Rolling their own

- Will Salmon

Critical Role has been streaming Dungeons & Dragons games played by voice actors since 2015. It’s huge in the tabletop community – so much so that when the CR team decided to crowdfund the cash to make an animation based on their campaign, they ended up with $11.3 million and, later, a partnershi­p with Amazon Studios for two seasons of adventures.

Vox Machina are a legendary band (though at this point more

Fans will get a kick out of seeing the characters brought to life

for their ineptitude) of mercenarie­s in the land of Tal’dorei, led by gunslinger Percy (Taliesin Jaffe) and half-elf ranger Vex’ahlia (Laura Bailey).

They’re hired to find and stop a dragon from terrorisin­g the local villages, but while solving this problem moves them up in the world, it also brings them into contact with the Briarwoods – a vampy couple whose plans threaten everyone.

Fans will get a kick out of seeing the characters brought to life, and traditiona­l 2D animation is the ideal choice for the material. The trouble is, while it’s fun to watch actors improv their way through a bawdy, goofy RPG on a threehour-plus livestream, it loses much of the appeal when squashed and formalised into 25-minute episodes of a scripted television show. The humour aims to be subversive and snarky, but often just comes off as gratingly try-hard. It doesn’t help that the story itself is boilerplat­e pulp fantasy. The show improves as the characters bed in, but you may find yourself wondering why you’re not watching Castlevani­a instead.

Creator Matthew Mercer voices numerous characters in the show, including Sylas Briarwood and various guards.

 ?? ?? K-pop bands are getting ever more inventive.
K-pop bands are getting ever more inventive.
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia