Critical Role, the company that built itself on livestreaming Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, has teamed up again with Wizards of the Coast — the official publisher of D&D — for a big new adventure due out next year.
The book “Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep” is inspired by the campaigns of CR’s live play series and is being designed in collaboration with Critical Role dungeon master Matthew Mercer. It’s set to be released March 15, 2022, priced at $49.95.
The seven-chapter book is the first hardcover D&D adventure set in the world of Critical Role’s Exandria. Wizards of the Coast and Critical Role previously partnered on 2020’s “Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount” sourcebook for the continent that was the setting for CR’s Campaign 2.
“Call of the Netherdeep” is the latest project for Critical Role, which has been very busy of late. CR is set to launch their yearslong third campaign on Oct. 21. Next February, CR’s first animated series — “The Legend of Vox Machina,” adapted from the first Critical Role campaign — is set to premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Beginning in the Wastes of Xhorhas, “Call of the Netherdeep” leads adventurers to the oasis city of Ank’Harel on the continent of Marquet, and from there into an underwater realm of gloom, corruption and sorrow known as the Netherdeep — described as “a terrifying cross between the Far Realm and the deep ocean.”
“My co-leads, Matthew Mercer and James Haeck, have crafted a story that feels true to Critical Role while also being something that all D&D fans can enjoy,” said Chris Perkins, one of the lead Dungeons & Dragons game design architects at Wizards of the Coast. “The story has depth, and there’s a wealth of setting information in this book for all the Critters out there.”
Mercer added, “Getting to bring a direct adventure book within Exandria to life is really such an exciting thing, especially exploring ideas and elements I’ve never been able to bring to a campaign myself yet.”
“Call of the Netherdeep” includes new creatures and magic items, a poster map of Ank’Harel, and introduces new mechanics for a rival party of nonplayer characters (NPCs). The adventure takes players from levels 3-12 and features all-new art depicting Exandria from several top creators of Critical Role fan art. Many elements of the storyline tie into the themes of previous Critical Role campaigns.
The bulk of the book is, of course, aimed of at dungeon masters and includes tips for DMs to prepare players to build characters who are a good fit for the adventure, Perkins said. He declined to detail the new monsters that will appear in the new D&D adventure. New magic items in “Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep” will let players breathe underwater and survive the deep pressures of the deep-sea world.
“Because the Netherdeep is a novel location, it has some unique denizens,” Perkins said. “There’s something abnormal about the Netherdeep.”
“Call of the Netherdeep” is an entirely new adventure, designed to exist in the same world as Critical Role’s campaigns, but “it doesn’t have to dovetail with our story,” Mercer said, noting that CR has not discovered the Netherdeep in its adventures to date. “It ties into the lore of the world and plays into the themes we love playing on the livestream,” Mercer added.