Matthew Mercer Pulls Off a Shocking Critical Role First

The following article contains spoilers for Critical Role Campaign 3, Episode 92.

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Off the wheels of Fresh Cut Grass’ explosive sacrifice, Critical Role audiences may have expected an emotional episode that saw Bells Hells picking up the literal and metaphorical scraps left behind by their smiley Aeormaton pal. And while the first half of Episode 92 carried on in this expected nature, Matthew Mercer instructed everyone to leave the table before the show’s ad break, which included dismissing himself as Dungeon Master. Much like last week, the second half of the episode was then dominated by high-stakes combat, but not with Bells Hells – with the Crown Keepers.  

Aabria Iyengar kicked down the doors to Critical Role’s studio and took a seat in the DM chair that Mercer had warmed up for her, leading her Crown Keepers for the first time since Exandria Unlimited: Kymal in 2022. Except this long-anticipated return to the other half of the story wasn’t arriving in the form of an Exandria Unlimited mini-campaign, making Thursday’s battle a Critical Role first. While outside Game Masters such as Iyengar and Dimension 20’s Brennan Lee Mulligan have previously been granted creative reign in Mercer’s Exandrian sandbox through miniseries, Episode 92 marked the first occasion in which someone other than Mercer assumed the DM role during a main campaign episode. Of course, Mercer remained at the table, but this time as a player.

The Vestige of Divergence totting Crown Keepers are comprised of Mercer’s Dariax Zaveon, Anjali Bhimani’s F’yra Rai, Aimee Carrero’s Opal, Erica Lindbeck’s Morrighan Ferus, Robbie Daymond’s Dorian Storm, and his brother Cyrus. Dorian’s one of Critical Role’s adventurers, alongside Orym and Fearne, who owns dual membership to Bells Hells and the Crown Keepers. Though Daymond last appeared in person as Dorian Storm during the Crown Keeper’s 2022 Kymal heist, his presence still looms large over the Campaign 3 table. The bard was among the absent friends that FCG conjured while enacting their heroic sacrifice in Episode 91, and he maintains a line of contact with Orym through Sending Stones.

One of Dorian and Orym’s last Sending Stone messages, before the Apogee Solstice disrupted communication magic in Exandria, carried the ominous warning that their mutual friend Opal’s was getting a little dark as a result of her connection to the Spider Queen. Iyengar picked up where that thread left off, drawing tears as she faced Carrero against her fellow Crown Keepers in a gripping PVP combat. Though Critical Role fans were beginning to experience déjà vu after the previous week’s lethal encounter, Iyengar cut off the episode on a cliffhanger that saw the Spider Queen exact complete control over Opal. If the bloodthirsty look in Iyengar’s eyes is to be believed, Critical Role‘s respite from further heartbreak may have only been delayed by one episode.


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Tara McCauley
Nerd at large, Tara McCauley's happiest playing or writing about tabletop role playing games. Tara joined The Escapist in October 2023 as a freelance contributor. She covers such TV shows as Fargo and games/fandoms like Dungeons & Dragons. In addition to The Escapist, Tara has gushed about her favorite pop culture topics at CBR, MXDWN, and Monstrous Femme. When she's not writing or rolling dice, Tara can be found catching up on her favorite sitcoms, curled up with a horror comic, or waxing poetic about the WNBA.