Campaign 3: Bells Hells

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Campaign 3
Bells Hells logo.[art 1]
StarringLaura Bailey as Imogen Temult
Taliesin Jaffe as Ashton Greymoore
Ashley Johnson as Fearne Calloway
Liam O'Brien as Orym
Marisha Ray as Laudna
Sam Riegel as Fresh Cut Grass / Braius Doomseed
Travis Willingham as Bertrand Bell / Chetney Pock O'Pea
and
Matthew Mercer as the Dungeon Master
Theme music byOpening music:
Peter Habib, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey, Liam O'Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, Travis Willingham
Break and outro music:
Colm McGuinness
Release
Hosted on
Running time± 4 hours
First airedOctober 21, 2021

Campaign 3: Bells Hells is the third campaign of Critical Role, which began airing on October 21, 2021. It is set on the continent of Marquet[1] and begins in 843 PD, within a year after the events of Exandria Unlimited.[2]

Premise[edit | edit source]

Three groups of adventurers, some familiar and some new, meet in the five-spired city of Jrusar and form an alliance initially born of convenience and the desire for knowledge and coin. Quickly, however, they find themselves digging into the city's shadowy mysteries and increasingly fraught tensions.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Actor Character Race Class
Laura Bailey Imogen Temult Human Sorcerer (Aberrant Mind)
Taliesin Jaffe Ashton Greymoore Earth Genasi Barbarian (Path of Fundamental Chaos)
Ashley Johnson Fearne Calloway Faun Druid (Circle of Wildfire) / Rogue (Arcane Trickster)
Liam O'Brien Orym Halfling Fighter (Battle Master)
Marisha Ray Laudna Human (Hollow One) Sorcerer (Shadow Magic) / Warlock (The Undead)
Sam Riegel Fresh Cut Grass Aeormaton Cleric (Empathy Domain)
Braius Doomseed Minotaur Paladin (Oath of the Ancients) / Bard (College of Tragedy)
Travis Willingham Bertrand Bell Human Fighter
Chetney Pock O'Pea Gnome Blood Hunter (Order of the Lycan) / Rogue
Matthew Mercer The Dungeon Master

Guests[edit | edit source]

Actor Character Race Class
Robbie Daymond[3] Dorian Storm Air Genasi Bard (College of Swords)
Erika Ishii Yu Suffiad Changeling Warlock (The Hexblade) / Paladin (Oath of Conquest)
Aabria Iyengar Deanna Leimert Gnome Cleric (Life Domain)
Christian Navarro FRIDA Aeormaton Fighter (Gunslinger) / Rogue / Cleric (Life Domain)
Aimee Carrero Deni$e Bembachula Dwarf Barbarian (Path of the Juggernaut) / Rogue (Thief)
Utkarsh Ambudkar Bor'Dor Dog'Son Half-elf Sorcerer (Divine Soul)
Emily Axford Prism Grimpoppy Shadar-kai Wizard (Order of Scribes)

Interludes[edit | edit source]

Twice during the campaign, the story has shifted to a separate cast of players with a different GM.

Crown Keepers[edit | edit source]

The first interlude focused on the Crown Keepers during a pivotal battle, which took place concurrently to Bells Hells' adventure. The interlude was split across half of two episodes: the second half of "Broken Roads" (3x92) and the first half of "Bittersweet Reunions" (3x93).

Actor Character Race Class
Anjali Bhimani Fy'ra Rai Fire Genasi Monk (Way of Four Elements)
Aimee Carrero Opal Human Warlock (Hexblade)
Robbie Daymond Dorian Storm Air Genasi Bard (College of Swords)
Erica Lindbeck Morrighan Ferus Lagomore Paladin (Oath of Vengeance)
Matthew Mercer Dariax Zaveon Dwarf Sorcerer (Divine Soul) / Bard
Aabria Iyengar The Dungeon Master

Downfall[edit | edit source]

The second interlude is set during The Calamity, one hundred years after the events of Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, and follows how mortal avatars of the gods orchestrated the fall of Aeor. Ludinus Da'leth shows the events of Downfall to Bells Hells via the Occultus Thalamus. The interlude aired across three episodes: "Downfall: Part One" (3x99),"Downfall: Part Two" (3x100), and "Downfall: Part Three" (3x101).

Actor Character Race Class
Laura Bailey Emhira, avatar of The Raven Queen Human Warlock
Noshir Dalal The Emissary, champion of Erathis Earth Genasi Barbarian
Taliesin Jaffe Asha, avatar of Melora Elf Monk
Ashley Johnson Trist, avatar of Sarenrae Human Paladin / Cleric
Nick Marini Ayden, avatar of Pelor Human Barbarian / Cleric / Druid / Paladin
Abubakar Salim SILAHA, avatar of Corellon Aeormaton Sorcerer / Warlock
Brennan Lee Mulligan The Dungeon Master

Production[edit | edit source]

The original cast of Campaign 3

The fact that a third campaign would happen was first confirmed in an announcement on June 10, 2021.[4] The premiere date was confirmed in an announcement on September 30, 2021,[1] and it was announced that it would also air live in select theaters in the United States.[5] The campaign is prerecorded. Unlike previous campaigns, the series does not air on the last Thursday of the month (starting in 2022) to give the cast and crew time to rest and prepare for upcoming episodes and to give viewers time to catch up with the show.[1]

A brand new set was built for the campaign under Marisha's project direction. Matt stated that the idea of a campaign room that had windows fitted with LCD screens for effects comes from a high school art project that became a "white whale" for him. Projection effects were initially "dabbled" with in "Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Crystal Palace" (OSx32), many requested by Taliesin, and the new set was designed from the start to support using them more significantly. Named by the production team as the Tavern of Tales, the set's concept art was developed by Shaun Ellis and its lighting and projection design work was developed by Holly Hodges, who both worked in theme park development. It was built by Flip This Bitch, who built sets for Critical Role in the past. Marisha described the set as "a tool, and it's meant to enhance the expression of the story", and she felt that it not only had to look good for the audience but also for the players at the table.[6] All lighting, screens, projections, music, and other atmospheric details are controlled directly by Matt.[7]

In an open letter published a few days before the campaign premiere, Matthew Mercer confirmed that he was working with cultural and sensitivity consultants "throughout the worldbuilding and presentation of Marquet" to ensure that aspects of the continent of Marquet, the main setting for the campaign, would be "lending a familiarity and celebrating aspects of those same languages and cultures without appropriating them".[8] Matthew outlined the general information of each region and let his collaborators to choose the ones they felt the closly connected. He was mostly working on the Oderan Wilds. Basheer Ghouse fleshed out the Hellcatch Valley.[9] In a December 2018 episode of Talks at Google, he had talked about his desire to revisit Marquet in greater depth:

For me, personally, because it leans so heavily into, you know, Anglo fantasy and the very Lord of the Rings thing, as we've played through, our first campaign was definitely meant to be an introduction to D&D for most people at the table that never played. So I kept it very classic fantasy. And the more we've played, I've wanted to pull in other cultural inspirations. I would love to, at some point down the road, explore more of Marquet in our world, because I grew up loving Arabian Nights and a lot of ancient Sumerian Mesopotamian religion, classic Middle Eastern history, and mythology. I think it's so grossly underrepresented in modern media, and so I'd love to incorporate elements of that down the road as well. I love Eastern philosophy and Eastern mythology as well. It is wonderful and doesn't get a lot of love.

— Matthew Mercer[10]

Liam and Ashley were given the chance to playtest their characters, Orym and Fearne Calloway, through the miniseries Exandria Unlimited. They both decided to reuse them in Campaign 3. They were given the option to re-roll their character stats for the new campaign, which Ashley took for Fearne. Guest player Robbie Daymond also chose to re-roll Dorian Storm's stats.[11]

According to Matt, Travis wanted to join the campaign a bit later than the others. To allow him to sit at the table from the first episode, Bertrand Bell, who had previously appeared in "The Search For Grog" (OSx28), was brought back as a temporary player character. Travis suggested that Bertrand be killed to allow him to introduce his new character, but didn't know when or how his death would occur.[12]

The character art was created by Hannah Friederichs, who was also the official artist of Exandria Unlimited. The animations on the stat cards were created by Max Schapiro.[13]

Animated Critical Role logo (red moon version).[art 2]

As the apogee solstice approached in "The Apogee Solstice" (3x51), Critical Role's social media accounts started to change their avatars, gradually shifting the colors to red to represent Ruidus.

The Downfall miniseries was conceived around January, 2024—Brennan Lee Mulligan and Matthew Mercer discussed the potential time/location of the Calamity Brennan wanted to explore, and Brennan chose Aeor. Matt, knowing Bells Hells soon would be exploring the Aeorian ruins, suggested they should add this miniseries as an interlude to this campaign. Dani Carr worked with them, as well.[14]

Credits[edit | edit source]

Early Campaign credits:

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Between Campaign 2 and Campaign 3, the Critical Role timeslot was filled by Exandria Unlimited and various one-shots and other episodes.
  • The race and class of Fresh Cut Grass were decided by Liam.[16]
    • Sam's previous characters Scanlan and Nott had a race and class suggested, but not decided, by Liam, although Sam took his suggestions both times.
  • To help promote the campaign, Critical Role sponsored three videos from Quincy's Tavern featuring fictional foods and drinks with real accompanying recipes, in a series called "Taste of Marquet". They were posted to TikTok and Twitter.[17][18]
    • The first features the Mage's Cloak, a drink made of the Marquesian mahika flower often used in potions, drinks and desserts with a recipe for a mocktail of butterfly pea tea.
    • The second features kip kebabs, skewered meat dry rubbed with fusaka spice often sold by street vendors, with a recipe for baked dry rub chicken kebabs.
    • The third features sandberry pies made from sweet sand crystals, mined from mountain caves throughout Marquet and used as an ingredient various desserts and drinks, with a recipe for peach mango hand pies.
  • Campaign 3 featured a guest earlier than any previous campaign, with Robbie Daymond as Dorian Storm appearing in the first episode.
  • Campaign 3 is the first campaign to feature player characters from previous games set in Exandria. Bertrand Bell from "The Search For Grog" (OSx28) and its sequel; Fearne Calloway, Orym and Dorian Storm from Exandria Unlimited; Keyleth from Campaign 1: Vox Machina.
  • The party started this campaign at the third level.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 See State of the Role: Campaign 3 Announcement | Fall 2021 at 5:33.
  2. Critical Role (@CriticalRole) on Twitter: "Check out our updated timeline featuring ALL of our epic adventures throughout Exandria -- including Campaign 3!" (October 28, 2021).
  3. Critical Role (@CriticalRole) on Twitter: "Familiar travelers also make their journey to Jrusar with special guest @robbiedaymond leading the charge as Dorian!" (10-21-2021).
  4. See the June 10th episode of State of the Role.
  5. See State of the Role: Campaign 3 Announcement | Fall 2021 at 6:06.
  6. See "Campaign 3: Behind the Set"
  7. Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "I get to control it ALL. Lights, screens, projections, music, atmosphere... my villain lair is nearly complete." (October 19, 2021).
  8. See A Warm Welcome to Marquet and Campaign 3! on critrole.com
  9. "4-Sided Dive: Fly Into The Danger Zone" (4SDx03) at 56:05.
  10. See "Critical Role | Matthew Mercer + More | Talks at Google" at 40:22
  11. See Matt's tweet on returning player characters.
  12. See Matt's Tweet about Bertrand's death.
  13. Max Schapiro (@JewOnYourFloor) on Twitter: "been sitting on this meme since E10 since I animated the card months ago and knew shoutouts to @WillingBlam for keeping a straight face and @VoiceOfOBrien for having the gift of prophecy" (January 20, 2022).
  14. "4-Sided Dive: Suddenly Samuel" (4SDx25), 4-Sided Dive, at 44:00.
  15. Trial by Firelight - Critical Role Abridged - Campaign 3, Episode 2 at 1:12:00.
  16. "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap-Up" (Mx10) at 28:39.
  17. See @quincystavern on Twitter: the Mage's Cloak, Kip Kebabs, and Sandberry Pies.
  18. Enjoy a Taste of Marquet with Quincy's Tavern! on CritRole.com

Art:

  1. Bells Hells 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.
  2. Animated Critical Role logo (red moon version) (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.