer. The show is full of comedy, heartbreak, surprises and epic battles played through a continuous story called a “campaign.”

The Beginnings

Critical Role began in 2012 as a home game between voice actor friends. They were encouraged to stream their games for others to watch because of their at-home success. In 2015, Critical Role released its first stream on Twitch titled, “Arrival at Kraghammer.” This would launch their weekly streams every Thursday that has grown into a TV show-quality podcast.

Where Are They Now?

The show has grown from one stream weekly into two accompanying shows, Talks Machina and Critter Hug that support the main campaign on Thursdays, and a soon-releasing animated TV show, The Legends of Vox Machina. The show turned brand has now also produced, Mighty Vibes, a lo-fi music collection, and two comic book series, Vox Machina: Origins and Mighty Nein: Origins. The show has also had enough growth in popularity that the world of Exandria, the Critical Role universe, is now playable in licensed Dungeons and Dragons from the book, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. Now, the show is continuing its legacy with its newest campaign on October 21 bringing back the main show on Thursday nights.

Predictions

This season we visit a new continent in the world of Exandria, the continent of Marquette. A setting with new forces of evil and champions of good. With a new season and new location comes new characters for the actors to take on. Each actor creates their own character identity, but what classes will the players take on this time? My predictions are as follows:

  • Marisha Ray as a Fighter
  • Travis Willingham as a Monk
  • Taliesen Jaffe as a Sorcerer
  • Laura Bailey as a Barbarian
  • Sam Riegel as a Warlock
  • Ashley Johnson as a Ranger
  • Liam O’Brien as a Cleric

In celebration of the new season, it’s fun to look back and see how far the show has come. We used to watch seven friends sit around a dining room table at Matthew Mercer’s house, and now, a brand new studio has been built in Los Angeles to host this highly anticipated adventure. The world of Dungeons and Dragons has Critical Role to thank for its resurgence in popularity, bringing a game that our parents played into this next generation. Fans internationally anxiously await the new characters and stories they will share for the next few years, but anybody can join in on this epic adventure starting October 21 on Twitch and YouTube. This new season promises a world and story like we’ve never seen before, and with that, is it Thursday yet?

Emily is a senior at the University of Central Florida studying Digital Media and Web Design. In the future she wants to make an impact in the field of digital accessibility making a more inclusive internet for everyone.
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