Updated 20 Apr 2023
Critical Role is a popular live-streamed D&D adventure, where dungeon master extraordinaire Matt Mercer leads a group of LA-based voice actors through epic adventures in a completely homebrewed campaign setting. It is now in its third campaign, with their first one encompassing an impressive 115 episodes, their second one 141 episodes strong and their third one still ongoing.
Thanks not only to Matt Mercer’s skills as a veteran D&D dungeon master, but also to the outstanding storytelling and acting performances by everyone involved, the show has gained a large global following of fans over the years, whom you can often hear being referred to as critters. The show’s second campaign setting, the continent of Wildemount on the world of Exandria, has now been added to the official D&D universe and got its own Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount release in book form. An animated series depicting the adventures of the Vox Machina gang from the first campaign is now in its second season on Amazon Prime, initially funded through a massively successful Kickstarter.
If you’re not familiar with Critical Role, you can read up on it on Wikipedia or watch it on YouTube (or alternatively on Twitch).
Just like every D&D game, it’s no surprise that Critical Role heavily relies on dice rolls as an integral part of the game mechanics, and while most of the cast seem to have more of a utilitarian view on dice, they do have their own resident dice hoarder among them — the wonderful Laura Bailey, who owns a dice bag the size of a giant pumpkin and puts her misbehaving dice in dice jails. And since Laura Bailey is also in charge of the range of merchandise for the show, it wasn’t long before we saw custom-made dice sets hit the Critical Role merch store.
Critical Role Set
Critical Role’s very first dice set was released in April 2017 when the show was still deep in the throes of their Tal’dorei campaign: a simple opaque black set of polymer dice with red ink and the Critical Role logo on the 20-face of the d20. Sold in the Geek & Sundry store, it came with a black velvet bag with the Critical Role logo on it. While the set was restocked a few times back in 2017, it is now no longer available. Interestingly, Chinese dice manufacturer Bescon listed these dice on their website, so it is likely that they were custom-made by Bescon for Geek & Sundry.
2017 was also the year Critical Role started their tradition of releasing limited sets of dice for their GenCon live shows, which were only sold at the convention (with limited overstock sold later in the Geek & Sundry merch store). The 2017 GenCon set was a reverse colour theme from their first set: opaque red polymer dice with black ink, and the CR logo as the 20-face. Coined “The Critter Collection”, it came with a black velvet bag with the Critical Role logo on it. This set is now out of print and will most likely not be remade.
Vox Machina d20s
In October 2017, Critical Role mixed it up a little, honouring their campaign 1 adventuring group Vox Machina with unique, character-themed d20s. Every character had their own die with their symbol on the 20 face that was either tied to their class or something significant from the character’s backstory. Interesting piece of trivia: Sam Riegel had specifically requested to make his die difficult to read, and indeed, the ink on the Scanlan die is almost the same colour as the glitter inside, which does make it hard to make out the numbers!
The d20s set was available in the Geek & Sundry store for a limited time, and became out of print for several years. However, many new fans who discovered the show in the past two years were after these dice, and secondary market prices soared, eventually surpassing the $250 mark. In August 2019, critters finally had every reason to rejoice, because Critical Role re-released the VM d20 sets with some minor modifications to colouring and mix.
The version 2 set is very similar, but if you look closely, you will see that the Scanlan die now has darker ink, the Vex die doesn’t have as much teal, and the Vax die mix is somewhat muddier. The Percy die is a bit cloudier, and the Pike and Matt dice are slightly darker, but overall the differences are not very pronounced.
The second run of the Vox Machina d20s is being restocked intermittently in the Critical Role merch shops after quickly selling out upon their initial release.
Campaign 2 of Critical Role made its debut in early 2018, and GenCon 2018 brought another highlight to the fans — another live show. Just like the previous year, they released a GenCon-exclusive set of dice, this time a metal set in a copper colour with black ink and the d20 Critical Role logo. Con visitors were able to purchase this set at the con, and remaining stock was made available in the online store later. It came with a dark blue velvet bag that didn’t have a logo on it but had a metal Critical Role pendant fastened to the drawstring. This set is also out of print now and is not likely to be remade.
It wasn’t long after GenCon that Critical Role continued their dice journey with a set to honor campaign 2, naming it Wildemount after the continent that the 2nd campaign was set on. It may have been the GenCon 2018 set that inspired them to include copper as one of the recurring colours associated with Wildemount, adding dark blue rather than black to the colour theme. The Wildemount set is comprised of dark blue polymer dice with copper ink, the d20 logo and the familiar dark blue velvet bag with pendant. The set was available regularly in the Critical Role store for a while (first announced August 2018), and was restocked several times. Interestingly, there appear to be different versions with different moulds out there, presumably from different runs, potentially even from different manufacturers.
In September 2022, Critical Role offered a reprint of the Wildemount set in their online stores, the mould used for the reprint looks to be either the same or very similar to the second run of the the set (second photo below).
Animated Vox Machina Kickstarter
When Critical Role announced their Kickstarter for an animated series of the Legends of Vox Machina in March 2019, the internet went crazy. The Kickstarter raised over $2 million on the first day alone, and wrapped up in April with a total of over $11 million dollars raised. The $100 backing tier included, among other things, a set of purple Legend of Vox Machina polymer dice with two d20s with the Critical Role logo on one of the d20s and the Vox Machina logo on the second one.
These are Kickstarter exclusives, delivery to backers began towards the end of 2021. Critical Role started selling the overage from the Kickstarter in the Critical Role merch store in October 2022.
Going with their tradition to release a new exclusive set for GenCon, the 2019 set stayed in line with the copper and blue Wildemount theme. The copper-coloured metal dice with dark blue enamel faces and the already established d20 logo came with a faux leather bag and pendant. As with all the GenCon dice, they were exclusively available for con attendees, although remaining stock was later offered in the Critical Role shop (in February 2020). New for GenCon 2019 was an oversized polymer d20 (36mm) in dark blue with subtle silver glitter and copper ink that Laura Bailey got very excited over and promptly used during the episode where she first presented the chonky d20 to critters.
It wouldn’t be Critical Role if they weren’t constantly upping their game, so in November 2019 we left the continent of Wildemount and returned to the home of campaign 1, with Critical Role’s first semi-precious stone dice set made from opalite. The set brings back memories of Vox Machina and their home base of Whitestone, the city-state in the northeast of Tal’dorei. The opalite dice with engraved gold-inked numbers and the logo on the d20 are said to imitate the glass-like substance residuum that is created out of refined whitestone, which gave the city its name.
Complimenting the signature semi-translucent shimmer of opalite, the set comes in a cream-coloured velvet box that has a golden Whitestone crest on the lid and the Critical Role logo at the bottom, with the dice held securely in a light purple inlay. The opalite set was being sold in both the US and UK Critical Role shops at a price point of $74.99 and £74.99 respectively.
In August 2021, Critical Role released another oversized d20, much like the one they premiered at GenCon 2019, only this one was semi-translucent purple with gold flakes and gold ink. Sized at 36mm, it’s quite chonky, and like the GenCon one, it has a Critical Role logo on the face of the 20.
Another oversized d20 (also 36mm) was added to the CR line-up in October 2021 — this time in a Mighty Nein design. Interestingly, this die was not actually sold and carried by Critical Role themselves but out-licensed to USAOPOLY (a.k.a. the OP).
Some of the official product photos are pretty misleading in terms of what it actually looks like. The die is made from acrylic in a fairly standard orange pearl design with white ink and the Mighty Nein logo on the 20-face.
Xhorhas Dice Set
The next addition to the Critical Role dice set lineup was released in April 2023, this time a somewhat fancier metal set with raised rainbow coloured anodised numbers. The dice are pretty heavy zinc alloy dice with a coat of black paint (which I could imagine will start wearing off over time with regular use) and the numbers are significantly raised in a way that I think it actually makes them borderline unusable. Particularly the d20 tends to wobble on the numbers and may roll off of the initially rolled number here and there.
This set comes in a dark purple metal tin with a foam inlay and a pastel lavender cardboard sleeve around it. The lid of the tin has a Xhorhas print on it that’s reminiscent of an 80’s disco design to go with the vibrant rainbow coloured numbers. If you peel back the thin black foam inlay on the inside of the lid, there’s a pun printed there that says: Our house is Xhorhaus. 🙂
Vox Machina Dice Sets
The Vox Machina dice journey continued in November and December 2020, when Critical Role partnered with well known and much loved dice brand Die Hard Dice (DHD). Using the so-called Avalore dice mould that is exclusive to DHD, a full polymer polyset was produced for each of the Vox Machina characters.
The designs of the full polysets are, for the most part, similar to the original Vox Machina d20s. The only sets that are strikingly different are the Grog, Keyleth and Percy sets. While the original Grog d20 was half opaque black, half opaque red, the new polyset is matte white with a dirty brown finish that gives them a vintage or used look (reminiscent of the HD Dice Ancient design). The Keyleth polyset is a mix of semi-translucent green and glittery brown material. The new Percy set clear translucent material with dark purple glittery swirls inside. The other sets are fairly similar to the old versions, most with fine glitter rather than a pearl effect.
A Taryon Darrington set was added in March 2022. Design-wise these are similar to HD’s Marble style in teal and purple with little specks of silver foil mixed in, which gives them an unusual gravelly look.
Each of the d20s has a logo in place of the 20 that signifies the character’s class or something related to their personality (same exact logos as the original VM d20s). All sets come with a faux leather bag with embossed Critical Role logo in a colour that matches the dice or the character.
In June 2022, a new Legend of Vox Machina dice set dropped (first in the US store) that’s slightly different than the other Vox Machina sets, the look is pearly gold and white material with purple ink, similar to the Chessex Gemini or HD Blend designs. The accompanying bag has a more velvety design and the dice don’t use the Avalore mould of the other VM sets. The logo on the d20 are the “VM” insignia that are also used on one of the d20s for the Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter dice set.
Mighty Nein Dice Sets
In March 2022, the first Mighty Nein dice sets were rolled out in the Critical Role stores, starting with three sets for Caduceus, Mollymauk and Yasha. These sets are in the same mould as the Vox Machina dice sets, the Die Hard Dice exclusive Avalore mould.
The Caduceus set is a layer-like translucent mix of purple, teal and pink with a fungus logo on the d20 and white ink. The Mollymauk set is a mix of marble-like material in dark purple and black with subtle glitter and red ink. The d20 has a sun and moon logo. The Yasha set is an interesting nebula-style mix of opaque black and white in clear dice with silver ink. The d20 has a harp logo.
Beauregard, Fjord and Nott sets were added in October 2022. Perhaps a bit unusually, the Nott polyset includes a d2 resin coin that has button holes on one side (not actual holes) and the Nott logo on the other side.
The Beauregard set is a mix of glittery semi-translucent teal and blue with white ink, the logo on the d20 is a punching fist. The Fjord set is a translucent ocean green with gold flakes and gold ink. The Nott set is a two layer design in a yellowish olive green colour theme with an olive green translucent layer with glitter and a translucent teal-green with gold flakes and gold ink.
In February 2023, three more sets were released for Caleb, Jester and the Traveler. The Caleb set, not surprisingly, is very reminiscent of fiery embers, with a translucent orange-red base that has flecks of gold foiled dispersed throughout the dice. The ink is orange and the logo on the d20 is a flame that could also be read as a sitting cat (i.e. Frumpkin). The Jester set has a distinct “Barbie” vibe to it, with a pink translucent base and flecks of iridescent foil glittering in shades of blue, gree and pink all throughout the dice. The ink is pastel blue and the logo on the d20 is a cupcake (I’m guessing a dick would have been a tad inappropriate). The Traveler dice are translucent green with fine gold glitter and very subtle swirls of pearly green inside. The logo on the d20 is supposed to signify an open doorway with path leading into the distance, the ink is gold.
It is not only from Critical Role themselves that you can get Critical Role themed dice. The community of critters is very creative, which doesn’t just extend to fanart and fan fiction. Crafty critters have designed or handmade dice connected to the show, some of which are available on Etsy or other platforms. The list below is not exhaustive, but here are a few examples.
|Released||Product||Material and design||Sold by|
|Apr 2017||Critical Role polyset||Polymer opaque black w/red, CR logo on d20||Geek & Sundry merch store|
|Aug 2017||GenCon 2017 polyset||Polymer milky red w/black, CR logo on d20||GenCon merch stall, briefly in May 2018 in Geek & Sundry merch store|
|Oct 2017||Vox Machina d20s (version 1)||Polymer d20s in different designs with character logos||Geek & Sundry merch store|
|Aug 2018||GenCon 2018 polyset||Metal dice copper w/black, CR logo on d20||GenCon merch stall, briefly in Apr 2019 in Critical Role merch store|
|Aug 2018||Wildemount polyset||Polymer opaque blue w/copper, CR logo on d20||Critical Role merch store|
|Mar 2019||Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter polyset||Polymer marble purple w/white, CR logo on one d20, VM logo on 2nd d20||Kickstarter ran in Mar 2019, dice delivered to backers end of 2021/early 2022, overage sold in Critical Role merch store in Oct 2022, MSRP: $34.99|
|Aug 2019||Reprint of Vox Machina d20s (version 2)||Polymer d20s in different designs with character logos||Critical Role merch store|
MSRP: initially $19.99, now $24.99
|Aug 2019||GenCon 2019 polyset||Metal dice copper w/blue enamel, CR logo on d20||GenCon merch stall, briefly in Feb 2020 in Critical Role merch store|
|Aug 2019||GenCon oversized d20 (36mm)||Polymer opaque blue w/copper and silver glitter, CR logo||GenCon merch stall, briefly in Feb 2020 in Critical Role merch store|
|Nov 2019||Whitestone polyset||Opalite gemstone w/gold, CR logo on d20||Critical Role merch store|
|Nov 2019||Vox Machina polysets: Vax’ildan, Vex’ahlia, Grog||Polymer polysets in different designs in the DHD Avalore mould, d20 with character logo||Critical Role merch store|
MSRP: initially $15.99, now $19.99
|Dec 2019||Vox Machina polysets: Pike, Percy, Keyleth, GM||Polymer polysets in different designs in the DHD Avalore mould, d20 with character logo||Critical Role merch store|
MSRP: initially $15.99, now $19.99
|Aug 2021||Critical Role oversized d20 (36mm)||Polymer purple & gold flakes w/gold||Critical Role merch store|
|Feb 2021||Vox Machina polyset: Scanlan||Polymer polyset in the DHD Avalore mould, d20 with character logo||Critical Role merch store|
MSRP: initially $15.99, now $19.99
|Oct 2021||USAOPOLY Mighty Nein oversized d20 (36mm)||Polymer pearl orange w/white, Mighty Nein logo||Retail stores worldwide (USAOPOLY third party license)|
|Mar 2022||Vox Machina polyset: Taryon||Polymer polyset in the DHD Avalore mould, d20 with character logo||Critical Role merch store|
MSRP: initially $15.99, now $19.99
|Mar 2022||Mighty Nein polysets: Caduceus, Mollymauk, Yasha||Polymer polysets in different designs in the DHD Avalore mould, d20 with character logo||Critical Role merch store|
|Jun 2022||Legend of Vox Machina polyset||Pearl white & gold w/purple, VM logo on d20||Critical Role merch store|
|Sep 2022||Reprint of Wildemount polyset||Polymer opaque blue w/copper, CR logo on d20||Critical Role merch store|
|Oct 2022||Mighty Nein polysets: Beauregard, Fjord, Nott||Polymer polysets in different designs in the DHD Avalore mould, d20 with character logo||Critical Role merch store|
|Feb 2023||Mighty Nein polysets: Caleb, Jester, the Traveler||Polymer polysets in different designs in the DHD Avalore mould, d20 with character logo||Critical Role merch store|
|Apr 2023||Xhorhas metal polyset||Zinc alloy black metal set with raised rainbow coloured numbers||Critical Role merch store|