Critical Role may have started as a simple yet genius live broadcast of a Dungeons & Dragons playthrough with some voice actor friends as a group known as Vox Machina. Still, since its first campaign began, the Critical Role name has become a much larger production and beyond, as noted from the various extensions from simple playthroughs of Dungeons & Dragons. From its origins as a group of voice actors in a friend group playing Dungeons & Dragons together on Twitch to The Legend of Vox Machina on Prime Video and beyond, Critical Role has made a name for itself as not only an avid group of Dungeons & Dragons fans but as creative voices that can quickly build upon its existing universe with high originality. Critical Role could expand further than the books, comics, series, and more that have already been released. Below, we’ve detailed Critical Role, the web series, The Legend of Vox Machina, and more of the extensions of Critical Role.
Critical Role Web Series
Critical Role started as a group of voice actors playing their campaigns of Dungeons & Dragons, and it all started halfway through the first playthrough of their first campaign. While Dungeons & Dragons have been the intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast since 1997, Critical Role has brought a unique approach to the entirety of Dungeons & Dragons that wasn’t explored previously. From the initial playthroughs of their Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, the actors Matthew Mercer, Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Marisha Ray, Orion Acaba, and Sam Riegel have been the main cast and players, with others as guests throughout each Critical Role campaign. Each actor plays their main characters, monsters, and others encountered throughout each game. The first Dungeons & Dragons campaign Critical Role played originally had nine cast members. Still, since the ninth member left, the series has consisted of the eight prominent cast members mentioned above.
Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina
Outside of the original Critical Role web series and broadcasts to Twitch and YouTube, Critical Role Productions has also released an American anime-style series on Amazon Prime Video called The Legend of Vox Machina that brought the original Dungeons & Dragons campaign from Critical Role to yet another new era, with some extra content as well. So far, The Legend of Vox Machina may have covered the first campaign that Critical Role has played, but it also launched as a brand new adventure that hasn’t been depicted through any other Critical Role project. This new adventure took place over the first two episodes. Outside of being something fresh from Critical Role for longtime fans, it was new to help new fans get appropriately introduced to what The Legend of Vox Machina would offer with its future and has been placed in the timeline earlier than any other Critical Role adventure. The series is set in the world of Exandria, which the Dungeon Master of Critical Role created, Matthew Mercer, before the group’s first games together. It has been their setting since, with the included areas, towns, and more included in this world. The Critical Role series The Legend of Vox Machina premiered on Amazon Prime Video on January 28, 2022, and in 2019 Amazon renewed the series for a second season set for a January 2023 release date. Before the second season’s release, Amazon had already renewed the series for a third season, and it’s no surprise with so much content to be translated to the series from the original Critical Role web series and its other extensions beyond the recent Amazon series.
Other Extensions of Critical Role
Beyond the Critical Role web series and the most famous rendition with the Critical Role Amazon series The Legend of Vox Machina, Critical Role has also had comic books, two campaign books, novels, art books, and even toys and miniatures. Critical Role’s campaign books are the closest that fans can come to the experience of the Critical Role campaigns, mainly as they are based entirely on the Critical Role campaigns by Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer. The first book created, Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting, was an actual campaign-setting book, while the other book, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, provided players with additional tools, resources, and information to help them further their Critical Role-inspired Dungeons & Dragons experience. Another difference between the campaign books is their official affiliation with Dungeons & Dragons. The first book created based on the Critical Role web series campaign wasn’t an official Dungeons & Dragons campaign, not that unofficial campaigns don’t exist. Still, the second book, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, has been marked as official Dungeons & Dragons material. The earlier mentioned comic series, Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, one of the earliest extensions of the Critical Role brand beyond the Critical Role web series, was a prequel adventure that detailed how the group that the cast members make up became the traveling group they are, Vox Machina.
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