Fair gentlepersons, let us talk about a little show called Critical Role.
I first discovered the Geek and Sundry show a few months ago, right around when they started releasing their old episodes in podcast form. I had just gotten caught up with a different Dungeons and Dragons podcast that some of my friends run (it’s called Plunders and Blunders and you should definitely check them out), and was looking for something new to listen to. As someone relatively new to D&D, I’d heard of Critical Role but had never watched or listened to it, so this seemed like a great time to start.
I only listened to the first few episodes via the podcast format before I realized that I was missing a lot of the cast reactions by not watching the archived videos of the streaming sessions.
And thus began The Great Critical Role Binge-Watch of 2017.
Let it be known that whenever I fall in love with a book, a show, a movie – any kind of story that for whatever reason resonates with me – I fall hard. That level of excitement and engagement with a story doesn’t happen all that often, which is likely for the best; as a friend of mine once put it, “if it did, you’d probably never leave the house and no one would ever see you again.”
Honestly, they probably weren’t too far from the mark. I began watching the escapades of Vox Machina at the beginning of July. At the time of this writing, I’ve gotten to episode 64. Since episodes range between 3 to 5 hours each, that puts me somewhere between 200 to 300 hours worth of narrative in the span of three months. And I’m only halfway through.
Which brings me to why I’m writing about it now. Since I am not current and up to date on the show, my Twitter feed announced today that tonight is the final session of Critical Role in its current incarnation (going on right now in fact, even as I type this). Or it’s the final battle but maybe not the last session? From what I gathered I’m pretty sure it’s the last session, but I tried not to read too much because spoilers. And I have to admit, it made me sad; not for the ending of a story I’ve come to love – for all tales must eventually come to an end – but that I didn’t get the chance to experience it, to interact with it in real-time with the amazing community that has sprung up around the show.
And so, before I’m so late to the party that I miss it entirely, I’d like to share a few haikus I’ve written that were inspired by each member of the cast:
Our strength carries us
Only so far. The rest? Well,
That’s what friends are for.
Courage blossoms in
Quiet moments when the path
Forward is revealed.
To have broken is
Nothing if you gather the
Shards and make them whole.
It is the nature
Of the world to test your faith;
Breathe, be strong, endure.
A laugh and a song
Do much to brighten even
The shittiest day.
There is no darkness,
Deep though it may be, that can
Hide a vibrant heart.
Take aim, set your dreams
Within your sights, and let fly
All you have to give.
“The Dungeon Master”
What a thing it is
To create an entire world
Where nothing was before.
Thanks, Vox Machina. I’ve still got so much of your story left to experience, and I cannot wait.