I’ve spent a good six hours so far playing Elden Ring, the latest high-concept action RPG by FromSoftware, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. I’m a Tarnished, I guess? I have a goat horse? Something about fingers? Having a great time, mind you, but it’s all very ephemeral. That’s why I think, this Tuesday night, I’m just going to let Critical Role’s Matt Mercer fill in the gaps for me. He’s hosting a special one-shot tabletop adventure on Twitch, and it sounds like just the kind of patter to turn on while I’m running around a swamp with a giant longsword.
Critical Role, of course, is the wildly popular actual play troupe co-created by Mercer and voice actors Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, and Tavis Willingham. The team is celebrating its seventh anniversary playing Dungeons & Dragons together later this month, and also is riding high following the success of the first season of its Prime Streaming animated series. Mercer is at the absolute height of his power as a game master, and the show — sponsored by Elder Ring publisher Bandai Namco — promises to be something special.
Whoa… ok, this is probably the coolest promo box I’ve ever received. Thank you so much @BandaiNamcoUS for the amazing #EldenRing box!! Hope you aren’t too mad about how weird we get in the CR One-shot this coming week! pic.twitter.com/nlZhB4Q3xa— Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) February 28, 2022
Joining Mercer will be familiar faces Ray and Riegel. Also down to clown on the terrifically opaque game world — created by game director Hidetaka Miyazaki with a little help from Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin — are some other highly experienced role-players. They include Krystina Arielle (Star Wars The High Republic Show, Dimension 20, and Into The Mother Lands), Brennan Lee Mulligan (College Humor, Dimension 20), and actor Alexander Ward.
This isn’t the first time that Critical Role has run one-shots inspired by video games; an adventure based on Diablo aired during last year’s Blizzcon. The Elden Ring one-shot kicks off Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. PST on Twitch and YouTube, and will be available for replay starting Thursday, and as a podcast beginning Tuesday, March 8.