Fans of Critical Role have more to look forward to in 2021. The popular streaming roleplay experience is set to launch Darrington Press, a new publishing arm “further establishing Critical Role’s dedication to the wonder and positivity that comes from storytelling.”
The company will feature games inside and outside of Exandria, the world created by Darrington Press Creative Advisor, Critical Role’s Chief Creative Officer, and Game Master, Matthew Mercer. At the helm of this new venture is Ivan Van Norman. As co-owner of Hunters Entertainment (Alice is Missing, Altered Carbon, Outbreak: Undead), Van Norman has been at the forefront of tabletop games and media content for more than a decade. He has also served as consultant to Wizards of the Coast and Hersch Games (Taboo), as a producer of board and RPG content for several digital media projects, and as a game producer on Wil Wheaton’s “TableTop.”
When asked what fans can expect from Darrington Press, Van Norman shared:
“To develop and explore analog gaming (board/card/RPG) both in and outside of the world of Critical Role. Our first game, Uk’otoa, pays homage to Travis Willimgahm’s half-Orc character Fjord, but it is also a tactical semi-coop card game where you slowly remove tiles (your boat) as the Sea Leviathan consumes it as well as the sailors on board.”
He continued, “I had the honor of being around the fine people behind Critical Role since it was first conceived. I actually remember watching the first stream of Critical Role (my board game show on the channel was on right beforehand I believe). It’s been a journey to watch them grow into the powerhouse they’ve become. Honestly, I’m humbled to be included. Simply put, I love the spirit, passion, and people behind this company. They are doing amazing things in this world, and I’m grateful to have even a small part in it through Darrington Press.”
Slated for release in 2021, the company has four games ready to launch. Read the synopses of each here:
A battle for life and death on the high Lucidian seas! This flagship title from Darrington Press is a tactical game of semi-cooperative card play as factions of sailors vie to be the last claimed by the raging sea leviathan Uk’otoa. As the ship slowly falls into the ocean, you’ll have to run, push, and sacrifice others to win! Fans of Critical Role know Uk’otoa as the ex-patron of warlock Fjord (played by Travis Willingham). Who could say whether these tales hold any truth? Fjord isn’t telling. Uk’otoa is suitable for ages 12+, is meant for 3-5 players and consists of 30-45 minutes of gameplay. Uk’otoa is created by Jeb Havens (Burrows, Mother Sheep, You Don’t Know My Life!), with additional game design by Gabriel Hicks (Roll20, Paizo, Mythic Grove), art by Critter Hannah Friederichs, Uk’otoa Sculpt by Niklas Norman (Runewars, Imperial Assault, Fallout: The Board Game) and layout by Vee Hendro (Good Society: A Jane Austen RPG, Visigoths vs Mall Goths, and Lost Roads).
Critical Role Adventures
Embark on your own journey through Exandria with Critical Role Adventures! Play as the upstart adventurers Vox Machina and overcome treacherous challenges. This cooperative legacy-lite campaign game uses a unique narrative social, and combat mechanic, luring you back session after session. Within this enormous box, you’ll find a host of hidden treasures and a rich storybook to guide you through thrilling combat, dynamic character growth, and tales worthy of the name Vox Machina.
Syndicult is an original modern magic roleplaying game designed by Matthew Mercer in which mob families jealously guard secrets and battle it out for power on the city streets. Featuring a simple storytelling dice mechanic, Syndicult is a low magic world where all bets are off.
Guardians of Matrimonia
Fight the monsters, save the party! Guardians of Matrimonia is a cooperative card game where players have pre-built decks that are pitted against a deck of monsters (party crashers). If your deck runs out, everyone loses. But if you battle your way through the entire party crasher deck, everyone wins!
Van Norman has trouble picking his favorite, but the producer explained, “That’s difficult, as they’re all my tiny cardboard and paper children. Right now, I’m excited for Uk’otoa as I’ve been wanting to see this particular game design in the world for a while now. And I’m really excited to see it finally off to the ball with its beautiful Exandrian dress on.”
Head to Critical Role’s website for more and stay tuned for updates on Darrington Press and its upcoming games.