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Shakäste (pronounced /ʃə'kɑs.tə/) is a human cleric. He is played by special guest Khary Payton.




Official Shakäste art, by Ari. Sh, by Ari.[art 1]

The party described Shakäste as "quite handsome".[5] On a scale of one to ten, Shakäste describes himself as "striking", and he is old enough that he has gotten past all the "bacheloring".[6] The first thing that one might notice is his shock of white hair, in a billowy afro with fingers of curly hair radiating in all directions. What draws attention away from the hair is his eyes: pupil-less and as white as his hair. He has a chin beard that drifts to a point about three to four inches below his chin. He has three dimples (one beneath his beard, that can't be seen). He can look pretty menacing, unless he's smiling.[7] He is also described as "tall and spindly".[8]

He is covered in a tangle of brown, red, and green leather straps that cover him from his neck to his calves. He wears boots and a green cloak with a hood big enough to cover his "ample locks".[9] He also uses a cane, which is strong enough to parry a gnoll's spear.[10]


Shakäste is generally forthright and a charismatic figure.[11] He doesn't like being referred to as "Shaq" by Fjord, not allowing Fjord to call him that.[12]

He had no particular need to be remembered or thanked, and happily disappeared after doing good deeds.[13]




Shakaste in Crit Recap Animated

Shakäste mentioned that he grew up in the Marrow Valley, not too far from Alfield.[14] He tended to look over the people around Alfield, coming by once in a while.[15] He also claimed to be a motivational speaker in the Menagerie Coast, "packing them in".[16]

In fact, Shakäste is a member of the Golden Grin.[1] His exploits under the name "Hush" were recounted in a series of novellas titled Heroic Deeds of the Golden Grin, published anonymously out of Deastok. The Cobalt Soul had thought that Hush was a fictitious folk hero until, owing to the encounter with Beau at the Rill's Mouth Mines, the Cobalt Soul was able to confirm his existence.[17]

He had a familiar named Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, whose nickname is "Stacy" (but that's not her name) or "The Grand Duchess".[18] When the party first met her, she was in the form of an abrahum, a "dark, midnight" hummingbird.[19]

"Hush" (2x07)[]

The party meets Shakäste as they are in battle, as he emerges from around the wall to assist.[20] He saw a cluster of unidentified individuals attacking gnolls, surprising him and slowing down his reactions.[21] He then joined the battle fully, helping them to defeat their enemies before introducing himself.

Shakäste heard a "commotion" at the Rill's Mouth Mines, and he began freeing a few of the gnolls' captives, leading them to safety. However, he was doing so covertly, until the party made a clatter in their attempt to rescue the townsfolk.[22]

Soon after this, Nott unlocks a door and goes into a room where three bodies and one living woman are. The woman is covered in dirt and a spatter of blood, huddled in the room with her knees to her chest and tears streaking down her face. As he sees this, Shakäste walks up to her, puts his hand on her chin to pull up her face and meet her eyes, and whispers "Shhh", calming her down almost instantly.[23]

Shakäste explains that he is there to help people and that he has a place on the surface of them to stay. When the other members of the party ask if he has a cart to transport people, he replies "Well, a cart was just the thing I was needing. What say we hang out?"[24], at which point they all join together in one big party.

Motivational Speech by Michael Jäger

Fan art of Shakäste warning Nott about her thievery, by Michael Jäger.[art 2]

During their time together, Shakäste sends out his familiar to search the mine for survivors, so he doesn't have vision or hearing around his person. Nott chooses that moment to steal his gold pouch, which Shakäste notices by touch, but he chooses not to do anything at the moment.[25] After the party clears the mine of enemies, Shakäste casts Fog Cloud and, in the obscuring mist, whispers to Nott that she earned the stolen gold with her bold moves in the final fight, but cautions her to watch where she puts her fingers.[26]

"The Stalking Nightmare" (2x29)[]

Shakäste was one of many individuals captured by the Iron Shepherds and held captive in the Sour Nest. He served a similar role to his original appearance, attempting to calm and free the many slaves that had been imprisoned - and accompanying the Mighty Nein to the source. He attempted to cast Spiritual Weapon (in the form of a bust of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti) multiple times but didn't manage to hit once.

"Domestic Respite" (2x62)[]

At Nott's request, Jester casts Sending to communicate with Shakäste.[27] She asks him if he is still in Alfield, to which he replies that he is not but is still "trudging around the Empire." Her message having been cut off, Jester recasts Sending to ask for his help with transporting Luc Brenatto to her mother's place in Nicodranas. She offers payment if he would like. Shakäste replies that he won't take any money, but is happy to do a favor for his friends. He says he will need about a week of travel to get to Alfield, and that she was lucky she caught him as things have been "busy".[28]

"Causatum" (2x70)[]

Through Jester's Sending, the party learns that Shakäste has successfully brought Luc and Old Edith to Nicodranas and is on his way back north.[29]


BlackSalander Shakäste Anastasia

Fan art of Shakäste and Anastasia, by BlackSalander.[art 3]

Character Information[]



  • Magic Initiate (Frostbite[30], Dancing Lights or Light[31], Find Familiar[32])

Cleric Abilities[]

Class Features[]
  • Channel Divinity (1 use per short rest)
    • Turn Undead
  • Divine Domain: Tempest Domain
    • Bonus Proficiencies (martial weapons, heavy armor)
    • Channel Divinity: Destructive Wrath
    • Domain Spells
    • Wrath of the Storm
  • Ritual Casting
  • Spellcasting (Wisdom-based ability)

Domain Spells[]

Shakäste always has access to these spells:


Cleric Spells[]

In addition to his domain spells, Shakäste has access to four cleric cantrips and 1st- through 3rd-level cleric spells. As a 5th-level cleric, he can prepare eight of these spells per day.

  • Mass Healing Word[43]

Notable Items[]

  • A wand
    • Used as a channel for his spells.[44]
  • A pouch (stolen by Nott[45])
    • Shakäste's pouch contained 113 gp, some bird seed, some jerky, and various travel supplies.[46]

Appearances and mentions[]


  • "I tend to look over the people who happen to be around here."[47]
  • "I would like to materialize the awe-inspiring sass of Estelle Getty..."[48]
  • "This is what your problem is: maybe next time you'll eat something less human-like, baby."[49]
  • "This was a bold move you made. And we wouldn't have made it, we wouldn't have succeeded without you, so I say you earned that gold. But make no mistake—be careful where you put your fingers."[50]
  • "Whether you realise it or not, I gave you that gold. People don't take money from Shakäste."[51]
  • "They call her Stacy, but that's not her name." (Referring to his familiar and a reference to The Ting Tings 'That's Not My Name)


  • Khary Payton's inspiration for the name Shakäste started with Shaka Zulu, the famous king of the Zulu Kingdom.[52]
  • While the deity Shakäste worships is unknown, the Cobalt Soul theorizes it to be one of the non-approved gods in the Dwendalian Empire.[53]
  • Shakäste has the lowest strength score of any player character to ever appear on Critical Role thus far.
    • This is also the lowest score for any individual stat for any player character thus far, tied with Tiberius's wisdom score.
  • Shakäste and Yasha have never actually met, and the only times they have both been in the same episode, one or both were DM controlled, and either one was unconscious or they were only interacting remotely with Jester via the Sending spell, so technically neither has ever spoken with the other, been introduced, or even knows who the other is, which is very ironic, since Shakäste is known for his deep love, respect, appreciation, and interest in strong women.
  • Shakäste was the first guest character of the second campaign, and the first to make multiple non-consecutive appearances.
  • Shakäste is the fourth guest character to get the "How do you want to do this?" on Critical Role (Zahra, Kerrek, and Tova preceding him, Twiggy succeeding him).
  • Most (if not all) of the party thought Shakäste is quite handsome. Sam called him a "Bachelorette Finalist" and Liam called him a "Gray Fox".[55]
  • Project Alpha joked that any character that organically incorporated an umlaut (ex: "ä") into their name should be rewarded a free Intimidation proficiency.[citation needed]
Fjord disguising himself - Fjord Origins

Fjord casting Disguise Self, by Selina Espiritu and Diana Sousa from The Mighty Nein Origins: Fjord Stone.[art 4]

  • While testing the Disguise Self spell for the first time, Fjord took on the appearance of a man with a hummingbird brooch that looked like a younger version of Shakäste.[56]
  • In a fireside chat, Matthew Mercer said that Shakäste "works with a community of people, independently although they are of a similar mind, with the drive of pursuing free ideas, free speech, and freeing those from unfair bindings that have found them under the control of an unjust entity... I see some folks in the chat who might have some ideas."[57] The community in question was later confirmed to be the Golden Grin, where Shakäste operates under the name "Hush".[1]
  • Matt confirmed he would like to explore more of Shakäste's story in the future.[58]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 56.
  2. See "Hush" (2x07).  Shakäste mentioned his background in the Menagerie Coast.
  3. See "Hush" (2x07) at 00:33:50.
  4. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:33:07.
  5. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:52:35.
  6. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:53:00.
  7. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:53:28.
  8. See "Hush" (2x07) at 25:44.  Shakäste's entrance.
  9. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:54:00.
  10. See "Hush" (2x07) at 36:36.  Shakäste in battle.
  11. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:52:17.
  12. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:39:29.  A conversation between Shakäste and Fjord in the middle of battle.
  13. See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) at 41:27.
  14. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:51:35.
  15. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:51:35.
  16. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:51:36.
  17. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 57.
  18. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:50:16.
  19. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:30:39.
  20. See "Hush" (2x07) at 25:37.  Shakäste's entrance.
  21. See "Hush" (2x07) at 26:54.  Shakäste's entrance
  22. See "Hush" (2x07) at 51:53.
  23. See "Hush" (2x07) at 57:00.
  24. See "Hush" (2x07) from 1:01:28 through 1:01:36.
  25. See "Hush" (2x07) at 2:43:36.
  26. See "Hush" (2x07) at 4:01:58.
  27. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 3:31:21.
  28. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) from 3:31:37 through 3:33:44.  Jester communicates with Shakäste by way of her Sending spell.
  29. See "Causatum" (2x70) from 1:49:48 through 1:50:54.
  30. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:40:35.
  31. See "Hush" (2x07) at 3:21:34.  Khary notes "we don't need light anymore," implying that his second wizard cantrip produces light.
  32. See "Hush" (2x07) at 2:41:43.  Khary asks if he notices Nott looking at him through Anastasia's eyes, meaning that she is a familiar.
  33. See "Hush" (2x07) at 4:02:02.  Shakäste casts Fog Cloud.
  34. See "Hush" (2x07) at 37:46.  Shakäste casts Thunderwave.
  35. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:18:11.  Shakäste casts Guidance.
  36. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:36:41.  Shakäste casts Sacred Flame.
  37. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:31:00.  Shakäste casts Thaumaturgy.
  38. See "Hush" (2x07) from 2:10:50 through 2:12:45.  Shakäste casts Command.
  39. See "Hush" (2x07) at 1:51:14.  Shakäste casts Aid.
  40. See "Hush" (2x07) from 3:22:39 through 3:24:30.
  41. See "The Stalking Nightmare" (2x29) at 0:58:40.
  42. See "The Stalking Nightmare" (2x29) at 3:30:07.  Shakäste casts Mass healing Word.
  43. See "Hush" (2x07) at 38:52.  Shakäste in battle.
  44. See "Hush" (2x07) at 2:44:45.
  45. See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 0:49:46.
  46. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:51:35.
  47. See "Hush" (2x07) at 3:23:17.
  48. See "Hush" (2x07) at 3:53:41.
  49. See "Hush" (2x07) at 4:02:01.
  50. See "The Stalking Nightmare" (2x29) at 3:49:33.
  51. See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) at 37:59.
  52. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 57.
  53. See "Hush" (2x07) at 3:56:10.
  54. See "Hush" (2x07) at 0:52:35.
  55. The Mighty Nein Origins: Fjord Stone
  56. See "Fireside Chat & NPC Build with Matthew Mercer" (Sx34) at 1:02:06.
  57. See "San Diego Comic-Con 2023 - Critical Role Fireside Chat & Cast Q&A" (Sx77) at 0:57:14.


  1. Official Shakäste art, by Ari. Sh, by Ari (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Shakäste warning Nott about her thievery, by Michael Jäger (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Shakäste and Anastasia, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
  4. Fjord casting Disguise Self, by Selina Espiritu and Diana Sousa from The Mighty Nein Origins: Fjord Stone. Used with permission.