Critical Role have exploded in popularity over the past few years. The “nerdy voice actors who get together to play Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)” every week first did it for their small fanbase. The seven key members of the team now own an online empire. Their weekly episodes, hosted by Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer, regularly reach over a quarter of a million live viewers.
Now, with a fully-fledged graphic novel series under their “plus one” belts, and an Amazon Prime Video series on the way, the imaginary team known as The Mighty Nein have released their first ever book.
The World of Critical Role encompasses an incredible amount of information, backstory, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and exclusive interviews with the cast in well over 300 pages.
In a hardback tome, the book itself feels as it has been ripped straight from the pages of Mercer’s version of Exandria.
Collecting information and interviews from the real world and combining them with tips and tricks on how to improve your fantasy D&D game was no doubt a tough task – but author Liz Marsham brought it all together incredibly.
In a recent interview with Express.co.uk, Liz explained how difficult it was to pull off writing the team’s first book – but also how exceptionally rewarding it has been.
On the concept of the book, Liz confessed she was a little daunted by the sheer scale of the task.
Critical Role Campaign 1 spanned 115 episodes – all of which run up to four hours long, sometimes more. Meanwhile Campaign 2 is looking to exceed that many episodes.
Liz told us: “I definitely felt the pressure. But, to be honest, it was only partly because of how long the campaigns are.
“Critical Role, meaning both the show and the people that make it, sets a very high bar for storytelling skill and general thoughtfulness.
“And there is a vast community of people out there who love Critical Role deeply, who have already spent years considering every aspect of it.”
Liz confessed: “Most of my anxiety came from wanting my writing to be worthy of that show and that community. Luckily, I had a bunch of great people working with me, including the cast and my amazing editor, Elizabeth Schaefer.”
To add on to Liz’s comments, despite being more than capable herself, she was aided by constant anecdotes, stories, and wells of information from the cast themselves – all of whom were involved in the writing of their first book.
Liz spoke of the team highly, saying: “Everyone had their hands on this book: coming up with the original concept, shaping the outline, doing extensive interviews with me, and editing the manuscript.”
In an odd way, one of the team’s misfortunes helped improve the book even further, as Liam O’Brien was forced to take a step back and endure some recovery after receiving some surgery. Because of this, he helped Liz out a lot more.
On this, Liz said: “If I had to give someone an extra credit award, I guess it would go to Liam – he spent hours answering my questions while he was recovering from surgery.”
The World of Critical Role is going to be much-loved by long-term fans of the franchise, and newcomers alike.
The intrigue created around each of the unique art-pieces included in the book alone are worth the price of entry; and there are a lot of them.
As Critical Role Campaign 2 looks to be wrapping up in the next few months, this epic book will be just enough to tide fans over until the next campaign begins, and give them added insight into just how hard working all of the cast really are.
Their story isn’t over just yet, however, and Liz is well aware of that.
Upon being asked if she would venture into working with Critical Role again in the future to continue telling their legendary journey, the author was extremely keen.
Liz said: “I’d do it in a heartbeat. Talking about these nerds is a lot of fun, and getting paid to do it is a bonus!”
The World of Critical Role, published by Del Ray, is out now.