Hey all, Dani here.
One week ago, I made a 3 hour drive from my home to Indianapolis, IN, to attend a live show event for Critical Role, a Dungeons & Dragons show, where a bunch of nerdy voice actors get together and continue a three-year long campaign. I have been obsessively watching this show for well over a year now, and as soon as I learned that they would be coming near enough to me, I absolutely had to attend.
The drive actually wasn’t that bad, and when I reached Indy, wow…was I impressed with how lovely the city is. I actually ended up telling my mom that I want to take a long weekend trip there to explore the city more.
Let’s be honest, I didn’t exactly have time for sightseeing last Saturday. The tickets for the show were not assigned seating. It was first come, first served, and I wanted to have a good spot, so I showed up around 4pm, and the doors didn’t open until 7pm, with the show starting at 8pm.
But I got to sit on the sidewalk, against a wall, with a ton of other fans of the show–who are known as Critters–and it was absolutely AMAZING. I had such a great time talking with these wonderful people. It did not matter at all that I went there by myself, because I made new friends. We were all bonded by our love for the show, the actors and the characters they portray.
Oh, and I may have helped to start a Twitter war while we waited in line. People who did not arrive quite as early found themselves waiting in line in the alley around the back of the theater, and it apparently did not smell the greatest. The started posting on Twitter with the hashtag #CriticalAlley, and upon learning this I told my companions that we should respond with our own hashtag, so we came up with #CriticalCircle, and I have to say that it was pretty fun.
Sadly, when the doors opened, and we all went inside, I was separated from my new friends because they only had general admission seats and I had paid for VIP. It just meant I got to meet even more people. I chose a seat in the third row, where I could have a nice view of both player tables and the DM’s table, and then waited in the merchandise line to buy a set of Critical Role patches, a button, and a poster.
Then it was time for the show, and the level of excitement in the theater was overwhelming….and our cheers and screams as each member of Vox Machina stepped out onto the stage just grew louder and louder. Even now, a week later, thinking about being in that theater and being a part of such an awesome crowd of people and being able to sit just a few feet away from people I’ve watched on my computer screen for so many months was just…such a powerful experience.
I won’t talk about the details of the episode, because it was the 62nd episode of the show and there would probably be spoilers, but there was some humor, some combat, and some interesting encounters. One of my favorite parts was when Scanlan, the gnome bard of the group decided to recite a limerick to inspire one of his companions, and the limerick was actually about seeing all of us Critters. It was a great shoutout breaking-the-fourth-wall type of moment.
Finally, after the show itself ended, they stopped livestreaming it on Twitch and we got to have a Q&A session…which included one of the fans singing a version of “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton, but with lyrics that pertained to events of the campaign. It was amazing, and yes, you can find the video on Twitter.
Then, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, after all of that, the VIP ticket holders got to go to a room upstairs for a Meet-and-Greet with the cast. Guys, the fangirling was real. I had such a great time meeting them, getting them to sign my D&D 5e Player’s Handbook, and of course getting pictures with them.
It was an experience I will never forget, and it’s one I can’t wait to have again. Going to see Critical Role LIVE was breathtaking and so worth the long drive and wait out in the sun and the cost. It’s funny because even now the cast of the show talks about how they never imagined the show would get this kind of response, but I sat in a theater with 1500 other people and saw that the stream viewership was up around 20,000…so yeah, the fandom of this show is vast and amazing and filled with some of the greatest people I’ve had the privilege of chatting with on social media and meeting in real life.
Thank you Matt Mercer, Marisha Ray, Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Ashley Johnson, Sam Riegel, and Taliesin Jaffe for the world, the characters, and the story you all present to us week after week. Thank you Felicia Day and Geek & Sundry for deciding to bring Critical Role to your Twitch channel. Thank you fellow Critters for just being fantastic.
Critical Role airs Thursdays at 7pm Pacific Standard Time, and episodes appear on the Geek & Sundry web site on Mondays before being uploaded on YouTube a month later.