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"Exandria Unlimited Wrap-Up" (Sx59) is the fifty-ninth special episode of Critical Role. The cast of Exandria Unlimited sit down for a wrap-up discussion of the mini-campaign, guided by Creative Director Marisha Ray.

Synopsis[]

Announcements[]

  • This episode is sponsored by Life is Strange: True Colors, a brand new full length game in the award-winning Life is Strange series from Square Enix coming out September 10th, and its prequel Life is Strange: Wavelengths coming out September 30th. Check out LifeIsStrange.com.
  • Vax and Vex statues available for pre-order at Sideshow.com.

Summary[]

  • How were Robbie and Aimee’s experiences with D&D? It was amazing for both of them. Aimee says she fell hard for D&D; she wants to talk about it to everyone and everywhere. Both wished they had played when they were younger.
  • Do the dice care about you? We discover that when he dies, Matt wants his ashes made into gemstones, placed into rings, and passed out as magical artifacts, and his bones made into dice. Aimee put a lot of faith (and money!) into her dice but in the end, they all failed her. It's fine, they told a story. Robbie says he had some rough rolls with his dice but it was better at the end. He felt that fits pretty well for his character development. Matt admits he suffers from the DM's curse where he rolls terribly when he plays. But he enjoys seeing the consequences of failures, so it's all good.
  • What was it like running Exandria with Matt at the table? Aabria says it was so exciting and horrifying. But at no point did Matt make her feel uncomfortable, it was just her. Like, the most terrifying thing she's ever done in a game was her being Gilmore to Matt. She didn't sleep the night before. "Do not fuck this up, it's your favorite NPC as well as everyone else's and also Matt's." Dariax Zaveon was a perfect character for Matt in this circumstance because he could play dumb in his own world.
  • Anjali Bhimani joins the table! What was it like to jump into ExU? Anjali says it was breathtaking to come back to the table and experience the world of Exandria. Unlike with UnDeadwood and the Doom one-shot, she dived really deeply into the lore of the world by reading the books and knowing the terms and characters before starting to play. They discuss how roleplaying allows people to explore different personalities and ways of interacting with the world, and how quickly friendships can form. They set up a group chat!
  • How was it to get deeper into your characters in a short time? Liam says that yes, this was a shorter campaign, but it was still longer than one-shots where the story can be very railroaded sometimes. But here, it gave enough time for Aabria to let everything breathe and let the players/characters have deep interactions with each other. And it got deeper than Liam thought it might. Aabria says that she's proud to have left room for them to breathe. Anjali was amazed when, after Fy'ra Rai left, the party went in the direction that they did because she was totally expecting them to go in a different direction.
  • What were people’s highlights from the campaign? For Aimee, it was Aabria's skills as a performer and a GM, particularly rolling with it when the players named the Ash Hole. But also, the pageant thing in Byroden.
  • Speaking of Byroden, how did the pageant work? Aabria handed out NPC character index cards with a few prompts. Everyone particularly enjoyed Liam's Cinna Brightbow. Anjali takes issue with the pronunciation of her NPC Lisle Vester's name. Matt loved experiencing Byroden, a place he named and placed on the map, but hadn't built out much beyond that. Something in the water there creates twins. The town was inspired by Laredo, Texas.
  • Back to favorite things... Liam came into ExU to be an audience member, designing Orym to be support. When the others tried to get him to lead, he was "No, no, no, I'm not the leader." He loved watching the guests discover the game, including Matt since he's usually the DM, and how much fun Matt was having.
  • What was the intention behind Opal’s journey? Was she intended from the beginning as a coming-of-age character? Aimee says originally she wanted to play two characters in one body, but that was hard. Aabria had mentioned that this story was going to be about your first encounter with power. When you're young, you think you know everything and you're the best, but the reality of the world catches you up. Opal is very young, but ended up having to make really difficult decisions about her sister. All Opal wanted to do is individuate but in the end, that's the one thing she didn't actually want. Liam says that her putting the crown on was a moment showing what life ends up being, which is compromise, difficulty and not what you thought it was going to be when you were a kid.
  • What did you all think about the moment Opal put the crown on? A relief for Aabria; finally someone took that Vestige. Robbie says it was out of utility rather than just a selfish desire and maybe that's what saved them. Aimee was scared of it because it seemed like a bad thing. Ashley loves that it was Opal that took it, because it felt like the last person that it would have been; Ashley wanted to encourage her to take it but was scared that she might die and Ashley would feel awful afterwards. It was inspiring that new players Aimee and Robbie played with such courage.
  • What is behind Tharla Starr? Matt doesn't know where that came from, but Dariax could totally get into drag. Marisha thinks that Matt has a drag queen inside him, too.
  • Fearne's personality and Evil Fearne Aabria protests she never said "evil" Fearne, but the others say she sure felt evil. Robbie says Fearne is so impulsive and primal that it would've made sense for her to take the crown; in a group of wildcards, she's the wildest. Matt says she lacks the classic spectrum of morality that you expect from a normal civilized individual; not good or evil, but a different concept of morality because she comes from a wild place. Anjali is amazed by the simplicity with which Ashley played everything as Fearne, even the moments of violence. It's beguiling.
  • Ashley's inspirations for Fearne. Ashley loves and used as a base for Fearne the character Maude from Harold and Maude; she also wanted to play a character who's 112 years old. After playing Yasha Nydoorin for three years, Ashley wanted to play something fun and weird where there's no filter-- it's so fun. Travis was an inspiration for just pushing the buttons and having a blast when he plays D&D.
  • Back to Fearne's personality... Anjali envied Fearne for the simplicity of her decisions, there's the caring about her friends but it seemed based on the feelings as they came up, even in the craziest of moments. Marisha says Fearne has a bit of kid logic. Aabria thinks that Fearne is not worried because she knows she's going to be fine; repercussions probably won't hurt her.
  • Was Fearne ever hurt in the campaign? She took some damage but nothing too crazy. Robbie remembered moments of being worried about everyone else except for Fearne. Aabria says, as a DM, it's hard to hit a low-level Druid in an animal form like a dire wolf because you have to get through its HP first. Anjali wasn't afraid for her physically but for the choices that she made.
  • How is Orym doing with this group? It's not what he anticipated. Liam always wanted to play a halfling with a pure heart, a bit like Keyleth. Orym was designed as a person who's there, not to make decisions and drag people along with him, but to help everyone in any way he could. The chemistry in the group was dangerous and chaotic but he liked everybody in the group. Orym saw a lot of good in Dorian Storm.
  • What was the intention behind Dorian? Nothing about his initial build was how Dorian shook out at all. Robbie initially saw Dorian more like a Han Solo kind of chaos, rogue-ish type character, but the more he played with the group, the more he found himself being more of a voice of reason, caring more deeply about the characters. He was meant to be chaotic good, but the more he played, the less good he was. Especially through the bond with Orym, he became more about "friends above all else". Dorian became more dedicated to the party and Robbie wanted to make sure that he was always going to put maximum responsibility on his friends. That's why he didn't wanted to give the crown to Gilmore and giving Fy'ra Rai a hard time. He didn't trust anybody else with anything except for his crew
  • What did Dorian want with the crown? The thing that hurt Dorian's feelings the most was Orym's disappointment in Dorian about the decision to keep the crown, because it was never about the crown. It was about the group having stewardship of it and not wanting to give it away. Robbie had ideas about it if it ever came in between the group: how can he can get rid of it. With his backstory with his brother, leadership, and stewardship of a group of people, as a prince, what is a leader willing to do to protect the people that they care about? "You should be willing to go to hell for your people." Aabria then focused on him to prove it.
  • Something major happened in the canon-ish pre-game? Anjali wasn't sure what from the playtest was brought into the campaign and what wasn't, but she felt a kinship with Dorian because they're both genasi. Also because in the playtest, Dorian betrayed her by taking the circlet and leaving her behind in another realm. Robbie ran with D&D lore he read about infighting between different kinds of genasi, but realizes now he wasn't bound by that.
  • Was Aabria always planning on handing out a vestige? It was the funniest thing she could think of, so of course. She assumed they would get rid of it quickly by trading it for favor with the Nameless Ones or Gilmore. When they didn't, it became about getting one of them to wear it.
  • What happened to Opal and Ted? Aimee's thought about it a lot, but only Aabria knows the answer. The crocodile-tipping incident was inspired by real-life alligator wrestlers. Matt loves that new D&D players don't self-pigeonhole their characters and often are free to make more creative choices. It all comes back to, "You can certainly try," and the fact that failures can tell a great story.
  • Dariax got blessed by The Observer. How does Matt feel about that? Matt thinks it's pretty awesome. Dariax is very much a follower and attached himself to Dorian early on because he saw him as a leader, so he thinks the wings are cool but doesn't appreciate the responsibility he was given. He's impulsive and an ADHD personality.
  • Why did Matt make Dariax so free spirited? The others speculate that it was because Matt as DM has to know everything and plan ahead, but Matt says it was him stepping out of the comfort zone of the kind of character he usually plays. Plus he wanted to realistically know nothing about Exandrian lore.
  • You all fought fire elementals in the crater pre-game? Very early on, the group chose to go fight fire elementals in the crater that were way above their level and they had been warned against engaging with. They almost died, and then immediately went back. Weirdly, it was Orym's idea, and it affected his inner monologue the whole rest of the game, making him more cautious.
  • Cast appreciation time for Liam's combat descriptions Matt comments that people often think magic-users are more interesting and combat classes just hit things, but Liam showed how fighter descriptions can be just as creative. He likes making unusual versions of the basic D&D classes, and Orym is a small ballet-dancer fighter. It made Robbie and Aimee as first-timers realize D&D can be more than numbers. As an actor who has to often focus on self-promotion, Robbie found it very refreshing to be part of collaborative storytelling and watch the others do their thing. Aimee loved that it's about teamwork and telling a story together. Anjali started D&D at 8 years old and learned when you have the experience of being supported in telling your story, you take it into the world with you.
  • Matt and Aabria closing statements Matt thanks Aabria for taking his world and running with it, and she in return thanks him for trusting her with it.
  • Credits: Head producers Maxwell James and Steve Failows. Artists Joanna Johnen (stained glass) and Hannah Friederichs (character art). VFX designer for the opening title - Christian Brown. DM screen by Dog Might, minis by Eldritch Foundry, mini painter Ian Phillips. Noxweiler Berf created the maps for episodes seven and eight. Original music by Omar Fadel and Hexany Audio; main theme by Colm McGuinness. Caio Santos and Clara Daly created a few beautiful landscapes for the pre-show art reel.

Quotations[]

  • Aimee: You think you know everything when you're young, and then the world just sort of-- it doesn't break you down. I mean, I guess you can look at it that way, but it's like, "Oh wait, no, no. It's not like that? Oh wait, no, I'm not the best? Oh wait, but everyone told me I was the best. Why am I not the best? Why am I not succeeding at this?"[1]
  • Liam: Putting that crown on was such a moment of what life ends up being, which is compromise and difficulty, and not what you thought it was going to be when you were a kid.[2]
  • Aabria: Never forget: Sometimes they're going to fucking flip your crocodile.[3]
  • Matt: Exandria, but specifically Tal'Dorei, was something that was born accidentally from a one-shot between a group of friends that turned into a home game through a group of friends and just slowly took shape through your misadventures and choices and then somehow we ended up doing it online and it became a thing that is still blowing our minds continuously. So this is a very personal and a very important thing to me, this world. Tal'Dorei specifically because it's where it all started. And to step back and entrust it to you, Aabria, has been a very surreal and fulfilling and wonderful experience. And I cannot express how proud I am and how excited I am for all the stories that you will tell in other worlds and hopefully more in this one, but I just want to say thank you for taking this large, intimidating task. I know because it's an intimidating task to me every time I step over behind that screen, and just being your amazing self, and thank you.[4]

External Links[]

References[]

  1. See "Exandria Unlimited Wrap-Up" (Sx59) at 0:39:22.
  2. See "Exandria Unlimited Wrap-Up" (Sx59) at 0:40:29.
  3. See "Exandria Unlimited Wrap-Up" (Sx59) at 1:19:12.
  4. See "Exandria Unlimited Wrap-Up" (Sx59) at 1:40:59.

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