Features | Written by Ed Fortune 08/06/2022

Sam Riegel – EXANDRIA UNLIMITED: CALAMITY

Sam Riegel is best known for his work as a cast member on hit D&D show Critical Role.  The voice actor is also well known for roles including Dontello in 2003's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and as Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attorney games. Sam joins Dungeon Master Brennan Lee Mulligan along with players Travis WillinghamMarisha Ray , Aabria IyengarLou Wilson and Luis Carazo in Critical Role's latest campaign, Exandria Unlimited: Calamity. We caught up with him to find out more.

How would you pitch Exandria Unlimited: Calamity to the Sam Riegel from 2008?

I would start by saying “Yo man, you might want to buy some Bitcoin when it gets invented next year. Cool. Now that we got that straight…” and go on to explain that you would eventually get so comfortable playing D&D with your friends that you could have IMMENSE amounts of fun playing a game knowing you’re gonna die. I would pitch the show as one part Greek tragedy, one part Fantasy-Sci-Fi, one part psychological character study… and terribly addictive.

How different is Brennan’s DM-style from Matt? Does that change any choices you make when playing your character?

Brennan’s style meshes with Matt’s in a lot of ways - both are skilled at rolling with anything you throw at them and never seem overwhelmed. Both are excellent at playing NPCs, and both LOVE juicy lore. I would say Brennan kept pushing and prodding us in ways that probably have less to do with his style, and more to do with the fact that we had an enormous story to tell in just 4 episodes. That sense of urgency never let up - and was thrilling to experience.

Does the lore difference between Calamity and Bell’s Hells take any getting used to?

Calamity is a 4-part series, and as such, we had to get ALL the lore out pretty much immediately. The Bells Hells campaign doesn’t have a ticking clock, so the players are free to explore more, follow wild side quests, and make way more mistakes. Both are rewarding - just in different ways.

Are there any character options that you’ve considered too wacky for Critical Role?

I really want to play a brain in a jar. Dunno when that’s gonna happen. But I’m gonna do it.

Why are we seeing so many comedians and actors play D&D these days?

I actually think we’re seeing so many EVERYONE play D&D these days, and RPG’s in general. It’s a phenomenon that folks from all walks of life are getting into. The reason we see actors and comics streaming their games is only because those are the ones who are most comfortable doing it in the public eye. But I know teachers, oil rig workers, and even NFL Football Players who love playing these games too. It’s so fun!

What was the last movie you saw that you’d recommend to Starburst readers, and why?

“Coda” was just a wonderful movie. And it has a cappella music in it too. Bonus! My kids and I also watched the original “Jurassic Park” movie and DAMN it’s just a nonstop thrill-ride. Also, on TV, please go check out “Kids in the Hall”. And if you’ve got some time left over, why not “The Legend of Vox Machina”?

Exandria Unlimited: Calamity airs Thursday evenings at 7pm Pacific (that’s Friday 3am British Summer Time)  on Critical Role’s Twitch (twitch.tv/criticalrole) and YouTube (youtube.com/criticalrole) channels. VOD is available immediately for Twitch channel subscribers and will be available on Critical Role’s YouTube channel the following Monday. It is also available via SpotifyApple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.