The players over at Critical Role certainly know how to give the people what they want! After live-streaming their Dungeons and Dragons campaigns for almost eight years now, they’ve grown over time to breaking all kinds of barriers in the gaming, television and even literature world! With the second season of their show, The Legend of Vox Machina, now airing on Amazon Prime, we at Bookstr realize getting into the bookish side of things might be a little overwhelming.
Today, we’ve put together a guide on how to get into Critical Role and where to start reading! Come with us as we discuss all there is to offer––dice and minis definitely sold separately.
If there’s a simple, non-threatening way to begin, it’s definitely with the comics and graphic novels that Critical Role has published along with Dark Horse Comics! Assuming your interest was caught with the incredible Legend of Vox Machina television show, you’ll be pleased to know that three volumes exist that collect all of the Vox Machina: Origins that have thus been published! These collections tell the story of Vox Machina before we meet them in the series and the live-stream campaign. Read as they rise from everyday good guys to real, bonafide heroes!
In a similar vein, many of the Mighty Nein’s origin comics are still slowly being released. Discover the adorable story of Jester Lavorre, the tragic tale of Caleb Widogast, and others within the soon to be released collected edition of the first four graphic novels!
And if you’re really vying for a little bit more, discover the intriguing and mysterious origins of the Bright Queen, Leylas Kryn from campaign two in Critical Role: The Tales of Exandria–The Bright Queen.
If there’s something that the creators of Critical Role understand and love, that’s art! Fans even call Liam O’Brien (the voice of Vax’ildan) ‘art dad’ because for a very long time, he compiled the fan art and cosplay photos used in their past live streams.
O’Brien’s love of fan art and other creative creations is believed to be the spark of inspiration behind the Chronicles of Exandria art books available. While most of them are sold out, with no current hope of reprints, the Chronicles of Exandria: The Mighty Nein art book is still available on Amazon.
After you dip your toes into the comic books and graphic novels that the company has to offer, the next step would certainly be to check out the novels available! Currently only two books have been published by Critical Role and Penguin Random House. The first, released in 2021, is Critical Role: Vox Machina – Kith & Kin, as written by Marieke Nijkamp. This novel featured the beloved twins, Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan, two half-elves that have spent their entire lives attached at the hip. Naturally, the story pulls them apart for the first time as they navigate complicated life and death situations that aren’t as clear-cut as they first may seem.
The second novel was released in 2022, and is titled Critical Role: The Mighty Nein – The Nine Eyes of Lucien. Written by Madeleine Roux, it focuses on campaign two’s sexiest villain, Lucien Tavelle, as we are allowed a glimpse behind the curtain as to how he became the person he is within the main story. Both novels do read best if you’ve watched the campaigns or have some awareness of them, but are worth checking out nonetheless!
So far, there have been no plans for a third novel, but we’re certain more are soon to be on the way.
Coming Soon: The Exandrian Cookbook
Most recently, the company announced its newest book to be published. Their current campaign, Bell’s Hells, featured a retired half-orc with a penchant for baking. So it’s no surprise that the creatives over at Critical Role realized how genius it’d be to release a cookbook! Exquisite Exandria is advertised as containing 60 unique and thematic recipes inspired by the world of Exandria and its memorable characters. The cookbook will be released this year, on August 8! Filled with diverse and eclectic new dishes to try out, it’s sure to be a big hit when it’s out.
Well, we hope that wasn’t too overwhelming! Critical Role has been around for some time now, so there’s certainly a lot of content to get through, but if anything that means that there’s something out there for everyone! So, if slogging through hundreds of hours of D&D actual play isn’t your thing, you can always check out the comics, the books or, naturally, the show while you’re at it!
To read more about Critical Role, click here!