Critical Role Campaign 2: A Bunch of Loners Starting to Open Up, and a Sweet Wizard/Rogue Friendship

Genre: Fantasy RPG

Synopsis: An assorted group of adventurers meet, solve a zombie crime, and decide to keep traveling together. But they don’t all want the same things, and trust is hard to build. Will they be able to find some common ground, or will their collaboration blow up in their faces?

Series: 16th 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: Everything that’s out.

Verdict: I’m loving it.

Available: All of the episodes are uploaded to the Geek and Sundry website. The show streams live on the Geek and Sundry Twitch channel, Thursdays at 10pm EST.

This campaign is now 16 episodes in, and it is fascinating. I love it so much.

The entire tone of the show feels different with this cast of characters, with more heists and deceptions. Part of that is the setting as well—it’s a back-dealing kind of world—but our protagonists are definitely the type who try to make their way in a dishonest world by whatever means necessary.

I love the dynamic of this group, with their fragile connections and suspicious natures. They’re all independent-minded, which is both deeply interesting in itself and good for conflict. So far, they’re together because it’s convenient—and maybe for some of them, to abate loneliness—but they aren’t friends. Friendly, yes, but not friends.

Watching them slowly form bonds and discover each other is amazing. At this stage, we’re seeing them pal around and wondering how far that connection really goes. I’m torn between anticipating the moment when their friendships grow, or enjoying the complexity and uncertainty of this early stage in their acquaintance.

With each one of our protagonists portrayed through improv by a dedicated actor, the characterization of the series is consequentially engrossing. I want to talk about all of the characters’ development eventually, but this post will focus on our reticent wizard Caleb and jumpy rouge Nott.

 

Caleb

A wizard bum used to being poor and alone, Caleb is enjoying the experience of having companions for once in his life. I adore the combination of how bad he is at the mentality of functioning as part of a group versus how much he’s genuinely for it. He pretty much has to transition from a total lone wolf mentality to learning to communicate with others better, and it’s not natural at all, causing plenty of conflict—yet it’s so endearing. The poor man’s really trying, and has no idea where it isn’t quite clicking.

Still, he’s improving, and there’s a noticeable difference in his level of comfort around the other characters from when they first teamed up. It’s enjoyable to watch him unfold and show parts of himself that weren’t readily visible from the start. And his excitement in collecting magical tomes and spells is delightful. There was this one time when he set to transcribing a new spell (in a bathhouse no less), and he almost looked like he was about to cry. The moment tugged at my heartstrings hard, just from how emotional he became over something so simple.

Nott

A young goblin pretending to be halfling (because goblins aren’t welcome in civilization), Nott pathologically steals baubles and has a poor understanding of social norms. These qualities lead to plenty of hilarity, and alongside Jester, she functions as a common source of comic relief. But we also recently found out that she mails the things she steals to someone, identity unknown.

That’s a huge mystery, because who else does she even know? We’d been under the impression that she was alone until she met Caleb, no longer welcome among her goblin clan. So who is she sending things to? Who could a little goblin girl, because she is quite young, possibly be responsible for? (Other than Caleb, who she’s already stated she considers herself a protector for.)

Nott and Caleb

These two have the sweetest relationship, despite the fact that we don’t really know what that relationship is. The waters have become pretty muddy, what with Nott revealing a selfish motive for supporting Caleb, and declaring herself the parent in their relationship. Caleb, for his part, seems genuinely touched to finally have a friend—though who knows if he’s hiding ulterior motives, too? With this sketchy group of people, I wouldn’t even be surprised.

Still, Nott gives off a real sense of needing his acceptance and support, rather than just his power. And as much as we don’t really know where the two of them stand, and they probably don’t know either, they still manage to have the cutest, most heartwarming scenes together.

Of course, the way that they’ve built their relationship is ripe for conflict with the rest of the group. Because it’s the kind that cuts other people out, and the other members of their party are definitely feeling that. They’ve improved at getting along lately, but I’m waiting to see if enough about everyone’s dynamics changes by the next time their teamwork is put to the test.

Will the same fault lines appear again, with Nott and Caleb versus everybody else? Or will they all have worked out their priorities enough to be on the same page?

I’ll definitely be watching with bated breath, as these characters continue developing and revealing who they are.