CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello

"CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello"
One-shot episode
The thumbnail for ""CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09)", featuring the cast.
Episode no.Episode 9
AirdateMarch 24, 2017
Running time58:30
Game systemDungeons & Dragons
Dan Casey as Dupont Dupont
Jessica Chobot as The Headmistress
Taliesin Jaffe as Percival de Rolo
Joe Manganiello as Arkhan
Marisha Ray as Keyleth
Matthew Mercer as DM
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
"The Return of Liam" (OSx08)
"Liam's Quest: Full Circle" (OSx10)
Airdate order
"Vox Machina Go to Hell" (1x91)
"Talks Machina #18: Vox Machina Go to Hell" (TM1x91)
List of one-shots

"CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09) is a special episode of Critical Role. "Manganiello and his party find themselves in an abandoned temple while looking for an ancient relic. But it certainly won't be easy! Mercer's going to throw a lot of obstacles in the path of these adventurers, and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out of the temple intact. Along the way, an epic tale will unfold."[1]

The episode was recognized by Matthew Mercer as canon in "Vox Machina Go to Hell" (1x91)[2] and later confirmed to be at least semi-canonical when Joe Manganiello's character, Arkhan the Cruel, reconnected with Keyleth and Percival de Rolo in "The Final Ascent" (1x113).

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Official art of the Wreath of the Prism, by Irina Nordsol.[art 1]

Tiamat, the Betrayer God and patron of chromatic dragons, sent visions of a locked-away wreath of golden thorns and gems to her follower Arkhan in his dreams. Arkhan spent months of frustrating research seeking it out until finally coming across a monk of the Cobalt Soul named Duan[spelling?] who had the knowledge he needed. He hired a group of mercenaries—Keyleth, Percival de Rolo, the Headmistress, and Dupont Dupont—to help him delve into the Vault of Shumas in the Aggrad Mountains of Marquet.[3][4]

The party is first faced with a locked door on the side of the mountain, with an ornament depicting a mass of snakes around a screaming human face, concealing a handle deep within. Dupont willingly sticks his hand inside, and though he successfully opens the door with the handle, his hand is punctured by many needles that inject him with poison. Arkhan uses his paladin abilities to heal him.

The door groans and shudders and lifts upward, revealing a smelly, dusty, dark hallway with natural rock walls, about 25 feet wide, lined with sandstone pillars that are cracked and falling apart. The Headmistress detects writing all over the wall by lightly running her hand over it, and Percy is able to infer from his knowledge of Celestial that the writing is in Abyssal. Dupont and Keyleth lead the way and attempt to stealth, but Dupont trips over a fallen pillar and loudly yelps, startling Keyleth.

With the aid of Percy's torch light, they reach an underground chamber that at first appears to be sunlit even though they are hundreds of feet below the surface. As they enter the room, they see that there is a stone affixed to the ceiling that is emitting the light. Directly underneath it is a small quartz altar with three circular concave grooves, surrounded by three pillars, each with an eight foot tall obelisk at its base, angled askew pushing up from the ground. Arkhan detects a strong aura of desecration emanating from the altar. As Dupont runs his hand over the altar while examining it for magic, the three obelisks fall over and crack, revealing three yuan-ti who attack the party with scimitars. Dupont shoots with his crossbow but hits a pillar. The Headmistress smashes the two smaller ones' heads together and circular kicks them both. Keyleth casts Faerie Fire on the larger snake-headed priest and one of the small ones. The Headmistress ducks one scimitar swipe but the next one slices into her. As the other goes to charge at Dupont, she punches it in the back of the head, sending it flying and killing it. Percy fires two shots that sink into the chest of the large priest, who then charges at Arkhan and bites him, poisoning him, and slashes him with its scimitar. Arkhan retorts with a Hellish Rebuke, surrounding the priest in hellish flames, and then cleaves its torso in two with his battleaxe infused with Tiamat's chromatic rage in the form of Divine Smite, killing it. Arkhan then beheads the last yuan-ti. The party watches as the three depressions in the altar fill with a greenish liquid as it lowers to reveal a pitch black cylindrical chamber below.

The party takes a short rest and then enters the revealed chamber. They are confronted by an undead caregiver, who Arkhan then narrowly takes control of via Control Undead. He commands her to take him to the artifact he seeks. She brings forth a manticore, who (following the caregiver's lead) willingly relinquishes the the Wreath of the Prism from its neck. When Arkhan puts the wreath around his own neck, the thorns suddenly jut deep into his neck and deal him piercing damage, change the appearance of his eyes to snakelike slits, and enhance his vision so that colors are more vibrant and he can see the heat aura around the others' bodies. He then is able to command the manticore, on whose back the party crashes through the ceiling, flies out from the temple and across the Ank'harel desert, with the dominated caregiver following behind.[5][6][2]

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Player characters[edit | edit source]

(all 5th-level characters) 

NPCs[edit | edit source]

  • The caregiver, an undead guardian of the Vault of Shumas

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • Taliesin: (on rolling 2 natural 20s with advantage) That felt very good. It's all downhill from here, life is downhill from here.[7]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The manticore was later named Chango (or Changó). Manganiello tweeted fan art of Arkhan and Changó with the hashtag #criticalrole.[8]
  • Changó was included in the official Dungeons & Dragons adventure, "Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus".[9]
  • Matt didn't remember that Oathbreaker paladins had Control Undead, so the party avoided an intended boss fight with the manticore.[10]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. See the announcement on Nerdist
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Vox Machina Go to Hell" (1x91) at 6:26. "in a one-shot that is technically Exandria-canon."
  3. "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09) from 0:00 through 1:58.
  4. The spelling is the same when the identically named region in Marquet is mentioned later. "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 1:10:46.
  5. "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09) from 49:16 through 54:00.
  6. They recognized Arkhan in "The Final Ascent" (1x113), indicating the CelbriD&D episode was considered semi-canon.
  7. "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09) at 38:37.
  8. https://twitter.com/joemanganiello/status/979545225759670272
  9. See Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, pp. 113 and 149.
  10. "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09) at 54:19.


  1. Official art of the Wreath of the Prism, by Irina Nordsol (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.