Campaign 2: The Mighty Nein

Campaign 2
Mighty Nein logo.[art 1]
StarringLaura Bailey as Jester Lavorre
Taliesin Jaffe as Mollymauk Tealeaf / Caduceus Clay / Kingsley Tealeaf
Ashley Johnson as Yasha Nydoorin
Liam O'Brien as Caleb Widogast
Marisha Ray as Beauregard Lionett
Sam Riegel as Veth Brenatto
Travis Willingham as Fjord
and
Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master
Theme music byopening music:
Jason Charles Miller, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham
Break and outro music:
Colm McGuinness
Release
Hosted onTwitch
Youtube
Running time± 4 hours
No. of episodes141
First airedJanuary 11, 2018
Last airedJune 3, 2021

Campaign 2: The Mighty Nein is the second campaign of Critical Role. It takes place beginning in Sydenstar,[1] 835 P.D.[2], approximately twenty years after the adventures of Vox Machina. The returning cast plays all-new characters and features the continent of Wildemount as its primary setting. In the eighth episode, the adventuring party adopted the name "The Mighty Nein".[3]

The campaign is being adapted into an animated series, Mighty Nein.[4]

The cast[edit | edit source]

Actor Character Race Class
Laura Bailey Jester Lavorre Tiefling Cleric (Trickery Domain)
Taliesin Jaffe Mollymauk "Molly" Tealeaf Tiefling (Devil's Tongue) Blood Hunter (Order of the Ghostslayer)
Caduceus Clay Firbolg Cleric (Grave Domain)
Kingsley Tealeaf Tiefling (Devil's Tongue) Blood Hunter (Order of the Ghostslayer), Rogue (Swashbuckler)
Ashley Johnson Yasha Nydoorin Aasimar (Fallen) Barbarian (Path of the Zealot)
Aasimar (Protector)
Liam O'Brien Caleb Widogast Human (Variant) Wizard (School of Transmutation)
Marisha Ray Beauregard "Beau" Lionett Human (Variant) Monk (Way of the Cobalt Soul)
Sam Riegel Nott the Brave Goblin Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Wizard
Veth Brenatto Halfling (Lightfoot)
Travis Willingham Fjord Half-Orc Warlock (Hexblade; Pact of the Blade), Paladin (Oath of the Open Sea)
Matthew Mercer The Dungeon Master

Story arc summaries[edit | edit source]

→ Main article: The Adventures of the Mighty Nein

Story arc First episode Last episode
Arc 1: Come Together "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) "Divergent Paths" (2x25)
Seven disparate individuals first meet by chance in the sleepy town of Trostenwald, but they quickly become involved in an investigation after a zombie attacks the recently arrived traveling carnival. Out of necessity, they come together as a group, calling themselves the Mighty Nein and setting off north. In the aftermath of the attack on the Zauber Spire, they find themselves exploring the underbelly of Zadash, gambling their fates with the Gentleman, and riding across the swamps of Berleben before engaging in merriment and mayhem among the folks of Hupperdook, oblivious to their soon-to-be changing fortunes.
Arc 2: The Bad Guys "Found & Lost" (2x26) "The Second Seal" (2x47)
The Mighty Nein scramble to recover those who were lost, and the attempt bears a heavy cost and an unexpected gain. Then, in pursuit of clues as to Fjord's mysterious patron, the party arrives in Nicodranas, the home of Jester. But their respite is short-lived as their adventure sets sail to the seas, where both answers and dangers lurk from above and beneath.
Arc 3: The Bright Queen's Favor "Homeward Bound" (2x48) "The King's Cage" (2x69)
The Mighty Nein return to the mainland and travel deep into Xhorhas in search of the missing Yeza. Upon finding an "anchor" to the Abyss, the party earns the favor of the Bright Queen Leylas Kryn. From their new home base in the capital of Rosohna, they continue their search for answers and in the course of their chase, they end up losing one of their own to Obann, a servant of the Chained Oblivion.
Arc 4: Swords and Angels "Causatum" (2x70) "Stone to Clay" (2x91)
The Mighty Nein seeks to free Yasha from Obann's control while Fjord struggles to free himself from Uk'otoa's. Meanwhile, the Angel of Irons cult has their own plans to release their god. Complicating things further, the party finds themselves drawn deeper into the tangled webs of intrigue between the Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty with the fates of both territories hanging in the balance.
Arc 5: Family Ties "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) "The Chase Begins" (2x112)
With a tentative cease-fire in place, the Mighty Nein make time within their hectic schedules to plan for Traveler Con and to catch up with their own separated families and former friends. Soon after peace is apparently made a reality, the party finally arrives at the long-awaited destination of Rumblecusp for the event that Jester and the Traveler spent half a year preparing for. However, they discover more secrets, oddities, and threats than expected, including the potential loss of their own memories and selves and an even more chilling omen on the horizon.
Arc 6: Weird Magic "A Heart Grown Cold" (2x113) "Fond Farewells" (2x141)
The Mighty Nein pursue a familiar face north to Eiselcross toward the ruins of the ancient mageocracy of Aeor. The cold circumstances lead to even colder complications, however, with knowledge of an encroaching threat from the distant past threatening to return: the Somnovem. Armed with this knowledge, the Mighty Nein consolidate their alliances and goals, travel across the land and even the planes, and engage in a desperate race against time that will determine the fate of their home and those they hold dear.

Production[edit | edit source]

Promotional photo of the Critical Role cast for the launch of Campaign 2

When preparing Campaign 2 storyline Matthew Mercer intended to make the story more morally ambiguous, in comparison with the previous adventures, and set up a larger scale narrative to accompany the story in the background, impacting it, but not revolving around the players' party. Starting out the adventures in Campaign 1, Matt was still developing and polishing the lore of Exandria adapting to the players' journey as they explored the world, making mostly "reactive and instinctual" choice in his world-bulding. With this campaign, Matt said that he had time and necessary experience to make the story more unique and better at expressing his ideas and intentions behind them. Matt rewrote the so-called evil races (orcs, drows), planning to introduce more morally complicated members of these races.[5][6]

Character art[edit | edit source]

When working on the official art for this campaign, Ariana Orner recieved notes/ideas on each character and made drafts of the character's heads and the first round of clothing concepts. The cast picked their prefered one and suggested changes until the art for their characters was done.[7] Liam O'Brien sent the following notes on Caleb's appearance: reddish brown hair, blue eyes, unshaven, nose with character (touch of Schmendrick the Magician), worn and ragged clothes.[8]

Session zero[edit | edit source]

Before the campaign began airing, most of the players participated in an unrecorded session zero with Matt so that they could get a feel for their characters and the setting they would be playing in. In Laura, Travis, and Marisha's session zero, Jester was knocked unconscious in one attack from a giant constrictor snake.[9] Taliesin was the only player to refuse to tell any of the others (besides Ashley) what class he was playing.[10] They rolled for their characters' stats, and Laura and Marisha were happy while Travis, Ashley, and Sam rolled lower numbers and were not.[11]

Streaming[edit | edit source]

The first part of the second campaign was live streamed on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and YouTube, on Thursdays at 7pm (Pacific Time). In February 2019, Critical Role parted ways with Geek & Sundry, launched their own Twitch and YouTube channels, and started to self-produce new shows and content under the name Critical Role Productions LLC.[12] Eventually the live broadcasts of Critical Role and VODs aired exclusively on Critical Role's channels. Episodes are archived on the Critical Role website and the Critical Role and Geek & Sundry YouTube channels.

In April 2018, Matthew Mercer said that he named all the episodes of Campaign 2 and Campaign 1 right after the initial broadcast, and Taliesin used to write episode description. As of April 2018, Dani Carr provided the episode descriptions.[13]

On 17 March 2020, Critical Role announced[14] that it was suspending all live broadcasts of both the D&D stream Critical Role and Talks Machina due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Critical Role returned in a prerecorded format on 2 July 2020 with the broadcast of "Hunted at Sea" (2x100).[15]

Early on in the campaign Matt asked Thomas Middleditch to join them as a guest, but it didn't work out.[16]

The second campaign started on January 11, 2018 with "Curious Beginnings" (2x01), and ended three and a half years and 141 episodes later on June 3rd, 2021 with "Fond Farewells" (2x141).

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 1:29:07. Matt states that the date is the 12th of Fessuran. In-game, the campaign started approximately a month earlier.
  2. Matthew Mercer clarified via Twitter that the second campaign starts in 835 P.D.
  3. "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 1:03:18.
  4. "Amazon Inks Critical Role to Overall TV and First-Look Film Deal, Greenlights ‘Mighty Nein’ Animated Series" (January 25, 2023) by Todd Spangler at Variety.
  5. Matthew Mercer on Critical Role's New Campaign.
  6. Matthew Mercer on "Three Black Halflings" podcast at 45:15.
  7. Ariana Orner (@@ornerine) on Twitter: "This was the first thing I did, yep! The cast sent me notes/ideas and I came back with the heads & the first round of clothing concepts. They picked out what they liked or what they wanted to change, then I made changes, etc. We went back and forth until they were satisfied!" (September 9, 2019) — in reply to @InkithIndia: "Wow. Absolutely mind blown. What stage of the process would you say this was? Was this the first thing you did, sketch out different designs? Or was this closer to the end of the process and the cast just picked/chose which aspects of these designs they thought suited best?" (backup link)
  8. Liam O'Brien (@VoiceOfOBrien) on Twitter: "By the by, notes to @ornerine on portrait were: -reddish brown hair -blue eyes -unshaven -nose with character, touch of Schmendrick the Magician -worn and ragged clothes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" (01-26-2018). (backup link)
  9. "Talks Machina Special #5: Fireside Chat Q&A" (TMSx05) at 1:35:31.
  10. "Talks Machina Special #5: Fireside Chat Q&A" (TMSx05) at 1:17:34.
  11. "Talks Machina Special #5: Fireside Chat Q&A" (TMSx05) at 12:00.
  12. Spangler, Todd (March 8, 2019). "Critical Role Team, After Record-Breaking Fan Crowdfunding Response, Vows to Make 'The Best Goddamn Cartoon Anyone Has Ever Seen'". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  13. "Talks Machina #60: Midnight Espionage" (TM2x12) at 6:30.
  14. The tweet announcing the hiatus and Critical Role's website post.
  15. YouTube video of the announcement.
  16. "Talks Machina #60: Midnight Espionage" (TM2x12) at 50:10.
  17. Matthew Mercer explained the houserule for rolling stats during character creation (source 1 and source 2).

Art:

  1. Mighty Nein logo (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.