Genre: Fantasy RPG
Synopsis: An assorted group of adventures meet, set out to have a good time at a carnival…only for trouble to find them.
Series: 1st episode in an ongoing series. Set in the same world as a previous campaign–but on a different continent, in a different time, with all new characters.
I’ve Watched: The one episode that’s out.
Verdict: This is an amazing start.
(The actual content of the episode in the video above starts around 16:30.)
The first episode of a completely new story with new characters has launched from the cast of Critical Role, and I could not be more excited about it. Apparently I’m not the only one, because I noticed the number of live viewers more than quadrupled from their previous campaign. So if anyone was interested in Critical Role, but daunted by how much content there was, here’s a good chance to jump on board to a whole new story line.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but this episode exceeded anything I could have hoped for. The characters are quirky and funny, the circumstances are intriguing, and there’s something special about getting to know them for the first time. And watching them getting to know each other. It’s fascinating to watch those early moments when they’re not quite on the same side, don’t really have each others’ backs yet. I’m not entirely sure how all of them are going to come together as a party yet, but I really want to find out.
As per usual, we have seven (fantastic) characters in the group:
Jester, played by Laura Bailey: Jester is a character that demands attention. She has little to no restraint, and can’t resist the opportunity to mess with people (even when it’s kind of a terrible idea). Her bubbly personality and trickiness make for a wonderful combination. Whether she’s bluntly telling this guy she just met how bad he smells (but insisting she has the best of intentions), or rearranging all of the books in a bookshop, I can’t help but watch her antics with pure amusement. She’s completely unselfconscious and ridiculously charismatic. Like, ridiculously.
I absolutely adore this character–she’s already a clear standout and favorite of mine–and we’ve only just met her.
Nott, played by Sam Riegel: She’s a twitchy little goblin girl–her kind is not-so-welcome in these parts, so she keeps her facial features hidden. With only one companion in this world to help her with her secret (and who’s really bad at keeping that secret), it’s no wonder she’s paranoid. And it’s no wonder she’s willing to steal and con people out of money, surviving however she can. It’s easy to imagine both her and Jester getting the party into all kinds of hilarious mishaps.
Of course, Nott’s personality aside, there is one other question to ponder--namely, just how long can Sam keep up that accent?
Mollymauk, played by Taliesin Jaffe: Molly is a showman working for a traveling carnival. He’s got the flair, the intuition, and the ability to convince Jester he’s actually reading her fortune instead of telling her what she wants to hear. This is a fun character, but I’m also intrigued by how his class relates to his background–there has to be a story there, about how and why he has his powers. But so far, all we’ve seen is the performer trying to make a living, and not the hunter. I’m thoroughly intrigued to see where this goes.
Beauregard, played by Marisha Ray: Beau is just so chill. But despite that laid back attitude, there are moments that manage to excite her and draw her out of that flippant attitude. I find myself looking forward to seeing what sorts of things break through the nonchalance. (And I’m personally picking up vibes that she might have a tiny bit of a crush on Yasha, even at this early stage–which could make for a really interesting dynamic.)
Yasha, played by Ashley Johnson: She’s a little standoffish, a little gruff. It’s fun to watch some of the other characters–particularly Beau–run up against her emotional walls. She also doesn’t let herself be played easily, drawing her lines and holding to them. And sometimes playing the other guy instead. A bit of a solitary figure, when push comes to shove, she’s perfectly willing to look out for herself. I can’t wait to see her character transform as she gets to know the rest of the group. Of course, she’s plenty entertaining as the woman taking care of herself first, and I hope we get to see plenty of that first.
Caleb, played by Liam O’Brien: A terribly unkempt wizard, Caleb is Nott’s only companion at this point. It’s the two of them together, out against the world. And all of that makes sense for Nott, who’s a goblin and has no choice but to live like this. But it brings up plenty of questions about Caleb, who’s human and can blend wherever he wants to. How did he and this goblin girl even meet? What made him choose to continue standing by her? (And how have the two of them kept their anonymity when he’s so hilariously bad at keeping secrets?)
Fjord, played by Travis Willingham: He remains a bit of a mystery so far. Travis has kept him mostly in the background, only stepping up to add a sensible word here or there, or to take a targeted action–like stepping in front of a friend about to be accosted by a guard. We’ve seen hints of an understanding between him and Beau, and at least enough companionship between him and Jester for him to have her back. He’s been serious, practical, and generally honorable. But we clearly haven’t even scratched the surface of his character yet.
These are intriguing bits and pieces to characters we’ve only just met, with enough potential already to know we’re going to get some incredible interactions in the future. As excited as I was for this new campaign, I genuinely expected more of an adjustment period. I thought it would take time for the characters to grow on me, and that the first episode would be a bit more of a mess–as everyone worked out their place in this new dynamic. But instead, ten minutes in, and I’m completely hooked. I honestly couldn’t be happier.