I hope you had a fantastic week. I know my week was pretty great. I’m back in the swing of things after a very productive week. We had a very full week here on the website filled to the brim with new pieces and new accomplishments. If you didn’t read Tuesday’s Bulletin Board post, you might have missed that we hit 100 followers this week as well as 200 likes on the website. Those accomplishments happened because of readers like you, so thank you so much for making that happen. I’m so happy to start the new year with new milestones and I’m excited to see what the next year is going to have in store both me and the website. Thank you again for all your support in the form of views, likes, comments, and shares. All of it means the world to me and I truly can’t thank you enough. We’re going to have another busy week full of posts this week so make sure you stop by and check in throughout the week to make sure you see the new posts as they are published. You can hit the “follow” button on WordPress to join the community of followers as well as checking out the Facebook Page and Twitter Page so you stay up to date on what is happening. Whenever new posts get published on WordPress, they are automatically posted on my social media pages, so that’s just another way of making sure you get to read all the wonderful things I’ve written.
Now as you know, it is still early in 2018. That means people are still going hard on their New Year’s Resolutions or have completely given up and returned to their old ways. Either way it is a new year and a new beginning for a lot of people. One thing that has changed for 2018 is one of my favorite shows, Critical Role. Now I talked a little about Critical Role way back in April in a Weekly Blog all about Dungeons and Dragons, but that was a long time ago. And now that Critical Role has started a whole new season with a new campaign, I thought I’d return to the show for this Week’s Weekly Blog. Now the first episode of the new Campaign happened live on Thursday, January 11th so this is still brand new. I know some people might not be able to stay up that late or watch at that time, so I thought I’d warn you that this post will contain spoilers for the new campaign. Also if you do want to start watching Critical Role, you can watch it live on their Twitch Channel or on their YouTube Channel on Thursdays. If you can’t watch it live on Thursdays, you can watch a rebroadcast any time on the Twitch Channel if you are a subscriber or wait till Mondays when Geek and Sundry will post the unlisted Youtube link for the next episode. In the past Geek and Sundry has waited a couple weeks before putting up the YouTube link on their YouTube page, but I’m not sure if that will continue going forward. It’s best to follow Geek and Sundry on a social platform, so you will know when the new episode goes live. Again, this Weekly Blog will contain SPOILERS for the new campaign. You have been warned.
Oh my gosh, I can’t believe Matt started out the new campaign with a TPK!!
..ok obviously joking. But still. Definite Spoilers ahead.
Before I jump into the spoilers and my thoughts about the new campaign, I need to take a step back. A lot of you are probably wondering what is Critical Role. Who is Matt. And why you should care about any of this. Well let me explain. Critical Role is a show on Geek and Sundry that involves a bunch of “nerdy-ass voice actors sitting around playing Dungeons and Dragons” (their words, not mine). Matthew Mercer is the Dungeon Master for a group of friends and co-workers in the voice acting community. The players are Taliesin Jaffe, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, Ashley Johnson, and a few different special guests. Now if none of those names jump out at you, that’s ok. You might not have seen their faces, but I’m sure they have done voices for the shows or video games you love. Seriously, look up any of them on IMDB and you will see a gigantic list of all the stuff they have been in. Anyway, this group of voice actors get together every Thursday to play Dungeons and Dragons and it’s some of the best television I’ve ever watched. All of the cast is amazing and they fully embrace their characters and the world that Matt Mercer builds, which leads to some wonderful Role Playing. It’s an unscripted show full of laughs, tears, and adventure which can you have on the edge of your seat. The moments are intense and you can feel the layers of personal relationships as they role dice, fight monsters, and make the viewer fall in love with their characters.
Now the last campaign lasted two years on screen and several years off screen. Before Geek and Sundry turned it into their highest rated television show, these voice actors were just friends who got together once a month to play Dungeons and Dragons together. It started out as just a one time thing for Liam O’Brien’s birthday and it then spread by word of mouth. People in their industry recognized them for playing Dungeons and Dragons together. Then Geek and Sundry asked them to play D&D live on the internet for the whole world to see. It’s a good thing they did, or I wouldn’t have been introduced to Dungeons and Dragons. They’ve truly inspired myself as well as thousands of other people to take up Dungeons and Dragons and create their own tales of fantasy. At some point, Thursday’s stream had over 90 thousand people watching on Twitch with even more watching on Alpha and YouTube.
One thing about the last campaign which people can find intimidating is that over that two year period, there were 115 episodes of Critical Role which on average lasted 3-4 hours a piece. That’s more than 400 total hours of content you have to watch which (according to BingeClock) would take you a little over 15 days if you watched it nonstop with no breaks. Talk about a marathon. So maybe that’s a little much for you. Maybe you don’t want to spend all that time with the story of Vox Machina and their adventures through Tal’Dorei. That’s fine. That’s a reasonable thing to say. But I’d recommend you do it anyway. Seriously if you love Dungeons and Dragons or Role Playing Games or just fantasy, worldbuilding, and a group of good friends, then I think you’ll love Critical Role. Even if that doesn’t convince you to watch the 400 hours of the first campaign, I would recommend watching the second campaign. This is a whole new part of the world with whole new characters and (so far) it is completely spoiler free of the first campaign. You can go into it completely blind without knowing anything about the first season of Critical Role and be completely fine. I think that is one reason that there were so many people watching. Everyone who is new to the show is tuning in to the new campaign right alongside people who have watched the entirety of the first campaign. We’re all watching it unfold together.
So what do I think of the new campaign? (SPOILERS). I love it! No surprise that I have nothing but praise for the first episode. Matthew Mercer does a fantastic job of setting up an universe that feels three dimensional in all the right ways. You can tell that the world is robust and that there’s a lot of backstory going into everything from the Player Characters, the NPC’s (Non-Player Characters), and the setting. We got a chance to see the world that was already fleshed out when we jumped into the first campaign, and now this allows us to see the world built up from Day 1 with level 2 characters. I will say that I was nervous that the community would not be happy with the new characters the players have created. The Critter Community (which is what we prefer to be called) can be an open and loving space sometimes and be quite toxic other times. However, it looks like the new characters are being welcomed with open arms and I think a lot of that has to do with the new influx of art by some wonderful artists. We are getting a wave of art from artists obsessed with these new characters and that’s really hoping the rest of the community fall in love with these characters as well. Plus its the same, nerdy-ass voice actors playing them that we already love so that helps. Another thing that makes me like these characters and the new campaign, is that we’re getting to see some new, fun classes and races. During the first campaign we got to see some basic mashups like Half-Elven Ranger and Goliath Barbarian. Not too far from the usual. This campaign we’ve been introduced to a variety of magic users including a Human Wizard, Tiefling Cleric, Half-Orc Warlock, and Tiefling Blood Hunter (a class of Matthew Mercer’s design). To round out the group we have a Goblin Rogue, Human Monk, and Aasimar Barbarian. That’s a very unique group of individuals and I can’t wait to see the group dynamics develop as we go. It’s’ so exciting to see the beginning of the story, because you know there are a thousand different way this could all go. Especially when talking about a Role-Playing Game like Dungeons and Dragons where players can really explore the open world and change the plot through their actions and a series of good or bad die rolls.
So there are some of my thoughts about Critical Role and the new campaign. Again they are only one episode in at this point so if you want to start a new, addictive series, I’d recommend following Geek and Sundry or Critical Role on your preferred social media platform. If one episode doesn’t fulfill enough of your need, go and watch the first campaign. Check out their YouTube channel or listen to it in podcast form which can be found anywhere you normally listen to podcasts.
If you liked this Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a like or leave a comment down below. If you didn’t like it, that’s ok too. Just know that my Weekly Blogs are usually shorter and more focused on my personal life or my opinion on stuff. I just wanted to talk about Critical Role this week because 1) It’s my Blog, I do whatever I want, 2) It’s one of my favorite shows, and 3) The new campaign just started so it gives you a chance to start it if that is something that interests you. If you really like the stuff I write, feel free to spend a moment on the website checking out the other stuff I’ve written. I have new Haikus that were posted Wednesday and a new Writing Prompt piece about a post-nuclear Christmas that was published on Friday if either of those interest you.
Thank you again for all your support and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Header Photo Credit to Geek and Sundry