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Critical Role Wiki

Dranzel is a half-orc violinist and the leader of Dr. Dranzel's Spectacular Traveling Troupe. As an NPC, Dranzel was played by Matthew Mercer.



Fan art of Dr. Dranzel, by Jessica Huegel (@Cryptobaffling).[art 2]


Dr. Dranzel is a rowdy-looking but well-dressed half-orc. He keeps his black hair slicked back. He has a rough-looking, angry chin. His general appearance leans more towards the orc side than the human side.[2]



"Choose Their Adventure...Again!" (Sx81)[]

In this semicanonical one-shot set sometime prior to 795 PD,[3] Dr. Dranzel and his troupe, including Kent Plucker and a young and inexperienced Scanlan Shorthalt, were in the northern Shattered Teeth attending the Musetide Festival of Drobanagos, in the island of Athova-Rae. After the celebrations the troupe sailed to Tal'Dorei, and Dranzel allowed Scanlan's new friends (Sarge, Bobby Socks, Ranthiel Volthor, and Bramble) to go with them.

"A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37)[]

Vox Machina visited the Diamond Nest tavern and there encountered Dr. Dranzel and his Spectacular Traveling Troupe, who were in the middle of putting on a performance. Scanlan joined them with his flute, and played a duet with Kaylie, finishing the band's set. Scanlan caught up with the troupe, and while they were talking a young halfling boy named Samson delivered to Dr. Dranzel the spoils of his thievery. Vox Machina introduced themselves to the troupe, and Dranzel deemed their name too formal, so Vex told him to call them the Shits.

Dr. Dranzel then proposed a job to Vox Machina, where they steal from an abandoned house in the Cloudtop District, and give him 40% of the profits, and they could keep the rest. Scanlan was ready to accept immediately, but Keyleth kept asking Dranzel questions to make sure he wasn't intentionally hiding information from them. Percy concluded that the house had likely already been looted.

Vex asked Dranzel if he'd seen Riskel Daxio in the tavern, and Dranzel shared that he'd been in the tavern a few times in the last week, and was likely staying there. Vox Machina then left the troupe to find Riskel, except for Scanlan who put on a performance with Kaylie as a distraction. They had an epic flute duel, which he allowed Kaylie to win. He then threw her 2600 gold and joined the rest of his party.

After Vox Machina concluded their business in the tavern, Scanlan returned to say goodbye to Dranzel and the troupe, inviting them to Greyskull Keep.

"Echoes of the Past" (1x38)[]

As they returned home, Vox Machina was surprised to find that the traveling troupe had taken Scanlan up on his offer and decided to join them for the evening, the guards having allowed them entrance to the keep. Dranzel shared drinks with the party and more details on his previous proposal. The party realised he was talking about General Krieg's house and agreed on an 80/20 split should they choose to go in. They then discussed sleeping arrangements, and Scanlan offered his bed to Kaylie. Kaylie accepted, and Dranzel wished her good luck.

The next morning, Dranzel enjoyed breakfast at Greyskull Keep, until Scanlan joined him, and asked if he knew about Kaylie. He appeared genuinely confused, and offered to take responsibility for any harm she did, but Scanlan assured him she didn't do anything wrong and told him to take special interest in her.

As they were packing up their things, Vex'ahlia realised that Dranzel's troupe had taken custody of a package left at Greyskull Keep, and demanded they return it. Dranzel sent Kent to retrieve it, and Vex thanked him for it, opened it, and immediately began counting the gold held within. As she neared the end of her count, Kent returned the small satchel's worth of gold they'd taken.

Vox Machina began questioning Scanlan on how his night was, and Dranzel realised that he hadn't seen Kaylie all morning. Scanlan explained that she'd left, and said they should go find her. Vox Machina then headed out to investigate Krieg's house, and Dranzel said he would be waiting in the keep for them to return.

"Omens" (1x39)[]

Vox Machina returned to their keep to find all of the troupe except Zedd missing, who directed them to the stockade. There, they found the rest of the troupe, as Kaylie had been arrested. According to Kent, Dranzel had been arguing with the warden for Kaylie's release for some time. Percy decided to take over the attempt and dismisses Dranzel.

Later, after Kaylie was successfully freed from the stockade, Dranzel and the troupe decided to leave town immediately, taking with them all of Vox Machina's silverware.

"Best Laid Plans..." (1x50) - "Test of Pride" (1x51)[]

Some time after, Dr. Dranzel and Kaylie, running for his life, fled to Westruun. He hid in the First bastion, a temple to the Lawbearer. Scanlan through a Dimension Door into the temple, where he found both of them, alongside 30 or so other people, who were shocked to see him.

Scanlan explained to Dranzel and Kaylie why he was in Westruun, and his mission to convince members of the Herd of Storms to walk into Vox Machina's trap. However his plan went wrong, the temple was attacked by goliaths. Scanlan and Kaylie created an illusion of Stonejaw Strongjaw, an authoritative figure in the herd, to try to convince them to leave. Although one of the goliaths threw an ax through illusionary Stonjaw, they managed to convince the assailants that the real one is waiting outside the western gate. The goliaths agreed to leave, only asking for their ax to return, which Scanlan told Dranzel to throw back at them.

The immediate threat was gone, the three of them began planning how to get the citizens out of the city, and decide to take them through the sewers. Scanlan used Seeming to cast an illusion over the group, disguising them as half-orcs and other less conspicuous beings. They left the temple and traveled through various back alleys. The group was confronted by a group of goliaths, who asked what they were doing. Scanlan deceived them into leaving their group alone, and they continued on to the sewers. Dranzel easily lifted the grate, and the group of townspeople hurried inside. A goliath almost caught them, but Kaylie successfully incapacitated him. Dranzel and Kaylie parted ways with Scanlan and continued to evacuate this group of townspeople.

"Loose Ends" (1x84)[]

Vex'ahlia found Dr. Dranzel at a bar in Kymal when she went to retrieve Kaylie. She talked with him about Scanlan for a while, and Dranzel said he would be missed. He tried to steal Vex's coin purse, but she caught him, and he smiled and asked if she knew anywhere he could pawn off some good silverware. They toasted to Scanlan and Vex'ahlia went to bed, Dranzel saying he wanted to drink some more first.


Appearances and mentions[]



  • Scanlan's nickname for Dranzel, "Dr. Dra", is a reference to well-known rapper and record producer Andre "Dr. Dre" Young.
  • Scanlan references Dranzel in a Cutting Words against Raishan, "You're so dumb, you get your yearly checkup from Dr. Dranzel!"[4]
  • The information that Dr. Dranzel was a member of the Golden Grin was never revealed during the campaign, but instead in the Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, as well as in the Grinner background information in Chapter 4 of Explorer's Guide to Wildemount.


  1. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 37.
  2. See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 2:09:44.
  3. "Choose Their Adventure...Again!" (Sx81) takes place in a time in Scanlan's life when he's still inexpert and lacks confidence, and by the end of it he's trying to behave more like the charismatic Ranthiel Volthor. Since between 795 and 796 PD Scanlan had a messy affair with a member of the Darrington Estate staff that forced the bard and his troupe to leave, presumably the gnome's time with the Glorious Ones preceded this incident in Deastok. For more information see "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 1:13:37 and "Talks Machina #17: 'Voice of the Tempest'" (TMx17) at 56:37
  4. See "The Deceiver's Stand" (1x83) at 1:42:00.


  1. Official art of Dr. Dranzel, by Dan Bittencourt (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Dr. Dranzel, by Jessica Huegel (@Cryptobaffling) (source). Used with permission.