Our household is BIG into Dungeons and Dragons (DnD). My SO and I met at a LARP (live action roleplaying event) and we now play DnD with our kids. When Critical Role (a DnD game run by voice actor Matthew Mercer and all the characters are also voice actors) debuted on YouTube we gave it a try and passed. We weren’t interested in listening to other people play DnD. In the years since Critical Role has blown up. They are now on their third adventure campaign, have multiple books, and most recently an adult animated cartoon based on their first adventure. Our oldest kid has gotten deep into Critical Role and was chomping at the bit to watch the show from the moment the Kickstarter was finished. Once it was released, we watched it together. The show is a lot of fun! I highly recommend it for any fantasy fans and especially for those that have played fantasy roleplaying games. I needed a palate cleanser after the grimdark ‘Age of Madness’ trilogy by Joe Abercrombie and this origins graphic novel fit the bill perfectly.
Due to having watched the show, voiced by the same actors who created the characters, I could read the book and hear their voices in my head. While not necessary, it was nice to have that connection to the characters. This graphic novel takes place before the events of the show, giving the origin story of how many of the characters came together.
Half-elven twins, Vex’aliha (Vex), a ranger, and Vax’ildan (Vax), a rogue, have come to the swamps around Stilben to investigate a supposed curse. Scanlon Shorthalt, a gnome bard, and Grog Strongjaw, a goliath barbarian, are in town as well with a group of adventurers to recover an artifact and then get entangled with a plot involving a mercenary group. Keylith, a half-elven druid, and Tiberius Stormwind, a dragonborn sorcerer have also arrived with their group to seek what is happening in the town, they have come to believe it is a poison.
Their separate investigations lead them to the same place where they face a powerful spell caster and are lucky to make it out of the encounter alive. Since they have the same goal of finding out what is affecting the town, it is proposed they work together but most of them aren’t interested in collaborating and they go their separate ways. But fate has a way of bringing those with common objectives back together.
I really enjoyed this! It was a fun way to spend more time with these characters without having to listen to the podcast. You don’t need any knowledge of Critical Role to appreciate this little adventure. I recommend this graphic novel for any fantasy lover and especially those who like role playing games.