“Critical Role is an American web series in which a group of professional voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons. The show started streaming in March 2015, partway through the cast's first campaign” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Role](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Role) \
* Holy **crap** Critical Role is popular: is is the most popular it has ever been (aside from March 2019), but also, its popularity coincides with a [massive increase in popularity in Dungeons and Dragons](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=%2Fg%2F11clghjr0y,%2Fm%2F026q9,%2Fm%2F04dzk1_) (but _not _Pathfinder)
* There is a site entirely devoted to [stats about the critical role game](https://www.critrolestats.com): d20 rolls, puns, lore, you name it!
* “After the split from Geek and Sundry, the cast announced a fundraiser for an animation of the popular Whitebriar arc. The campaign asked for $750,000 but reached $1 million within an hour, ending with a record-breaking $11.3 million in donations.”
### First Impressions
**T:** I honestly had very little impression of what CR actually was. My only exposure was through following ItsGinnyDi on Twitter and seeing various Jester-related cosplay (I actually forgot that the show’s premise was voice-actors playing Dungeons and Dragons)! I might have seen some humourous animatics with Jester too… but when G said that the episodes are like three hours long and unedited, I was skeptical.
**Z:** I think I first heard about this from G, and I thought it sounded kind of like The Adventure Zone. And that was kind of it. Not because I don’t find D&D interesting, but instead because I felt like I’d heard The Adventure Zone and I was good on the recorded tabletop RPG playing front. Aside from that, though, it seemed to me like it was kind of like the Game Grumps when they’d first started: The first big thing of its kind to really make headway into the mainstream.
_What we thought about the thing / fandom after reviewing it. Try to make this more of a review style._
_Any concluding thoughts on the fandom._
_Z: _After reading about the phenomenon that is Critical Role and listening to the first episode of the second campaign, I feel pretty comfortable saying that it’s just not for me. The episode that I listened to had a good variety of metagame chatter, general in-character conversation and exploration, and even a bit of combat, but trying to listen to what seemed like at least 7 players and one DM was just too much for me to do passively. And, to be honest, it seemed kind of slow, at least in comparison to The Adventure Zone. But I think that comparing the two is like comparing a svelte young elf who stumbles across the recipe for a Tex-Mex delicacy and an energetic tiefling with a penchant for mischief. One interests me enough to pull me through over 100 hours of recorded D&D and the other makes it fairly easy to understand why people enjoy them and the game they’re a part of, but not to listen in to the show they’re a part of.
[How Do I Beat the Matt Mercer Effect?](http://www.reddit.com/r/DMAcademy/comments/a999sd/how_do_i_beat_the_matt_mercer_effect/)
[Ginny Di's Guide to Catching Up on Critical Role](http://twitter.com/itsginnydi/status/1113475920637992960)
[Google Trends Data](http://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=%2Fg%2F11clghjr0y,%2Fm%2F026q9,%2Fm%2F04dzk1_)
[Critical Role on Fanlore](http://fanlore.org/wiki/Critical_Role)
[Thoughts on Critical Role vs The Adventure Zone?](http://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/9f3fv4/thoughts_on_critical_role_vs_the_adventure_zone/)
[The rise of D&D liveplay is changing how fans approach roleplaying](http://www.theverge.com/2017/11/16/16666344/dungeons-and-dragons-twitch-roleplay-rpgs-critical-role-streaming-gaming)
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## What is Fanthropological?
Every week, our podcast, Fanthropological, delivers about an hour of fandom-related "fanalysis" covering a different fandom every week and giving you hard data, history, special guests, and, of course, speculation!
We cover topics spanning the gamut of anime, manga, comics, video games, comics, movies, books, television, and, in general, geek culture.
## Who are you?
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* All music for this week's episode were provided by Nick Green!