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This D&D BEYOND Ad is Explosive Thanks to a Special (Effects) Critter
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This D&D BEYOND Ad is Explosive Thanks to a Special (Effects) Critter

Critical Role is Geek & Sundry’s live Dungeons & Dragons show featuring Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer and his troupe of fellow voice actors. Catch them every Thursday night at 7:00 PM PT on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and on Alpha.

Sam Riegel recently challenged Critical Role viewers to add special effects to his September 20 D&D Beyond ad. Well, in not so many words, but we all knew those green tracking markers would lead to something incredible—and they did. Critter and video editor Kelly Joule, better known to some fellow fans as CritGem, stepped up and added mind-blowing (and hair-blowing) special effects and shared them with the world.

Kelly has been a fan of Critical Role since 2015, but a fan of our favorite nerdy-ass voice actors even longer. She originally found out about the show at New York City Comic Con that year thanks to a little luck and an empty stomach.

“They were doing a panel on the main entrance floor by a fandom food truck,” Kelly recalls. “I was getting on and going up the escalator when I heard the announcer say ‘Laura Bailey,’ and then I turned my head I saw my favorite female voice actress, just right there less than 15 feet away from me! Then they announced Travis and Sam and the others and I was freaking out! So I quickly went down the other escalator and speed walked over… […] When I sat down to watch, the rest was history.”


Kelly watched all 115 episodes of the first campaign, and just as the second started to ramp up, she realized she could put the video editing she studied in college to good use.

“When Campaign 2 excitingly started for Critical Role, in the middle of the night it just randomly came to me, ‘Hey, you’ve seen a bunch of YouTube parodies of other shows before, why not practice your editing and make funny videos for one of your favorite shows?’ So I got up at 3AM and made the first episode in the middle of the night!”

And so her series “Critical Role Crack” started entertaining Critters worldwide. (“It’s a term YouTube people use for silly, fast-paced parodies of their favorite properties,” says Kelly, “like ‘crack’ing a joke. At least, that’s how I choose to see the name.”)

With over 15,000 subscribers, it’s obvious Kelly’s frenetic and joyful humor is a critical hit. She’s a master at catching the small, often hilarious moments between the cast that viewers might otherwise miss.

She turned her editing and VFX skills to Sam’s D&D Beyond ad during a couple more sleepless nights.

“As for the Sam video, it took me 2 days because I only had access to the video Friday evening, with my video being completed on 1AM Sunday,” she says. “If I’d had more time I would have taken it. Still, the positive reception has been astounding and unexpected considering it was such a rush job for me. I bit off way more than I could chew, but it was worth it!”

Kelly doesn’t consider herself an artist or a crafter, so she’s happy to contribute to the Critical Role community the best way she knows how.

“These people are heroes to me, and have been since I was a teenager,” she says. “They are genuinely hilarious, good hearted, talented people that have been the voices of my favorite characters in my favorite media forms. I know it’s not good to idolize people, they are only human like the rest of us, but I can’t deny how much I’ve looked up to them… That’s what inspired me to make this series, and that’s what inspires me to continue it.”


  • Catch up from the very beginning of the first campaign, and keep up with the new one, with the Critical Role Podcast.
  • Tune into the official aftershow, Talks Machina, live on Alpha and Twitch, Tuesdays at 7pm PT.
  • And don’t miss new episodes of Critical Role LIVE on Alpha and Twitch, Thursdays at 7pm PT.

All Images: Critical Role / Kelly Joule 

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