It’s not a bad time to be a fan of the hit Dungeons & Dragons real-play podcast Critical Role. Season three begins in less than two weeks (on October 21, specifically) and the first official D&D guide to the fantasy world of Exandria was released just this past March. But soon you’ll be able to experience the first official Critical Role adventure from the pod’s Dungeon Master himself.
Call of the Netherdeep was co-designed by Matthew Mercer, who’s been running Critical Role since its inception in 2015. If you’re already a fan and the name Netherdeep is unfamiliar to you, don’t worry — given that it’s not even in the Critical Role wiki, it seems like an entirely new area of Exandria to explore, and according to the official description it sounds intense:
“Beginning in the Wastes of Xhorhas, Call of the Netherdeep leads adventurers to the glimmering oasis-city of Ank’Harel on the continent of Marquet, and from there into a sunken realm of gloom, corruption, and sorrow known as the Netherdeep — a terrifying cross between the Far Realm and the deep ocean. Above it all, the red moon of Ruidus watches, twisting the fates of those who have the power to shape the course of history. Fans will discover that the greed of mortals has awakened a powerful entity long thought destroyed, a mighty champion of the gods that has been imprisoned in the darkest depths of Exandria for eons, with his name and heroic deeds forgotten. Languishing in despair, he calls out for new heroes to save him.”
Call of the Netherdeep is a seven-chapter adventure for players leveled 3-12 that includes new Exandria lore, magical items, and monster, and contains “many elements of the storyline tie into the themes of previous Critical Role campaigns.” It also, intriguingly, has some sort of new mechanic for rival non-player character parties, which sounds like it could be a useful tool for any DM in any campaign setting.
Alas, you’ll have to wait until March 15, 2022, to pick it up, but you’ll have plenty of new episodes of the podcast to tide you over until then.