Critical Role cannot be stopped. The popular Dungeons & Dragons live stream, an improvised fantasy novel played weekly by a group of veteran voice actors, is on an enviable run. Following their record-breaking US$11,385,449 (AUD$16,501,500) animated series Kickstarter, Critical Role has returned to its roots, raising money for charity with a pledge drive supporting Red Nose Day 2019 and its mission to end child poverty.
That’s where Stephen Colbert comes in. A noted fantasy nerd, Tolkien obsessive and former D&D player, Colbert has long been cited as a dream guest for Critical Role Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer. This week, Mercer got to tick that item off his bucket list, travelling to New York to film a special, hour-long, one-on-one game with Colbert. Certain facets of Stephen’s adventure were chosen by fans who’d donated through the Critical Role website, altering the shape of the adventure in surprising and hilarious ways. The special is embedded above and is a lovely way to spend 55 minutes, especially if you’ve never had any experience with D&D before or witnessed Mercer’s rare brilliance as a DM.
The subject of D&D came up on Colbert’s The Late Show last year when actor and vocal D&D fan Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike) guested on the program. Manganiello’s interview made waves at the time because, while he was on the show to promote the film Rampage, it never once came up. Manganiello was fixated on the game and getting Colbert involved in his home campaign while visiting LA for The Emmy’s.
In the period since the calls for Colbert to feature D&D on his show or even guest on Critical Role have been getting louder. That wish has now been granted and, in a roundabout way, we have Joe Manganiello to thank for that. What a wild time to be a D&D fan.
Critical Role streams live on Thursdays at 7 pm PST (Fridays at 12 pm AEST) at Twitch.tv/CriticalRole. Back episodes and more are hosted on their YouTube channel. You can support Red Nose Day 2019 via their official site.
Image credit: CritRole.com