Critical Role campaign 3 is a certainty. We’ve heard enough hints and tidbits from the cast of Critical Role, the hit D&D podcast and web series, to know that another multi-year adventure featuring the core players is sure to happen again – though the when, where and how is still yet to be made public.
The second campaign of Critical Role ended in early June, bringing the adventures of the Mighty Nein to a close. While we are being treated to a new Critical Role mini-series (Exandria Unlimited), it’s only set to run for eight episodes, and will only act as something of a stop gap before Critical Role campaign 3 emerges down the line.
For all of the rumors, predictions, and best guesses as to the whereabouts of Critical Role campaign 3, read on below.
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Critical Role campaign 3: when will it happen?
Not immediately, we don’t think. With campaign 2 having just come to a close, we imagine the Critical Role team won’t be rushing to jump back into another year-spanning adventure just yet.
There was a three-month gap between the end of campaign 1 (October 2017) and the beginning of campaign 2 (January 2018), which suggests we might see a campaign 3 kick off as soon as September 2021. However, it’s worth noting that the second campaign was considerably longer than campaign 1, and we may well see more of a break this time around – especially because of the increased scale of the Critical Role franchise since its inception.
There’s now a charitable arm known as the Critical Role Foundation, a merchandising shop, a Darrington Press board game publisher, as well as spin-off shows like Talks Machina and Yee-Haw Game Ranch. There’s also, of course, the Vox Machina animated series, set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video in the near future, which may need focus from the Critical Role cast ahead of its launch on the streaming service (release date TBA).
Critical Role is a far bigger enterprise every year, and so we expect the team to need more of a breather between their bread-and-butter campaigns.
That’s further complicated by the emergence of Exandria Unlimited, a new mini-series hosted by Game Master Aabria Iyengar. While it’s only running for a handful of episodes, it does mark a new format for the Critical Role team, and a popular run may mean we see more short adventures in the coming months, piecing together choice parts of Exandria’s history, geography and mythology with a different cast of characters each time, without seeing the core Critical Role cast commence another open-world campaign just yet.
Speaking to Inverse, cast member Liam O’Brien confirmed that “We really want to get all our ducks in a row and make sure we’re ready to embark on the next year's long journey, so we’re using the summer months to chart the course [...] Exandria Unlimited [is] just one more way for us to flesh out and bring this universe of ours to life while involving more friends in the stories we tell.”
That “summer months” tidbit suggests we won’t be waiting until 2022 for a campaign 3 to be ready to go, then – while occasional mentions of a third campaign by the cast shows that new character creations are already well in the works (with Liam deciding Sam Riegel’s race-class combination, as usual).
Our best guess is that we’ll see a campaign 3 begin in late 2021, possibly November or December. Of course, given the complications above, there’s a chance it’ll extend beyond that, but January 2022 feels like the latest possible time it could kick off.
When will Critical Role campaign 3 be set?
Warning: there are some spoilers ahead for Critical Role campaign 2.
There was a significant time jump between the first and second campaigns, with the latter taking place around 20 years after the events of the former. The new Exandria Unlimited mini series is also taking place 10 years after the end of campaign 2.
It makes much more sense for each campaign to take place after the events of a previous one, to ensure continuity, prevent ‘prequel’ campaigns from messing up the timeline of later ones, and also allow player actions in early campaigns to have considered, long-term effects in successive stories.
Given the close of campaign 2, in which Matthew Mercer confirmed that the Mighty Nein managed to reintroduce the Warforged (‘Aeormaton’) race into the world of Exandria, we’re expecting campaign 3 will be set long enough afterwards that we can see the impact of that on the wider world – possibly even with a Warforged player character in the mix.
It’s likely that campaign 3 will be set on a new continent, based on prior precedent, though we will likely see some returning locations and characters too.
Tal’Dorei (campaign 1) and Wildemount (campaign 2) are both based in Eastern Exandria, but we could always see campaign 3 moving to the Western continent of Marquet (deserts and mountains, mainly), or even The Shattered Teeth – an archipelago of small islands south of Wildemount, behind a wall of fog known as the Fool’s Curtain. Given one of the highlights of the second campaign was its seafaring / piracy arc, a story set far from any large land masses could be a natural place to go.
What will happen to the Mighty Nein in campaign 3?
The cast of the Mighty Nein end on some curious notes, and it’ll be fascinating the see where they end up, if they do appear in campaign 3. Given hints about Jester traveling to the Feywild with the Traveler, she’d be an interesting character to meet there – while Kingsley Tealeaf’s journey to join the Revelry is a perfect opportunity to make him a future Plank King, if the campaign 3 cast end up in Darktow somehow.
However, we heard relatively little about Vox Machina in the second campaign, other than some indirect mentions or family member NPCs – and, at the very end, confirmation that Laura Bailey's Vex ends up as Coinmistress of the Tal’Dorei council – and we get the sense Mercer prefers to give the limelight fully to the new cast of characters in each campaign.
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