Critical Role ventures back to the Calamity with a new run of Exandria Unlimited
Critical Role announced this week that Campaign 3 will be taking a monthlong break starting at the end of May for yet another installment of Exandria Unlimited, titled Exandria Unlimited: Calamity. Unlike last summer’s version which took place immediately before Campaign 3 (and featured characters still going strong in the Campaign), this version of ExU will be going back a thousand years to the Calamity — a seminal event in the history of Exandria whose effects are still being felt a millennium later.
Despite the retention of the name Exandria Unlimited, this is a different cast from last time. Prior Game Master Aabria Iyengar will be a player this time, and the new Game Master is fellow Dimension 20 member and veteran of the Upright Citizens Brigade Brennan Lee Mulligan. Also coming over from Dimension 20 is the comedian and actor Lou Wilson, while L.A. by Night guest Luis Carazo will be the final new addition to the cast.
Three new Critical Role regulars will join ExU this time: Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, and Travis Willingham, leaving Taliesen Jaffe and Laura Bailey as the only members of the core team not to have a chance in an ExU campaign yet. Matt Mercer’s role (outside crafting the world that is being played in) is unknown, but he will not be a player this time.
When gods collide, mortals fall
The Age of Arcanum both preceded and led to the Calamity, and that’s when the campaign will be taking place. The Age of Arcanum was characterized by experimental and wondrous magics (flying cities, constructs, and new life-forms such as minotaurs), necromancy, and the desire by some to challenge the gods themselves. Taking place in Avelir the City of Crowns, the heroes will attempt to root out a corruption in the city that foretells disaster for Exandria.
When is a big question, as the Calamity itself lasts for over a century and the events of the Age of Arcanum directly leading to it took place over many decades. This gives the Critical Role creative team a lot of freedom with setting the stage for the story. Will it take place before the release of the Betrayer Gods or after they’ve started working in secret to corrupt mortals? Vecna and the Raven Queen were both important figures in the first Campaign whose origins date to the Age of Arcanum — will they make an appearance, or possibly even feature as a main opponent?
Avelir itself is not previously known — which is not surprising, since a lot of knowledge of the Age of Arcanum was lost during the Calamity. An intriguing possibility is that it is actually the city whose pre-Calamity ruins lie beneath Ank’Harel (known as Caer Marrow to those residents), which features in the published adventure Call of the Netherdeep. If so, the Netherdeep and its eldritch denizens may be making an appearance. Caer Marrow isn’t the only surviving location from the days of the Calamity so this is merely speculation.
Regardless of when or where Exandria Unlimited: Calamity takes place, it should provide intriguing insights into Exandria’s past. With a notable and popular GM in Brennan Lee Mulligan conducting the game, this installment of ExU should be quite entertaining as well.
Exandria Unlimited: Calamity premieres on Thursday May 26 at 7pm PDT.
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