Sam Riegel

Sam Riegel
Photograph of Sam Riegel for Variety, by Robyn Von Swank.[art 1]
Full nameSamuel Brent Oscar Riegel
Also known asSam
Biographical information
BornOctober 9, 1976 (age 47)
Washington, D.C.
  • Voice actor
  • Writer
  • Director
Internet presence

I'm fascinated by flaws and how people work around them and overcome them, because in real life, I don't have any.

— Sam[1]

Sam Riegel is voice actor and a member of the main cast of Critical Role. He plays Fresh Cut Grass in Campaign 3.

In previous campaigns, Sam played Scanlan Shorthalt, Taryon Darrington and Veth Brenatto. He has also been the Dungeon Master for several one-shot episodes.

Critical Role Productions[edit | edit source]

Pre-stream[edit | edit source]

Before Critical Role began, Sam and his close friend Liam created a podcast called allworknoplay, with the intention to get more fun into their busy schedules. For Liam's birthday they planned to play Dungeons & Dragons with some friends and shared their experience on the podcast. Towards the end of All Work No Play's second episode, the two of them talked about getting ready for the upcoming "one-time" D&D game. Sam asked Liam what was the worst character to play as, and Liam suggested a gnome. Sam talked about being a bard in the podcast, which would suit him due to his background in music both from college and his help in writing show ideas for The Voice.

Sam recorded a few short clips of the pre-stream Critical Role game. These clips can be found on his vine page.

Main campaigns[edit | edit source]

As Scanlan the bard, he was known for improvising songs on the fly.[2] Examples include: "I think you're really handsome and nice! You're going to have inspiration dice!" He often pulled songs from pop culture and modified their lyrics, as in, "Here's a little song I wrote! It's filled with inspiration, note for note. Don't fuck up. Or I'll kill you."[3] Sam later wrote the lyrics of Campaign 2's theme, Your Turn To Roll, and Campaign 3's theme It's Thursday Night.

Sam became the first player in the Critical Role canon to introduce a second player character when Scanlan Shorthalt left Vox Machina, to be replaced by Taryon Darrington in "A Bard's Lament" (1x85). He would later reprise his role as Scanlan in "Masquerade" (1x99), leaving Tary behind in "Thar Amphala" (1x101).

Sam as BlackWillow73

Sam's ads[edit | edit source]

Early on, it became Sam's job to read sponsorship announcements at the beginning of episodes, and he quickly became creative with them, coming up with dozens of bits. He often sings jingles, dresses up in costumes, or performs strange feats to entertain the audience, with the actual sponsorship often simply thrown into them. He sometimes enlists other cast members to participate. Some of these bits are recurring and even have their own lore, like the Nord VPN ads, which spawned The Nordverse.

One of Sam's most iconic bits was his campaign to be elected as President of D&D Beyond, which became a recurring event over several episodes. During the sponsorship section, he gave campaign speeches and invited viewers to vote for him on election day. Eventually, Sam lost the election of 69th President of D&D Beyond to his campaign rival, Liam O'Brien. However, in a twist ending, he accepted Liam's "proposal" to become the the first ever co-presidents of D&D Beyond. They were then told that there is no such thing as President of D&D Beyond. A fan-made compilation of the race can be found here.

Easter eggs[edit | edit source]

Sam's flask

Giant drinkware
Sam's most iconic running gag is his gigantic drinkware. During Campaign 1 as Scanlan, he drank from a massive tankard, and taped stickers, pictures and text to the bottom that could be seen while he tipped it back to drink. However, while he played Taryon, he used a normal-sized stein. (The large tankard was supposed to be a proportionate size for Scanlan as a gnome and since Taryon is human, it no longer applied.[4]) Similarly, he acquired several giant flasks from fans during Campaign 2, in reference to the Flask of Perpetual Booze, and also taped jokes to it. He even taped objects to it, like a spinning wheel and a basketball hoop. During the premiere of Campaign 3, Sam unveiled his new giant drinkware: a rusty gas canister with a blackboard on which he can write in chalk. Critrole Stats has compiled a gallery of Sam's mugs, flasks and cans for every episode. Sam has stated that he never washed his mug or his flask and that drinking from them tastes kind of weird.

Shirt gag
In the "Clash at Daxio" (1x77) of the first campaign, Sam wore his first t-shirt with one of Matt's awkward faces on it, which would become a recurring theme in this and the next campaign. Matt took his revenge in "The Stalking Nightmare" (2x29), wearing the variant of the shirt but with Sam's face. Sam also began wearing shirts with embarrassing old pictures of the rest of the cast, starting with "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118).

During the second campaign, Sam had started the new shirt bit of wearing every shirt that was on him during the course of the first campaign in chronological order, with a few exceptions (after Sam gave away a few of them as prizes for a cosplay contest).[5])[6] He finally completed this bit in "Devoutness and Dicks" (2x107), when he wore the shirt from the Campaign 1 finale. Sam restarted all over again for the third campaign. CritRoleStats has compiled a gallery of all of Sam's shirts.

The Legend of Vox Machina[edit | edit source]

Sam is an executive producer for The Legend of Vox Machina. He also co-wrote original songs for his character Scanlan with the help of his brother in law, Peter Habib.

Player characters[edit | edit source]

See also: Player characters played by Sam Riegel

Main campaigns[edit | edit source]

One-shots and miniseries[edit | edit source]

Games played as game master[edit | edit source]

Other works[edit | edit source]

→ See also: Sam's IMDb profile
Sam has worked in Broadway theatre, where he appeared in Les Miserables as Gavroche when he was a child, also particapating in national tour, and was involved in the production of the Sound of Music. In high school he was in a do-op group singing fifties and sixties songs. Around that time he was also in a boy band called City Boyz that recorded either an EP or a single, and all the members wore Cavariccis and earrings. When Sam was in college, he was a part of an acapella group[7] called Academical Village People, because their niversity of Virginia was deemed by its founder, Thomas Jefferson, as an academical village.[8]

Sam began doing voice acting in 2001, and is best know for his roles as Donatello in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series and as Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attorney video game series. He is also a prolific a voice director and has worked on several series, such as Fallout New Vegas, Elena of Avalor and Ducktales. In 2018, he received the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program for his work on Danger & Eggs. He is also a writer and musician.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Sam Riegel, wearing the shirt from "Race to the Tower" (1x102).[art 2]

Sam Riegel was born in Washington, DC and grew up in the northern part of Washington for four years. Then the family moved to Arlington, Virginia, where Sam lived until he was 12 to 13 yearls old and moved to New York City. While attending the University of Virginia, Sam lived in Charlottesville. Some of Sam's family members are also from Virginia: his grandparents lived in Lexington, Virginia, and Quyen Tran, his future spouse, is from Fairfax, Virginia.[9]

As a kid, Sam used to collect comics, which assembled into a vast collections. At one point, Sam had every possible comic featuring Groo the Wanderer.[6]

While attending the university of Virigna, Sam was in an acapella group and arranged acapella music. After graduating, Sam continued working on music arrangments for other college acapella groups.[10] Sam also plays guitar at a beginner level, and has played a little bit of bass" in a band.[11]

Sam Riegel and Quyen Tran, an independent filmmaker, got married in Fairfax, Virginia.[9]. They have a daughter and son together, named Kestrel (born in circa 2014) and Maximus Riegel (born in circa 2012).[12] Their children had episodic roles in The Legend of Vox Machina (see Cast of The Legend of Vox Machina).

Sam worked as an assistant for "a couple of years" for an abstract painter Emily Mason. He also has called himself a wine snob, favoring Tuscan sangiovese wines (Brunello and Vino Nobile).[13]

On September 11, 2001, Sam and his wife Quyen witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center. They lived in an apartment nearby.[14]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Sam considers Samuel Brent to be his full first name and Oscar his middle name, since his mother wanted to call him Brent and his father wanted to call him Samuel. In fact, part of his family still refers to him as Brent.[15]
  • Sam and Liam often jokingly roleplay a romantic relationship with each other.[16][17][18]
  • Sam Riegel created "The Meta Gaming Pigeon" concept in "Midnight Espionage" (2x12), which later inspired the name of Critical Role's production company Metapigeon LLC.
  • In 2018, Sam, every week, retold the events of Critical Role as a bedtime story for his children.[19]
  • Sam's chosen drink for his Between the Sheets interview was a sidecar.
  • On Talks Machina, the host Brian Wayne Foster liked to "#ThankMyGuests" with names that are either mispronounced or wordplay that sounds close to their names. Here are the names for Sam Riegel:
  • Sam Rie-Gel
  • Sam Seagull
  • Spam Peehole
  • Jean Claude Van Sam Fecal
  • Slam Creedskull
  • Sham Beagle
  • Stan Smeagol
  • A Tad Evil
  • Uncle Sam's Eagle
  • Scram People
  • Scammin' Green Girl
  • Scamming Isn't Legal
  • Playing Small People
  • Flask Refill
  • Good Goblin is Nott Evil
  • Boomstick Non-Lethal

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Talks Machina #75: Live from San Diego Comic-Con 2018!" (TM2x27a) at 53:43.
  2. "Q&A and Battle Royale" (OSx03) at 1:33:47.
  3. "The Core Anvil" (1x108) at 4:20:37.
  4. "Talks Machina #13: A Bard's Lament & Daring Days" (TM1x86) at 1:19:32.
  5. "The Elephant in the Room" (1x72) at 26:56.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Fireside Chat with Sam Riegel" (Mx07) at 39:50.
  7. 'Critical Role' Cast Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions on Wired at 19:16.
  8. "Talks Machina #141: With Great Power..." (TM2x94) at 1:45.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Fireside Chat with Sam Riegel" (Mx07) at 48:02.
  10. "Fireside Chat with Sam Riegel" (Mx07) at 23:42.
  11. "Fireside Chat with Sam Riegel" (Mx07) at 51:46.
  12. "Fireside Chat with Sam Riegel" (Mx07) at 29:42. Sam used aliases for his kids, where Keanu is his son (four years old at the time) and Terminator his daughter (six years old at the time).
  13. Reddit AMA with Sam (July 2017).
  14. Between the Sheets with Sam Riegel
  15. "4-Sided Dive: Liam Laudna-Hands" (4SDx06) at 1:02:44.
  16. "Talks Machina #8: Raishan" (TM1x80) at 1:07:40.
  17. "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 2:50.
  18. "Talks Machina #136: Unwanted Reunions" (TM2x88) at 58:37.
  19. "Talks Machina #61: Lost & Found" (TM2x13) at 55:32.


  1. Photograph of Sam Riegel for Variety, by Robyn Von Swank (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. Sam Riegel on Twitter: "#shirtception continues...". June 22, 2017.