Dungeons and Dragons regains popularity

Evan Williamson, Courier Staff

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In 2015, a group of voice a (Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, Taliesin Jaffe, Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Sam Riegel and Ashley Johnson) started live streaming their Dungeon’s and Dragon’s games.

Since then, they have made D&D popular again, with their first campaign ending at 115 episodes in 2017 and currently on episode 57 of their second campaign, Critical Role has been getting bigger and bigger with a comic series, art books and even downloadable content on last year’s Pillars of Eternity 2 video game. Critical Role has recently become their own brand, leaving Geek and Sundry to start their own Twitch channel with their own shows. For years, the cast has wanted to make an animated special, but wasn’t sure if people wanted to see it.

On May 31, 2018, D&D Beyond released an animated commercial, featuring the characters from the second campaign, which got great reactions and praise from the fans. It wasn’t till Critical Role released a new animated intro with original song “Your Turn To Roll” less than seven months later that had fans practically begging for a series.

On March 4, it was announced that Critical Role started a Kickstarter fund to create an animated special of their characters from the first campaign. The goal was $750,000 in 46 days. The fans known as “Critters” successful raised enough money in less than an hour (one of the quickest funded campaigns in Kickstarter history).

Raising $1 million by the next morning, the project was backed by over 30,000 people and more than $4 million. With their goals already met after day one, they were able to create 22 minutes of additional animation each tier, a variety of other goodies and one-shots. They then announced that the special was going to become a series, and new goals were going to be made to unlock more episodes and one-shots.

The first two episodes are going to be what they originally planned, a brand new story featuring the characters from campaign one that takes place between the comics (featuring the events that happened in their pre-streamed home games) and episode one of the Critical Role live stream.

The rest of the four episodes (at the time) would be a retelling of the popular Briarwoods arc from campaign one. Titmouse, who has done animation skits for a number of shows, movies, video games and commercials, will animate the series. TV writer Jennifer Muro, who writes for shows like “Star Wars: Forces of Destiny” and “Spider-Man,” will write the script for the new show. One of the things that people love about Critical Role is the comradery and friendship between the actors in real life, which makes the shows that much more special. The action, adventure, comedy and drama of Critical Role will definitely make a great-animated series, and it is obviously highly anticipated. As of Saturday morning, the Kickstarter Campaign has over 57,800 backers and made more than $7.8 million (eight episodes), which makes it one of the most funded Kickstarter events for TV and film projects. As of Monday, the project will still have 23 days left. If you want to donate or see what it’s all about, go to Kickstarter.com and search “Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina.” The series is set to be released in 2020.

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