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Critical Role catch-up: getting to know the characters from its second season

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Whether you've never heard of Critical Role or were intimidated by the 100+ episodes of the show on file, the D&D show's second season is a chance to get in on the ground running. With only 22 episodes in the bank, it's a lot easier to catch up on than their first campaign (which you can read about here), so it's the perfect way to start.

The show, largely credited with causing Dungeons and Dragons' recent surge in popularity, returned for a second season in January of this year, with the same cast but a whole new lineup of characters.

Matt Mercer, their DM, has set the second campaign within the same homebrew world of his creation, but on a different continent. CR2 takes place in Wildemount, the homeland of Taryon Darrington and the Briarwoods, rather than CR1's Tal'Dorei, allowing them to explore a whole new set of rules and customs.

But the most intriguing part of this second arc are the delightful new characters that the cast have dreamed up. Dubbed "The Mighty Nein", the band of misfits is a vivid contrast against CR1's "Vox Machina", who much more easily fit into the hero mold one would expect from a D&D party. But that's half the fun of it - what's more exciting, a lawful good paladin agreeing to save the world or a chaotic neutral wizard who's usually just looking out for themselves? I'd certainly argue the latter.

Official art by Ariana Orner, featuring (from left): Molly, Beau, Fjord, Caleb, Nott, Jester and Yasha.

We'll start with Travis Willingham, as he sits in the first position on their Twitch streams and I don't want to play favourites. Travis plays half-orc warlock Fjord, whose magical origin is a mystery on its way to being revealed. His wife Laura Bailey plays Jester, a mischievous tiefling cleric of the trickster who enjoys pranks and pastries in equal measure. 

Marisha Ray plays human monk Beauregard, who follows the homebrew Way of the Cobalt Soul that can be found in Mercer's Tal'Dorei campaign handbook released last year by Green Ronin Publishing.

Taliesin Jaffe plays Mollymauk Tealeaf, a flamboyant tiefling blood hunter who began the campaign as part of a travelling circus through which he had met Ashley Johnson's aasimar barbarian Yasha.

Last but certainly not least are Liam O'Brien's human wizard Caleb and Sam Riegel's goblin rogue Nott (the Brave). The pair arrived in campaign 2 with a handbook of practiced cons and a love of shiny things.

So there you have it - all you need to know if you want to take the jump into trying Critical Role, without any unnecessary spoilers. Most of the episodes are already on YouTube, with new episode streaming on Twitch each Thursday before making the move across on Monday. A playlist of the current episodes can be found here.

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