Critical Role fans have been left shocked, upset, angered, or a combination of all three following recent events in the series. The Dungeons & Dragons show, hosted by DM Matthew Mercer, recently featured a shocking twist during one of its episodes, where a long-term member of its party met their demise. Spoilers are ahead.
In a recent episode, Critical Role favorite Mollymauk Tealeaf (played by Taliesin Jaffe) was killed during a battle. As is D&D rules, Mollymauk has now ceased to exist in the game’s world, meaning that Jaffe’s character will no longer be joining his fellow party members during their journey. The response from Critical Role‘s fanbase has been an outpouring of grief, with the current campaign now set to continue without Mollymauk.
Mollymauk’s death came after his party attempted to find their other members, who had been captured by slavers. Lorenzo, the leader of these slavers, engaged them in battle, and killed Mollymauk after the character knocked himself unconscious with one of his own abilities. This is the first time that a character has been killed since Critical Role began, with previous characters having been resurrected or healed in the past. The permanence of Mollymauk’s death has therefore been a bitter pill to swallow for many, leading to Matthew Mercer apologizing to some fans on Twitter.
“I appreciate the support, and judging by the conversation, a number of people suddenly hate me. That’s fine. I’ll weather the slings and arrows,” Mercer tweeted. “Ours is a story of heroism and hope in a dark world. A story many of us need. One that turns in unexpected ways, and one I believe in.”
“I love my players, deeply. I am constantly checking in with them,” he continued. “Our trust is endless and mutual, and is the nature of the game, not all ends are written. If you found this one, singular moment so strong to somehow break your trust in me, then… I am sorry. Genuinely.
“However, it’s a dark spot in a vibrant narrative,” he added.” There is so much to come. We’re preparing for the worst because it’s healthy. When the stages of grief have washed over, I hope you still wish to join us. If not, then I wish you luck and good travels. <3″
Ashly Burch, who appeared as a special guest during the episode, shared her thoughts on Mollymauk’s demise and how “Death is as frightening and hard as it is inevitable.” Burch’s partner David Fetzer passed away in 2012, with her referencing this real-world loss in relation to the D&D campaign: “Making friends with death is a journey we all have to take,” she tweeted. “It’s an uninvited guest that we, nonetheless, must open our lives to. And art is the most powerful form of preparation we have.”