In an interview with Polygon, Madeleine Roux discusses the challenges and rewards that come with stepping into the villainous shoes of Lucien in Critical Role: The Mighty Nein: The Nine Eyes of Lucien. The horror author has adapted numerous Dungeons & Dragons adventures into novels before, but this will be her first time writing for the mega-popular D&D actual-play show.
A New Challenge
One of the unique challenges that Roux faced when writing the book was the inevitability of its conclusion. As the campaign had wrapped up in June of 2021, Lucien’s fate was resolved live. However, this doesn’t mean that Roux couldn’t have fun and experiment with what could happen in his early days pre-campaign. In fact, according to the author, she had permission from the Critical Role team to go “completely bonkers”.
Roux describes the process of figuring out his character and the questions that came with developing his narrative as one of “the best challenges”. She divulges that a big part of writing the novel was trying to handle his character with humor, but without excusing his actions (a lot of which are questionable).
A Different Kind of Villain
If you are a fan of Critical Role, you’ll know exactly who Lucien is without us having to explain. However, for the uninitiated, just know that Lucien is ‘The Big Bad’ of Critical Role’s second campaign, ‘The Mighty Nein;. Without completely spoiling the campaign: just know that when the campaign’s party finally managed to defeat him, it was one heck of a fight (and it was over three hours long)!
But Lucien isn’t just a frightening villain to face, he’s also a deeply interesting and complicated character. Roux adds that an enormous part of the writing process was showing that every choice Lucien makes is purposeful; that there were and always other options, even if the outcome was written in stone. She’s certain to disclaim, however: “keep in mind, at the end of the day: I don’t want this to be an apology”.
A Hint of Horror
The new Critical Role novel will touch on many of the same horror aspects as Lucien’s arc in the Mighty Nein campaign. According to Roux, parts of the novel will include hints of both psychological as well as bodily horror. “We’re gonna scare you a little bit,” she teases. “We’re gonna freak you out.”
For fans of the show, you’ll remember the moment when Lucien was transformed Final Fantasy-style into a boss with several mega-creepy eye-stalks. While wearing a loin-cloth. Yeah.
While there’s no confirmation if there will be that many disturbing body transformations (or loincloths), it’s safe to say that this new novel will be honoring all the creepy (and sexy!) of Lucien’s villain status.
Critical Role: The Mighty Nein – The Nine Eyes of Lucien releases November 1, 2022.
In the mean time, check out these 5 Books Inspired by Dungeons & Dragons!