This year has flown by faster than I could have ever imagined and honestly now that it is almost done, I am not ready for it to end. I have decided to be a bit nostalgic and take a look back at one of my favorite things, Critical Role. If you don’t know it, it is a show where a group of nerdy ass voice actors sit around and play dungeons and dragons. Honestly, what is not to love? This list contains my favorite moments from this past year with Critical Role. It is in no particular order because honestly it was hard enough narrowing it down to just ten things. Obviously there are going to be some spoilers, as is to be expected so tread forward carefully.
New Year. New Campaign. New Characters.
With the close of 2017 came the end to the story of Vox Machina. While bitter sweet, there was the promise of a new campaign with even more fun to look forward too. On January 11th we were introduced to the motley crew that would soon become the Mighty Nien. Matt Mercer did a fantastic job carefully building the story and allowing each player to introduce their character. I was so happy to see that many were complete opposites than their Vox Machina counterpart. My favorite part though? Hearing Sam Riegel in his high pitch almost British accent. It was the perfect beginning to this fantastic story.
Nott’s Mother Speech
Liam O’brien and Sam Riegal’s characters have been journeying with each other prior to the beginning of Critical Role, so it explains their closeness. However like most people, I assumed it was the human man protecting the little goblin girl. Well Nott made sure to set that straight in episode 13 by explaining exactly what the relationship was. Momma Nott needs no protecting folks, she is protecting her boy. She needs him to get stronger and learn as much as he can in hopes of one day being able to grant her wish. My guess has always been for her to become human or a halfling, but we shall see.
“Molly said not to steal from happy people.”
During the Travis Willingam and Laura Bailey baby break, we had a bit of time without a cleric. Unfortunately the search for our missing heroes turned south when Lorenzo struck down Mollymauk. This moment was devastating as it was the second time in Critical Role history a player had died. However, I was truly not expecting Nott’s reaction to being offered some of his belongings during the funeral for him. Flash back to earlier on, Nott had attempted to steal from Fjord for the better of Caleb. Of course she was caught by Molly and his bit of advice was to never steal from happy people. This small little line from Nott had me in tears for a second time in two weeks and still to this day just hearing it brings on the waterworks.
Redecorating the Platinum Dragon’s Temple
While visiting Zadash, Jester promises the The Traveler that she will keep leaving his mark in hopes more people will follow. With what I hope was a well though out plan turned into one of the best things I ever experienced. Jester and Nott pretend to be members of the Platinum Dragon’s temple in order to make their way in. While the coast is clear, Jester jumps up onto back of the dragon statue hovering above and begins to give it a proper paint job. However, this all turns horribly wrong and as Jester and Nott attempt to escape it just gets better and better. Jester changes herself to look like the head of the temple and runs off after the real one appears. Trying to get away from the Crown’s Guard leads to some pretty fancy moves on Nott and Jester’s part and they manage to get away.
Caduceus and Dead People Tea
When we lost Molly, between the moments of intense sadness there were moments of curiosity. The question on every critter’s mind was what Taliesin Jaffe was going to play next. He has always created such eccentric characters that you can not help to love. Caduceus is definitely on my list of all time favorite characters. He is a giant pink firbolg for one. He loves tea for two. And he is playing a grave cleric! His introduction to the group could not have come at a better time and has become such a key player. Plus I would buy any audio book as long as he recorded it. His innocence about the world has led to some pretty funny situations but he also has the old man knowledge going and always knows just what to say to make anyone feel better. Plus as we learned in the latest episode, he gives amazing hugs.
Caleb’s Fun Bag of Tricks
Caleb may be a murderous fire wizard hobo but you best believe he is our national treasure! Not to mention his background just makes you want to hug him all the time. There is not one particular moment that I can’t get over, but several little moments. Any time Caleb casts a spell you can expect Liam to make sure it has some amazing flavor text with it. The components of spells can sometimes be ignored as long as you have it on you, but Liam always references them before casting. My personal favorite is his Wall of Fire cast just as things were getting pretty rough, “I take a bit of phosphorus and squelch it through my hand a cast Wall of Fire across the entire length of the boat between them and us.” Not to mention it was one of the best cliffhangers this season!
Facing Off Against a Dragon and Almost Living to Tell the Tale
In a recent episode our merry band of hobo murderers and ship stealers were joined by an adorable little stowaway gnome named Twiggy, played by the fantastic Deborah Ann Woll. She brought with her this magic fun ball of tricks that dropped coins out and opened a little hole to another dimension and also transported the Mighty Nein to a extraplanar dungeon. Because why not? As they moved about and explored they came across a room that just had to be the wizard’s study. Full of books and desks and this really pretty stained glass piece that just so happened to transport Fjord somewhere when he couldn’t keep his hands off of it. Not to mention the chest that almost ate Twiggy. The real fun with this episode was the blue dragon our team faced. Nott taking the dragon’s reaction attack to save Jester and only getting out with one hit point left and Twiggy getting the final blow solidified this as my favorite episode of campaign two so far.
Yasha Collecting Flowers
In the latest episode we finally got Ashley Johnson back for some live Critical Role! This means we get to see Yasha in all her glory. The last time she was with us we knew that Yasha needed a boat in order to follow some visions. However as quick as she was here, she was gone. Of course her first episode back she has a one on one encounter with a blue lightening creature. Ending with about just one hit point left, we are left with so many questions. Not to mention we got some pretty serious Yasha backstory including her marriage to her true mate and the repercussions of this from her tribe. She explains that she had to escape in order to survive while her wife was killed. She has been collecting flower ever since and placing them in a book she keeps with the hopes of one day returning to her grave and leaving them for her.
Saving Jester, Fjord, and Yasha
As a way to explain the absence of Travis, Laura, and Ashley we watch as their characters are kidnapped one night without any real clues of where to go next. Through the next few weeks they kept searching, lost Molly, and gained a few new friends in order to finally bring an end to Lorenzo and the Iron Shepherds. In what was a truly clutch moment, Marisha Ray saw a lapse in judgement on Matt’s part and has a successful stunning strike that shifts the tides of the battle. What could make these moments even better? It was during a live show! Every fan in attendance could feel the swing in momentum and the final blow was just stunning. Not to mention at the very end when they finally find their friends, Nott and her beautiful heart remark, ‘Case closed’.
Caleb’s Wall of Fire and End of Avantika
As a fan of the Jester and Fjord ship, I was not a fan of Avantika. Not in the least bit. However like all of Matt’s NPCs, she is simply amazing. This entire arc was just a bunch of “seriously nothing else could go wrong…right?” moments. When they finally arrive in Darktow, I really thought this was the end of her and all these boat shenanigans. Nope. The Mighty Nein leave no stone un turned. The group knows something is not right and Jester and Nott sneak aboard and steal a book she has written in. Of course things go wrong and some people get hurt but all seems okay for now. Caleb quickly deciphers the book, finding out that Avantika was planning on over throwing the Plank King. Of course the next morning the group is summoned to the ship and questions are asked. As a way to save his friends from what is going to be a certain fight, Caleb casts Wall of Fire just as Matt calls it a night. Of course we had to wait two weeks, but thanks to some very successful persuasion checks and Beau using her knuckles to make Avantika tell the truth, our group barely makes it out of Darktow alive. Avantika however doesn’t and while I am happy she is out of their hair I am really worried she is going to come back in some way.
Bonus moment! The brand new Critical Role opening sequence!
It was really hard to try and settle on just ten moments, and honestly after reading this I am sure you can see that I cheated just a bit. But with 46 episodes and 175 hours to choose from it was really hard. If you have a moment that your absolutely loved that didn’t make the list feel free to share it with me on twitter or join our discussion of favorite moments on the Critical Role fan facebook page! They are set to return after the holidays on January 10, 2019 7pm pst time.
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