Watch With Me: Critical Role

Art by Meg Simmons, taken from https://geekandsundry.com/5-more-essential-critical-role-episodes-starring-the-mighty-nein/.

Kamryn Schnieder ~ Copy Editor

To get back into this semester, instead of talking about anime, I wanna talk about what I spent my whole break watching. Over 500 hours of a series of people playing dungeons and dragons. I know the idea of watching people sit at a table and play pretend about a world of dragons, elves, beasts, and other fantasy creatures is very niche and unique, but I want to talk about it for those who may be interested in that kind of thing. I will only be talking about the second campaign today since it is a little more palatable to people who don’t know the game as well, and is higher in production quality than the first campaign.

Critical Role is a company name for a group of “nerdy ass voice actors that sit around and play dungeons and dragons,” as voice actor Mathew Mercer explains every week. The second campaign follows the adventures of the Mighty Nein, a group of colorful adventures who meet in the town of trostenwald. Now as far as the plot, I can’t say much due to the vast amount of spoilers and character development, but I can talk about the main cast of characters and a little about how their adventure goes (and is going). 

The second campaign opens up with Caleb Widowghast, played by Liam O’brien. O’brien is famous for voice acting for characters such as Gaara in Naruto, Illidan Stormrage in the Warcraft franchise, and Doctor Strange in a number of Marvel games and animated series . Caleb is a human man in his thirties who is dirty and disheveled. He is “Zemnien” in the canon of the game, which lands him with a slight german accent. His class is that of a wizard, which leaves him with powerful spells and a cat familiar named Frumpkin. This does, however, leave him with low defenses and a pitiful amount of hp. Caleb is a cautious and untrusting character who is socially awkward and has a love hate relationship with fire. 

Accompanied by, and friends with, Caleb is Nott the Brave (no, there is no comma) a little goblin woman covered in bandages, wearing a mask, and armed with a crossbow. She is played by Sam Reigel, famous for playing the parts of Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Phoenix Wright in Ace Attorney, and Mephisto Pheles in Blue Exorcist. Nott is a bit of a collector, not always legally, and holds the class of rogue. Rogues are sneaky and deal extra damage from the shadows, and have quiet hands for stealing and lockpicking. In addition to being a bit of a kleptomaniac, Nott also struggles with alcoholism and a terrible self hatred due to her race and appearance. 

Jester Lavore is a blue tiefling, and a proud follower of the entity known as The Traveler. Jester is played by the lovely Laura Bailey, famous for roles such as Jaina Proudmoore from the Warcraft franchise, Maka Albarn in Soul Eater, and Nadine Ross in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Jester is a uniquely blue-skinned tiefling with deep blue hair and curled horns. She is a Cleric of The Traveler and a lover of mischief, using her spell powers to deal damage and heal allies. She is naive to a lot of the world and openly expresses her thoughts and opinions. She likes for people to be happy, and is on the search for her father after leaving her hometown on not the best of circumstances.

Beauregard Lionette is a hardened, rough, and semi-immature monk of the Cobalt Soul, played by Marisha Ray. Ray has voiced characters including Miranda in Metal Gear: Survive, Laura S. Arseid in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series, and Margaret in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. Beauregard is a ripped, dark-skinned human from the continent of Wildemount, specifically the town of Komordah. Never getting along well with authority, she was sent off by her father to the monks of the Cobalt Soul for training and discipline. While still gruff, buff, and dexterous, she has honed her skills and attitude for the better. She fights with a staff and her fist and is able to use her ki to perform fantastic feats. She also is hopelessly attracted to many of the women they meet along their journeys, even getting to bed with some of them. 

Fjord, my personal favorite, is a half-orc ex-sailor played by Travis Willingham. Willingham is the voice of such characters as Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist, Thor from a number of Marvel animated series, games, and shows, and a number of characters from World of Warcraft. Fjord is green skinned and rather slim for even a half-orc. He is a warlock with powers drawn from a source he isn’t quite sure of. He was aboard his old ship when it exploded and woke up with magic powers and a falchion (a curved sword) in his hand. Fjord is calm and analytic, but also charismatic and a people pleaser. He tries to stay level headed and de escalate situations, but does enjoy a fight. His impulsiveness does get him into trouble at times. His accent is also quite peculiar, a heavy texan, compared to the various european sounding accents of those around him.

There is also Mollymauk, a purple tiefling who thinks of himself much better than he is. Mollymauk Tealeaf is played by Taleisin Jaffe, who is known for being The Flash in a number of DC animated and game productions, and is also a vocal director and screenwriter. Mollymauk is loud and exuberant and truly themself. Mollymauk is genderfluid and covered in extravagant clothing and tattoos. With the bloodhunter class, Molly sacrifices his own health in exchange for various magical effects. Before joining the party, Molly was a member of a traveling circus, along with Yasha.

Yasha is a large, stern, dominating woman with a heart of awkward gold. Yasha is played by Ashley Johnson, known for playing Ellie in The Last of Us one and two, Patterson in Blindspot, and Terra in Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! Yasha is more mysterious, being oddly tall and well built for a human. Her hair is black with white tips in heavy dreadlocks. She plays the barbarian class, channeling her rage and devotion to the Stormlord in order to reduce damage and increase her power. Though considered a member of the party, Yasha often leaves for extended periods of time, supposedly on quests for the Stormlord. Yasha has, at times, also been found making some eyes at Beau.

These characters make up the start of the party of the Mighty Nein, ragtag adventurers of the Dwendalian Empire.

There are several other characters to talk about but it is a lot easier to just watch yourself, or listen to its podcast version. There are hundreds of hours to listen to so by no means should you try to binge watch like I have, but check out the Critical Role Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpXBGqwsBkpvcYjsJBQ7LEQ) to start. It is nice to have on in the background while working. This second campaign is still being made, with episode 122 just released on January 26th, and each episode runs anywhere from three to five hours long, so prepare yourself for a long story of adventure, emotions, fantasy, dungeon crawling, betrayal, and overly important dice rolls.

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