Who is Travis Willingham playing in Critical Role Campaign 3?
If you care about spoilers, don’t read this post if you haven’t watched Critical Role Campaign 3 yet, particularly episode 3, because we’re going to be talking about Travis Willingham, his somewhat trollish character Sir Bertrand Bell, and what will happen in the campaign from here. If you aren’t caught up, you can watch Campaign 3 episode 3 on YouTube right now and come back to this post when you’re done.
Okay? Okay! Good! Glad we’re all on the same page. Now let’s talk about Bertrand Bell and who exactly Travis is playing in Critical Role Campaign 3.
Sir Bertrand Bell was just the beginning
The end of episode 3 and the (likely) death of Sir Bertrand Bell was definitely was a bit of a shock. I won’t say it was a massive shock, because I think a lot of us wondered if Travis was trolling us with the inclusion of Sir Bertrand Bell in the party, and now we know, he kind of was with the assistance of DM Matthew Mercer:
Sooooo that was fun! Another little bit of a glance at what led to the end if tonight’s session: Travis wanted his C3 character to join in a little bit down the road (not unlike many classic JRPGs), but it led to an issue… I wanted Travis at the table and present for the first episode at least or more!
When given the option to create a character, he was inspired to bring Sir Bertrand Bell back for this purpose, and we discussed the means of his exit. Travis proposed the “grim end”, but agreed he would not know how or when and such, we anchored Bertrand into the story and watched where things went! Do not fret… Travis will return in the near future with his “true” C3 character, and it is gonna be a BLAST to see the paths collide!
It’s not really fair to say it was a troll, exactly, but Travis wanted to introduce his character to the party after some time had passed, and as such, he and Matt came up with the idea of bringing Sir Bertrand back for the start of the campaign and giving the “grim end” that we saw at the end of the episode.
Introducing a character like Bertrand, grounding him in the party in the way that they did is fascinating to me on a lot of levels. We’d met Sir Bertrand before, back in the original Search for Grog one-shot set after Campaign 1, and he served as a bridge between campaigns, his presence rooting the new campaign firmly in Critical Role lore. That’s something we’ve seen with other characters like Laudna who hails from Whitestone in Tal’Dorei, and the Exandria Unlimited trio of Fearne, Dorain, and Oryn whom we came to know through their own mini-series — which also had plenty of call-backs to Campaign 1 — leading into this.
While Sir Bertrand wasn’t exactly a powerhouse fighter, he did serve to introduce the party to Lord Eshteross, who seems poised to become the party’s patron and employer, playing a pivotal role in setting up Campaign 3. Plus, it was cool to see an older character in a D&D party.
The idea of basically handing your DM carte blanche to kill you and agreeing to not even know when or where it’s going to happen like that is also pretty intense, and I dig it.
But now we’re left with a bit of a mystery on our hands — is Sir Bertrand actually dead, and if he is, what will Travis be playing next — and how long will we have to wait to find out?
Who will Travis be playing in Campaign 3?
We probably won’t find out who Travis is playing immediately. Frankly, if Sir Bertrand is dead — which seems to be the case, based on Matthew Mercer’s tweet thread — I expect the next session will be the group discovering this information and responding to it. I don’t expect to see Travis at all, save perhaps for a death’s door confession if the party finds him in time for one — we didn’t actually see him make any death saves or anything like that. Plus, we know that whatever Travis ends up playing, it was intended for him to be introduced later, and Matt specifically calls their meeting a “collision course” implying that there may be interesting conflicts between Travis’ new character and Sir Bertrand Bell’s Sorcerous Swords (not their actual name) when they meet up.
So, what will Travis be playing and what will those conflicts be? I have no idea. But we know Travis likes to switch it up — he went from Grog, a big dumb Goliath Barbarian with a 6 int score to Fjord, a charismatic and cunning Half-Orc Warlock/Paladin between campaigns 1 and 2. I’d expect a pure caster this time, but both Marisha (Laudna) and Laura (Imogen) seem to have the caster role covered, with Dorian, Fearne, and FCG as the support casters with Ashton and Oryn handling the melee role in different ways. This doesn’t mean Travis couldn’t decide to play any of those options, of course — in any game, what you want to do should always trump party composition. But still, this group has played together for a long time and they’re likely thinking about creating parties and characters that work together.
I’m going to speculate a bit on potential classes we might see Travis play. It feels likely that, due to his being introduced later, Travis will be playing a native of Marquet, but that covers a lot of options in terms of D&D races. I don’t expect his next character to be Human, just because that would be two Humans in a row. Maybe an Aeormaton from the end of Campaign 2? Probably not, but I can dream. So what might the class be?
- An Artificer of some kind. Artificers are cool, we haven’t seen one in CR yet, and it would be fun to see his interactions with Fresh Cut Grass. This would go really well with the possible Aeormaton concept.
- A Rogue. They’re very useful and Travis hasn’t played one in any of the campaigns to date.
- With the added focus on homebrew subclasses for both Ashton and Fresh Cut Grass, perhaps a Blood Hunter, another original class from Matt Mercer — and one that we haven’t seen get a lot of playtime due to certain events in Campaign 2.
- A Ranger would be something we haven’t seen in a while, and they do have a neat new subclass from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons.
Obviously, though, this is all just speculation. It’s clear that Travis enjoyed playing Bertrand as a foil and a bit of a charlatan — if he decides to lean into that kind of role in the party, a Bard, especially if Dorian doesn’t stick around, could work. Another possibility that comes to mind is that Dorian, Fearne, and Oryn are looking for someone — perhaps Travis’ character will be introduced as either someone who could help them with their search, or perhaps even be revealed as the subject of their quest trying to avoid them.
I’m very excited to see the next few episodes. Still, I’ll miss Sir Bertrand. Pour one out for ol’ Barry.
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