It occurs to me new #CriticalRole fans that came in for Campaign 3 may not be aware of the extensive lore resources we have thanks to Critters & CR. There’s A LOT to keep track of in Critical Role, but we’ve been pulling together to make it easier since the beginning.
First up is the analytical dream team of CritRoleStats. They’re one of our oldest and best pillars. They keep track of lore, official NPC names, run times, in-game time, puns & references, character sheets, rolls, spells, and other fun stuff.
During the episodes CritRoleStats livetweets what’s happening. Perfect if you came in late, had to step away in the middle, zoned out, can’t watch but want to follow, need name spellings, or otherwise need a summary. To get article updates without livetweets, follow CRStatsNews instead.
Before Dani was Critical Role’s official Lorekeeper, there was CritRoleStats. The CR cast themselves have relied on them before when things are forgotten, even occasionally asking for answers on screen when they were live & checking Twitter for the answer. Fun times.
That working relationship has meant some of their knowledge is verified by the cast. Most notably the NPC names. (Marquet NPCs on the Lore and History – Bells Hells page. There’s one for each campaign.) Matt verifies tricky name spellings for this list and it’s considered canon.
(Side note: if you merge these tables and remove duplicates, you get the count of all the NPCs Matt’s voiced so distinctly. Last time I checked it was over 1.4k in Critical Role alone. Mel Blanc was called The Man Of A Thousand Voices. Matt’s one of the greatest VAs of all time.)
The Media References and Puns are also worth a gander. Following the breadcrumbs of referenced media and checking it out Hass given me a much better sense of their storytelling taste, what they artistically value, and the influences they draw from. Makes analysis much easier.
Dani Carr was a fan before she was the official Lorekeeper. Critical Recap is a great way to quickly get caught before an episode or refresh your memory. The enthusiasm, knowledge, and love in these summaries really shines through. Plus they show what details Critical Role themselves think are key.
Don’t sleep on the official playlists, either. None for C3 yet, but the ExU ones setup Fearne, Dorian, & Orym. The music selections say a lot and the selection notes say even more. The biggest hints to Orym’s backstory are in his playlist.
The Critical Role Wiki team are some of our unsung heroes. One of the best fan wiki I’ve seen. Detailed, we’ll sourced, and comprehensive. Also uses the CritRoleStats name list for consistency. I’m sure they’d appreciate more volunteers.
Also hosted on the Wiki (for now) is the Critical Role Content Warnings project to make more detailed content warnings than Critical Role would reasonably be able to make.
We’re a newish project, and we could use more volunteers to help us manage this undertaking. No experience needed, we will train you. There are no professionals or standards for content warnings, so empathy is all you need to bring with you.
Available tasks include:
- Tag content warnings during the live show in the group chat & work through phrasing.
- Watch the YouTube VOD to log times & check work.
- WordPress website building.
If you’re interested in finding out more, hop in our CR Content Warnings Discord. We welcome questions and feedback in general.
The Critical Role Linkable Transcripts tool by Stuart Langridge has been so transformative, every other project relies on it now. Enter in search terms & optional speaker. Each line of the transcript cab be linked to for reference & links to the YouTube VOD.
CritRoleCloset documents and finds sources for all their clothes. Often with tips from other fans. Knowing that fans are actively observing their clothes is why Sam’s shirt gag works or why Taliesin’s coding all his C3 clothes for characterization and showing his influences. Also helps the cast promote small creators by wearing their designs.
SamRiegelsFlask tracks pictures of all of Sam’s drinking vessels so we can all appreciate the joke befits it goes by. Sam has also started pausing a moment displaying his gas can towards the camera when he brings it out for good screenshots, again because he knows it’s being documented.
On the CritRoleStats Running Stats page (under General), they also have galleries for:
- All Encounter Maps
- Sam’s Mug
- Sam’s Flask
- Sam’s Can
- Sam’s Shirts
Check the YouTube comments for Flando Maltrizian’s comments giving timestamps for major events. He’s done a great job making things easy to find.
Looking for easy access to Critical Role Fanart on Twitter right in your feed?
CritRoleArtBot automatically retweets fanart in the #CriticalRoleFanArt tag. CRCosplayBot retweets cosplay in the #CriticalRoleCosplay tag. Peak posting times may exceed the number of retweets per hour that Twitter allows.
CritRoleFanart manually retweets curated fanart, and does a great job. They often share art the bots missed.
Looking for a more scholarly Critical Role experience? CritRole Bib(liography) collects primary sources and scholarly research into Critical Role.
Oh yes, there’s actual academic research published in actual scholarly journals and books. The analysis culture for this show is off the hook. Because of the massive amount fan information labor (term coined by Ludi Price) cited in this post, as well as its increasingly large cultural reach, Critical Role is one of the easiest Actual Play shows for researchers to study, even though it’s a lot of material to examine.
It’s also important to note how many of these projects were able to happen and flourish because CRTranscript brought captions to Critical Role as a fan project. Because they started with fans, fans created the conventions and expectations around them.
Critical Role understood the value early on, but Geek & Sundry wouldn’t pay for transcription, so it relied on fan labor for years. When Critical Role gained their independence, they quickly moved to using paid labor. They’ve been really good with captioning everything since.
Critical Role has done a lot over the years to be as accessible as possible. That interest really developed from working with CRTranscript and learning about different access needs. We really owe a massive debt to CRTranscript as a community to their early efforts.
CRTranscript also inspired CR_Translate to create fan subtitles for a massive number of languages. Like CRTranscript, these get uploaded to the official VODs when done. Hopefully one day these will also move to professional labor as resources allow.
CR_Translate has been so important to building their international audience, which is clearly something Critical Role values. LoVM showed a great dedication to subtitles and dubs when the resources were there, so I expect that’s the direction things will head with the actual play.
Another important point! I didn’t think of us Old Timers as having institutional knowledge, but it’s true. A surprising number of us stuck around and remember not just the recorded show, but the whole community history and why things are as they are.
The big lesson here is that teamwork makes the dream work.
Critical Role have had an intense symbiotic relationship with their fans on a technical level. Their openness to collaborating with fans and promoting fanworks is part of how they keep catching lightening in bottle.
I hope this resource thread helps everyone find the information they need to track the sprawling complexity of the show. We learned a long time ago most of us can’t remember all this on our own, so we work together and remember where to find it. Our own Cobalt Soul Archive.