Exandria Unlimited: Calamity

Exandria Unlimited: Calamity
Stained glass logo by Joanna Johnen (source)
Created byMarisha Ray
Starring
Theme music byColm McGuinness
Release
Hosted on
No. of episodes4
First airedMay 26, 2022
Last airedJune 16, 2022

Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, abbreviated as ExU: Calamity, is a four-part miniseries and the third installment of the Exandria Unlimited series. It is set in the flying city of Avalir during the Age of Arcanum, shortly after Vespin Chloras performs the ritual that leads to The Calamity. The Ring of Brass, six friends who hold key positions within the city, discover a hidden corruption in Avalir related to Vespin's ritual and struggle against The Calamity's inevitability.

The series is led by Brennan Lee Mulligan as Dungeon Master and features Critical Role main cast members Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, and Marisha Ray (who also created Exandria Unlimited) with Aabria Iyengar, Lou Wilson, and Luis Carazo. The first episode premiered on May 26, 2022 and ran for four consecutive weeks in place of Critical Role Campaign 3. The fourth and final episode aired June 16, 2022.

Premise[edit | edit source]

During the Age of Arcanum, the flying city of Avalir celebrates the eve of the Replenishing, the day Avalir completes its seven-year trip around Exandria and reunites with its sister city Cathmoíra on the continent of Domunas. The Ring of Brass, six friends who hold positions managing and leading Avalir, learn that Vespin Chloras is missing after a recent alleged attempt to ascend to godhood like the Matron of Ravens. This leads them to the discovery of a corruption underneath Avalir, prompting them to try to stop the inevitable, The Calamity.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Photograph of the cast of Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, by Michael Schmidt.[art 1]
  • Travis Willingham as Cerrit Agrupnin, eisfuura Inquisitive rogue:
    Cerrit is a detective and Senior Sightwarden of the Eyes of Avalir. His attention is brought to the disappearance of Vespin Chloras, an archmage believed to have been attempting to copy the Raven Queen's ascension to godhood. Though he has seen many similar cases in the past, strange details of this one lead him to suspect something is amiss.
  • Aabria Iyengar as Laerryn Coramar-Seelie, elf Abjuration wizard:
    Laerryn is Architect Arcane, tasked with keeping Avalir afloat and maintaining its magical infrastructure. She is dedicated to her work, particularly a secret project that she hopes will revolutionize the future of Avalir. She was married to, then divorced, Loquatius.
  • Sam Riegel as Loquatius Seelie, changeling College of Eloquence bard/Archfey warlock:
    Loquatius, Herald of Avalir, Voice of the Council, and the Scribe of Crowns, is a broadcaster and print journalist at the Herald's Tome. He deeply enjoys his public celebrity and is anxious about his broadcast ratings and print circulation numbers. He is similarly anxious about his relationship with Laerryn, and he appears to be seeking a reconciliation between them.
  • Lou Wilson as Nydas Okiro, human Draconic Bloodline sorcerer/College of Swords bard:
    Nydas is the guildmaster of the Golden Scythe, a guild of merchants and patron of a sorcerer's academy for children. Through his position at the guild, he oversees many of the logistical preparations for events in the city. He is struggling to receive payments from his merchants on time.
  • Marisha Ray as Patia Por'co, elf Enchantment wizard:
    Patia is Keeper of Scrolls at the Library Incantatum and granddaughter of Imyr Por'co, the mage responsible for the final enchantments on the brumestone that lifted Avalir into the air. She is a member of the Ring of Silver but seeks to rise into the highest level of the city's hierarchy, the Ring of Gold.
  • Luis Carazo as Zerxus Ilerez, human Oath of Redemption paladin:
    Zerxus, First Knight of Avalir, receives his divine magic not through an oath to a god but through an oath to the people of Avalir. He grieves his late husband, Evandrin Alterra, and worries about his young estranged son, Elias. Zerxus is plagued by a recurring nightmare involving Asmodeus, Elias, and the phrase "Ghor Dranas".
  • Brennan Lee Mulligan as the Dungeon Master:
    The Dungeon Master is responsible for running the game, including devising encounters, managing the environment and world, playing the non-player characters, and structuring the story.

Calamity was the first appearance of Luis Carazo and Lou Wilson on a Critical Role Productions show. Aabria Iyengar was the Dungeon Master for the two previous Exandria Unlimited series, the eponymous Exandria Unlimited and Exandria Unlimited: Kymal, and played in the The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood miniseries. Brennan Lee Mulligan was previously a player in the "Elden Ring One-Shot: O Ye of Little Faith" (OSx45) one-shot.

Laura Bailey was originally a member of the cast, but she left early in the character creation process due to scheduling conflicts. Marisha joined the cast in her place, and Patia is an iteration of the early character concepts that Laura developed.[1]

Production[edit | edit source]

Marisha, creator of the Exandria Unlimited series, said that they were interested from the beginning in exploring different parts of Exandria's timeline.[2] In Fall 2021, Brennan, Travis, and Matthew Mercer (Dungeon Master for Critical Role) had a casual dinner in which they mentioned that it would be nice to work together. Matt idly mentioned that he wanted to see something set during the Age of Arcanum, prompting Brennan to begin developing the idea for Calamity. After a month or two, Marisha had Brennan pitch the concept.[3][2][4] Calamity was in production for six months prior to its airing,[5] with Brennan working closely with Matthew, Marisha, Lore Keeper Dani Carr, and producer Kyle Shire throughout.[2][3][6] Filming began no later than May 11, 2022,[7] and the finale was filmed on May 24, 2022.[8][9]

Brennan pointed to Exandria Unlimited's shorter anthology structure as ideal for telling a tragedy. He credited the complexity of the tragedy to the players' skill at improvising hubristic, misguided, arrogant decisions that lead to disaster[10] and said of them: "All of those six people are playing a D&D campaign backwards in high heels." He additionally pointed out that this narrative working toward an unavoidable end was uncommon in Dungeons & Dragons, "How many campaigns are you set to enact not only your own demise, but the demise of your civilization?"[6][9]

Because the story was self-contained and taking place in an unusual time and place in the lore, instead of building their characters independently as they do for Critical Role, the cast built their characters together as a group and discussed their relationships to one another. They also discussed their individual places in the power structures of the city because Brennan wanted the party to be powerful from the beginning, playing what Marisha described as "characters who are in control and are movers and shakers".[11]

When Hannah Friederichs created the official character art for Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, Kyle Shire, producer for the miniseries, asked Hannah to do them in the style of Mollymauk mosaic piece she did a year prior, which was inspired by byzantine mosaics found in Istanbul and Ravenna. However, the Calamity portraits are more simplified and descriptive, borrowing less from real world cultures, and done on a tighter schedule.[12]

During the week before the premiere, from May 20 to May 25, 2022, Critical Role hosted Instagram Story "takeovers" in which one cast member a day posted updates, including answering fan-submitted questions, throughout the day. Lou was unable to participate due to scheduling issues.[13]

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Calamity aired four episodes between May 26, 2022 and June 16, 2022 on consecutive Thursdays in place of Campaign 3, which took a break from broadcast during the series. Marisha said that this break was both to preventing "burning out" the audience, give Matt Mercer a break, and allow Calamity space to breathe.[14]

Like all other Critical Role content, episodes will be broadcast on Twitch and YouTube with VODs posted to YouTube the following Monday and audio-only podcasts available the following Thursday.

No. Title Original airdate Link Runtime
1 "Excelsior" (E3x01) May 26, 2022 VOD / Transcript 4:10:46
The flying city of Avalir begins its triumphant return to the continent of Domunas while the Ring of Brass, a group of eminent city dignitaries, begin to uncover hints of something rotten within their gilded home...
2 "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) June 2, 2022 VOD / Transcript 4:37:56
The Ring of Brass deepen their investigation into Vespin's inconceivable ritual while juggling their own profound desires and lofty ambitions...
3 "Blood and Shadow" (E3x03) June 9, 2022 VOD / Transcript 5:21:36
Confronted with how deep Avalir's corruption runs, the Ring of Brass must face hard truths about themselves as impossible choices are made and lines are both drawn and sundered...
4 "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) June 16, 2022 VOD / Transcript 6:07:33
With time running out and an ancient terror unleashed, the Ring of Brass make their last stand for Avalir, for Exandria, and for their souls as calamity draws near...

Trivia[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Interviews

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Question: "How long did it take you to come up with your character for Calamity?" // Marisha: "...Originally, the lovely Miss Laura Bailey was supposed to be in Calamity but had to bow out because to scheduling issue but had already started building the very early stages of her character. So, I actually took it over and then iterated." — Marisha Ray's ExU: Calamity Instagram takeover on May 23, 2022.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Critical Role team teases fans only think they know how Exandria Unlimited: Calamity will end (May 24, 2022) by James Grebey at SyFy Wire.
  3. 3.0 3.1 We Chat With With Critical Role's Exandria Unlimited: Calamity Cast (May 26, 2022) by Gavin Sheehan at Bleeding Cool.
  4. Exandria Unlimited: Calamity Interview with Brennan Lee Mulligan - Oren Cohen at 0:22.
  5. Question: How long has Calamity been in planning/production." // Marisha: "...When we first started creating the concept of Exandria Unlimited, we knew we wanted to explore a lot of different stories and timelines. Beyond that, about half a year now." — Marisha Ray's ExU: Calamity Instagram takeover on May 23, 2022.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Critical Role's newest DM changes the game] (May 26, 2022) by Michael Rancic at Polygon.
  7. Aabria Iyengar (@quiddie) on Twitter: "2021: Spent my birthday filming an episode of ExU (that’s the day I played Gilmore!) / 2022: Filmed ExU Calamity (don’t remember the ep - too traumatic lol) / 2023: Get to spend my birthday watching my little bb Deanna run around Molaesmyr absolutely ✨STRESSED✨" (May 11, 2023). (backup link)
  8. Luis Carazo's ExU: Calamity Instagram takeover on May 24, 2022.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Brennan Lee Mulligan's ExU: Calamity Instagram takeover on May 25, 2022.
  10. Critical Role's Second Exandria Mini-Series Finds Tabletop Drama In 'Calamity' (May 26, 2022) by David Bloom at Forbes
  11. "Critical Role's Exandria Unlimited: Calamity Is Their Rogue One (May 24, 2022) by Christian Hoffer at ComicBook.com.
  12. Hannah Friederichs (agarthanguide) on Tumblr // "Yeah, I was inspired by byzantine mosaics. When I started the project, Producer Kyle showed me This Little Number, which I did a few years ago, and asked if it would be Too Much to reproduce the effect. It was not too much! While the original Molly was done with a lot of referencing of mosaics in Istanbul and Ravenna, the Calamity portraits were significantly less inspired by real world art movements. Most they had to be more descriptive of the characters, less tied to real world cultures, and done on a tighter schedule. I’m really proud of how they turned out. Thanks so much for the question!" (June 09, 2022) — in reply to: "Hi Agarthanguide! I'm wondering for the Calamity character art, were you inspired by mosaics? I had thought it was stained glass windows, but upon a re-examination I think I might have been wrong!"
  13. Critical Role (@CriticalRole) on Twitter: "Get to know some of our storytellers from Exandria Unlimited: Calamity as we count down to the premiere on May 26th with a new round of Instagram Story Takeovers! The party kicks off tomorrow, May 20th, with the incredibly magical @quiddie!✨📸" (May 19, 2022). Follow-up Tweet: "Due to the chaos magic of scheduling, the magnificent Lou Wilson will be unable to participate in this round but we can't wait for you all to see him in action at the table! 🙌💖"
  14. Critical Role Explores a Bigger World With Exandria Unlimited: Calamity (May 25, 2022) by Christian Hoffer at ComicBook.com.
  15. Aabria Iyengar (quiddie) on Tumblr: "Fun fact, I’m almost certain I was the only one at the Calamity table that had played with every other person at the table." (June 18, 2022). (backup link)

Art:

  1. Photograph of the cast of Exandria Unlimited: Calamity, by Michael Schmidt (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.