Welcome once again to the weekly Nerdarchy Newsletter. This week our topic is Critical Role and their Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter to get their first D&D campaign, or at least parts of it, animated. We’ve been trying to do this topic for the last few weeks, but gremlins got into the Nerdarchy Streaming computer which had us shut down for a bit. But we are back up to streaming on Saturdays. Since you are on the newsletter, here’s some news. Streaming on Saturdays is going to get moved to a weeknight, maybe Monday or Tuesday. Look for the upcoming announcement.
We’ve been doing the Saturday afternoon thing for years. Nerdarchist Ted and I love hanging out with you nerds, but here is the thing. Our families would like some weekend time with us. In an effort to balance Nerdarchy and home life we will be freeing up our Saturdays. Three to four things generally happen on Saturday. It’s a super busy day for us. We record our weekly videos (3-4), the afternoon live chat, the Patreon After Show, and when we play in-person games those are on Saturday nights. I generally leave my house at 10:45 a.m. and get back around 1 a.m. on game nights. It’s a long day. Our plan is to do each of them on a different day, we just aren’t sure when we are going to start it.
We will also being doing the live shows remotely. This is going to allow us to do something I’m very excited about — bring on guests. I really miss doing the daily live chats, but for our own reasons it wasn’t feasible to continue with them. Now we will be able to bring a little bit of that back into Nerdarchy.
Doing the After Show and the Live Show back to back might have been a bit much. Not just for us, but the viewers and fans as well. I personally feel breaking things up is going to allow us to provide you fine nerds with better content all the way around.
One last thing before jumping into our thoughts on the Critical Role Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter. Recently we put up our second video in our Go To Spells by Tier series. People seem to be really digging 5 Go to Tier 1 D&D Cleric Spells. Watch it here.
This is maybe our cheesiest intro bit yet.
Delving Dave’s Dungeon
I’ve got a confession. I’m not a Critter. Yup I said it. Bear with me and I’ll get into why.
Here is the thing. I hear people say Critical Role isn’t real D&D. But what does that even mean, “Real D&D”? The reasons I don’t enjoy Critical Role are the same reasons I say it is 100% real D&D. We did some reviews and recaps of their new D&D campaign for a bit. People still ask why we don’t do them. I’m the reason. I just didn’t enjoy watching 4-5 hours of people playing D&D.
It wasn’t because it wasn’t real D&D. It wasn’t because the Critical Role cast aren’t real D&D players. It is the opposite. Because personally I find real D&D kind of boring to watch. I really don’t like watching sports either. When I was a kid I loved playing backyard sports with friends, but never had the urge to watch them. The same goes for my beloved hobby of D&D.
But let me tell you I am super stoked to watch 22 minute animated episodes based on a D&D campaign played by some amazing human beings. I’m going to watch the hell out of that.
I bet there are a ton of people like me who just couldn’t get into watching Critical Role, but will love the heck out of the animated show. Now, when spouses and friends want to know what that D&D thing is all about instead of pointing them to a 4-5 hour show we can say hey, watch this cartoon. That is exciting to me.
I hope they put it on Twitch, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and any other streaming service they can find. I’d love to see the Critical Role Studio become one that specializes in animated D&D shows. Let it be the vehicle that brings D&D to the world.
So yeah, I’m not a Critter, but maybe through the animated series I can become one along with a lot of other folks.
From Ted’s Head
Critical Role has brought the enjoyment to loads of new gamers. It has shown the world that hundreds of thousands of views can be had on watching people play D&D. They did it with an all-star cast and an amazing Dungeon Master.
March 4, Critical Role released its Kickstarter to make an animated show of their first campaign. The first campaign was 115 episodes long and the group is into the 50s of their second campaign. The Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter is already in the top ten for most funded by amount for any Kickstarter campaign.
For those who do not watch Critical Role, or any live play D&D, what does this mean for the hobby? At this stage of the Kickstarter campaign, they have raised almost $8 million in funds to make this happen with still three weeks to go. This means that more attention is going to be brought to D&D and potentially other roleplaying games. It means D&D will be shared with new fans. Perhaps those who like animated shows will see it and do more research and find the same love of D&D we all share.
Game of Thrones, the wildly successful show, has taught us more people than you think are willing to embrace a fantasy show. Personally I have been at family gatherings and heard cousins talking about it and proclaim how much they love it. Those same cousins mocked my interests when I played D&D in my youth.
Each successful show or format that has the ability to uplift the world and concept of D&D tells people we are less and less of a minority. I hope each time a Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones or Legend of Vox Machina comes out the access and availability as well as the acceptance of D&D grows by leaps and bounds.
From the Nerditor’s Desk
What can I say about Critical Role’s Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter that hasn’t been said by CNBC, Fortune, Variety, Collider and a thousand other sources?
That’s easy — what it means to me.
When I got back into the D&D hobby after a lull, there were three things I discovered very quickly. Adventurers League was the first, providing steady opportunities to play D&D and meet new people when I moved to Austin, Texas for a job. Nerdarchy (and Web DM) were the second, engaging with YouTube in a way I never had before and leading to better gaming and even a pretty sweet gig (did I mention Nerdarchy will have our own D&D In A Castle … castle…?). Lastly, there was Critical Role.
The stories these nerdy ass voice actors wove together each week was mesmerizing. Despite playing D&D for about 30 years, and certainly creating tons of amazing memories doing so, I hadn’t seen or participated in anything like this. Critical Role adventures have danger, perilous battles against monsters, and treasure like any other D&D game. And the players laugh and have a fun time playing — nothing new there.
But Critical Role to me elevated what a D&D game can be. The Legend of Vox Machina is filled with genuine humor, sadness, heroism and touching drama, and I’d never considered a game could be like that before.
The extraordinary success of The Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter to me shows how many other people feel a deep connection to Critical Role, and I suspect no small number of the support comes from fellow gamers inspired for their own games. The Critical Role entity and the Critter community continuously invite everyone into their world, and their adventures create the same vivid memories we make in our own games.
That’s my takeaway from Critical Role, that the stories we tell together in our D&D games can be anything we want. The triumphs and trials of our heroes reflect our own human condition within a fantasy setting fraught with danger, but safe for us as players to explore together.
As to The Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter. On the one hand Critical Role does such a masterful job telling their tale, I feel like I’ve seen it in my own imagination… But this venture into animation is incredibly cool and hell yeah I’m excited to see it. I know the Critical Role team is very much focused on producing the highest quality content, and that’s great but let’s face it — they could animate stick figures and make it work. It’s the story and characters, with emotion and passion behind them, that makes great entertainment.
So, keep it up Critical Role! At the time of this writing there’s 24 days remaining in The Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter and the campaign is just shy of $8 million. It got a little less shy while I was typing that sentence. I hope they absolutely crush it and create a bedrock of amazing entertainment to set a milestone in not just D&D but storytelling itself. It’s pretty cool to imagine 30 years from now, the young kids of today who are just discovering D&D will have a spectacular animated series like this to stick with them the rest of their lives. I mean, we’re still talking about the 1980’s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon today ourselves — it’s a pretty popular new video series on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel, even!\
Until next time, stay nerdy
— Nerdarchy Team