The show started streaming partway through the cast's first campaign in March Campaign one ended in October after episodes, and campaign two , which is still ongoing, started in January A number of one-shots were aired in the hiatus between the two campaigns.
The series is broadcast on Thursdays at PT on the Critical Role Twitch channel, with the video on demand VOD being available to Twitch subscribers immediately after the broadcast. Prior to the COVID pandemic , the show had broadcast live, but has been pre-recorded since its return for episode of Campaign Two.
The cast own the intellectual property from the show, and the show also lends its name to the studio owned by the cast— Critical Role Productions. The studio has produced Critical Role and Talks Machina since A number of licensed works based on the show have been released, such as several comic books and two official campaign setting guides. In June , Critical Role Productions launched its own Twitch and YouTube channels, with cast member Marisha Ray being announced as the creative director of the franchise.
Critical Role is a mixture of a weekly show and a modern gaming Twitch stream. Critical Role has played with a live theater audience nine times. The Critical Role storyline occurs in campaigns that consist of a series of story arcs, which are usually played over multiple episodes.
Between—or sometimes within—the major story arcs, the characters rest, resupply, or go on side quests. In addition, every player character has a backstory , an unfinished part of their personal history that can be relevant to the campaign from time to time. Sometimes, major story arcs are intrinsically tied to a character's backstory. While each campaign centers on a different party of adventurers, both are set in Exandria , a world of Mercer's creation.
Campaign one takes place primarily in Tal'Dorei, a continent of Exandria. The Vox Machina campaign originated as the home game of the cast, played from to In appreciation, Uriel gave the group seats on the city council , and provided them with a residence called Greyskull Keep, which is located just outside the city. While the early adventures were not formally recorded, some shorter recordings have been released by the cast. This includes audio from the first session of the campaign, which was released as a segment in the third episode of the podcast All Work No Play.
The show begins in media res with the characters regrouping in the city of Emon after approximately six months apart and the streamed campaign picks up where the cast's original home game left off. The first episode of the show aired on March 12, , and the campaign concluded with its final episode on October 12, The show on Alpha had a unique overlay that included "real-time character sheets, damage and heal animations, and visualizations".
After the animated series, The Legend of Vox Machina , was picked up by Amazon and " Prime Video ordered an additional 14 episodes, for a total of 24 episodes across two seasons",  Critical Role announced that the animated show would adapt the full Briarwood arc along with other storylines from campaign one. In , over a year after the first campaign ended, Critical Role produced three canonical one-shot games that feature Vox Machina in the time frame after Vecna's banishment.
More Vox Machina one-shots were unlocked as rewards and stretch goals during the Kickstarter campaign for the Critical Role animated series. It stars Sam Riegel as Taryon Darrington, honorary member of Vox Machina, who leads a group of new characters into their own adventures.
The story is set roughly a decade after campaign one and a decade before campaign two. The second campaign began on January 11, , and follows the adventuring party known as The Mighty Nein. The story is set on the continent of Wildemount, which was briefly visited during the Vox Machina campaign. The Mighty Nein campaign is set about 20 years after Vox Machina's final battle against Vecna and takes place in a time where tensions between two of Wildemount's mightiest nations are very high. Instead of an episode in the main storyline, the series occasionally features a one-shot game—a self-contained story that can be told within the time constraints of one episode or three to four hours of gameplay.
A one-shot could be described as the RPG equivalent to a short story. Some of the Critical Role one-shots are canonical parts of the storylines that play out in one of the campaigns, covering events that occur outside the time frame of the respective campaign, but still feature some of the campaign's main characters.
Other one-shots only have a tangential relationship to the campaigns, as they are set in the world of Exandria, but feature a different cast of characters, often in smaller scale adventures that may or may not be canon. There are also one-shots that have no connection with the campaigns or the world of Exandria at all. In many one-shots, other cast members take over the role of Dungeon Master or game master GM from Mercer. Some of Critical Role' s one shots have been sponsored. One-shot sponsors have included Warner Bros.
Since October , [update] Critical Role has consisted of eight main cast members, all of whom are the original cast. The show had a cast of nine for the first 27 episodes.
The cast and their characters' names, races, and classes for the two campaigns are listed below. When a player has taken the option of multiclassing , the classes are listed in the order taken by the player.
An H is used to indicate a homebrew class developed by Mercer. Guests are an irregular occurrence on Critical Role and, in most cases, only stay on the show for a one-off appearance or a few consecutive episodes. Only a few guests Mary Elizabeth McGlynn , Will Friedle and Patrick Rothfuss in campaign one, as well as Khary Payton in campaign two have appeared in non-consecutive episodes, with their respective characters playing an active role in different parts of the overall storyline.
So far, Chris Perkins is the only guest to have appeared in both campaigns, playing a different character for each campaign. As of January , [update] the first episode of campaign one has been watched 15 million times on YouTube. As of January , each episode of the show has been watched for more than a million minutes on Twitch, totaling over 37 million minutes watched for the whole series. In a January article, Polygon described Critical Role as a "thoroughly modern" show with a business model that is still developing.
Viewer responses to the show have been overwhelmingly positive,  with many fans, nicknamed "Critters",  creating content such as fanart , fan fiction , character-inspired music, and fan-created merchandise for the show.
Fans also send in many gifts for the cast and crew, resulting in occasional "Critmas" episodes during which the gifts are opened and distributed. Andy Wilson, for Bleeding Cool , highlighted Critical Role as "the best show [he has] watched all year" in He wrote, "I've said repeatedly that Critical Role is the future of television, and specifically praising their response to COVID that continued their show in a safe way where no one has gotten sick. Let me pause there for a moment: no one has gotten sick. They have been smart and responsible and safe.
They are, weekly, one of the most-watched streams on Twitch. Orion Acaba left Critical Rol e in Acaba attempted to run an independent spinoff series focused on the character's home country of Draconia, but the show only saw a handful of episodes before it ended.
Acaba courted fan appeals to bring back his character and thus himself , none successful. As of this writing, almost all episodes of the spinoff have been purged from YouTube [ The show's audience base expanded significantly in the months after Acaba's departure [ As a result, different viewers have a different experience of 'how long' Tiberius was a part of Critical Role". It states, "neither the game itself nor quality of the Critical Role performance was really at issue [ Accepting financial support from Wendy's was read among some fans as a tacit acceptance of political positions held by Wendy's.
The Critical Role staff scrubbed nearly all evidence of the video from their official feeds and records. There are a number of spin-off shows and books, all of which are produced by the Critical Role studio. Various third-party, licensed works have also been released since Critical Role began in Not knowing how long this would take to raise, the campaign length was set at 45 days.
The first two episodes would cover the pre-stream story arc. The subsequent episodes would adapt the Briarwoods' arc, also from the Vox Machina campaign. By March 18, , eight minute episodes had been funded.
The cast will reprise their respective Vox Machina roles, with the exception of Orion Acaba. In November , Amazon Prime Video announced that they had acquired the streaming rights to The Legend of Vox Machina , and had commissioned 14 additional episodes two additional episodes for season 1 and a second season of 12 episodes.
I: The Tale of Vox Machina was announced. It includes backstories for Vox Machina and some of the non-player characters NPCs , and features artwork from the community. It was released in November The webcomics were written by cast members Ray and Jaffe, and feature artwork by Wendy Sullivan Green.
On July 22, , at the San Diego Comic-Con , it was announced that a comic book that covers the beginning of Vox Machina pre-stream and pre-game would be published. Issue one was released digitally and in print on July 10, In November , it was announced that a comic book exploring the backstories of the main characters would be published by Dark Horse Comics. Each issue will have a different creative team: issue one will focus on Jester Lavorre and will be written by Sam Maggs , with line art by Hunter Severn Bonyun, and colors by Cathy Le; issue two will focus on Caleb Widogast and will be written by Jody Houser, with illustrations by Selina Espiritu, and color by Diana Sousa.
Issue one is scheduled to be released on June 16, The first four issues will be written by Darcy Van Poelgeest in consultation with Mercer, and illustrated by fan artist CoupleofKooks with cover art by Helen Mask. The first issue will concentrate on Leylas Kryn, the Bright Queen of the Kryn Dynasty, and her eternal lover Quana; the issue is scheduled to be released on March 17, On the th episode of Critical Role , the launch of the Critical Role podcast was announced: an audio version of the game sessions.
During the show, viewers are invited to donate money to LA , which is later provided in a lump sum to the charity. Critical Role Productions launched a new c 3 nonprofit organization , Critical Role Foundation, in September with the mission statement: "To leave the world better than we found it. Its inaugural partnership will be with First Nations Development Institute , which seeks to strengthen Native American economies and communities. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Critical Role disambiguation.
Jason C. Twitch YouTube. Main article: Critical Role Productions. Main article: List of Critical Role episodes. Main article: Critical Role campaign one. Main article: Critical Role campaign two.